Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/707

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


Popular Science Monthly

��691

��Monitor" were so successful was because each brought into battle a weapon against which the other side did not know how to defend itself.

It has been suggested that the "torpedo- plane," that I patented about fiveyears ago, may prove to be an invention which may play a similar part in changing the charac- ter of naval warfare and which may help us to defend our long coast line ver>- cheaply and effectively. At the request of the editor of the Popular Science Month- ly, I will sketch here the principle of its operation and its utility.

That the torpedoplane will become an important factor in naval warfare in the near future, many people have no doubt. It is an invention which renders it possible to launch the regular Whitehead torpedo from an aeroplane as effectively as it is launched from a destroyer.

A destroyer dashes for her enemy at a speed which can rarely be as high as thirty knots an hour, and launches a torpedo from her deck into the water. That act of

��launching, throws back a lever on the torpedo, called the "starting lever," which causes the propelling mechanism of the torpedo to go ahead full speed. After reaching the water, therefore, the torpedo goes along in the direction in which it is pointed; and if it is pointed correctly, it hits the target ship below the water line and usually sinks or cripples her.

Maneuvering the Torpedoplane

The torpedoplane, as it is illustrated in the accompanying drawing, needs little explanation. The aviator approaches his target from a great distance and high up in the air. At a distance of, say six or seven miles away, he volplanes toward the water, runs above the surface of the water a short distance, and heads for his target. When ready he simply pulls a lever. The action of pulling the lever releases the tor- pedo, which is rigidly held under the aeroplane, and at the same time throws back the starting lever, with the result that the torpedo falls into the . water

���largest size torpedo weighing about a ton, could discharge their torpedoes with comparative safety. The torpedo would hit the ship below the water line and sink or cripple her

�� �