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  • Hello everyone!

    I have just signed up to this forum as I'm hoping to get some professional flying advice.

    I am a writer making a theatre play about Bessie Coleman, the first african-american pilot. As she started learning to fly on a Nieuport 17 (and then
    later flew a Nieuport 82. E2) I was wondering if anyone could give me any precise descitption on how these planes were flown/worked/needed to be mantained, e.g.
    did you have to ignite the engine, what/how where the foot paddles used etc. (Please excuse if I am using the wrong language, I am not familiar with
    the aviation language).

    Thank you very much!
    All the best,

  • Hi Katharina,

    Welcome. I don't know about "professional" advice - our "pilots" fly flight simulators rather than real airplanes.

    That said, however, my understanding is that the Nieuport-17 in the free-to-play game "Rise of Flight" is quite accurately modeled with regard to the cockpit layout, so it looks very much like the real aircraft.

    With regard to starting and flying them, I believe it's a pretty similar process as with most of the rotary engines of the day. Each engine cylinder is primed, the contact switch is set on, and the engine is turned or propped by hand causing it to run. Mixture is adjusted to keep in running smoothly. Some of the earliest engines didn't have a throttle, but used a Blip switch (Engine is off when blipped, full on, when not). Some of them had fixed throttle stops (each stop controlled a specific number of cylinders) so you could sort of control throttle.

    I'm not quite sure what the N-17 arrangement was for real - in the game, it has both a Blip switch, and a Throttle.

    Once flying, it behaves like any other light aircraft with conventional controls (ailerons, rudder, and elevator).

    There are numerous videos of N-17s on You Tube that you might want to check out as well --> here's a starting link

    Good Luck with your project!

    4 ~S!~


  • Hi Katharina,

    Thank you for your request. I hope Fourspeed has given you a starting point to learn more about the airplanes that Bessie Coleman challenged herself to learn to fly. I will admit I know more about airplanes than I do about Bessie Coleman. I know who she was but, I will attest to the fact that I didn't know much about her background.

    You request caused me to do a bit of research, of my own, so that I can now say that I know a little more about her life.

    Keep doing your research and I know your play will turn out to be a good one.
    "Break-a-leg." wink

    Best wishes,

Moderator(s): -NW-Fourspeed, -NW-ScudWillms, -NW-IGotShot, -NW-Jarvis