Excerpt from Aeronautical Motor: Instruction Paper Early Types. In the general acclaim that has greeted man's final conquest of the air, the chief contributing factor that has made it possible has to a great extent been overlooked. Power in sufficiently concentrated form appears to have been the only thing lacking for at least half a century past to have made possible for two or three generations what has been the reality of less than a decade. Not that a perfected light-weight power unit was sufficient in itself, as there are numerous principles governing flight that have been discovered only in recent years, but it was the one thing needed to lift a heavier-than-air machine from the ground and to keep it in the air. With its aid, it appears to be more than probable that the problem of the sustaining plane and the difficulties of equilibrium would have found a solution at a much earlier date. That at least one far-sighted investigator had realized the possibilities of the monoplane is shown by Henson's machine of 1843. Henson's steam engine was justly considered a marvel for its anticipated numerous features that are generally considered as the development of but very recent years in this form of prime mover. But despite the great improvements it embodied and the fact that it could be operated continuously on but 20 gallons of water, its output was but 20 horse-power for a total weight of 600 pounds. Compare this low limit of 30 pounds per horse-power, of sixty years ago, with the 1.75 pounds per horse-power of the 140-horse-power Gnome motor and the advance that has been achieved will be appreciated. "Continuously" in this connection meant just what it does today - as long as the fuel holds out - and as coal is not only excessively heavy but likewise very inefficient for its weight when burned under a boiler, as compared with gasoline used directly in an internal combustion motor, it is evident that even with the great supporting power afforded by the 4,500 square feet of surface of the main planes, Henson's craft could not have carried sufficient coal to permit of much of a flight. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
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