Airborne Awesomosity

Spratt Model 108 Controlwing

Spratt ControlWing

[image credit – MAAM.org]

The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum in Reading Pennsylvania has some of the most eclectic collection of aircraft on the east coast. On this list of unusual aircraft is the Spratt Control Wing. Go past the break to find out more about what makes this aircraft unique.

 

Spratt ControlWing

[image credit – Wayne Moyer 2012]

The creator of these homebuilt aircraft was a Mr. George Spratt who in the early 1900’s decided that best way to fly was by creating an all flying wing. If you look closely at this picture you will notice a few things out of the ordinary. First there is no rudder on the tail. Next is that there are no ailerons, flaps or other control surfaces on the wing. His design was based on the simple idea that the the easiest way to fly an aircraft was to move the entire wing. This is not to say that it’s a perfect solution to flying but one that does work. It also makes life a lot easier for home builders who have far fewer moving surfaces to deal with.

 

 

Spratt on the cover of Popular Mechanics from 1962

Spratt on the cover of Popular Mechanics from 1962

[image credit – MAAM.org]

 

Pay attention to how the aircraft is connected to the wing in both my photograph and on the illustration above. Instead of moving flight surfaces around the pilot moved the entire wing from the cockpit to control the aircraft. Which leads to its name of Control Wing. MAAM’s Spratt is a Model 108, above on the cover of Popular Mechanics you will see a Model 107. George Spratt built the Model 107 as a  flying boat homebuilt kits for customers. Although the model 108 was not designed to fly from the water you can clearly see the flying boat influence in the design.

 

 

Spratt ControlWing Model 108

[image credit – Wayne Moyer 2012]

 

This control method did work and sixties copies of Spratt’s designs were produced.  What we see here and in planes such as the Custer Channel Wing are aircraft designed by men at the very beginning of aviation when there was nothing conventional to go on. They answered problems in very unique ways and succeeded. With most of the private aircraft flying well over thirty to forty years old people like this need to reappear and try to change how we fly.

Popular Mechanic’s has made most of their archives available on Google Books. This is where you can read more about the Control Wing in the June 1962 issue at the following link. http://books.google.com/books?id=mtwDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA67&dq=popular+mechanics+June+1962&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7_GCT4ekAcrx0gHzjqXQBw&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=popular%20mechanics%20June%201962&f=false

 

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