Tuesday, 28 October 2014

French Army Kites for Reconnaissance

The kites were also capable of lifting a man in a wicker basket. They were, apparently, flown when windspeed reached ten metres per second, which, at thirty six kilometres per hour, or approximately twenty two and a half miles per hour, was too high for balloons. The idea of man lifting kites was conceived and developed by the American aviation pioneer Samuel Cody (see here) (1), who was employed by the War Office from 1894 onwards and who patented a design in 1901 with which he was towed across the channel by rowing boat in 1903. The British army began using man lifting kites for observation in 1906. However, according to this web site (Carnet de Vol), his attempt to interest the powers that were in powered aeroplanes was unsuccessful as the Imperial Defence Committee (Aerial Navigation) decided that such craft were of no military value.

The device looks like fun and a scale model of that rig might be an interesting project.

This is the aeroplane Cody presented to the Imperial Defence Committee in 1908:


1 Correction: I've discovered that Cody simply modified the kite designed by Lawrence Hargrave (see here, here and elsewhere) almost twenty years earlier, after emigrating to Australia. I think another post, about Hargrave, is necessary.


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