In 1883-4, a French engineer named Alexandre Goupil designed a birdlike flying machine. It was surprisingly modern; a sesquiplane (a monoplane with additional "half-wings") with the steam engine and pilot enclosed in a deep rounded fusalage. He described it and it's proposed powerplant along with the rest of his theories in his book La Locomotion Aerienne
, but never built it; probably because of the lack of a suitable powerplant:
After building my series of steam powered paper models; I tried my hand at a model of Goupil's "Duck" (a name given by others, and not Goupil himself). But, some details in the three view did not make sense; I also wondered how much of a view the pilot could possibly have with no apparent side windows. I actually have a better build than this one; I need to take a picture of it. The screw in the nose was to see if it could fly.
I later realized that I could figure out the details by building it in gmax for Flight Simulator (FS). I was also curious if FS would let it take off with four skids for landing gears (with a properly designed .air file, "no"; though the first .air file I used let it "leap" off the ground.) I used the pilot figure in the first drawing to "scale" the second drawing for my model (all screen shots in FS2002):
Well, that would be the end of my little tale, were it not for a court battle between Glenn Curtiss and the Wright Bros. over the origination of lateral control/wing warping. Curtiss attempted to prove that others beforehand had used lateral control by rebuilding Langley's Aerodrome so that it was flyable, and resurrecting Goupil's "Duck"; powering it with a 100hp Curtiss OXX-6. It could barely fly when first built with floats from the Aerodrome; Curtiss then rebuilt it with a wheeled landing gear. It then flew fairly well:
The above photograph was initially all I could find; I used it to convert my initial model to the Curtiss-Goupil "Duck". I figured that since this was one-off model with a very short lifespan, Curtiss used as many off-the-shelf parts as he could. I did the same, using interior parts and other bits from the Jenny model in the FS2004 SDK for gmax.
Here is a "cutaway" of the Curtiss-Goupil "Duck" as I believed it looked:
And here is the outside, as best as I could match the photograph. It appears that Curtiss did not blend the fusalage and wings together as much as shown in Goupil's drawings; the nose is also different.
After working on refining this model over the past few months; a stumbled upon another picture on the web that shows it with wheels:
Going back to the parts bin (Jenny gmax model); here it is mounted on wheels. I went back to the float model as well; and refined some details based on this picture:
I used the tips in the Flight Simulation Control Interface Harmonisation Tutorial
page to set the eyepoint and parallax as accurately as I could. And here is what I came up with:
With marginal visibility to the front, and none on the side; I don't know how they managed to get off the ground and back down again without crashing into anything.
How close was Curtiss' construction of Goupil's initial design? It looked to be reasonably close:
After proving that the concept worked; the Goupil "Duck" was pushed into a hanger and forgotten. It did not help Curtiss win his lawsuit.
Pilot, prop, and other bits and pieces and textures from the Jenny model in the FS2004 SDK for gmax. Gauges from various aircraft. I am using a sound file from another Jenny; flight dynamics being developed with Jerry Beckwith's Flight Dynamics Workbook; in the hope that it will work out-of-the-box in FS2004. I am cleaning up the annimated bits and textures in the VC, and finishing up the air files; and it will be done.