Military Review

Attempts to combine a steam engine with an airplane

44
Attempts to combine a steam engine with an airplane

Ariel Transit Company Poster


More recently, the steam engine was the most common source of energy on the planet. Steam engines were installed on land vehicles - prototypes of the first cars, set in motion trains and ships, provided the operation of pumps and machine tools. Steam energy and steam engines were widely used in XNUMXth century industry. It is not surprising that over time, the idea to build an aircraft with a steam engine penetrated the heads of designers. However, the process of building a password turned out to be difficult and thorny.

Aerial Steam Crew


Genesis aviation accounts for the beginning of the XIX century. It was at the turn of the XVIII-XIX centuries that the first concept of an aircraft was proposed. This concept was made by the English naturalist George Cayley. It is Kaley who is considered one of the world's first researchers and theorists in the field of creating aircraft heavier than air. The first studies and experiments to study the aerodynamic characteristics of the wing Kayli began in 1804, in the same year he made a model of a glider of his own design. According to him, the glider could overcome by air no more than 27 meters. From 1809–1810, the UK’s first monthly scientific journal, Nicolson's Journal of Natural Philosophy, published George Cayley's work, On Air Navigation. This was the first published scientific work in the world, which contained the fundamental principles of the theory of flight of gliders and aircraft.

It is no coincidence that it was in Great Britain closer to the middle of the XNUMXth century that they tried to build the first aircraft, more precisely, a password, because it was planned to install a steam engine on the model as a power plant. The idea of ​​building an unusual aircraft belonged to the British inventor and pioneer in the field of aviation, William Samuel Henson. Together with another British inventor, John Stringfellow, Henson developed the world's first aircraft project, which took into account all the basic elements of a classic propeller-driven aircraft.

The designers called their offspring "Aerial Steam Carriage" (Aerial Steam Carriage). A patent for the invention was obtained in 1843, in the same year the inventors and their partners registered a joint-stock company called Aeriel Transit Company. The designers created the first model of their “air steam crew” in 1843. It was a six-meter aircraft, on which a steam engine with a capacity of only 1 hp was installed.


The model that Henson and Stringfellow tested

The design of the wing of the password, which was presented by Henson and Stringfellow, contained elements that in the future will be used in aviation: spars, ribs, struts with braces. The wing of their password, like modern aircraft, had a thickness. At the same time, the wing spars were designed by holders, which was supposed to facilitate the design of the aircraft. The wing itself was attached to the hull of the aircraft from above; it was planned to place the engine, crew and passengers in the hull. The power plant was supposed to set in motion two pushing propellers. The chassis of the aircraft was planned three-wheeled, with one nose wheel.

At the same time, the idea of ​​the designers was too bold, not only by the standards of the middle of the XIX century. The technical characteristics of the air steam crew were up to par. The flight was supposed to carry by air up to 12 people at a distance of up to 1600 km. At the same time, the wing span of the model was estimated at 46 meters, and the wing area - 424 m², the diameter of the screws - 6 meters. The power of the installed power machine was estimated at 30 hp. It was believed that this was enough to provide an aircraft with a maximum take-off mass of 1360 kg at a cruising flight speed of 80 km / h.

In fact, it all ended with tests of a smaller model, which continued with varying success from 1844 to 1847. All this time, the designers made a large number of changes to the project, changed the parameters, altered the airframe, and also looked for an increasingly powerful steam engine. Despite the efforts of British naturalists, they failed over and over again. This was mainly due to the complete lack of world experience in the field of aircraft construction. Both Henson and Stringfellow were pioneers who made only the first timid steps in a new field, faced with a huge number of difficulties. In 1847, all work on the project was finally discontinued.

Steam plane of Alexander Mozhaysky


In Russia, Rear Admiral Alexander Fedorovich Mozhaysky, “the grandfather of Russian aviation,” not only a famous military figure, but also an inventor, picked up the idea of ​​building an aircraft with a steam engine. Mozhaisky was engaged in research and invention as during his service in the Russian imperial navyand in the civil service. The inventor finally came to the idea of ​​building his own aircraft, by 1873. Having completed his plan by the end of 1876, Mozhaisky presented the project to the Ministry of War, where the project was reviewed and funding was allocated for its implementation. In particular, three thousand rubles was spent on scientific research and research, the results of which could be further used to create a new aircraft.


Alexander Fedorovich Mozhaysky

When developing his version of the aircraft, Alexander Mozhaysky, like many other pioneers of aeronautics, relied primarily on the design and flight qualities of kites, which he personally designed and launched over the course of several years. Mozhaysky rightly believed that a heavy and slow aircraft should have a large area wing. At the same time, like other inventors of aircraft, Mozhaisky went through trial and error, many times changing the design and characteristics of his aircraft options.

