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20 CRAZY FLYING MACHINES & AIRCRAFT | A Blast From The Past

September 16, 2019


– [Narrator] What’s up YouTube? From a flying car to a massive
flying boat with nine wings, we bring you 20 vintage flying machines. Starting off this list at number 20, we have a one man helicopter. In the 1950s the US Army tried to create a one man personal helicopter
called the Aerocycle. The Aerocycle was intended to be operated by someone with just 20
minutes of instructions. The objective was to use
the personal helicopter as a reconnaissance machine. Steering was controlled
by shifting your weight, but the aircraft proved to
be too difficult to control And after two crashes the
project was abandoned. Number 19. In 1936, Jess Dixon of Andalusia, Alabama got tired of being tied
up in traffic jams, so he designed and built
this novel flying vehicle. This combination of
automobile, helicopter, autogyro and motorcycle, is powered by an air-cooled 40 horsepower motor. Dixon claimed his machine
was capable of speeds up to 100 miles an hour. However, only one
photograph is known to exist and although it appears that the machine is actually flying in the picture, no records of the test
flights still survive. Number 18. The Gerhardt Cycleplane. Designed by Dr. W. Frederick Gerhardt, this entry on the list has been called the world’s first successful
human powered aircraft. The aircraft made its
first flight in July 1923. During initial test
flights, an automobile towed the cycleplane into the
air and released it. Afterward Gerhardt was
able to maintain stable and level flights for
short periods of time. The only human powered
take off of the cycleplane was a short hop of about
20 feet with the craft rising two feet off of the ground. Number 17. In 1931 Helene Alberti, an
opera singer from Boston turned from her thrush like warbling to another phase of avian endeavor; Soaring by arm power in
a pair of strap-on wings. Using the local hills as a testing ground, she and a male pupil sprung into the air, fluttering their canvas propellors. And then promptly went into nose dives. You won’t be surprised,
but disappointed to learn that Helene and the
young lad in the photos did not as fate would
have it, take flight. – [Man] Guys! – Number 16. Leonardo da Vinci’s hang glider. An invention inspired by bat’s wings. Historians have recently
attempted to build Davinci’s glider using
materials he would have had available and found
that it could actually fly with a couple of small modifications. The device shows where
a man could actually lie into the machine with his waist inside the ring just below the wings. His hands would hold the two sticks coming down from the wings
for directional control. And a flapping motion would be powered by the man forcing his legs downward with his feet inside the two spurs. DaVinci’s sketches and the
principles he discovered while developing his
glider, set down some of the most basic principles of flight. Many engineers and Leonardo
lovers tend to agree that he is one of the founding fathers of the branch of physics which
is now known as Aerodynamics. Number 15. Otto Lilienthal was a
German pioneer of aviation who became known as the flying man. He was the first person
to make well documented, repeated, successful flights
with unpowered airplanes. Newspapers and magazines published photographs of Lilienthal gliding, favorably influencing public
and scientific opinion about the possibility of flying
machines becoming practical. Sadly, on August 9th,
1896, his glider stalled and he was unable to regain control. Falling from about 50 feet in the air, he broke his neck and died the next day. Number 14. The Ader Avion III. In 1892, the French
Ministry of war commissioned Clement Ader, a French
aeronautical pioneer, to begin work on a new airplane. Ader created a tractor monoplane powered by twin 20 horsepower
Ader steam engines, which was completed in 1897. Ader attempted to fly the
Avion III on two occasions. In one of these test
flights the aircraft simply ran around a circular track
without leaving the ground. In his report of the
trials, General Mensea the official government witness stated that the Avion III had not flown, but he suggested that the tests continue. Having spent 65,000 francs
on the project to date, the ministry of war refused
to fund additional trials. Number 13. The Ornithopter. In 1928, George White hoped to make man’s first successful birdlike
