Page:Air-ships and Flying-Machines.pdf/6

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.



by supplying the future numbers of the series of my air-ships with inclined planes, whose surface, added to that of the envelope of the balloon, will act in union with it, under the propulsive action of the screw, in supporting the weight of the mechanism.

I am beginning even now to perfect my "No. 6," adding to it, for the experiments which I expect to make in London in June, inclined planes which, placed toward the bow of the air-ship, will have the effect not only of lifting the ship but of correcting its pitching motion.

If, as I hope, I obtain good results, the speed will be perceptibly greater than that which I realized between Saint-Cloud and the Eiffel Tower.

Beginning with this year, I shall attempt to apply in the air the principles of aviation properly so called, by subjecting my air-ships to a continual evolution.

In the same proportion that I increase the extent of the inclined planes symmetrically disposed at the right and left, I shall reduce the surface of the envelope of varnished silk, and, consequently, the volume of hydrogen relatively to the power of the motor.

Thus I expect gradually to diminish the rôle of the hydrogen, making secondary its importance which is now primary, and even completely doing away with the use of this gas.

The air-ship will then have become an aëroplane in the absolute sense of the word, and I hope that some day we shall see it such. That day is undoubtedly not far distant, but the flying-machine will be achieved only by the way of evolution, by making the air-ship pass through a series of transformations analogous to the metamorphoses by which the chrysalis becomes the winged butterfly.

My air-ship, which raises itself by pushing back the air, has already done better than the chrysalis, whose elongated form it resembles. It may be that very soon nothing will prevent it from freeing itself completely from its cocoon of silk lined with hydrogen, and from being wholly comparable to a butterfly.

The air-ship, then, as it exists to-day, and the aëroplane absolutely without gas, to which we shall come, will form the two extremes of a series of aerial machines between which the aëronaut will have his choice, following his taste or consulting the at-