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The Evolution of an Aeroplane1

Nature volume 88, pages 451453 (01 February 1912) | Download Citation



READERS of the first two numbers of the twenty-seventh volume of “Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge,” who have not forgotten the pleasure they derived from the study of Dr. S. P. Langley's work in aërodynamics, will welcome the publication of this third number, on mechanical flight. While experimental aerodynamics and the theoretical study of flight respectively may form the sole subject of an investigation, the successful flight of models and of full-scale machines cannot be attained without both the guide of theory and the possession of accurate numerical data gathered by means of careful experiments. Appeal to nature is even necessary to obtain, through the observations of bird flight, some starting point in a line of research by trial and error that cannot be struck at random. For this reason the pursuit of success in actual flight is the most comprehensive branch of the science of aviation, and it will be enough to say that the work before us deals with the history of Dr. Langley's efforts to realise artificial flight to convey the impression that the account put before us is pregnant with details of the utmost interest to men of science and to non-technical readers alike.

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