Erm, no. The Wrights originally used Lilienthal's airfoil tables for their first (1900, 1901) glider designs. The fact that the tables were grossly incorrect and virtually worthless in predicting the lifting capability of an arbitrary set of wings* is what led them into their own wind-tunnel research. Lilienthal was flying weight-shift hang-gliders. His was hardly the first glider (that was Cayley, in 1853), although, prior to the 1902 Wright glider, they were arguably the best. Lilienthal was definitely an inspiration to the Wrights, but virtually none of his technology or knowledge contributed directly to the Wright's endeavors, once they discarded his airfoil/air pressure tables. To say that they "stood on his shoulders" would be a gross exaggeration.2500 years ago, the Chinese already had man-carrying kites. The first practical aircraft was without a doubt Lilienthal. With 2000 flights also the giant the Wright bros stood on.
And yet after they did all that they hid in their bunker and hoarded their knowledge not to come out until others had innovated and produced much better aircraft that were commercial successes and then suddenly they felt left behind and stifled the early aircraft industry by suing everyone over with their patents on their already obsolete flight systems.In fact, the Wright's story is one of the truly great ones in science. They invented or discovered all of the following concepts using their own research:
- The concept that higher aspect-ratio wings are more efficient lifting surfaces (from their wind-tunnel research - the theory came later from others)
- Blade-element propeller theory (arguably their greatest contribution to science, and one of the most overlooked)
- A table of airfoils of predictable behavior based on actual wind-tunnel data, similar to what we would now use from Ribblett, NACA, etc.
- Adverse yaw
- The notion that an aircraft should not be extremely stable in all axes (that controllability is paramount)**
- A working three-axis aerodynamic control system
Maxim's aircraft had sufficient thrust and very likely lifting area, and did, in fact, lift off of its rails before fouling on the upper rails intended to keep it from becoming fully airborne. But that's not "flight", in accepted terms, as the vehicle had no flight controls beyond what was, essentially, a pitch trim. Maxim himself said his vehicle was intended only for measuring thrust and lift, and was intended to be research that would lead to a later attempt at an actual flying machine.fastaviationdata, You have not defined your request any further so I guess anything goes. Sir Hiram Maxim's aircraft has been dismissed by historians but it had every thing it needed to fly and in fact did so in 1894. Maxim knew he would not know how to pilot it and so restricted its flight with a check rail that limited it to a height of 2' only. Check out the story and pictures here:- The Pioneers : An Anthology : Sir Hiram Maxim (1840 - 1916) Topaz, The Wright's 1903 aircraft was not a practical machine as it required a strong wind to take off. The propeller was probably not able to generate sufficient static thrust to get it moving fast enough as was demonstrated in 2003 when the replica failed to fly in the low wind.
Not for everybody nationalism is the leitmotiv. Being from a small country you get exposed to the exploits and history of many other countries. Refreshing... because despite there being only one history, the local stories are completely different, including aviation. The bigger/more isolated cultures are, the more their stories deviate from others.Can I note that the people here trying to say that the Wrights weren't first to fly are all Europeans, and are all trying to say a European was first?
After witnessing a flight by the Wright brothers in Europe, Santos-Dumont said "To them we are as children".Santos-Dumont was so enthusiastic about aviation that he made the drawings of the Demoiselle available free of charge, thinking that aviation would lead to a new prosperous era for mankind.
Do you have something - anything - that will back up this claim? The Wrights invented blade element theory, and it seems highly unlikely that they'd commit such an error when they had a better understanding of propellers than anyone in the world at the time. And they repeatedly said the Flyer was capable of taking off in still air. You're saying that's not true, and I'm sorry if I take their word over yours, without some kind of actual information to back it up....The point about requiring a strong headwind was that until sufficient air flowed over the propeller, not the wings, it was stalled and could not produce enough thrust to move the aircraft to take of speed. ...