Mystery aircraft--IDENTIFIED!

Here is the earlier thread:

I sent a question to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and just today have received a very nice reply.

I asked about both funky planes in the footage: the venetian blind plane and the primitive “helicopter” with the spiral “wings” that just bobs up and down.

The “venetian blind” plane is the “Gerhardt cycleplane,” built in 1923. Dr WF Gerhardt was a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The attempted flight supposedly took place in McCook Field in Dayton, OH–but the folks at the NASM did not say that that had been verified.

The other vehicle (that I described earlier) in that old footage is the “Kindree Sky Car” designed by WP Kindree of Detroit, MI. (I don’t have a date on that.) According to the NASM, in the original footage it literally “self-destructs.”

They sent be via regular mail a nice letter and some contemporary news articles. If anyone would like a copy, feel free to contact me privately.

Good Job, Mjollnir!

Yeah, the “Kindree Sky Car” rings a bell. I know I’ve read it somewhere. And I have seen the footage where it falls apart.

I’d never heard the name “Gerhardt Cycleplane”, though.

Nice bit of detective work.

A little more on Kindree

“John W Pitts and W P Kindree, Detroit MI.
Sky Car 1928 = 1pOH; 90hp Curtiss OX-5. The best thing that could be said about this machine is that it was a nice try. Each blade of the 60-blade rotor had a full-radius vane attached to it that was free to flap about its radial hinge. Rotation caused the drooping vanes to swing out, closing the space between blades and forming a solid rotor disk. The point was that the rotor was forced by the engine to reciprocate up and down. When the rotor suddenly went up the vanes were flung open, allowing the air to pass between the blades; when it then moved downwards, the vanes closed and a good portion of air was thrown downwards, thus supposed to create a lifting force. A motion picture record of a flight attempt appears in film clips of odd flying machines. The invention can be seen to jump up and down heavily, but it is dubious whether this was caused by air downwash – after all, when one heavy part of the machine is forced down some other part must go up, according to the laws of mechanics. This appears to be the first helicopter in which vibration was designed into it (-- Lennart Johnsson 11/15/99).”