By C J Norman
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Extra resources for Aircraft carriers
A keel made of strips of pine banded together with aluminum wire formed the backbone of the Santos-Dumont craft, and from it depended the car about one quarter of the (p. 045) length of the balloon and hung squarely amidships. The idea of this keel occurred to the inventor while pleasuring at Nice. Later it saved his life. One novel and exceedingly simple device bore witness to the ingenuity of the inventor. He had noticed in his days of free ballooning that to rise the aeronaut had to throw out sand-ballast; to descend he had to open the valves and let out gas.
A most curious device was the utilization of heavy cloth for the propeller blades. Limp and flaccid when at rest, heavy weights in the hem of the cloth caused these blades to stand out stiff and rigid as the result of the centrifugal force created by their rapid revolution. One great military advantage of the Parseval was that she could be quickly deflated in the presence of danger at her moorings, and wholly knocked down and packed in small compass for shipment by rail in case of need. (p. 079) To neither of these models did there ever come such a succession of disasters as befell the earlier Zeppelins.
The balloon began to collapse in the middle. Cords subjected to unusual stress began to snap. The air pump, which should have pumped the ballonet full of air to keep the balloon rigid failed to work. Seeing that he was about to fall into a field in which his drag rope was already trailing the imperilled airman had a happy thought. Some boys were there flying kites. He shouted to them to seize his rope and run against the wind. The balloon responded to the new force like a kite. The rapidity of its fall was checked, and its pilot landed with only a serious shaking.
Aircraft carriers by C J Norman