1920's Aviation Manuscript with Detailed Mechanical Drawings
Item Number: 9456
Royal Air Force Early Aviation
Royal Air force Manuscript Note book for Airplane Workshop and Laboratory Records. Dated 1926. 122 pages of detailed notes and drawings with headings including "The Altitude Control", "Dismantling Engine", and Procedure of Forced Landing." 7-1/2" x 9-3/4" inches. This manuscript shows the incredible progress in flight made in the 23 years since the Wright Brothers made their first flight. Orville Wright's first heavier-than-air flight at Kitty Hawk used an advancement on the glider, and lasted only 12 seconds, flying 120 feet. It was not until 1908, when the Wright Brothers took their improved biplane on an international tour, that powered flight began to be recognized as a real and practical technology. However, progress on the airplane came to a near standstill as the Wrights and other developers became embroiled in patent wars. When World War I broke out in 1917, the United States used only French-made airplanes, as no American planes were sufficiently advanced. It was during World War I that the importance of the airplane as a serious offensive technology was recognized, and as a result the years between World War I and World War II saw great advancements in aircraft technology. This manuscript captures the internal workings and practical use of the airplane as it evolved from a low-powered biplane made from wood and fabric to a sleek, high-powered monoplane made of aluminum, and capable of mid-air feats barely imagined in the time of the Wright Brothers. This also marks the beginning of the history of the RAF, the world's oldest independent air force, originally founded in 1918 in the wake of World War I and given the job of policing the vast British Empire.
Black fountain pen on lined paper, ruled on back. Many headings and important terms are underlined in red. The drawings are skillfully rendered with great detail in pen, graphite and colored pencil. An example of a topic in this manuscript is "Magneto Notes. Inductance--A coil of wire with a current flowing in it acts as a magnet. If the current is suddenly reversed the lines of force close up to the coil..." The text is accompanied by a hand-drawn and colored "Magneto Diagram." Also in this manuscript is a section on "Locating Ignition Faults--Possible Troubles" along with a checklist of problems including "Defective conducer or armature--If the conducer has partially broken down a brilliantly white blaze will occur at the contact points..." The list of "Approved Sparking Plugs for Aircraft Engines" includes names such as the "Napier Lion, Siddeley Jaguar, Bristol Jupitor, Rolls Royce Condor..."
There are detailed operational and maintenance instructions for a Jaguar Series III, 325hp, including a complete set of instructions for dismantling the engine, as well as a nice drawing entitled "Thrust Bearing Jaguar" and another entitled "Jaguar 325HP" and another entitled "325HP Jaguar Timing Diagram." The directions for operating the aircraft include "Commence turning the engine with the starter, switch on the magnetos & turn the handle of the starter magneto the engine should start...When the engine is running on full throttle open the altitude control to see that it is operating..."
Vernacular piece of aviation history, with many details of early aircraft use and maintenance. Appears to originally have been a single notebook, but now disbound into sections. Most still held together by original binding string, a few sections loose. Foxing to first page. Otherwise in very good condition.