Jules Verne "Albatros" a more realistic look

Michel Van

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13 August 2007
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Jules Verne was a Genius
with books like "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" and submarine "Nautilus"

in "Robur the Conqueror" published in 1886
feature the "Albatross" a Airship equip with 37 vertical propellers.

the Albatross can be see as precursor to Helicopter

but how look and work a realistic version of "Albatross" ?
of course less vertical propellers, but were the engine in 1886 powerfull enoff for liftoff ?


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Albatross was a terrible design; it'd never fly. As memory serves, it used electric motors; even today electric motors hooked up to a contraption like this would be unlikely to ake the thing fly for any length of time, never mind the weeks on end the Albatross was supposedly capable of.

Still, it was an entertaining story.
it used electric motors

no wounder it need 37 vertical propellers.

unlikely to ake the thing fly for any length of time

yes a realistic "Albatros" would bee like Helicopter, short range
for engine would a steam turbine work, for short range ?
Moreover. Verne has predicted UCAVs/UCARs in his L’Étonnante aventure de la mission Barsac - there are several unmanned combat helicopters, dubbed Wasp, are acting in this novel.
Verne has predicted UCAVs/UCARs

in novel "Paris in the 20th Century", he predicted glass skyscrapers, high-speed trains, gas-powered automobiles, calculators, and a worldwide communications network.

"From the Earth to the Moon", the spacecraft is launched from "Tampa Town"; Tampa, Florida is approximately 130 miles from NASA's actual launching site at Cape Canaveral. [4]
Verne wanted to use rockets, but his publishers Hetzel didn't find this idea good and proposed gigant Gun

how i say, Verne was a Genius
It is possible to make a steam powered aeroplane, but it would either need to be total loss (no condensers) or have massive radiators. Either way the lift to weight ratio will be very low. IIRC the Albatross used batteries of some unspecified kind and was made of paper.

Personally I prefer Kipling's ABC's. There's something very odd about Zeps fighting with death rays...

OK, I just did a quick calculation, and I think that, using the machinery from a Leander class frigate would result in a CH-53D needing 43 tonnes of machinery. The MTOW of a CH-53D is 19.1 tonnes. I'm actually quite disappointed by that - I had harboured secret notions that some kind of large-scale steam machinery could be made to fly... :-\

RP1 said:
It is possible to make a steam powered aeroplane...

It's been done:




Nathan C. Price

This was another genius, father of the very sophisticated (for its time) Lockheed L-1000 turbojet years later.
There seems to be little mention of Nathan Price after the L-1000 turbojet. Would be interested to know the projects he worked on after the war. By the way, here's some links on the topic of 'steam aviation', model and full size.

H H Grove's Parker Comet Steam Engine

Model Engineer Vol.176 No.4011
A Hot Aero Engine - Rob McConaghy

Some scans from an old magazine aptly named 'Steam Car Developments and Steam Aviation' in PDF format

More on Besler and related development

Build your own from a kit

A related book

Steam Balloon - Using steam as a bouyant gas

There's our own thread on proposed use of steam powerplants on the ME-264
Nathan C. Price

This was another genius, father of the very sophisticated (for its time) Lockheed L-1000 turbojet years later.
It is ironic you would mention Nathan C. Price since he was the engineer at Besler Corp who did the development work getting the hardware to actually function enough for Bill Besler to fly the demonstrations. The engine had been proposed in 1917 by Abner Doble and the first aero engine was built at Doble Steam Motors under the direction of Warren Doble, and then Bill Besler directed the redesign to fit the donor airplane and the development into functional reality, installation and demonstration. I have all Price's engineering log notes on his many tests and rethinking to get this stuff into a fairly well balanced power plant. Wisely they did not attempt full condensing or we would still be waiting for the "first" flight by steam power. Each flight by steam power in many guises has been the "first" in its own way.

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