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Progress in Aërial Navigation

Nature volume 71, pages 463465 (16 March 1905) | Download Citation



THE problem of aërial navigation has been attacked by direct methods for so many centuries that the results of the recent aëronautical competition at St. Louis can scarcely be regarded as a matter of surprise. It is doubtful whether the offering of large prizes for the achievement of a result which has been attempted for years without success is the best means of promoting progress. As will have been learnt from the daily Press the great prize of 20,000l. was not even competed for, and a much more useful purpose would have been served by a systematic and organised attempt to encourage, by means of prizes, investigations calculated to throw an indirect light on the general question of aërial navigation, such, for example, as improvements in the efficiency of propellers, diminution of the angle of gliding of gravity-propelled machines, reduction of air-resistance of motor-propelled balloons, solution of the difficulties connected with longitudinal stability, especially in gliding machines travelling at low speeds, and what is still more important, the discovery of new results in any direction whatever calculated to open up fresh methods of approaching the whole question.

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