According to the project, the aircraft was supposed to have a fuselage length of about 15 meters, wingspan - 23 meters, take-off weight of 820 kg. Moreover, the size of the aircraft varies in various studies of specialists in the field of aviation. The fact that Mozhaisky wanted to equip his aircraft with two engines of 20 hp at once remains unchanged. and 10 hp In this case, initially it was a question of internal combustion engines, which had just begun to emerge. The estimated speed of the aircraft was to be about 40 km / h. The low flight speed forced the designer to build an aircraft with a very large wing area of ​​the original shape. Externally, the aircraft of Mozhaisky’s design was a brace monoplane made according to the classical aerodynamic scheme.

Quickly enough, the designer was forced to abandon the internal combustion engine, since the first such engines were extremely unreliable and had a lot of weight. Then Mozhaisky decided to return to the classic steam engines for his era. On his password, he planned to use the most lightweight steam engine models of Arbekker Son & Hemkens from London, which had an excellent reputation and managed to establish itself as a manufacturer of lightweight steam engines used on destroyers.


Mozhaysky airplane model, State Polytechnical Museum in Moscow

The first model of the aircraft was ready in 1882. But the tests were unsuccessful. Alexander Mozhaysky, like many aviation pioneers, could not rely on anyone else's successful experience, in those years of world aircraft construction simply did not exist. The designer did not supply his password with devices against side rolls, since he did not consider them necessary. As a result, the plane, not even having time to rise to the sky, landed on its side, and its huge area’s wing simply “formed”. The subsequent three years of work to finalize the design led to nothing, the tests in 1885 again failed, the plane again landed on its side. On this история This aircraft ends, and in 1890 the designer himself passed away.

The only flying password


In the end, the first steam plane, which was able to fly into the sky and made a full flight, was built only in the 1930th century. This happened in the 1933s, when considerable experience in the field of aircraft construction was already accumulated in the world. Launched in 2000 in a single copy, the Airspeed 1936 did not just fly into the air, but was in active use, at least until 1936. An unusual plane worked at the US Post Office, but after XNUMX his life path was lost.

The first flying password was built by American brothers inventors George and William Bessler with the direct assistance of engineer Nathan Price. The novelty was demonstrated on April 12, 1933 in California in the city of Auckland and was widely covered in the American press. In appearance it would be the most ordinary plane of those years. This is not surprising, since the brothers simply took as a basis the serial biplane Travel Air 2000. The power plant itself was unusual. The aircraft, called Airspeed 2000, equipped with a powerful steam engine.


Airspeed 2000

The heart of the car was a V-twin-cylinder steam engine delivering a maximum power of 150 hp. With a tank with a total capacity of approximately 10 gallons, the Bessler brothers' aircraft could fly about 600 km. At the same time, the steam engine weighed even less than standard gasoline internal combustion engines - 80 kg, but a water tank with a firebox was added to the weight of the power plant.

The plane easily flew into the sky in 1933 and was subsequently in operation. The car had no problems with flying. At the same time, journalists appreciated the quiet operation of the aircraft engine, noting that the conversation between the pilot and the passenger could be heard even from the ground. The noise was created only by the whistle of a propeller chopping air. In addition to a quiet flight, the aircraft had other advantages, for example, the use of water instead of gasoline. Also, the power of the steam engine did not depend on the flight altitude and the degree of rarefaction of air, which was a problem for all aircraft with internal combustion engines. For example, at an altitude of more than two thousand meters, the steam engine on the Airspeed 2000 became more efficient than gas engines of the same power.


