Maxim, 1891, Aerial navigation, The power required

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Maxim doesn't think LTA is going much of anywhere —

"All the recent attempts in this country to navigate the air, of which so much has appeared in the newspapers, have simply been imitations of the French balloon La France, and very sorry imitations at that." —

but thinks HTA flight will be accomplished within 10 years and describes whirling arm experiments to study aerodynamics and energy requirements. He predicts that the first major use will be military, with aircraft enabling a great power to "paralyze completely an enemy."

Maxim describes the trend of increasing fuel efficiency and favors a design comparable to the airplane (as opposed to the ornithopter). "I am in favor of a screw-propeller, because with it I find a high degree of efficiency, and the possibility of applying a large amount of force in a continuous manner without any vibration or unsteadiness in action" (830).

At the end of the article he writes that France is the only country with the capability to manufacture aircraft of the type he's describing, and that in the future flying machines will be primarily the province of only rich nations.

Original title Aerial navigation, The power required
Simple title Aerial navigation, The power required
Authors Hiram Stevens Maxim
Date 1891
Countries US
Languages en
Keywords navigation, propulsion, La France, LTA, heavier-than-air, whirling arm, birds, petroleum, airfoil, aerodynamics, propeller, instrument, tachometer, dynamometer, wood, military, bomb, France, airplane, flapping
Journal Century Mag.
Related to aircraft? 1
Page count 8
Word count
Wikidata id


  • Brockett 1910, page 565, entry 8213: Maxim, Hiram Stevens. Aerial navigation. The power required. Century Mag., Vol. 42, No. 6, 1891, New York, pp. 829-836, figs. 1-6. S (8213
  • Scan at Internet Archive