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Old 11-17-2020, 12:01 PM
sprogs sprogs is offline
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Vedovelli Fantome

I believe this to be the most gorgeously hideous aircraft of all time. Frankly, I don't think it will ever be knocked off the top spot of "Ugliest aircraft ever".
It would be an extremely challenging design, but if the author can keep his food safely down for long enough to complete it, it would be the high point of their career.
https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...RST&ajaxhist=0
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Old 11-17-2020, 02:19 PM
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Damraska Damraska is offline
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The Pioneers of Aviation site includes a page on Vedovelli's Multiplane offering some history of the aircraft and additional pictures.

The Aerodrome website offers a thread on the Multiplane including one very rough plan view.

The Vintage Everyday website offers a fun article on early aircraft designs, allowing one to appreciate Vedovelli's aircraft in context with other flying machines of the time.

I do not find the aircraft particularly interesting or ugly. My inner engineer immediately understands what Vedovelli was up to, what he knew and did not know. Research and development vehicles often look odd precisely because the designers do not yet understand the principles involved and must discover best practices. Vedovelli's aircraft mostly suffers from a weak engine, poor understanding of efficient wing design, and overly robust construction given the limited thrust available. Quite a few contemporary experimental aircraft look similar and would quickly evolve into functional pusher aircraft.

I do wish you luck finding a designer! It is a fun aircraft.
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Old 11-19-2020, 12:00 PM
sprogs sprogs is offline
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Thanks Damraska.
I would love to hear more from you about your observations of this design from an engineering viewpoint.
I love these early experimental aircraft not only because of their look, but also because they represent a searching for something. Often wrong but nonetheless interesting.
Liz.
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Old 11-19-2020, 12:28 PM
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whulsey whulsey is offline
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That is definitely strange looking.
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:03 PM
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Damraska Damraska is offline
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Hey, hey. More, you say?

To my eyes, Vedovelli's Multiplane resembles most aircraft of the time.

The fuselage went through a number of configurations. In the early versions it looks like a boat, pinched at the front and back. Later, the fuselage was extended, making it look very much like a simple, modern, stressed skin airplane. Even later, the rear portion of the fuselage disappears, leaving the engine exposed at the rear. Perhaps Vedovelli started with a boat design thinking a hydrodynamic shape would equate to an aerodynamic shape, then he extended to fuselage to reduce drag, then he got rid of most of the fuselage to save weight and cool the engine.

Many early aircraft used a pusher design for a few reasons. With the motor at the rear, the pilot gains a clear field of view. Early motors leaked a lot of oil! World War I pilots often ended up covered in castor oil spat out by their rotary engines. They wore those aviator goggles for a reason! With the engine behind the pilot, all that oil gets ejected in a way that does not hamper the pilot. Finally, a rear mounted engine offers better safety if the propeller breaks or the engine catches fire. Engine fires were extremely common in early aircraft.

Pusher engines introduce their own problems. Early engines requires a lot of cooling. Many World War I aircraft use some form of rotary engine where the entire engine spins. When mounted at the front of the airplane, directly in the air flow, that flow, combined with the spinning engine, provides a lot of cooling. A rear mounted engine lies outside that air flow. That means the engine needs radiators or a way to duct air to the engine. Both of those actions produce drag. Vedrovelli seems to have tried various solutions to this problem. All versions of the Multiplane carry large radiators which must have produced lots of drag. To solve this problem, he seems to have mounted them sideways, parallel to the airflow. That cuts down on the drag but also cuts down on the cooling. In later attempts, he removed most of the fuselage around the engine, I presume to further cool the engine.

As best I can tell, Vedovelli used a small propeller for all his designs. A small, weak engine connected to a small propeller equates to very poor thrust. Successful early aircraft have large propellers.

Vedovelli's wings are all very thin, front to back, sweep upward, root to wingtip, and sometimes incorporate strange kinks. The short wing, front to back, equates to dramatically reduced lift. Low speed aircraft need lots of lift. Modern jet airliners provide an excellent example of this. When landing, these huge, heavy planes become very slow. To increase lift, spoilers on the front of the wing extend forward while flaps extend backward, with both spoilers and flaps tilting downward in the process. This changes the shape of the wing to a very broad, convex shape, trapping very large pockets of low density air under the wing and at the trailing edge, producing great gobs of lift. Vedovelli's wing design does the exact opposite. The thin wings, front to back, trap very small pockets of low density air. The curved shape disrupts the low density air pockets, making them want to travel along the length of the wing and spill out at the wing tips. This problem must have vexed Vedovelli because he kept adjusting his wings and even added more!

Vedovelli's initial designs use landing gear with skids. Later, he moves to a tricycle undercarriage. This obviously occurred to reduce drag at takeoff and probably save some weight.

The Multiplane incorporates long girders with spars to keep the wings firmly in place. These work just like the supporting structure of a truss bridge. While strong, they must have added a lot of weight. Later airplanes would use wires and turnbuckles to accomplish the same task with much less weight. These appear as the rigging in many World War I era aircraft. Additional struts hold the tail and top wing in place producing lots of drag.

Finally, Vedovelli built his Multiplane with a fully enclosed cabin featuring wonderful bay windows looking out to the sides. They look delightfully Victorian. Again, Vedovelli had the right general idea but utilized a heavy and drag inducing design.

If you gave Vedovelli a more powerful engine with less dramatic cooling requirements, a bigger propeller, more robust (and less) wings, and a streamlined canopy, you would end up with an interwar, stressed skin biplane.

Anyway, I am not an aeronautical engineer but those are my thoughts on the matter given the few pictures available to me.
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Old 11-21-2020, 10:52 PM
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brianne brianne is offline
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French Aircrafts are delightfully...unorthodox.
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