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Stringfellow replica
Posted by: (
Date: March 15, 2007 11:39PM

Hello everybody !

I understand that apprentices at Rolls Royce build two replicas of Stringfellow`s 1848 model steam airplane a couple of years ago. The first tests were not a success, so they were going to make modifications to the engine and airframe.

Does anybody know wether they made further tests with that model ? Did they publish any test results on the engine/boiler performance ?

After looking to the published drawings and photos, I suspect that the boiler is set too far back for a stable flight so that the plane will tend to "rear".
The arrangement of the engine with the cylinder in the airstream and the bevel gears is probably worse than in the later triplane model.

Inspired by Geoffrey Wolfe`s most interesting describtions of the "Comet", Im just building my own model steam airplane with 1.58 m (5 1/4 ft) wingspan.
It seems the fraternity of steam aviators is not very big !


Re: Stringfellow replica
Posted by: Mike Clark (
Date: March 20, 2007 01:36PM


Interesting project. I saw the Stringfellow replica being tested on TV - on that occasion it failed as the steam pipe had been soft soldered and leaked. Never heard any more of it.

There was a summary of early attempts at steam flight in a series of articles in "Light Steam Power" in 1967. There was some technical detail but not much to show that any of them worked.

Let us know how you get on - be careful not to crash it on anything inflammable - at the age of 12 I made a tissue paper hot air balloon fired by methyl alcohol - it was a bit conflagratory.


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