flight in history. The idea was to imitate
the flapping wing flight of birds, bats and insects. The frame weighed 118 pounds,
was eight feet in length and had a wing span of 29.5 feet. It was made of chrome
molydernum covered with a non-inflammable
transparent celluloid fabric, having a tensile strength of 10,000 pounds to the square inch. Over six years George White made a total of 21 secret flights. On June 16th, 1928 White
narrowly escaped death during the flight
experiments, but he reportedly kept experimenting with his
ornithopter into the 1930s. Number 12. The Cornu helicopter. The word helicopter comes from
the French word Helicoptere, which is derived from Greek,
literally meaning spiral wing. References to vertical
flights date back to 400 b.c, but it was Leonardo da Vinci’s
design of an aerial screw in the 1480s that was the first record of advancement towards vertical flight. However, it wasn’t until
November 13th, 1907 that French inventor Paul Cornu managed to lift a one foot off the ground for 20 seconds in his Cornu helicopter. This was reported to be the first truly free flight with a pilot. Various other experimentations
took place after Cornu’s vertical lift off,
but it wasn’t until the 1920’s that early development of
helicopters really took off. Number 11. Raul Pateras Pescara
built his first helicopter in Barcelona in 1919. He modified this version
several times, and in 1922 Pescara moved to France
and succeeded in rising and hovering 4.9 feet in
his 1,680 pound helicopter. On April 18th, 1924 Pescara’s
perseverance was rewarded. He flew at Issy-les-Moulineaux for a little under half a mile. The helicopter had four
pairs of blades turning around a totem pole
rotar mast, and although the takeoff involved a lot of wobbling his flight still lasted 10 minutes. Number 10. The Lee-Richards Annular Monoplane. During the pioneer years,
before the first world war, Cedric Lee and G. Tilghman
Richards built and flew a series of aircraft, having an oval flat ring shape, or annular wing. They built both biplane
and monoplane types, and in 1913 their first
monoplane proved to be an early example of the
statically stable aircraft. The circular plane form
allowed the wing span to be narrower than a conventional
wing, making the aircraft even more unusual for it’s period in being longer than it was wide. Although all prototypes were
reported to be easy to fly, they all crashed during test flights. Number nine. The Cayley Glider. One of the greatest inventors
in the field of aviation was Yorkshireman George Cayley. He was the first man to
move away from the idea that a man-made flying
machine must have wings that flapped like a bird’s. In 1804 Cayley designed an built a model monoplane glider with a modern appearance. The model featured an
adjustable cruciform tail, a kite shaped wing mounted
at a high angle of incidents and a moveable weight to
alter the center of gravity. Cayley redesigned and tested his gliders throughout the rest of his
life, taking his latest known flight in 1853 at his estate in England. Many consider him to be
the true first scientific aerial investigator and the
first person to understand the underlying principals
and forces of flight. Number eight. The Bleriot 11. In July 1909 French aviation
pioneer Louis Bleriot completed the first successful crossing of the English Chanel by air. This historic feet took
a little over 36 minutes and earned him a prize of 1,000 pounds, equivalent to $144,000 in today’s money. The monoplane he used for the crossing was called the Bleriot 11. The type 11 was initially
powered by an REP engine and was first flown with this
engine on January 18th, 1909. Amazingly, a few of these
aircraft are still air worthy. Granted, given the rarity
and fragility of the type, the chances of getting to
fly it are next to nil, but it would still be
theoretically possible to enjoy the Bleriot experience. Number seven. Alexander Lippisch’s Aerodyne. An innovative and unusual design that lacked wings altogether. Lippisch’s Aerodyne
consisted of an engine within a ducted shroud that
exhausted through a pair of vectored cascades that
provided both the propulsive lift when in VTOL mode and then
shifted via a series of vanes to provide forward thrust
while retaining enough of a downward thrust component to stay airborne without the use of wings. A conventional tail unit provided directional control
