Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

The CHAIRMAX. At about what speed do they hit the ground in tho-e flights after they have reached a low altitude and begin to curve to come to the ground? I mean, when they actually touch the earth and begin to run on the ground, at what speed do they come into contact with the ground?

Capt. CHAMBERS. I would say 10 per cent less than the flying speed.

The CHAIRMAN. Then if an aviator is flying at the rate of 110 miles an hour maximum, 10 per cent off, that would leave him hitting the ground at 99 miles an hour?

Capt. CHAMBERS. He would not hit the ground at that speed, but would be gliding over the ground on cushioned wheels.

The CHAIRMAN. I understand, but when he first touched the ground would he come into contact with the ground at a running speed of 99 miles an hour!

Capt. CHAMBERS. Practically speaking, yes; just before his effective gliding angle is changed, but he very rapidly slows down. The resistance of the air when traveling horizontally at that rapid rate of speed on the ground stops him very quickly.

The CHAIRMAN. I understand the stopping, but I am talking about the speed ?

Capt. CHAMBERS. If he was hitting the ground in any other way than going along on the surface on wheels a smash would result.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, Capt. Chambers, I will be glad if you will give us any other statements which you wish to present. We have been asking you a great many questions, and probably have taken your mind from the line you wished to present, but will now hold up if you have anything you wish to present.

Capt. CHAMBERS. There is one very important thing that I would like to bring before the committee, and that is the subject of aeroplane competition. We can not very well, unless we have specific authority, establish a competition such as has had very good effect abroad; we can not do it without definite authority from Congress, and I would like to ask the committee to father a bill for me along that line.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you in concrete form a suggestion for such legislation as you desire?

Capt. CHAMBERS. I have among my papers here a memorandum of a preliminary estimate for aeroplane competition, together with a bill which I propose and which I have scratched off rather hurriedly. The idea is to offer certain prizes for bona fide aeroplane competition in this country, such as has been instituted abroad each vear the French, the German, and the English competitions--and which have given rise to excellent results.

The CHAIRMAN. What is your scheme, and what is the extent of the prizes that you propose to offer ?

Capt. CHAMBERS. The idea is to offer competition in which there will be three prizes each for aeroplanes, for motors, and for stabilizers.

The CHAIRMAN, One prize for each?

(apt. CHAMBERS. There would be three prizes-first, second, and third-for each of these. In most of the foreign competitions the prizes have included the machines as a whole, but I would like to have what I consider an improvement over that plan. I would like to establish competition in which we would give special attention to these three features.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you give the first prize for the best machine and then a prize for a stabilizer and then a prize for a motor and then a prize for a machine outside of these other two things, making four prizes in all ?

Capt. ('HAMBERS. No; three prizes each under each of three subjects. Suppose I read what I have jotted down:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The CHAIRMAN. What is the total ?

Capt. CHAMBERS. Thirty thousand dollars in prizes. And, in addition, owners of all aeroplanes up to 10, which are submitted to all tests but which are not awarded a prize, to receive $500 each. In other words, 10 additional prizes of $500 each to encourage as many of these people as possible to get into the competition, to stimulate interest.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you have 19 prizes, all told? That is, 3 under each of your three general heads, which would be 9, and then 10 prizes in addition?

Capt. CHAMBERS. Yes; 19 prizes all told. It would stimulate interest, and in a very much better way than has been done abroad by any of their competitions, I think. Furthermore, I would provide that the department should have the option of purchasing for $10,000 any machine complete, with motor and stabilizer, which had been awarded first prize, and to negotiate at manufacturer's prices for 10 additional machines which will include any modifications that may be considered desirable as a result of these tests. The way in which it has been done abroad is they have promised to purchase, say, 20 machines of a certain class and 20 machines of another class stated beforehand. My contention is that developments may show, after this competition is all over, that we may not want a certain kind thought of beforehand, or that we may want to improve some one or more kinds. The competition may disclose some element by which the machines may be rearranged to advantage.

The CHAIRMAN. In other words, that you may want to combine the good qualities of two machines?

Capt. CHAMBERS. Exactly. In this way if I want to negotiate at manufacturer's prices for 10 additional machines which will combine any improvements that we see fit to ask or think best to have we may get them with such improvements.

