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Octave Chanute Glider Model
Octave Chanute Glider Model
Resource Typeimage
TitleOctave Chanute Glider Model
Coverage / Year1894 to 1897
DescriptionThe Octave Chanute Glider model is a one-quarter the scale prototype of a full sized glider. Its dimensions are: the height is eight inches high, thirty-six inches wide, forty-eight inches long. The glider is made of wood, twine, oiled cotton cloth, and wire. It has three main wings stacked vertically and a cruciform rudder. The wing and support structures are constructed of wood and are trussed with string stays. The wings and rudder are covered with lightweight oiled cotton cloth. Many of the wooden joints are secured with white metal fasteners and lashed with string. All surfaces are coated with an oil varnish.
InterpretationThis model is one of four glider models in the Museum of Science and Industry's collection that were built between 1894 and 1895 for Octave Chanute (1832-1910) by Augustus M. Herring (1867-1926). These models served as working prototypes built to test Chanute's designs for the gliders that would later be flown during the summers of 1896 and 1897. Chanute's gliders in flight were quite successful: Chanute and his assistants made over a thousand long and short flights. It should be noted that most of his gliders flew for just scant seconds, usually less than half a minute. Thus even his longest flight was airborne for a brief span of time, as was the distance covered. Chanute's own experiments were directed to improving control of a glider, and he proposed to correct loss of balance by making the main supporting planes movable in a fore and aft direction. Doing so, he argued, would restore the center pressure to a position that promoted the glider's stability. Numerous aviators felt that by shifting the pilot's body that balance and control could be maintained. Chanute's theory was an important advancement, though many of own tests of 1896 and 1897 were failures. Chanute's most important aviation innovation was his biplane glider of 1896. It was at that time the most successful heavier-than-air air flying machine in the world. This glider proved to be the key step on the path to the invention of the airplane. Orville and Wilbur Wright would make extensive modifications to Chanute's biplane glider concept and on December 17, 1903 they had four successful flights at Kitty Hawk. Octave Chanute was a pioneer in the very early days of human flight. Chanute's book, Progress in Flying Machines, published in 1894, was to have a profound effect on the Wright Brothers' ability to access and build on the accomplishments of early aviation pioneers. Chanute regularly corresponded with the Wrights and was one of their most vocal supporters. He was also a designer and builder of his own flying machines. In 1896 and 1897, he had a group of colleagues conduct a series of full-sized glider tests at the Sand Dunes on Lake Michigan in Northern Indiana.
Lesson Plans / ThemesHow we learn about communities;
Learning Standards16 History; 10-12 Science; 13 Science, Technology and Society;
Author or CreatorChanute, Octave, 1832-1910; Herring, Augustus Moore, 1867-1926
SourceBerliner, Donald. Before the Wright Brothers. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 1990. Leonard S. Hobbs. The Wright Brothers' Engines and Their Design. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Press, 1971. Jacques Legrand,. Chronicle of Aviation. Liberty, Miss
Subject / KeywordsGliders; Aviation; Air transportation; Wright, Orville, 1871-1948; Wright, Wilbur, 1867-1912; Transportation; Models; Aircraft
Collection PublisherMuseum of Science and Industry, Chicago;
Further InformationFor any further information related to this record, please contact the Collection Publisher. See for more information about this project.
Rights Management Statement
Resource Identifier31.40B
CONTENTdm file name9323151982002_CHANUTEG.jpg
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