Thursday, April 1, 2021

Inventor and Bird-Like Flying Bicycle -- April 1, 2021


Metropolis Daily Planet, 03-June-1928

Successful Flight of Birdlike
Contraption Followed Secret Work at Home.
Ocean Hop to Paris Next.


Special Dispatch to The Planet

NEW YORK. June 2.—Folks in West Egg, Long Island, know now what young George White was up to during those six months when he was working on some secret contraption in his father's cellar. In the best Dick Merriwell tradition, the young man kept the cellar padlocked and the basement window boarded up, so nobody could find out what he was doing.

Now the town learns, from St. Augustine. Fla. that the busy and secretive Mr White was making himself a flying bicycle. and furthermore that it has flown 30 miles an hour for eight tenths of a mile.

With flapping "feathered" wings of transparent celluloid, this rig approaches nearer the original Icarian model— which has stirred the imagination of man for thousands of years than the more businesslike and less poetic outfits which finally got man into the air.

It is contoured like a bird and the inventor seeks a perfect simulation of bird flight in ascent, descent and guidance. Foot treads, flapping the wings, supply the power.

News of the first successful flight attracted little public interest. It has since been learned that Mr White is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a former Army aviator and instructor in flying and an indefatigable student of airplane design. Hence, news of his continued experiments at St. Augustine have caught the attention of technicians and designers here and his operations are being closely watched.

Predicts Ultimate Success.

Prof. Alexander Klemin of the Guggenheim School of Aeronautics of New York University, said he was astounded with White's achievements and saw no reason why the inventor would not eventually develop a foot-propelled flying machine, modeled on bird flight, that could cross the Atlantic Ocean.

It was said by friends of White here that the experiments now being made in Florida are preliminary studies and the attempt at Trans-Atlantic flight will be made after a schedule of fundamental experiments has been carried through.

While Mr. White is equipped with the knowledge of aerodynamics which the last 20 years have made available, his creation is entirely novel, having nothing in common, in propulsion, guidance or control, with airplanes now in use.
The machine weighs 137 pounds and its inventor says it could be built for $350.

Has Artificial "Feathers."

The 14-foot wings are built with a skeleton of strong, light chrome molybdenum covered with non-inflammable celluloid. The skeleton, showing through the transparency, gives it the appearance of a pre-historic flying monster. Artificial "feathers" on the upper surface, made of strips of molybdenum, further the bird-like appearance. Mr White contrived to increase the forward momentum gained, as in bird flight, by the upward strokes of the wings comparable to the action of an oar in sculling a boat forward. This theory is regarded as an entirely new idea by technicians here, and it is agreed that if Mr White proves its soundness he will have made a valuable contribution to aerodynamics.

Mr White is financing himself in his experiments. He sends word to his friends here that he will send them a telegram as soon as he lands in Paris.

Metropolis Daily Planet, 03-June-1928

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