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Lee-Richards annular monoplane

No.1 No.2 No.3

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Komadant #1 Posted 19 September 2012 - 07:04 AM

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LEE RICHARDS annular monoplane No.1, No.2 and No.3 (Cedric Lee and George Tilghman Richards)

  The association with Kitchen (q.v.), having ended in 1912, wind tunnel tests were earned out at the East London College and at the NPL to establish aerodynamic data for a new design of monoplane. After a false start with Blackburns, the detail design and construction was undertaken by James Radley and E.C. Gordon England, his works manager and test pilot at Shoreham. After problems created by Radley, the machine was completed and ready to be flown by Gordon England on 23 November 1913. After a minimum of taxiing, he flew successfully for the first time, although noting tail heaviness, until the engine cut out through lack of fuel, on the approach to land. In the resulting, crash Gordon England was injured and out of action for some months. The engine and other mechanical parts were salvaged for use in a new machine.
  The monoplane wing was a complex structure, which required considerable ingenuity by Gordon England in its construction, involving as it did, a variety of sections at different positions in the wing. This was built in two halves around two steel tube, semicircular spars, spaced by steel tube compression struts at intervals. On to this basic structure were placed numerous wooden ribs, positioned radially, and connected by inner and outer edge members and stringers. At the rear edge, each wing was cut straight across to form flaps, serving as both elevators and ailerons, their trailing edges continuing the outline of the wing.

  The fuselage was a tapering wooden girder of four longerons and struts braced by wires, with the addition of a curved top decking. The propeller was mounted on a long extension shaft on the Gnome engine, which was mounted on a bulkhead, to which the rear spars were also attached. Behind this were fuel and oil tanks, with the passenger seat and pilot behind. An inverted Y-pylon, in front of the passenger's cockpit, provided an anchorage for the numerous bracing wires. A long dorsal fin and semicircular rudder were fitted. The undercarriage consisted of two wheels on swing axles pivoted on the vee-shaped pylon below the fuselage, which also served as the anchorage for the lift wires. A pair of nose wheels was mounted on the central member protruding forward of the pylon. The tail was also protected by a skid.
In flight
LEE RICHARDS annular monoplane No.2

  The second aircraft was completed and flown by England in February or March 1914, but after a number of flights totaling some 25 hours, a tendency to spin was not resolved and he resigned. Following this N.S. Percival flew once, followed by Gordon Bell from early April until 25 April 1914, when the machine was wrecked, the pilot having lost elevator control. This monoplane was almost identical in appearance to No.l except for an additional elevator above the rudders, and the parallel chord elevators behind the wings, which were moved outwards during the course of development. The wing dihedral was reduced from 5 to 3 degrees. A speed range of 30 to 70 mph was reported.
  At the end of February, Lee made two entries of machines with Austro-Daimler engines for the Gordon Bennett Race of September 1914, which was abandoned when war broke out. These machines would have been based on No.2, or its successor, would have a wingspan of fifteen feet and were reported to be partly built.

LEE RICHARDS annular monoplane No.3

  The third machine incorporated changes to improve control and reduce lateral stability, by a reduction of dihedral to 1 1/2 degrees, and changes of wing section. The improvised biplane tail of No.2 was replaced with enlarged elevons, positioned well out to the side, and faired into the wing outline. A large ventral fin was added with a parallel chord rudder of greater area.
  The date of completion is not recorded, but the machine was being flown by Gordon Bell up to the outbreak of war. Cedric Lee, who was an inexperienced pilot, then attempted to fly No.3 in August 1914 and crashed into the River Adur, wrecking the machine, but only suffering minor injuries himself.

Power: 80hp Gnome Monosoupape seven-cylinder air-cooled rotary
  Span 22ft
  Dihedral 5 deg
  Length 23ft 6in
  Area 280 sq ft
  Weight allup 1,680 lb (2 crew) 1,500 lb (as flown)
  Speed 83-85 mph
  Climb 300ft per min


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