Tn-1 Tn-2

Phillips-Multiplane - $3.50

Phillips's 1904 Multiplane expanded on the 1893 test vehicle in a configuration that could be flown by a person. It utilized 21 wings and had a tail for stability, but was unable to achieve sustained flight. You've probably seen old time movies of this monster trying to take-off only to ungraciously fold up like a taco.

Phillips Multiplane

Phillips MultiwingThe theory of multiple lifting surfaces which had been put forward between 1884 and 1891 was first given practical application by an Englishman, Horatio F.Phillips, in 1904.

The son of a gunsmith, Horatio Phillips was born in 1845 in a suburb of London. He reportedly became interested in aviation at a young age and closely followed the research being conducted by the Royal Aeronautical Society using a whirling arm and wind tunnel. Phillips felt he could do better and had built his own wind tunnel by the early 1880s.

His wind tunnel used a steam injector to suck air through the apparatus and produced more reliable results than any other wind tunnel of the day. Phillips soon began conducting experiments exploring how curved airfoil sections generated lift.

These experiments were the first to conclusively prove that a cambered shape with greater curvature over the top than the bottom produced more lift than a flat airfoil. Fellow Englishman Sir George Cayley had first theorized this idea in the early 1800s, but it was the experiments of Horatio Phillips that brought widespread attention to curved airfoils.

Phillips-MultiplaneThe importance of these landmark findings was quickly recognized and nearly every subsequent experimenter with gliders or powered airplanes adopted cambered airfoils.

Among these inventors were Otto Lilienthal in Germany as well as Samuel Langley and the Wright brothers in America. Phillips too applied his expertise in airfoils as he began building flying machines of his own.

His first multiplane had 20 superimposed winglets with a width of 3 or 4 inches, rather like a venetian blind. The aircraft had a cruciform tail unit and a three-wheel undercarriage. The engine, built by Phillips himself, drove a two-bladed puller propeller. This aircraft, however, was not a success.

When tested at Streatham it proved unstable and impossible to control. Only three years later, in 1907, was Phillips able to fly 490 feet, using another multiplane some 200 narrow-chord wings.

Phillips Multi-Plane

Year: 1904
Engine: 22hp 4 cyl inline
Wingspan: 17ft 9in
Length: 13ft 9in
Height: 10ft
Weight: 600lb
Speed: 34mph

Phillips Multi-PlanePhillips Multi-Plane

Shown above are sheets 1 and 2 of the Phillips Multiplane instructions.