The proposition I present means, in prizes, $35,700; for the 1 machine which we promise to buy that gets a first prize, $10.000; 10 additional machines at an estimated total cost of $90,000; and incidental expenses and for a launching device, $15.000, a total of $150,000. I want to make a new launching device, because I want each machine to go through the test from our catapult.

I have put the bill ... his form, theugh I am nct an expert in the drawing of bills:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of the Navy be, and is hereby, authorized to institute a competitive test of aeroplanes, hydroaeroplanes, or flying boats, of domestic manufacture, for the use of the United States Navy, in accordance with rules to be established by the Navy Depart. ment, in which graded prizes or premiums will be awarded for excellence of performance, with separate prizes for aeroplane motors and devices for controlling the balance automatically for those which attain the standard: Provided, That for the payment of prizes, the purchase of machines, and for the payment of incidental expenses connected with the competition, and the launching device used, the total expenses shall not exceed $150,000.

I want to go on record as saying that we will accept the best automatic stabilizer. This will encourage manufacturers to get it and will require them to put it on machines where they have been loath to do it before.

The CHAIRMAX. Is there any other suggestion?

Capt. CHAMBERS. There is this matter of the laboratory, the bill for which I left in the hands of Senator Reed and which he said he would put in to-day.

The CHAIRMAN. You had better incorporate it in this hearing.

Capt. CHAMBERS. I have here an abstract and a bill which I proposed; but he has changed the form of the bill, and very wisely I think. I am not skillful in drawing bills.

The CHAIRMAX. Just take the form of bill off and put in the ab. stract.

Capt. CHAMBERS. Very well, I will take off the proposed bill, and now hand the reporter my memorandum with reference to the establishment of a national aerodynamical laboratory.

A

MEMORANDUM IN BRIEF RELATING TO MEASURES ADVANCED 10 ESTABLISH

NATIONAL AERODYNAMICAL LABORATORY.

THE NECESSITY.

The construction of air craft among all the leading powers of Europe is now ba sed largely on scientific information obtained at their notable aerodynamic laboratories, notably at Chalais, St. ('yr, and Auteuil in France, at Koutchino in Russia, at Gottingen in Germany, at Rome in Italy, and at Bushy Head in England, and the installation of such a plant in this country is regarded as necessary to our commercial interests and to the production of safety and efficiency in our air craft.

The intuitive, hasty, and crude methods of the pioneers in aviation, which are still common in this country, can not succeed in competition with the accurate and systematic methods of the scientific engineer, and it is already apparent that through lack of preparation for the work of scientific engineers, i. e., through delay in establishing an aerodynamic laboratory, a waste of time and money, a decline of prestige, and an unnecessary sacrifice of human life has resulted.

To my mind such a laboratory should be established in such a manner as to harmonize scientific interests throughout the country as a whole, and should bear the stamp of national initiative.

REPORT SUBMITTED.

To this end, I submitted a discussion of the matter in my annual report on aviation this year, in which I endeavored to show the uecessity and to offer a concrete and practical plan. My report concludes with a recommendation con. cerning the appointment of a commission.

ACTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY.

In a letter to the President dated December 16, 1912, the Secretary of the Navy recommended the appointment of such a commission to consider and report on the subject, with a view to submitting a well-considered recommendation to Congress at an early date. This letter was accompanied by a list of names of eminent scientific men representing the interests of aeronautics in different parts of the country, together with four officers of the Army and Xavy.

ACTION OF THE PRESIDENT.

The President, on December 19, 1912, informed the Secretary of the Nary that he approved of the recommendation, and requested him to inform the various members named of their appointment.

COMMISSION INFORMED.

On December 23, 1912, the gentlemen named in the accompanying list (marked A) were duly informed by letters similar to the copy addressed to me (marked B).

MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION ALREADY AT WORK ON THE PROBLEM.

The information thus conveyed to the members of the commission enables them to study the subject from the groundwork of the plan proposed in my report and enables them to be prepared for definite work at the first meeting. It is probable that all of the members would be willing to travel at their own expense (a few only living at a distance), but it occurs to me as undignified to suggest this resort and that means should be provided to cover the small expenses incident to travel and paper work.

AUTHORITY TO COVER EXPENSES.

In looking up authority to cover the expenses, I discovered that an act approved March 4, 1909, prohibited the use of public moneys for payment of the expenses of such a commission unless “the same shall be authorized by law." (See p. 61, sec. 9, of the accompanying document marked C.)

BILL PROPOSED.