Despite its advantages, the Airspeed 2000 did not interest civilian customers or the US military. The future was for aircraft with internal combustion engines, and the Bessler brothers' biplane looked like a curiosity from the XNUMXth century, although with an obvious set of advantages. The disadvantages still outweighed. In terms of efficiency, the steam engine was inferior to internal combustion engines. It was necessary to use ultralight materials in the aircraft structure to compensate for the weight of the massive water boiler. Not allowed to compete with aircraft with internal combustion engines and a shorter flight range. And even such an obvious quality as noiselessness, which could be used to create reconnaissance aircraft or bombers, did not attract representatives of the military department.
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  1. tanki-tanki
    tanki-tanki 12 May 2020 18: 18 New
    +4
    Thank you for the article.
    1. Bar1
      Bar1 13 May 2020 08: 41 New
      -3
      everything has been said about Mozhaisky’s plane a long time ago.
      The aircraft was LETAL. And had all the attributes of the aircraft, wings, motor, chassis, control.
      The plane flew, picking up speed, rolling down from a hill. The centering of the plane was quite appropriate for the flight, so as not to fall on its side.
      The fact that the plane flew is the confirmation of witnesses.
      Around the Mozhaisky plane there is an information war with the goal of belittling the achievement of the Russian people, and now the author repeats all the nonsense and slander of the information war.
      -Airplane-Russian invention-Mozhaisk
      -Helicopter-Russian invention -Sikorsky
      -Parashut-Russian invention -Kotelnikov.
      -Space ship-Russian invention-Korolev.
      and so on.
      1. Zementbomber
        Zementbomber 13 May 2020 11: 43 New
        +1
        -Airplane-Russian invention-Mozhaisk
        -Helicopter-Russian invention -Sikorsky
        -Parashut-Russian invention -Kotelnikov.
        -Space ship-Russian invention-Korolev.

        Of all this, the truth is only the last point.
        PS And learn to spell the word "rus"сcue "- since you" signed up for "patriots".
        1. Bar1
          Bar1 13 May 2020 19: 01 New
          +1
          Quote: Zementbomber
          -Airplane-Russian invention-Mozhaisk
          -Helicopter-Russian invention -Sikorsky
          -Parashut-Russian invention -Kotelnikov.
          -Space ship-Russian invention-Korolev.

          Of all this, the truth is only the last point.
          PS And learn to spell the word "rus"сcue "- since you" signed up for "patriots".

          What kind of tribe are you?
          1. Zementbomber
            Zementbomber 14 September 2020 10: 58 New
            0
            Polish. But with a big admixture of Russian blood.
  2. tanki-tanki
    tanki-tanki 12 May 2020 18: 20 New
    0
    We must also combine the tank with the plane. wassat
    1. alone
      alone 12 May 2020 18: 25 New
      +8
      Quote: tanki-tanki
      We must also combine the tank with the plane.

      there were such projects. A-40..KB Antonova was engaged in this matter. so your laughter is inappropriate
      1. tanki-tanki
        tanki-tanki 12 May 2020 18: 31 New
        0
        I don’t laugh. I know about the A-40.
    2. Aviator_
      Aviator_ 12 May 2020 18: 34 New
      +2
      It was tested in the winter of 1942 at the LII. There were problems with the towing vehicle - the TB-3 did not pull, the motors overheated (I had to urgently detach and get into Bykovo), and the Pe-8 was needed at the front.
    3. The comment was deleted.
  3. knn54
    knn54 12 May 2020 18: 26 New
    12
    What a joke of the 70s remembered:
    At the start, a Chinese rocket exploded, killing two astronauts and 100 stokers.
    Who would have thought ...
    1. Ingvar7401
      Ingvar7401 12 May 2020 22: 01 New
      0
      Nothing out of the ordinary , the usual transition of quantity into quality.
  4. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 12 May 2020 18: 40 New
    +4
    The article is interesting. Only about the American "password" some kind of nonsense is written
    the power of the steam engine did not depend on the flight altitude and the degree of rarefaction of air

    How did it not depend if the operating conditions of the "Oil burner" (oil burner), which heated the water, shown on the scan, very much depends on both the external pressure and the presence of oxygen in the ambient air. Advertising move. And plus for the article.
  5. KVU-NSVD
    KVU-NSVD 12 May 2020 18: 51 New
    +5
    In addition to a quiet flight, the aircraft had other advantages, for example, the use of water instead of gasoline.
    But in addition to water, there also had to be fuel to heat the water and turn it into steam - they didn’t toss the coal into the firebox. And this fuel, taking into account lower efficiency, was consumed more than an airplane with similar characteristics and ICE.
    1. AllBiBek
      AllBiBek 12 May 2020 19: 03 New
      +5
      Naturally.
      There is a kerosene burner.
      In the United States in the early 30s, cars with similar engines rode around, and - they somehow managed to stick them into a tank. And even sent him to war, but he did not have time.
      1. KVU-NSVD
        KVU-NSVD 12 May 2020 19: 09 New
        +1
        Here it turns out that in addition to the low noise, there were no other advantages. Unless kerosene was probably much cheaper than aviation gasoline. This is probably why it was operated by the postal service and certainly in areas where it was strained with air gasoline.
  6. BARKAS
    BARKAS 12 May 2020 18: 52 New
    +2
    Due to the low noise, such an aircraft would be suitable for night flights like PO-2, but apparently there was no aircraft designer who would venture to do this.
    1. AllBiBek
      AllBiBek 12 May 2020 19: 05 New
      +2
      All steam engines have a serious minus.
      Reheat to desired speed.

