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Author Topic: JW Dunnes Flying Wing  (Read 5946 times)

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Re: JW Dunnes Flying Wing
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2015, 22:13:53 »
The swept wing designs of J W Dunne were an attempt to design a military reconnaissance aeroplane that had automatic stability. Unfortunately, as was found out by the Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2 series, the stability and lack of maneuvrability made such aircraft easy to shoot down.

Lieutenant John William Dunne had been invalided from South Africa and was placed on Half-pay. He joined the Army Balloon Factory at Farnborough where the Superintendant, Colonel John Capper, encouraged him to design and build an aeroplane for the British army. These early designs were tested in great secrecy on the Blair Atholl Estate of the Marquis of Tollibardine in Scotland. In early 1909 the War Office decided to end funding on aeroplanes.

Colonel Capper got in touch with Horace Short, who arranged to accomodate Dunne at his new factory at Shellness, where Dunne arrived in the spring of 1909. Dunne also had the financial backing of the Marquis of Tullibardine, who, along with other members of the nobility, had formed the Blair Atholl Aeroplane Syndicate Ltd.

The Dunne D.4, a modified version of the Dunne D.1, was exhibited on the Short Brothers stand at the March 1910 Olympia Aero Show.
With the help of Horace Short, Dunne started work on the Dunne D.5, which made its first flight in the early summer of 1910. Dunne demonstrated how stable his designs were in front of Orville Wright on the 20th December 1910. After landing the aircraft without touching the control levers, he made another flight in which he took notes, allowing the aircraft to fly itself, one of the first aeroplanes able to do so. The Dunne D.5 was wrecked on the 22nd December 1910, when a tyro pilot made a sharp turn to avoid landing in a ditch and overturned the machine.

By the end of 1909 Shorts had moved to Eastchurch, where Richard Fairey, later of Fairey Aviation, joined Dunne. The next Dunne design was the Dunne D.6 Monoplane. This made its first flight in June 1911.  A version of the D.6, the Dunne D.7 'Autosafety Plane' was displayed at the March 1911 Olympia Aero Show.

The wreckage of the crashed D.5 was used in the building of the Dunne D.8, the last and most successful Dunne aeroplane to fly. First flown in June 1912, the aircraft was once again partly built by Shorts.
In March 1913 the Royal Flying Corps ordered two Dunne D. 8's for delivery in August of that year. One aircraft was delivered to Farnborough in March 1914, the other being cancelled due to late delivery.

All links are to Wikipedia.

Three photos of the Dunne D.8, RFC number 366, delivered to Farnborough.

© IWM (RAE-O 839
© IWM (RAE-O 899
© IWM (RAE-O224) (The IWM caption is rather misleading).


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Re: JW Dunnes Flying Wing
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2011, 16:52:27 »
Very versatile fellow, Dunne. He also wrote An Experiment with Time, in which he explored precognition and deja vu. He mentioned work on his inherently stable aircraft in it.


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Re: JW Dunnes Flying Wing
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2011, 16:03:42 »

Offline kyn

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Re: JW Dunnes Flying Wing
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2008, 23:15:13 »
Thank for adding this Roger and putting so much effort into your posts  :)


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JW Dunnes Flying Wing
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2008, 19:42:26 »
In a previous post John and Paul referred to AV Roe and the Flying Wing. That reference, photos and video have prompted me to write this post.

Lt JW Dunne's Flying Wing

   In 1909, 34 year old army Lieutenant J W Dunne read of the progress being made by the pioneer aviators. Their stories must have intrigued him ,cos he started to look more closely at the birds flying in the Scottish Highlands. He looked at the natural design of their wings and made notes.
A lot of John Dunnes early work was done on the Duke of Atholls Estate in Perthshire and whether the Duke was a link to higher places or whether John used his military connections is unclear but the result was financial backing for his work by the War Office. The early design work was done and John needed an air craft constructor.
The War Office were well aware of the Short Brothers endeavours on the Isle of Sheppey and so John Dunne may have been pointed in their direction. At any rate he turned up at their office door at Eastchurch with his plans under his arm and asked that they build his plane.
The Dunne heavier than air craft was built and it emerged from the sheds a strange looking machine, so different from the usual designs that were being built. For a start it had no tail, this wasn't unusual in a newly built craft ,cos tails were very often interchangeable or added later but this was different in that it was designed NOT to have a tail. The wings were swept back at such an angle that there was no need for a tail.
          It was in fact a Flying Wing.
They carried out numerous trials at Eastchurch and each time it was flown it was proved to be extremely stable. It is said that it proved to be so stable in the air that when the Royal Navy decided to have men trained as pilots at Eastchurch it was thought to be to dangerous to use the Dunne design as it gave a false sense of security to the novice pilots.
After the trials at Eastchurch proved to be successful the plane was flown from Eastchurch to Paris. John Dunne was befriended by a Commander Felix a French pilot who was as enthusiastic as John and proved to be a competent flyer. Felix took the Dunne up on a number of occasions and then one day during a flight the engine failed and he was forced into an emergency landing. This took place in a field far too small for purpose with the result that a number of struts on the bodywork of the plane were broken. John realised the plane could not be repaired for several days and because of the lack of security where the plane lay, he removed the engine and smashed the rest of the plane to pieces.
This was the only Dunne plane in existence so John returned to Britain and had two new planes commissioned at Hendon and another at Shorts of Eastchurch. At Hendon on 18 October 1913 the Dunne made its first official public appearance piloted once again by Commander Felix.
Sadly, for its own reasons, the War Office had cooled towards this radical design and JW Dunne learnt that they had dropped it from their books. I would imagine he was somewhat disillusioned and so made his way with his design to America. Once there John met up with a plane and boat constructor by the name of Burgess they combined their skills and started building the Burgess - Dunne #1. A Doctor who used it to visit his wealthy clients in the American Lake District bought this one. The United States Navy ordered six planes but there was a big fire at the factory and they were destroyed and the Navy didn't repeat the order. Burgess ? Dunne #2 was bought by the Canadian Army and became Canada's first military plane and was used to support their troops in the Great War.
The amazing thing about Dunnes design is that during it's conception he uncovered technology that is used in aircraft construction to this very day, and that includes design applications in Concord and the Stealth Bomber.

The logo for Flying Start is based on the shape of JW Dunnes flying wing. Flying Start is the organisation on the Isle of Sheppey which is endeavouring to establishing a museum devoted to the early efforts of the Founding Fathers of Flight.

A Canadian guy has spent a lot of time and effort in reconstructing a Burgess-Dunne plane. It's now on display in Ontario Museum.


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