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Progress in Flying Machines (Dover Books on Aeronautical Engineering) Paperback – July 10, 1997

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Aeronautical Engineering
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (July 10, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486299813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486299815
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,847,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book gives an historical review of the effects and experiments of inventors to accomplish flight with apparatus, which by reason of its rapid movement will be supported by the air as birds are. The author has gathered all the records of such experiments which were accessible, and has endeavored to show the reasons for their failure and to explain the principles which govern flight, and to satisfy himself and his readers, whether we may reasonably hope eventually to fly through the air. His conclusion is that this question may now be answered in the affirmative. A full account is given of the recent experiments of scientists like Maxim, Lilienthal, Hargraves and Langley, which have so greatly added to our knowledge on this subject. The book contains over 300 pages and is illustrated by nearly 100 engravings. It is written in a style which will be read with as much interest by the general as by the non-technical reader. Advertisement taken from "Aeronautics,&qu! ot; published in the fall of 1894.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jan Wolter on September 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think it could be argued that without the contributions of the Wright Brothers, it would have taken years longer before the first practical airplanes were built, but without Octave Chanute it would have taken decades longer.

Chanute was born in Paris but lived his whole life in America. Until he retired at the age of 57, he was one of America's leading railroad engineers, so successful that a town in Kansas was named after him. He laid out new railway lines, was the designer of the Chicago Stockyards, designed many significant bridges, and was involved in designing the "El" (elevated railroad) in New York City.

After his retirement, he took up a new hobby: heavier-than-air flight. Instead of just setting out to build an airplane in his barn, he began to research and document everything that had previously tried from antiquity to the modern day, getting all the details he could about each craft and how it had performed. He published all this information, initially in a railroad engineering journal, and later as this book. He started corresponding with most everyone who was working in flight, trading ideas and offering suggestions and encouragement. He pretty much single-handedly converted aviation from the pursuit of lone madmen into a respectable science where people could build on the experience of others. So this book is not only a fascinating survey of flight before flight, but the real beginning of aviation science.

After publishing this book, Chanute designed a few gliders of his own, hiring younger men to build and test them. One was quite successful, introducing some key innovations, most notably the idea of building a strong, light wing with substantial lifting area by stacking two wings on top of each other and bracing them with struts and wires.
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