      Water alone does not boil.

      At the time, in the USSR, NAMI developed a steam truck, but - despite all the pluses, it took him at least an hour to get it moving. In this regard, it is even worse than gas-generating cars, they burst out from 15 minutes to half an hour.
      1. BARKAS
        BARKAS 12 May 2020 19: 12 New
        +2
        Such aircraft and other equipment had even further development with the same fate - this is a nuclear engine.
        1. AllBiBek
          AllBiBek 12 May 2020 21: 58 New
          +2
          Stirling suggests itself here rather, it is simpler for commercial success. But somehow they didn’t appreciate it at the time, and when they rated it, they controlled the ICE.
      2. Simargl
        Simargl 13 May 2020 04: 29 New
        +4
        Quote: AllBiBek
        All steam engines have a serious minus.
        Reheat to desired speed.
        Abner Dobl would laugh at this statement. And not just laughed, but poked his nose into his serial (albeit a ridiculous series, compared to Fords) Doble Model A and B: power reserve on water - 2000 (count zeros) km, exit to operation 90 seconds, acceleration to 100 km / h - 15 seconds. And this, for a moment, 1914 year!!!
        Model E, 1924 - acceleration to 120 km / h in 10 seconds (with improvements).
        Howard Hughes (the one that the Aviator, but not DiCaprio) - appreciated the car (which is the Doble Model E).

        Now about today's realities (my thoughts): if you build a steam car - then it is according to the Doble principle: a small-capacity boiler (fast), a condenser and ... a rotary vane engine, which was advertised by ё-mobillers. RLD is practically impossible as an internal combustion engine, but as a steam locomotive (more precisely, on compressed air, which is almost the same technically) it works (there is a video). However, this had to be done 40 years ago. Now only electric traction ...
        PS
        1. BARKAS
          BARKAS 13 May 2020 05: 09 New
          0
          And now there are craftsmen in our villages putting a pyrolysis stove on their cars.
        2. AllBiBek
          AllBiBek 13 May 2020 09: 25 New
          0
          The fact that going out in 90 seconds is an advertising trick, nowadays after such an affirmation, it would go * and further in small print - the conditions under which it is so.

          And almost certainly this condition would be "pour so many liters of boiling water into such and such a tank."

          Steam cars clung for a long time, very much. It is understandable; at that time, mankind worked with steam for a hundred years, and I wanted to squeeze everything out of the skill. Until the 30s they were squeezed out, the last to retire to the USA, they had some kind of desk of some two brothers there (I don’t remember my last name) they made 5-7 pieces a year almost until WWII. One fig, in the era of mass cheap car with ICE (with greetings from Ford) - there were no chances for steam vehicles.

          They were gone already at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the Blue Whale ferry car accelerated to more than a hundred per hour; cars with internal combustion engines did not know how.

          The last third of a century of existence is already agony.
          1. Simargl
            Simargl 13 May 2020 13: 58 New
            0
            Quote: AllBiBek
            The fact that going out in 90 seconds is an advertising trick, nowadays after such an affirmation, it would go * and further in small print - the conditions under which it is so.
            Most likely - real: just a little water / steam. The burner went out - there is no pressure, while in a "regular" steamer - you can still go.
            Quote: AllBiBek
            Until the 30s they were squeezed out, the last to retire to the USA, they had some kind of desk of some two brothers there (I don’t remember my last name) they made 5-7 pieces a year almost until WWII.
            Read there what they answered. I wrote.

            Quote: AllBiBek
            One fig, in the era of mass cheap car with ICE (with greetings from Ford) - there were no chances for steam vehicles.
            Doble cost 20 times the Ford T. Commodity-money-commodity.
            And yes: a steam engine is much more complicated than an internal combustion engine.
  7. merkava-2bet
    merkava-2bet 12 May 2020 19: 07 New
    +1
    Thanks for the historical excursion.
  8. Undecim
    Undecim 12 May 2020 19: 28 New
    +4
    It is no coincidence that it was in Great Britain closer to the middle of the XNUMXth century that they tried to build the first aircraft, more precisely, a password, because it was planned to install a steam engine on the model as a power plant. The idea of ​​building an unusual aircraft belonged to the British inventor and pioneer in the field of aviation, William Samuel Henson.
    Before Henson there were still Walker, Artingstall, Philipps, Kossu.
    In general, in this topic it is much more interesting not to design aircraft, but to develop the design of a steam engine for an aircraft.
    1. novel66
      novel66 12 May 2020 22: 54 New
      +3
      physicists thought - not a channel
      1. Undecim
        Undecim 12 May 2020 22: 58 New
        0
        What does not "channel" where?
        1. novel66
          novel66 12 May 2020 23: 13 New
          +3
          overall mass indicators of steam engines for aircraft
          1. Undecim
            Undecim 12 May 2020 23: 25 New
            -1
            The mass-dimensional characteristics of the steam engine are just not an obstacle. Everything rested on a source of steam.
            1. bk0010
              bk0010 12 May 2020 23: 30 New
              0
              One could try to replace water with, say, ammonia and make a closed cycle.
              1. Undecim
                Undecim 12 May 2020 23: 46 New
                -1
                Technique of youth No. 6 for 1997, such an option is described there. But in practice, everything is somewhat more complicated.
  9. Sniper Amateur
    Sniper Amateur 12 May 2020 19: 30 New
    +1
    Also, the power of the steam engine did not depend on the flight altitude and the degree of rarefaction of air,