It is now hoped that the authority for the expenditure of not exceeding $5.000 may be authorized without delay in order that an authoritative report and recommendation may be placed before Congress during the present session,

WORK PROGRESSING.

In the meantime the work to be disposed of at the first meeting, the collection of all available information by the recorder, and the consideration of committee work is being laid out in order that the proceedings may advance systematically at the earliest practicable date.

It is thus hoped that after three, or at most four, meetings the whole business will be disposed of and the committee released by the end of January, 1913.

COMMISSION NOT PERMANENT.

This commission is temporary only, and the idea is that its work ceases with the submission of the report.

The President on December 19 created a Commission on Aerodynamical Laboratory and appointed the following-named persons as members thereof :

Chairman, Dr. R. S. Woodward, president Carnegie Institute of Washington, a representative of National Academy of Sciences.

Members: Charles D. Walcott, secretary Smithsonian Institute; Dr. S. W. Stratton, director United States Bureau of Standards: Prof. William J. Humphreys, consulting physicist, United States Weather Bureau, Mount Weather Observatory; Brig. Gen. James Allen, United States Army, chief signal officer; Maj. Samuel Reber, chief signal officer eastern district; Capt. W. I. Chambers, United States Navy, in charge of aviation, United States

Navy; Naval Constructor David W. Taylor, United States Navy, in charge of Naval Model Basin; Mr. M. B. Sellers, technical committee, Aeronautical Society, New York; Mr. Henry A. Wise Wood, scientific engineer, vice president Aero Club of America; Mr. Bion J. Arnold, scientific engineer, Aero Club, Chicago; Prof. W. F. Durand, scientific engineer, Leland Stanford University of California ; Prof. Richard MacLaurens, president Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston; Mr. Charles M. Manley. New York, formerly with Langley; Mr. Harold H. Sewall, Bath, Me.; Hon. Herbert Parsons, New York; Col. F. H. Smith, Peoria, Ill.; Hon. Frank West Rollins, New Hampshire.

Member and recorder: Dr. A. F. Zahn, formerly with Langley, secretary Aero Club of Washington.

NAVY DEPARTMENT,

Washington, December 23, 1912. From: Acting Secretary of the Navy. To: Capt. W. I. Chambers, United States Navy. Subject: Appointment as member of Commission on Aerodynamical Laboratory.

The President of the United States on December 19 created a commission to consider for recommendation to Congress the necessity or desirability of the establishment of a National Aerodynamical Laboratory, its scope, its organization, the most suitable location for it, and the cost of its installation.

He has appointed as members of the commission the persons named in the accompanying list and has requested me to advise you thereof.

I inclose a copy of a report to the department in which such a laboratory is discussed.

It will be necessary to obtain authority from Congress to defray the expenses of the commission, and you are advised thus early in order that there may be no delay in calling a meeting as soon as authority is obtained.

The chairman, Dr. R. S. Woodward, has kindly placed at the disposition of the commission the assembly room of the Carnegie Institute of Washington for the meetings.

Sec. 9. That hereafter no part of the public moneys, or of any appropriation heretofore or hereafter made by Congress, shall be used for the payment of compensation or expenses of any commission, council, board, or other similar body, or any members thereof, or for expenses in connection with any work or the results of any work or action of any commission, council, board, or other similar body, unless the creation of the same shall be, or shall have been, authorized by law; nor shall there be employed by detail, hereafter or heretofore made, or otherwise personal services from any executive department or other Government establishment in connection with any such commission, council, board, or other similar body.

The CHAIRMAN. We wanted to get from you the suggestions which you have in mind from the amount of investigation and reading and experimental work undertaken by you, giving it to us in concrete or boiled-down form.

Capt. CHAMBERS. Representative Roberts started off on a line that I had expected to answer, but I see that he has gone out now. He started in to question me about some standards, and I think he was driving at “standard control.” You see, in each of these machines each manufacturer wants to get his control in some form whereby he will not have to pay on somebody else's patent, with the result that the machine of each individual manufacturer has a different kind of control. A standard control is a very important thing for the aviator, so that he may operate any machine that can fly. Each aviator gets accustomed to his machine and its particular system of control. The movements necessary to work his control becomes a matter of instinct with him, with the result that he does not want to learn and to use any other system of control. I have gotten two of our aviators to fly each class of machine that we have, but of

85873-13 37

« PreviousContinue »