THE day of the dare devil “test pilot,” who took the new airplane up “to see if would fly, “has passed. We have neither to test the wings for their weaknesses, nor to find out whether the airplane is unsatisfactory in longitudinal stability or controllability.
TRAFFIC in freight and merchandise has been the controlling factor in the development of land and water transportation systems throughout the world, and it is not unlikely that express traffic will be a major factor in the further development of air transportation.
ALTHOUGH the manufacture of aircraft involves a number of more or less specialized operations, and requires the services of a variety of trades, a survey of accident records made recently by Ralph S. Damon, vice president and general manager of the Curtiss - Wright Airplane Company of Robertson, Mo., for presentation to the 20th Annual Safety Congress last October, indicates that the industry in itself does not present many unusual hazards which cannot be controlled by good factory housekeeping, and careful discipline.
Research Engineer and Test Pilot Standard Oil Company of New Jersey
w. w. White
DURING 1930, the airplanes composing the Stanavo fleet flew a total of 699,070 miles, in 6,624 flying hours, without an injury to pilot or passengers. In the course of these operations 19,985 passengers were carried, either on company business or in the company’s interests.
THE technique of flying has so many points of similarity and so many points of difference with other procedures, such as driving a car, sailing, skating and skiing, that the process of learning to fly is of both general and special interest.
TO prevent corrosion, or at least to control it, is more than half of the problem of maintenance of amphibions. Careful daily inspection will be found essential when the machine is in use in and about salt water. After washing down with fresh water, all working parts such as control cables, hinges, pulleys, and guides must be examined for wear, corrosion, and accumulations of sand and salt.
THE world disarmament conference which is to gather in the quiet French-speaking Swiss city of Geneva early in February has been in preparation since the spring of 1926. Intermittently during all that time, the Preparatory Commission of experts representing 50-odd countries have been at work hammering out a preliminary draft of a form in which an agreement to limit air, land, and sea armaments might be cast.
ONE of the most annoying and expensive maintenance items confronting the average fixed base operator is in the upkeep of tail skids. At one California field, where conditions were unusually bad, a tail skid shoe was evolved, which materially reduced trouble from this source.
RECOGNIZING the advantages of international and intercontinental air transportation between centers in Europe and Asia, European nations have been aggressively developing airlines to the East in the last three years. This is especially true of Great Britain, France and the Netherlands, countries which have close political as well as commercial ties in the Far East.
A NUMBER of industries have recommended uniform accounting systems to be used by companies within them, but air mail carriers have had a uniform system forced upon them. Although early operators did not have standardized systems, their accounts were simple and comparison of figures was relatively easy.
<p>MANY industries are finding in the X-ray machine a new and highly useful tool. One of the most recent applications has been reported by the Curtiss-Wright Airport, at Milwaukee, Wis., where an X-ray machine is being used to check the condition of the structure of airplanes.</p>
IN THE January issue of AVIATION I presented the first part of a table intended to afford the designer of a transport a standard against which he may compare the maintenance and repair characteristics of his machine. The first section of the table had to do with maintenance operations on the structure of the airplane proper.
THE development of airships has been contingent to a large extent upon available ground handling equipment. Until recently the moving of a large airship in or out of its shed in anything but the calmest weather required the services of a large and carefully trained ground crew.
Aircraft are fast becoming vital in the Alaskan economic structure, despite the small population and severe seasonal operation difficulties.
LIKE all areas sparsely settled, poorly equipped with surface transportation, and rich in natural resources, Alaska offers aviation unusual opportunities. American interests have recognized this and, starting with the pioneer efforts of the late Carl Ben Eielson, all-year air services have been provided to the distinct benefit of Alaskan economic life.
LAST month, we started the publication of a general program and precept, for the aviation industry and all of its several subdivisions. There was more to be said than could be contained in a single issue, so we carry the platform forward here.
THE general methods used by the Army Air Corps and the Naval Bureau of Aeronautics in getting out new designs are the result of long, hard, and varied experience. They are the final outcome of a series of trials of a series of devices, of varying merit.
RADICAL reductions in passenger rates became effective Jan. 1 on three of America’s largest transport lines. United Airlines was the first to announce decision to cut its rates, on its transcontinental and most of its associated lines, by 10 to 20 per cent.
