Ok, some of you may be asking yourselves, why are you putting steam power-related items on a site named Cartoonplanes anyway!? Well, the simple answer is, cause it’s cool and I like it….so there. But, all semi-kidding aside, there is actually some relation to steam and aircraft. All the way back in the 1840’s a gentleman named Henson, and another named Stringfellow were devising and building prototypes of a flying steam carriage, and steam in flash boilers has been used in modern RC experiments as well. My main interest in steam is just cause its cooky and fun, and I hope to at least one day get a little generator hooked up to a decent homebuilt steam engine of my design and make a little electricity. As far as aircraft design is concerned, a steam system with its fuel, and its water which works great for land based machines, is overly-heavy for aircraft. That being said….it’s hard to stop human ingenuity when it really wants to do something. Enter the Besler Steam Plane. The Besler’s actually gave flying steam power a decent go, and although it ended up being a dead-end and more of a curiosity than anything else, (mainly due to the fact that the plane flew and flew well, just not for any great duration due to the weight limitations of a steam system as I already mentioned) it did prove that steam could fly! Enjoy the video..
You may have noticed if you watched closely that a neat aspect of the Steam powered plane is the ability to reverse the valve and quickly reverse the engine direction, giving a type of braking effect only found in modern jets.