Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/558

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�The Flying Automobile

Glen Curtiss builds a limousine in which you can take trips through the air

By Carl Dienstbach

��SEVERAL years ago Glen H. Curtiss launched into the air a new kind of craft, which he called a "flying boat." Such a craft is much heavier than a land aeroplane. Naturally, Curtiss asked him- self: If a heavy motor-boat can fly, why should it not be possible to launch a heavy automobile into the air by means of wings.

Although Curtiss was the first to make a fly- ing boat, he was not the first to con- c e i V e or even car- ry out the idea of fly- ing in an automobile. About six years ago the French oil mag- nate, Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe actually placed an order with the Bleriot works for what he called an aero-taxicab. That name fitted it well. It looked like one as it flew in the air. It used to be supposed that triplanes would never do for fast flying because of the great head resistance which they offer. But resistance can be reduced by proper designing, and triplanes, as a result, are as fast as the biplanes of three or four years ago. A triplane can be made strong and still light. That, no doubt, is the reason why Curtiss adopted it when he made up his mind to build a flying limousine.

Look at Curtiss' new machine, as it is revealed in the accompanying picture. What a contrast there must be between flying in this well-designed enclosed body and an open military machine! You step in, wearing your silk hat and afternoon clothes, just as you would into an automo-

���The lines of the automobile have been deliberately retained in spite of the tremendous downward pressure of windshield and motor hood

��bile which is to take you to some fashion- able tea. The body of the Curtiss limousine is remarkably well designed, from an aero- plane point of view. At the rear, the car body terminates in a knife edge. This also made it necessary to place the propeller behind the limousine, in the same manner as a slender poop is provided for the protec- tion of a steamer's screws. It may be noted

that the aero- plane portion of the craft is very much like the triplane built by Curtiss recently for Ruth Law and described in the March issue of the Popular Science Monthly. The use of an auto- mobile body has solved at one stroke a knotty mechanical problem. In the ordinary fly- ing machine, motors and propellers are directly connected. In the flying auto- mobile, there is a reduction gear between the motor and propeller — something quite new. This appears in the form of a shaft running back through the limousine and connected by belts and pulleys with the propeller shafts. Thus, it becomes possible to drive a 93^-foot, four-bladed propeller — extraordinarily large — by only a hundred- horsepower motor. Obviously, by slightly raising the limousine's floor, a change-gear and a reversing gear might have been in- stalled as snugly as in an automobile. This would have made it possible to start and land on restricted areas.

The front wheels of the machine are steered exactly as they are in an auto- mobile, so that the craft can run on unobstructed land for long distances.

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