Who Were Wilbur and Orville?
1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905
1903
Doubts about Data
Doubts about Data
The Wright brothers had designed two gliders using the accepted lift and drag equations, Otto Lilienthal’s aerodynamic data, and Smeaton’s coefficient. Neither glider produced the lift those calculations predicted. Wilbur and Orville felt it was time to perform their own aerodynamic research.
The Wrights examined all the terms in the lift and drag equations. Some values—weight of the craft, wind speed, and wing surface area—could be directly measured, so the Wrights were confident of their accuracy. But the coefficients of lift and drag and Smeaton’s coefficient were drawn from the work of others. The brothers focused on these as the possible source of their gliders’ poor lift performance.
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