Tour the Demoiselle

back | 3 of 14 | next

Bamboo wing bracing

Wing Structure
One of the things that the early designers were trying to come up with were ways to make an airframe strong but make it light. One of the woods they experimented with was bamboo. Santos-Dumont used it quite liberally in his designs of his Demoiselles. This example, as you can see, is all held together with bamboo. You didn't use glue or screws because the bamboo was very frail around the areas where it needed to join to another piece. You'd lash it together. Sometimes I felt like Robinson Crusoe building this airplane. You can see the liberal use of brass wire, which was used originally to clamp all the pieces together. Then the fabric is just basically laid over the top, stitched in between the ribs. And then it was laced to the front with that little baseball stitch style that you see.

Wings of Madness homepage | NOVA homepage