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29 Dec 1913. Monday


In 1913, Christmas Day and Boxing Day were on the Thursday and Friday, so it was Monday 29 Dec when Frank was back in the office. There was no such thing as closing down between Christmas and the New Year then, and everyone would have been expected to work normally. 

517 Fore End of Fuselage 29 XII 13

First job was to finish off sketch 517, some part of which may have been causing him problems, though it’s hard to see why, since it contains no more information than is contained in sketch 502. It shows the front end of the fuselage, and introduces a bit of an embarrassment for me, in that it refers to sketches numbered 421, 422 & 426-429. These are the fuselage fittings at all the junctions of the wooden members, and indicate clearly that Frank had been working on the Scout design for some while earlier than I’d thought! I’m hoping to find out if the earlier sketchbooks are available, but if so, my diary will have to be filled in retrospectively! 

He also finished off drawings 518 and 520, which give details of the fitting at CB. This is one of the most critical bits of the airframe, since it’s where the chassis, the front wing spar and the front flying wires all connect together, and it’s possible that he wanted time to think about these before finally committing himself.

518 Fuselage fitting at CB 520 Fuselage Fitting at CB Inside Plate, Clipped Nut & Chassis Cable Link 29 XII 13

These fittings were altered a number of times during the production run, so it’s interesting to see the first iteration. Once again, you can see the care with which they are drawn (I’m sorry about the photocopying, which hasn’t reproduced the original very well) and the care taken to make it as light as possible. Although changes were made in later versions, they are pretty much detail only.

One change is of particular interest to us, however. If you look at drawing 520, at the bottom left is a fitting which goes inside the fuselage and is used to take two wires going across the fuselage from side to side – the carrythroughs, which I’ll explain in a separate post.

521 Link for Drift Cables 29 XII 13

Sketch 521 is for a link that’s fitted to the front engine plate at the bottom, (there’s a little explanatory sketch at the bottom) to which are attached the cables that go to the rear wing struts at bottom and top. Everybody knows that pulling a wing through the air requires a certain amount of force. Today this force is called ‘drag’; originally it was called ‘drift’, and the wires re there to stop the wings being dragged backwards by this force. Later on, they’d learn that it was better to bring the front flying wires forward to the same point on the engine plate, and they’d also learn that weirdly, there are times when the wings are actually trying to pull themselves forward – known as anti-drag – but that knowledge didn’t come until later. 

One other oddity of this drawing, which I can’t explain; the holes that the cables go through are offset from the centre of the circular pad by 1mm. Does anybody know why? Was it, perhaps, to allow for some wear?

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