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Aerodynamics, Stability and Control of the 1903 Wright Flyer

Culick, Fred E. C. and Jex, Henry R. (1985) Aerodynamics, Stability and Control of the 1903 Wright Flyer. In: Proceedings of The Wright Flyer : An Engineering Perspective. AIAA Wright Flyer Project Report. No.WF 84/09-1. National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution , Washington, DC.

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The Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Aero and Astronautics is building two replicas of the 1903 Wright Flyer airplane; one to wind-tunnel test and display, and a modified one to fly. As part of this project the aerodynamic characteristics of the Flyer are being analyzed by modern wind-tunnel and analytical techniques. Tnis paper describes the Wright Flyer Project, and compares key results from small-scale wind-tunnel tests and from vortex-lattice computations for this multi-biplane canard configuration. Analyses of the stability and control properties are summarized and their implications for closed-loop control by a pilot are derived using quasilinear pilot-vehicle analysis and illustrated by simulation time histories. It is concluded that, although the Wrights were very knowledgeable and ingenious with respect to aircraft controls and their interactions (e.g., the good effects of their wing-warp-to-rudder linkage are validated), they were largely ignorant of dynamic stability considerations. The paper shows that the 1903 Flyer was readily controllable about all axes but was intrinsically unstable in pitch and roll, and it could barely be stabilized by a skilled pilot.

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Additional Information:September 20, 1984. Systems Technology, Inc., Paper No. 359. We thank Mrs. C. Yehle of Caltech for typing the manuscript through many drafts, and Mr. C. Reaber for the great care with which he prepared the figures. To be published in "Proceedings of the Symposium on the 80th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers First Flight", Smithsonian Institution; Dec. 16, 1983. Copyright reserved. This draft version is for limited review and distribution. Permission to republish any portion must be obtained from the Smithsonian (Mr. Wolko); however the right to reference this paper in technical reports is hereby granted.
Group:Guggenheim Jet Propulsion Center, GALCIT
Subject Keywords:Wright Flyer Project
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Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Guggenheim Jet Propulsion CenterUNSPECIFIED
AlAA Wright Flyer Project - Report WF 84/09-1
Systems Technology, Inc. Paper359
Series Name:AIAA Wright Flyer Project Report
Issue or Number:WF 84/09-1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20101207-140100221
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:21217
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:14 Dec 2010 22:39
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 02:21

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