Aeronautical Research: Wind Tunnels, Old and New


    DR. G. W. LEWIS, director of aeronautical research, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, U.S.A., delivered the Wilbur Wright Memorial Lecture before the Royal Aeronautical Society on May 25, taking as his subject “Some Modern Methods of Research in the Problems of Flight”, with some personal reminiscences of the brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright, and gave some hitherto unpublished details of their original researches into the problems of flight in 1901. Fig. 1 shows profiles and plan forms of some of the aerofoils used by the Wrights in their wind tunnel. It can be seen that models 7, 8 and 9 are circular arcs with a systematically varied camber, and 10, 11 and 12 have a similar camber in a more forward location; also the models have a 1-inch chord with a 6-inch span, giving an aspect ratio of 6. Research up to to-day has universally confirmed that the assumption of these forms was correct to such an extent that it almost appears to have been an extension of their original work. Since this work was never published, these later day conclusions are an independent testimony to their far-sightedness and understanding of the basic principles.

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    Aeronautical Research: Wind Tunnels, Old and New. Nature 144, 229–232 (1939).

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