Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/472

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
468
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

shores, where the boat was made fast to moorings which had previously been placed in readiness for it

Although extreme delays had already occurred, yet they were not so trying as the ones which began immediately after the work was thus transferred to the lower Potomac.

The object in constructing the quarter-size counterpart of the large machine was to duplicate in it the balancing and relative proportions of power, surface, etc., that had been arranged in the large one, so that a test of it might be made which would determine whether the large machine should be tried as arranged or the balancing and other arrangements modified. The launching apparatus, which had proved so eminently successful with the original steam-driven models in 1896, was considered a thing so well tested that it had, as I have stated, been duplicated on a suitable scale for use with the large aerodrome, and it was felt that if this apparatus were exactly similar to the smaller one it would be the one appliance least likely to mar the experiments.

In order to test the quarter-size model it was necessary to remove its launching track from the top of the small house boat and place it upon the deck of the large boat, in order to have all the work go on at one place, as it was impossible, on account of its unseaworthiness, to moor the small house boat in the middle of the river.

While this transfer of the launching apparatus from the small boat to the large one was being made, the changed atmospheric conditions incident to a large body of water over which thick fogs hung a great portion of the time, from those of a well-protected shop on the land, began to manifest themselves in such ways as the rusting of the metal parts and fittings, and the consequent disarrangement of the adjustment of the necessarily very accurate pieces of apparatus connected with the ignition system of the engine. These difficulties might have partly been anticipated, but there were others concerning which the cause of the deterioration and disarrangement of certain parts and adjustments was not immediately detected, and consequently when short preliminary shop tests of the small machine were attempted just prior to launching it, it was found that the apparatus did not work properly, necessitating repairs and new constructions and consequent delay. Although the large house boat with the entire outfit had been moved down the river on July 14, 1903, it was not until the eighth of August that the test of the quarter-size model was made, and all of this delay was directly due to changed atmospheric conditions incident to the change in locality. This test of the model in actual flight was made on the eighth of August, 1903, when it worked most satisfactorily, the launching apparatus, as always heretofore, performing perfectly, while the model, being launched directly into the face of the wind, flew directly ahead on an even keel. The balancing