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Hauksbee

What are these hanging from pontoons?

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I found this pic. of a 1914 Italian seaplane while researching seaplanes. This has got to be one of the most complicated collections of struts, bracing and wires in the history of aviation. But what are the things hanging off the pontoons?

BONEY PLANE.jpg

Edited by Hauksbee

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Well, my guess is that those things are a VERY BAD IDEA. They look like they're attached on top of the floats and free to swing along their sides, so I'd expect them to bash into the floats and poke holes in them. I note that such attachments did not become standard on other, later seaplanes so I figure Darwinism did for them ;).

 

As to what their purpose is, I suspect they're bumpers or fenders, intended to hang down between the floats and the dock or a boat tied along side, to keep the floats from scraping on these objects. You know, the same job that tugboats often use old tires for today. And it could be that they were supposed to have been removed before flight, but that this picture is so old that preflight checks and red streamers saying "REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT" hadn't been invented yet. Perhaps this picture shows one of the reasons such things were invented later :).

 

What I'm curious about, however, is what is powering this plane. It appears to be a pusher but the tail booms seem too close together for a prop to be between them, and I don't see any engines out on the wings, nor under or above the fuselage. So what's moving the plane? Could it be that this is a faked photo? I mean, "photoshopping" was invented in the 1800s, only slightly after photography itself.

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I wonder if the idea might be to break the surface tension of the water before the sponson landed, with the intention being to stop the aircraft tipping over. I don't think that would work however, but then I've never seen this anywhere else.

 

As BH said, I'm also struggling to see where the engine is to work out the centre of gravity... I don't see any power source at all, which is more of a curiosity than the bits below the sponsons.

 

My last thought, which is doubtful but just possible, is that the aircraft might be sitting on a trailer which is below the water. Unlikely, but just possible...

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I suppose it could be a glider, but it appears to be landing, and I cannot imagine how it might have been launched.

 

Where did you find the picture Hauksbee?

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.

 

There are many things about the design of this beast that are unsettling, the greatest of which for me is the idea of taking off in the thing with a friggin' torpedo strapped to the bottom of it. That would just HAVE to give a pilot confidence.

 

.

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Thanks Lou, for that link. Last night, I followed a trail of links until I found the same two pics. as shown in your post. I neglected to leave a trail of bread crumbs, and doubt that I could find it twice.

 

ps: 'Couldn't see where the propellars were from the photos. Here's a color-enhanced section of the 3-View.

109-1 copy.jpg

Edited by Hauksbee

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I have read about this plane, that it's constructor introduced "hydrovanes" on the floaters - whatever that is???

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It's strange, I can't put my finger on it, but it reminds me of something.... and I'm thinking Japanese...

 

I need more coffee...

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Not bad, Flyby. First I thought, the "hydrovane" might be an installation to hold torpedos.

But here is an excerpt from an interesting website's text:

 

A small hydrovane. How they worked can be seen on this view: a hawser would be attached

to the eye and when towed by a minesweeper it would move out sideways from the boat

(I assume they would have 2 - one port one starboard), cutting mines free. They usually

have a valve somewhere on them to add compressed air or water(?) to set the depth at

which they would be neutrally buoyant.

 

Here is the website with Japanese "hydrovanes" found in the Pacific.

 

http://www.pacificwr...vane/index.html

Edited by Olham

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.

 

Olham, not sure that hydrovanes are the same thing as hydrofoils. I've not seen the term hydrovane in use much in the United States, and when I have it's been in reference to boat steering. A hydrofoil however is a device which, at speed, actually lifts the body it is attached to up out of the water. They were being fully developed right around the beginning of the 1900's. A hydrofoil works much like the elevator on an aeroplane, except in the water instead of the air. But where an elevator can be swung up and down to change altitude the hydrofoil is a fixed surface, (at least they were in early applications). As the speed of the boat increases the water acting against the hydrofoils will actually lift the boat hull completely out of the water, greatly increasing not only the boat's top speed, but also the quality of the ride in rough water as you are now riding above the waves with nothing in the water but the hydrofoils and their supporting beams, (and the prop of course). Also, since the hydrofoils are actually below the water's surface they are not as affected by wave chop. The advantages of hydrofoils fitted to the pontoons of an early seaplane would be tremendous, given that engine power was at such a premium. From the contemporary reports I can find concerning the Guidoni hydrofoils it appears they worked very well.

 

.

