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MATTHEW B. SELLERS

Pioneer Aerodynamics Consultant - Plane Builder - Pilot

Matthew B. Sellers was born in Baltimore, Maryland, April 5, 1869, one of four children of a wealthy parents. He attended local schools, then graduated with a degree from Harvard Ap. Law School, a profession he never followed, being far more interested in science and the possibility of flight.
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His mother purchased a rural property near Fireclay (now Grahn), Carter County, Kentucky in 1888. There Sellers began laboratory experi[[strikethrough]]e[[/strikethrough]]ments in aerodynamics in 1897 with a small wind tunnel he made to gauge reactions of various shapes in measuring air resistance. In 1903 he built a vastly improved wind tunnel[[strikethrough]]s[[/strikethrough]] for more thorough experiments. It was three feet in diameter and twenty-five feet long, very advanced for its day, and far better then the one used by the Wright Brothers two years before.

Sellers built a Lilienthal-type hang glider in 1903 but succeeded in making only a few short glides with it, finding it hard to balance. This was followed by leng[[strikethrough]]th[[/strikethrough]]y experiments with models to find a more stable arrangement which resulted in multiple planes arranged in various ways to lessen the center of pressure movement. These experiments showed that a multi-surfaced, stepped arrangement with pronounced stagger, with the highest surface in front, was more more efficient. Exhaustive experiments proved that such an arrangement of surfaces stalled less easily and automatically [[strikethrough]] and [[/strikethrough]] recovered a normal glide angle. As a result of these leng[[strikethrough]]th[[/strikethrough]]y experiments, Sellers became a recognized authority on flight efficiency and natural stability of aircraft.

In 1907 he made his second man-carrying glider, a quadraplane having four wings each of 18 foot span and 3 foot chord (wing width) spaced 2 feet 2 inches apart. With [[strikethrough]] which [[/strikethrough]] this new glider he made scores of very successful glides, both manually launched and in towed flight. Sellers continued his gliding experiments in Kentucky during the summer, then in Georgia through winter months, until mid 1908 when he added a three-wheel landing gear and installed a small
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