Re: The Absurd...

Bill Shatzer (
Fri, 17 Feb 1995 01:04:40 -0500


> I don't know!... I mean, negative wing stagger is certainly not a novel
>idea. Applied in moderation (say, on the D.H.5, or Beech Staggerwing) I
>can see both some aerodynamic advantage, and more arguably, a possible
>improvement in (forward, anyway) visibility. But *this* thing!! Surely,
>it was carried out in classic Gallic fashion-- that is, Melodramitic,
>Ungainly, and Overwrought!
> For (one) example, can you imagine attempting to keep such a wing,
>suspended on a 10 strut, from vibrating to pieces? Or the difficulties in
>reaching any kind of control harmony? No doubt the contraption didn't fly
>very well-- how could it?
> Well, maybe I'm just rubbishing the French again. But, honestly, this
>aircraft is Truly Ludicrous!...
Erik: Perhaps you are being just a little hard on the French - *most*
of the "multi-plane" experiments were at least slightly weird, not
just the French ones. My own personal favorite is the Fokker
V.8 which was (depending on who you read) either a quintuplane,
or a septuplane, or a "tandem tri-biplane". It was basically a
lengthened Dr.I with 3 standard Dr.I wings mounted in the extreme
nose with a second pair of Dr.I wings mounted just aft of the
cockpit. A truly marvelous looking machine! The Russian
Bezobrazov triplane was a close second however - it had a wing
stagger so extreme that the top wing was completely forward
of the prop while the bottom wing was about half-way between
the cockpit and the tail. And, the post-war Caproni C.60 with
no less than *three* sets of triplane wings was truly amazing.

Incidently, on doing a little further research, improved forward
vision was not the only reason for the weird stagger on the
Nieuport tripe. Apparently there are inherent aerodynamic
problems with the triplane design in that the airflow over the
lower wings tends to be forced upwards against the top wing which
can dangerously over-stress the top wing. The weird stagger on
the Nieuport tripes was also an effort to get the top wing out of
this upward airflow and thus avoid this problem. Nieuport
built two different version of its triplane - one with the weird
negative stagger to the top wing that you described and a
second, equally weird model with a more or less normal stagger
to the top and bottom wings but with the middle wing located
immediately behind the cockpit. Needless to say, neither version
was at all successful. However, they *did* fly better than the
Fokker or the Caproni.

Cheers, Bill


Bill Shatzer - -