Aviation Models Sir Hiram Maxim
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Sir Hiram Maxim's flying machine.
    Sir Hiram Maxim (1840-1916) an American expatriot living in England, is remembered most for his greatest achievment in life as the inventor of the first self-powered machine gun, the "Maxim Gun".1 He also noted for another great invention, although not quite a sucess, the "Maxim Flying Macine".

    The Maxim "Flying Machine", a four ton behemouth, was powered by two very efficient 180 hp (134 kW) steam engines, driving two eighteen foot propellers. He began building this huge aeroplane in 1891 and continued tests until 1894. It ran along an elaborate track at a speed slightly above 42 mph (68 km/h), when the wheels lifted clear of the track, fouled the guard rail placed to prevent a complete take-off, and the "Flying Machine" had to be brought to a halt.

    Maxim described it as a "flying machine that would lift itself from the ground". He did not intend it to fly in the true sense. Maxim did pursue some wind tunnel test later on but nothing further was to come of these experiments.


End Notes:

1. Peter L. Jacob. Visions of a Flying Machine, The Wright Brothers and the Process of Invention. (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian
    Institution, 1990). 26.

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November 22, 2009.