while in forward flight. While no documentation exists
that the Aerodyne took flight it was tested at the NASA
Ames Research Center’s large 40 foot by 80 foot wind tunnel. Unfortunately In 1964
Lippisch contracted cancer ending work on the Aerodyne. Number six. The Nemeth Umbrella Plane. Built by students at the
Miami university in 1934 it demonstrate that even a circular wing could be used to fly a plane reliably. This aircraft had a parasol
wing of circular form above a conventional fuselage and tail, and it was powered by propeller
in a tractor configuration. The original prototype was a taildragger that used a round wing design. It used a lengthened fuselage from a 1920s Alliance Argo biplane and was powered by a 90 horse power Lambert engine. At the rear, two ailerons
were added to help the plane land safely at slow speeds. It was quite a success
in it’s test flights and held some promise. It provided evidence that
circular wing designs shouldn’t be written off and paved the way for other successful
experimental military aircraft. Number five. The Northrop XP-79 flying wing aircraft. Built in 1945 By Jack
Northrop for the US army, It was designed as flying
wing fighter aircraft powered by two rocket fueled jet engines. The XP-79 had the pilot
laying prone in the cockpit to take on the expected
500 mile per hour speeds. A pressured cabin would ensure survival in the estimated 40,000 foot ceilings that the plane would fly in. The body of the aircraft was constructed with heavy gauge magnesium. The Northrop XP-79
project was canceled after the single prototype
was lost to an accident. Number four. The NASA M2-F1. This entry was a lightweight,
unpowered prototype aircraft developed to flight test the
wingless lifting-body concept. In 1962 NASA management approved a program to build a lightweight,
unpowered lifting-body prototype. Test speeds on tow instepped
a 110 miles per hour which allowed the plane
to climb to about 20 feet, then glide for about 20 seconds
after releasing the line. That was the fastest speed
that could be expected during an auto-tow, but
initial tests produced enough flight data about the M2-F1 to proceed with flights
behind the US Navy C-47 tow-plane at greater altitudes. The M2-F1 program
demonstrated the feasibility of the lifting-body concept
for horizontal landings of atmospheric entry vehicles. Number three. The Caproni CA.60 Transaereo. Often referred to as the
Noviplano or Capronissimo, this prototype was a large
nine-wing flying boat intended to become a 100-passenger
transatlantic airliner. It featured eight engines and
three sets of triple wings. designed by Italian aviation
pioneer Gianni Caproni, only one example of this aircraft was built by the Caproni company. It was tested on Lake Maggiore in 1921, but shortly after takeoff,
the aircraft crashed on the water surface and
broke apart on impact. Soon after the project was abandoned because of it’s excessive cost. Number two. The Moon Pod. This lunar landing
research vehicle was built by Bell Aerosystems in 1964,
as part of the training for the Apollo project
to land on the moon. It was designed for a
vertical landing and takeoff and was able to briefly hover and fly horizontally before landing. Known as The Flying Bedstead
it used a gimbal-mounted vertical jet engine to
counter 5/6s of its weight to simulate the Moon’s
gravity, in addition to its own hydrogen peroxide thrusters to simulate the landing module’s descent
engine and attitude control. This aircraft proved
fairly dangerous to fly, as three of the five were
destroyed in crashes. It was equipped with a
rocket-powered ejection seat, so in each case the pilot
was able to survive. And topping off this list
in the number one spot is the Avro VZ-9 Avrocar. This aircraft was developed
by Avro Aircraft Limited, as part of a secret U.S.
military project carried out in the early years of the Cold War. The Avrocar intended to
exploit the Coanda effect to provide lift and thrust
from a single turborotor blowing exhaust out the rim
of the disk-shaped aircraft to provide anticipated VTOL performance. Two prototypes were built as
proof of concept test vehicles, but in flight testing the
Avrocar proved to have unresolved thrusts and stability
problems, that limited it to a degraded low-performance
flight envelope. subsequently, the project was
canceled in September 1961. (synthisized tune)

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