Edited by RAF_Louvert
not enough coffee

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Lou, that sounds very logical to me, and when I look at the photo in post #1, I think you hit the nail.

I had myself never heard of "hydrovanes" before, and was mislaid by this website, where they are mentioned.

(I guess they just used the wrong word).

 

http://flyingmachines.ru/Site2/Crafts/Craft29117.htm

 

Also, I missed your post #7, where you already pointed out the right direction.

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That hydrovane is pure coincidence Olham, but fishing nets have otter boards to keep the net open as it's towed through a current.

 

The Japanese connection still eludes me, whether it is just the shape of a Japanese Kaiten or the Okha Kamikaze Jet. A back to front Okha bomber isn't fare away in terms of shape ....

 

I feel inclined to say a 'hydro vane' is just a blade which works like an aircraft wing. By forcing the air (or water) to one one side, the difference in pressure creates lift or steering in an aircrafts wing or flap, but the same phenomenon creates either lift or steering in water. I suppose another example of a hydrovane might be the dive planes on a submarine.

 

And therefore, a hydrofoil might be described as a hydrovane designed to create lift in water.

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The minesweeping thing Olham mentioned is usually called (at least in English-language publications) a "paravane", not a "hydrovane". In fact, I've never heard them called "hydrovanes" until this thread. Paravanes were (and still are) widely used in all navies on many types of ships, not just dedicated minesweepers.

 

But anyway, now that I've looked at more info on this plane, I have to agree with Lou that those things on the floats are hydrofoil surfaces. Given that the pontoons don't have steps on their bottoms to break the suction, they must have needed the hydrofoils just to get the thing off the water. But given the complexity and apparent fragility of these particular hyrdofoils, I'm thinking they'd have done better to use steps.

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.

 

BH, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, from what I've read about the Guidoni hydrofoils they seemed to have worked quite well on the planes they were fitted to. Though, to be fair, most of the planes they were fitted to were considerably smaller than the Pescara-Guidoni Torpedo Seaplane being dealt with here.

 

.

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That might explain all the struts and scaffolding. Perhaps the picture we're seeing is 'float design Mk 35', and they were having all sorts of problems breaking free from the surface. I dare say this was inspired cutting edge technology at the time...

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...and they were having all sorts of problems breaking free from the surface. I dare say this was inspired cutting edge technology at the time...

I think Bullethead's comment has it right. (Given that the pontoons don't have steps on their bottoms to break the suction, they must have needed the hydrofoils just to get the thing off the water.)

 

...and this was indeed cutting edge technology. Looking at things like this, I often think on one of Olham's posts about German pilots in Turkey needing all their skill to keep the Pfaltz E.III just flying straight and level, and being thrilled when they finally got Fokker E.III's. Brand new, modern stuff, that Fokker!

 

I remember during WWII ( I was 7 when it ended) and after, seeing illustrations in magazines of minesweeper rigs. Half kite, half torpedo looking things. They were always called 'paravanes'. 'Hydroplanes' (in my young memory) were tiny, pumpkin-seed shaped racing boats to which you attached the biggest outboard motor possible, without sinking at the starting line.

HYDROPLANE MASTER.jpg

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Here is another such experimental plane - the Bristol Burney, which also had hydrofoils. Lou was spot on.

And yes - it is not fair to smile about that over 90 years later - it sure was most advanced research then.

Not a handful of tech students, but elite constructors and engineers.

 

 

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BH, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, from what I've read about the Guidoni hydrofoils they seemed to have worked quite well on the planes they were fitted to. Though, to be fair, most of the planes they were fitted to were considerably smaller than the Pescara-Guidoni Torpedo Seaplane being dealt with here.

 

Maybe my experience with seaplanes in Lousy Anna has biased my opinion, but the waters hereabouts are always full of floating driftwood, basking alligators, floats for trot lines and crayfish traps, Cajuns passed out drunk in pirogues, etc., plus there are always tree stumps just below the surface. These things are very hard on pontoons (to the point that seaplanes never stop on the water because they're leaking so badly), so I'd imagine they'd just tear hydrofoils right off. Plus, of course, once in the air, the hydrofoils add a lot of drag compared to a stepped pontoon.

 

And yes - it is not fair to smile about that over 90 years later - it sure was most advanced research then.

Not a handful of tech students, but elite constructors and engineers.

 

Of course it's fair. If there weren't engineering failures and disasters, we'd never learn what works and what doesn't :).

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