<p>Closely associated with the passenger cuts is the re-routing by the Post Office Department of some of the mail formerly carried by United to the central transcontinental line of T.&W.A. Los Angeles mail from the East has previously been routed over United’s system, and Western Air from Salt Lake to Los Angeles.</p>
Several new services have been inaugurated. Century has added another morning trip each way between Detroit and Chicago and between St. Louis and Chicago, making five and four round trips daily on the respective routes. Boeing began operating Jan. 16 the mail extension granted it June 30 between Omaha and Watertown, S. D., by way of Sioux City and Sioux Falls.
<p>Important operation changes by Pan American Airways include the transfer of its Miami terminal from its $500,000 International Airport on 36th Street, Miami, to a new flying boat base at Dinner Key, the site of the war-time naval air station, and the elimination of the last landplanes from the company’s Caribbean division.</p>
Lufthansa planes were flown only 5,430,584 miles during 1931, a decrease of 7.6 per cent from 1930 mileage. The drop was due to elimination of a number of poorly patronized domestic lines and the dropping of the Stettin-Stockholm service.
The material immediately following, together with references to legal and legislative matters elsewhere in the news pages, is based largely upon the Aviation Law Service prepared by the Commerce Clearing House, Inc. AVIATION is licensed to make use of the service, and is able to give its readers the benefits of the work of an organization specially trained and equipped to insure the complete collection of pertinent material on current legal developments.
Development of the law of responsibility for injury in aircraft continues, both here and in Europe. The French courts have been much more generous to the air transport companies than those of the United States, a recent decision in Paris having upheld the validity of the contracts printed on passenger tickets by which the air transport companies seek to relieve themselves of responsibility.
<p>Two companion decisions in the past month related to an accident to one of the planes owned by Lloyd O’Donnell, well-known racing pilot and operator at Long Beach, Cal. The accident was a collision in the air in which O’Donnell’s plane, flown by one of his employees, was above the machine with which it came into collision.</p>
The distinction between interstate and intrastate commerce is much less delicate in Canada than in the United States. The authority of the Dominion is less sharply circumscribed than that of the federal government of Washington, and its position has recently been confirmed by the decision of the Privy Council, the supreme court of the British Empire.
Representative James of Michigan, formerly chairman of the House Military Affairs Committee but now deposed by Democratic ascendancy, has moved for a separate promotion list for Air Corps officers. The injustice under which the Air Corps labors in securing promotion, in comparison with other branches of the Army, has long been a grievance, and the War Department and interested members of Congress made many attempts to rectify it.
At the end of the year the Navy Department points with special pride to the work of the Naval Reserve, which flew 26,000 hours during 1931 without any fatality, by far the best year’s record that has been made. Ten bases were operated. The regular units of naval aviation, and also the reserves on oneyear terms of active duty, are preparing for extensive maneuvers in the Pacific during the next few months.
In preparation for the maneuvers the Akron has been operating regularly, and its appearance over New York or Philadelphia no longer excites comment. In preparation for the maneuvers, too, work at the Sunnyvale Airship Base (just south of San Francisco) is being rushed, and a stub mast of the type developed at Lakehurst will be ready for use by Feb. 15.
The Department of Commerce has made a radical change in substituting two new bound bulletins for the familiar looseleaf Airways Bulletins which have been in use since 1926. Bulletin No. 1, “General Airway Information,” contains national and sectional maps of the airways, and complete descriptions of facilities available and methods of using them. Sectional maps chart the links of the major airways, showing location of beacons and intermediate fields.
Encouraging reports from manufacturers state that Stinson has increased its force by 300 men; that Lycoming has orders totaling $673,000 for its 215hp. model ; that Boeing Airplane has 1,200 men on its payroll late in December, the peak for the year; and that Bellanca sales in 1931 exceeded 1930 by about 30 per cent.
Recent technical developments include the installation of a direct fuel injection on a Boeing 40-B-4 mail plane for transport service tests. The engine is conventional except for the fuel distributing system. The Pratt & Whitney company has been experimenting with direct injection for a year, gave the first public demonstration in April, 1930, and recently made a 50-hour block test.
Twenty-two planes took off from the Hicksville (L. I.) field of the Aviation Country Club Jan. 4 on the first leg of the Miami cruise sponsored by the Amateur Air Pilots’ Association. Eight machines got through to Miami on time, Jan. 7, despite very unfavorable weather.
