A curious road vehicle, guided by controls exactly like those of an airplane, has been devised by a French inventor to enable would-be pilots to learn some of the maneuvers of flight without leaving the ground. Wheels on outriggers simulate the action of ailerons on a plane’s wings, keeping the machine on an even keel in straightaway travel and controlling its tilt in rounding a turn, as demonstrated by the inventor in the illustration above.

WORLD’S FIRST Steam-Driven Airplane (Jul, 1933)

WORLD’S FIRST Steam-Driven Airplane

Successful Flights with Long-Sought Craft Crown Many Similar Attempts by Early Aviation Engineers

By H.J. FitzGerald

OVER the Oakland, Calif., Airport, a few days ago, a silent plane slanted across the sky trailing a thin ribbon of white vapor. Spectators heard the pilot shout a greeting from the air. They saw him flash past, skimming the ground at a hundred miles an hour. They watched him bank into a turn, slide to a landing, and, with the propeller spinning backward, roll to a stop in less than a hundred feet. They had seen, for the first time in history, a man fly on wings powered by steam! Two brothers, George and William Besler, the former a geologist thirty-one years old, and the latter a mechanical engineer, two years younger, have achieved the dream of Maxim, Langley, and other pioneers of flight. Through their work, the steam-driven airplane, long talked about, long planned, has become a reality.

AROUND the WORLD By AIR (Jan, 1937)

For the life of me I can’t figure out what rules these people use to decide what to capitalize in their headlines. If you want to put the important words in all-caps, fine. But why is the word “the” lower case when the word “By” has one cap?


by H. R. Ekins

First Man to Circle Globe Via Air Lines

IT TOOK a flight around the world, entirely by air, to bring home to me the tremendous strides made by commercial aviation in the last ten years. For me the journey of little more than 18-1/2 days, during which I flew a route of approximately 26,000 miles, was a study in aviation as it is today compared to what it was only a few years ago. On my journey I used eight aircraft in all. The first was the German dirigible Hinden-burg, the latest development in the science of lighter-than-air craft. The designers, builders and operators of the Hindenburg expect, however, that soon it will be surpassed by new giant ships of the air.

Full Size Airplane Made of Soap (Apr, 1934)

I have just one question: Why?

Full Size Airplane Made of Soap

A FULL size monoplane built entirely of soap was the feature attraction at a recent soap manufacturers’ exhibition in Berlin, Germany.

Wings, fuselage, landing gear, propeller —everything is covered with plates of soap.

Crippled Girl Learns To Fly (Aug, 1936)

Crippled Girl Learns To Fly
CRIPPLED by infantile paralysis while still a child, and not yet able to walk, plucky, 18-year-old Betty Snell, of St. Thomas, Ontario, is seeking a private pilot’s license. An air trip to Toronto aroused her interest in aviation. Capt. Tom Williams taught her to fly in a special hand control plane fitted by the London, Ont, Flying Club. She is a student at Alma College, and is interested in broadcasting.

Aircraft Turntable Checks Compasses (Sep, 1949)

Aircraft Turntable Checks Compasses

Aircraft compasses can be quickly checked for accuracy and any errors corrected with a compensator that is embedded in concrete at the airfield. The old method of compensating a compass was to maneuver the plane to definite headings on the ground which were determined by reference lines from a compass rose painted on the field. The new compensator is a bowl-shaped disk free to turn on a base plate which contains a compass rose dial. The aircraft is headed approximately north and one wheel rolled onto the turntable. The plane then is rotated until the heading is magnetic north. With a pointer set at zero, the directions are determined by swinging the plane until the pointer indicates the desired reading. The compass is then compensated for error.

Giant Electric Sign Is Carried by Plane (Apr, 1940)

Giant Electric Sign Is Carried by Plane

Called the largest of its kind in the world, a flying electric advertising sign is suspended beneath the lower wing of a large transport plane. Designed to be read at an altitude of 3,000 feet, the sign is of the “traveling” type—complete sentences travel across its face in moving letters as lights are switched on and off by means of an intricate control mechanism installed within the plane fuselage. A motor-driven, 4,500-watt generator supplies the necessary electric current to light the 1,000 lamps of the flying billboard.

Drive Right Up (Apr, 1946)

Drive Right Up

A FLYING automobile with a 130-hp. Franklin engine cruises at 110 m.p.h, in the air and travels 60 m.p.h, on the road. Those speeds were set by the first model of a design by Ted Hall, aviation engineer. Portable Products Corp., Garland, Tex., is considering the possibilities of producing it.

The “roadable” plane has detachable propeller, wing, booms, and tail. The forward end of the engine crankshaft turns the prop, while a shaft extends aft from the engine into a conventional automobile transmission and differential. Power goes both to propeller and rear wheels for the take-off.

Planes Parked on Noses Save Space (Feb, 1940)

Planes Parked on Noses Save Space
Fifteen planes can be parked in the space ordinarily filled by five or six, by the use of the novel stacking method pictured above, employed in a hangar at the municipal airport at East Boston, Mass. Plane wheels are blocked and each craft is balanced on its nose with a wooden support protecting the propeller.


Nope, nothing scary here. Who would have a problem hanging out in a tin can being dangled a few thousand feet below a blimp? I’m not really sure what the propeller is supposed to do. Are they saying there is actually an engine in the capsule?

Nicknamed the “flying fish,” a new type of observation car for airships has been constructed by a Viennese engineer. Like the “sky car,” used occasionally by United States airships, it may be lowered on a cable through the clouds while the airship is in flight. The Viennese invention, however, has its own propeller, enabling the observer to maneuver his gondola. The fishlike tail is flexible and may be swung from side to side, serving as a rudder. Because of its slender, streamlined shape, the gondola is invisible from the earth at comparatively low altitudes.