Friends of the Old Dominion University Libraries

Fall 2003 Newsletter

Fall Book Sale!

Mark your calendar for the annual book sale! This year’s sale will take place on:
Tuesday, 11/4, 5:30 - 8:00 (Friends’ Preview Sale)
Wednesday, 11/5, 9:00 - 6:00
Thursday, 11/6, 9:00 - 6:00
Friday, 11/7, 9:00 - 7:00
Saturday, 11/8, 9:00 – noon

If you have used books to donate, bring them to the circulation desk by October 31. Last year’s sale resulted in more than $2,900 to support the library!

The Wright Stuff

This year's Fall Forum is scheduled for Sunday, November 9 at 2:00 p.m. in room 101 of the Mills Godwin Building. It promises to be an outstanding event, featuring Dr. Bob Ash, eminent professor of engineering, and Temple West, a writer and instructor English department.

A Preview from Bob Ash

During the winter of 1902-03, Wilbur and Orville Wright's wind tunnel tests and theoretical studies in Dayton, OH, left them with a reasonably efficient aerodynamic structural configuration incorporating an effective three-dimensional control system. In addition they had acquired considerable skill as pilots, and gained the confidence needed to embolden them to attempt their ultimate goal.

The only remaining important challenges were to obtain an engine with good power-to-weight ratio and to find propellers that were efficient in converting shaft power to thrust. Neither of their remaining problems was as simple to overcome as they had assumed.

By early 1903, they had built and tested their own four-cylinder (4 in. bore and 4 in. stroke) engine and found that it produced almost 16 horsepower immediately after a cold start, but decreasing to a near steady-state output of 12 horsepower. They assumed that the mystery of propeller design had been solved by the shipbuilding industry, since screw propellers had been used on steam-powered ships plying the Atlantic for more than 50 years. They soon realized that a technological breakthrough in propeller design was required if they were to achieve powered flight with their existing airplane structures and power plant. Their design of efficient airplane propellers has been largely overlooked.

This talk will discuss the pioneering accomplishments of Wilbur and Orville Wright in designing the world’s first powered and controlled flying machine as documented through modern wind tunnel testing techniques. We will discuss how The Wright Experience is carefully reproducing the original Wright flying machines, propellers and associated hardware and how the wind tunnel testing program at Old Dominion University is beginning to document the extraordinary achievements of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Thus far, 1903, ’04 and ‘bent end’ propeller reproductions, and 1901 and ’02 Wright glider reproductions have been tested in the Langley Full Scale Tunnel. The results of those tests will be discussed, along with preliminary test results of the 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction that is scheduled to be flown at Kitty Hawk, NC on December 17, 2003.

A Preview from Temple West

Through the Wright Flyer Project, Ken Hyde, a retired airline pilot, has set out to solve an historical mystery and, at the same time, embark on an engineering adventure. The 1903 Flyer design is acknowledged a unstable and potentially dangerous. As a prototype, it served its experimental purpose but it was not used for more than the initial flights in 1903. Notorious for their secrecy, the Wright brothers fiercely protected their research and findings. They kept much of the data in their heads, and as a result there is little formal documentation for their flyers other than what was required for patent applications. Ken Hyde has done meticulous research into the Wright’s original correspondence and personal papers, looking for clues regarding the design and construction of the 1903 glider. His exploration is a compelling story of detective work and dedication.

I plan to tell a story -- not Ken Hyde’s story, that is his to tell -- but the story of my observations and experience of him and his project through a series of “snapshots” of Hyde at work.

Baskets for Books

Mark your calendar! Come to the Ted Constant Convocation Center on February 25th for the Baskets for Books game!

It’s the Monarchs vs. the William and Mary Tribe – all tickets sold mean $$ for the Library!