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Oct 12, 2017, 06:15 AM
Registered User
Discussion

Civil aircraft with flaps


Do any of you guys know which was the first Civil aircraft to be fitted with Trailing-edge Flaps?


I've recently been pondering their utility ... and it occurs to me that their introduction was likely met with much resistance. I can imagine many pilots reactions being something like, "Whoa! ... you want me to buy a heavier aeroplane, that's more expensive, and for which I need additional training? No thanks, I can manage perfectly well with my S-turns and side-slipping."


The earliest production aircraft I can reliably state as having flaps (well, flapperons) is the Fairey Hamble Baby, from 1917, a military floatplane. But, you might know better.



By "trailing-edge flaps", I specifically mean devices which increase the camber of the wing ... and which are not ailerons!
Last edited by bogbeagle; Oct 12, 2017 at 10:03 AM. Reason: clarification of terminology
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Oct 12, 2017, 08:32 AM
Registered User
Interesting Question!! Will have to give it a think.

"Split flap" generally seems to have fallen out of favor with end of WWII. DC-2, DC-3, Spitfires and Hurricanes etc. However "full flap" was gaining popularity with likes of Messerschmitt and Monocoupe. It's my understanding that certain Waco cabin types had diagonal wing struts (part of Warren Truss bracing) that rotated to present a flat surface to line of flight. Can't say how much that added lift, but not a true "speed brake", either. Some early Luscombes may have had flaps as an option(??).

It's still early and I need caffeine, so that's all I got, for now.
Oct 12, 2017, 01:59 PM
AMA 46133
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogbeagle
Do any of you guys know which was the first Civil aircraft to be fitted with Trailing-edge Flaps?


I've recently been pondering their utility ... and it occurs to me that their introduction was likely met with much resistance. I can imagine many pilots reactions being something like, "Whoa! ... you want me to buy a heavier aeroplane, that's more expensive, and for which I need additional training? No thanks, I can manage perfectly well with my S-turns and side-slipping."


The earliest production aircraft I can reliably state as having flaps (well, flapperons) is the Fairey Hamble Baby, from 1917, a military floatplane. But, you might know better.



By "trailing-edge flaps", I specifically mean devices which increase the camber of the wing ... and which are not ailerons!
I think your question is really in two parts. One is the first aeroplane to use flaps. Second is the first airplane considered non-military.

The first one is probably a bit simpler to figure out and you may have already. Depending on the definition of the function of the flaps. If it is for airbrake purposes then maybe as early as 1915. If it has to enhance lift and delay stall a true trailing edge flaps may not have appeared until as you mentioned 1917.

Now when does an airplane considered civilian maybe much harder to answer. The first airplanes amongst the pioneers were all non-military. The first military use of airplane probably hover around WW1. Maybe some trials were done a couple of years before WW1.

Civil aviation only came about after WW1 when there was a glut of military surplus airplanes and pilots. Would a barnstormer be a civil airplane? Does it have to be a passenger carrying plane? Most of the first passenger carrying planes were converted bombers and most of them were still biplanes. Not too many biplanes had trailing edge flaps. The Waco has something on the top wing and some other planes have air brakes. My guess is that true trailing edge flaps probably appeared on one of the cantilever monoplane. As you said, side slipping and S turns were the order of the day. Biplanes were so draggy they don't need any more drag to slow them down nor to add lift. As far as pilots' resistance to using flaps, I think it has to do with doing with necessity. So if a pilot is used to flying barnstorming with a Curtiss Jenny and he/she has to use flaps, he/she has probably moved away from the Jenny and was flying something larger and heavier and needed the flaps for some reason.

So I am guessing to really be able to define a civilian operated airplane with flaps will have to come in around 1919 to 1920. Before that all of them were probably military related including military transport.
Oct 12, 2017, 02:25 PM
Registered User
OK ... I'll go with the Fairey Hamble Baby ... which it turns out is really a Sopwith Baby.





The rear portion of airfoil rotates downwards on a simple hinge mounted at the front of the flap.[7] The Royal Aircraft Factory and National Physical Laboratory in the United Kingdom tested flaps in 1913 and 1914, but these were never installed in an actual aircraft.[8] In 1916, the Fairey Aviation Company made a number of improvements to a Sopwith Baby they were rebuilding, including their Patent Camber Changing Gear, making the Fairey Hamble Baby as they renamed it, the first aircraft to fly with flaps.[8] These were full span plain flaps which incorporated ailerons, making it also the first instance of flaperons.[8]

from WIKI


So, it sounds like some anonymous bods at the Royal Aircraft Factory were the originators of the concept. Maybe.
Oct 12, 2017, 03:06 PM
AMA 46133
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogbeagle
OK ... I'll go with the Fairey Hamble Baby ... which it turns out is really a Sopwith Baby.





The rear portion of airfoil rotates downwards on a simple hinge mounted at the front of the flap.[7] The Royal Aircraft Factory and National Physical Laboratory in the United Kingdom tested flaps in 1913 and 1914, but these were never installed in an actual aircraft.[8] In 1916, the Fairey Aviation Company made a number of improvements to a Sopwith Baby they were rebuilding, including their Patent Camber Changing Gear, making the Fairey Hamble Baby as they renamed it, the first aircraft to fly with flaps.[8] These were full span plain flaps which incorporated ailerons, making it also the first instance of flaperons.[8]

from WIKI


So, it sounds like some anonymous bods at the Royal Aircraft Factory were the originators of the concept. Maybe.
I believe that's about as close as you can get. Since civil aviation was not going to be available until the individuals or the private enterprises have the resources and the daring to purchase and utilize an airplane. They still have a few years to convince the public (civilian) that airplanes are safe.

I wonder how the "differential" mixing worked to make them flapperons. Some "anonymous bods" had pretty good ideas. I think the airplane designs not only had to overcome engineering hurdles, the harder hurdles were the political ones.
Nov 05, 2017, 05:49 PM
Registered User
The PIPE's Avatar

THIS one had "automatic flaps" about a YEAR before the Brits did...


Dear bogbeagle:

The PIPE Here...although it DID "premier them" in a so-called "automatic" version as early as 1916, this French bipe that had "automatic flaps" along the entire trailing edge of its lower wing panels, WAS also using them just AFTER WW I for civilian flights...



...I found the above image HERE at RCG, so you can at least find out WHICH aircraft it is!

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE....!!


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