    This is a little against the laws of physics. Quite, quite a bit. laughing
    But the post is interesting.
    1. Simargl
      Simargl 13 May 2020 04: 37 New
      0
      Quote: Sniper Amateur
      This is a little against the laws of physics. Quite, quite a bit.
      Funny as it may seem, not in the way that "smart people" might think: power Engine, with an increase in height and a drop in pressure will be ... grow! tongue
      Another thing is that the efficiency of the furnace (and, as a consequence, the steam generator) will fall ...
  10. Taoist
    Taoist 12 May 2020 20: 53 New
    +2
    It is surprising and sad that the development of domestic steam turbine aircraft engines has not been noted. But they not only existed in metal, but were also planned as the main control systems for the super-heavy bombers of the USSR. (Which is reflected in the famous novel by Shpanov "The First Impact"). And the advantage of such SUs was considered primarily the ability to operate on any heavy fuel, up to coal dust ... Well, and as a consequence, the planned flight range. They abandoned this development only because the concept of a heavy bomber had changed and a steam turbine with a steam generator no longer fit into a high-speed and high-altitude vehicle ...
  11. Daniilr
    Daniilr 12 May 2020 21: 15 New
    +2
    Combine a train with an airplane? Especially great experience among the Japanese)
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. novel66
      novel66 12 May 2020 22: 53 New
      +5
      one person on one plane ?? definitely lose
    3. Simargl
      Simargl 22 May 2020 07: 02 New
      0
      Quote: DaniilR
      Combine a train with an airplane? Especially great experience among the Japanese)
      What do we see here? Empty Japanese and jam-packed Russian ...
      Those. one was taken out of the Japanese, and how many could the Russians?
      So what do you mean by that?
  12. zwlad
    zwlad 12 May 2020 22: 40 New
    0
    Interesting article, thanks!
  13. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I 13 May 2020 02: 29 New
    +1
    In the USSR, in the 30s, they were also engaged in "aircraft steam engines"! Back in my school years, I read how steam turbines tried to slobber on the plane of the famous Soviet designer! It was published in a magazine ... either "Tekhnika-Molodyozhi" or "Modeler-Constructor"!
  14. Nitarius
    Nitarius 13 May 2020 04: 09 New
    +3
    Steam technologies are better than the current internal combustion engine .. because they specifically underestimated the efficiency of the engine! the same power plants and nuclear technology - this is STEAM TECHNOLOGY! MYSTERIATED the brains of ICE and TP! Parasites!
  15. irontom
    irontom 13 May 2020 14: 05 New
    +1
    Steampunk forever. wink
    Steam tractors, produced since 1901 by the Lombard and licensed by the Phoenix in a rather large series, have been used for a long time on logging, a pair of them in the 13th was purchased by a Russian industrialist, now stands at the Finnish Museum.
  16. Andrei Nikolaevich
    Andrei Nikolaevich 14 May 2020 11: 55 New
    0
    Very interesting article. Instructive ...
  17. The comment was deleted.
  18. arni
    arni 14 May 2020 14: 30 New
    0

    And why not?
  19. gridasov
    gridasov 13 July 2020 12: 55 New
    0
    Passenger is not such a crazy idea. The only question is the technology of changing the physical conditions of the movement of air flows and the achievement of flow rates. The nebulae arising from the contact of the plane of an airplane with air are proof of this. After all, these are nebulae of an air stream saturated with vapors of water. This means that it is possible to carry out this transformation not in open space, but in a device where the transformation energy of a substance can be converted at the moment of rotor rotation with an effective rejection of air masses. All this is impossible to implement on the modern principles of aviation turbines. But this can be done on new turbines.