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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/539

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Popular Science Montlih/

��525

���This British military aeroplane is of the latest type. And yet how similar it is to the crude, early machines of 1908. There are only two striking outward signs of improvement: the streamline boat-body enclosing everything and minimizing head-resistance, and the solid inflexible appearance of the wings, due to the invention of enamels which strengthen and shrink the cloth covering and make it as smooth on both sides as Japanese lacquer

��Daily encounters in the sky prove conclusively enough that flying has been as thoroughly mastered as horseback riding. In neither can any attention be paid to handling the machine. There are too many other very important matters to think about. The machine must respond to an\' suliconscious action of its rider as obediently as a cavalry horse, so that its guidance becomes as much a matter of subconscious action as that of a warhorse. Accounts of air- duels read, in fact, as though fighting aeroplanes were under better control than ca\'alry horses. To place a shot at close range in these wild swoops, with- out being hit, can he comiiared only with fighting a saber-duel while juniping hurdles. The fastest French and British machines were found to be the most formidable fighters. Hence they were imitated (and fatally bettered) by the (■ermans and Austrians.

��And Yet, the Aeroplane Is Unchanged

It is surprising how little the general appearance of the aeroplane has changed during its entire history, in spite of its mar\-elous development. ()nl\- the automatically stable t\pes, distinguished b\- their backwardh-turned wings and upturned tips are an exception. But the aeroplane is such a simple de\'ice (and has been found best in its simplest forms) that the phenomenon is easih' explained. There are onl\- two striking outward signs of improxement ; the streamline l)oat-l)ody, enclosing e\'erything and minimizing head-resistance, and the solid, inflexible appearance of the wings, due to the invention of enamels which strengthen and shrink the cloth co\'ering and make it as smooth on both sides as Japanese lacquer.

Maximum strength, minimum weight and least head-resistance are best

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