Air Transport World

Centennial of flight.(Octave Chanute influences history of aviation)(Brief Article)

One man's name keeps popping up in the story of the Wright Brothers invention of the airplane--Octave Chanute. The French-born civil engineer's only direct contribution to the Wright Flyer was a modified truss structure, derived from Chanure's basic bridge design, that the Wrights used as the basis for their strong but light wing bracing. In an airplane that was nothing but flying surfaces, this was the aircraft's structural foundation.

Chanute was a flying pioneer himself, having conducted glider trials from sand dunes along the Lake Michigan shore, but his discoveries were more of the "what to avoid" nature. Beyond the wing structure, though, Chanute was a catalyst that transformed and redirected the Wrights' path of discovery at numerous critical steps along the way. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.