EARLE OVINGTON: The Aeroplane of the Future

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Aviation pioneer Earle L. Ovington, the former lab assistant to Thomas A. Edison and first U.S. air mail pilot, gave a provocative talk last night in Massachusetts at the Institute of Technology, from which he graduated in 1904. He predicted in great detail the future of aviation technology:

The aeroplane of the future will be all steel, as the present construction of wood, canvas and wire is too susceptible to temperature and pressure changes of the atmosphere. He is working now on plans for such a machine, in which steel thinner than ordinary paper will be used for a supporting surfaced.

Another feature of the future machine will be that the driver and passenger will be enclosed by a body built in accordance with the well-known principles of “sream-line flow,” that is, the path taken by the displaced air.

Recently the first man to fly, Orville Wright, described as “foolish” the idea “that the aeroplane would supersede automobiles and even railway trains,” and Ovington appears largely to concur.  Although “the aeroplane is bound to increase in usefulness,” Ovington believes, “[i]t will hardly ever become suitable for carrying great loads, but will be used somewhat as the automobile is now.   . . .  [I]ts carrying abilities are limited.”

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