The annual races at Miami (Jan. 7-10) were regarded as the most successful of the series. For the first time, Air Corps and Navy planes participated, giving the event much of the color of the National Air Races. The feature among the racers seemed to be the home-made monoplane powered with a Cirrus engine built by S. J. Wittman, of Oshkosh, Wis.
C. M. Keys, for many years a leader both in aircraft manufacturing and air transport development, has resigned as chairman of the boards of CurtissWright Corporation, Transcontinental & Western Air, and North American Aviation. He announced that his retirement from active management probably would be but temporary.
THESE are topsy-turvy times and one doesn’t know who can be relied on any more. Our political and financial experts are very much in poor standing just now, and every once in a while even our physical scientists go back on us and tell us that light runs around corners and that the moon really isn’t made of green cheese.
ANNOUNCEMENT has recently been made by the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company of certain modifications in a standard Hornet engine to permit the direct injection of fuel into the cylinders, eliminating carburetor, pre-heaters, and hot spots.
<p>ABOUT a year ago the CurtissWright Airplane Company at St. Louis, began production on a threecylinder, two-place light monoplane, designated as the Curtiss-Wright Junior. The machine was designed primarily as a land plane, although during the late summer of 1931, it was flown successfully as a seaplane mounted on Edo floats.</p>
THE Stearman Aircraft Company of Wichita, Kansas, has recently announced the design of a new model designed specifically to meet the requirements of contract air mail operators. The machine is an open cockpit, single bay biplane of conventional design, but the details of arrangement of accessories and equipment have been carefully studied for the particular purpose for which the machine was designed. Particular attention has been paid to the matter of pilot’s comfort.
ALONG the rugged coast of British Columbia aircraft have proven highly useful for fishery and forestry patrol, mining and prospecting operations, and for many other uses connected with the development of the natural resources of the country.
ANEW single, or two-place low wing sport monoplone of all-metal construction has been completed and test flown by the Brown Metalplane Company, Spokane, Wash. The Metalark is powered with a 90-hp. American Cirrus engine but is stressed for engines up to 170 hp. With a span of 26 ft. and a weight, empty, of 910 lb., the Metalark is believed to be the smallest all-metal plane that has yet been developed in this country.
A SUBSTANTIAL retail fish business has been built up by H. L. Mullen in Fresno, Cal., by transporting his stock in trade from San Francisco by air the same day it is caught. The 120 miles between Fresno and the Coast may be covered by plane in about an hour and a quarter, or special truck in six hours.
EVER since the war Dr. Frank A. Brewster of Beaver City, Neb., has made constant use of aircraft in contacting his widespread practise. He has owned twelve planes, starting with a Jenny of war vintage, and now owns a Monocoach. He is a licensed pilot and still does considerable piloting but at the present time employs a pilot-mechanic, chiefly as a measure to conserve his energy for his work.
AVERY successful sales promotion effort was carried out recently with a De Havilland Puss Moth operated by the Parker Pen Company, Ltd.,, of London, a subsidiary of the Parker Pen Company of Janesville, Wis. The machine was flown through fourteen countries of central and southwestern Europe and was landed at 68 airports and fields.
SIDLES AIRWAYS has been operating profitably a small cafe at its Union Airport, Lincoln, Neb. The room is neat and compactly arranged to provide an attractive and economically efficient eating place. It is a rebuilt granary formerly located near the airport and made available at a small cost.
A REFINEMENT in methods of han-, dling used plane sales has been introduced at Grand Central Air Terminal, Glendale, Cal., where the ClaiborneDeeds concern has introduced a stock exchange type of listing board for quoting prices asked for available aircraft.
METHODS of snow treatment constitute a major problem at many airports in the North. At Pontiac (Mich.) Municipal Airport the policy has been to pack the snow down to provide a safe landing surface rather than to remove it. In the winter of 1928-1929 two Fordson tractors with extra wide flanges were used with excellent results to break the crust which formed after several severe snow storms which were followed by rain.
A METHOD of machine grinding piston rings has been developed in the Oakland shops of the Pacific Air Transport division of United Air Lines, by the use of which approximately eight hours of labor time is saved on every set of piston rings fitted.
A SIMPLIFIED valve spring testing device has been developed in the Oakland shops of the Pacific Air Transport division of United Air Lines, which saves an appreciable percentage of the time required to test these springs. A vertical hollow tube is provided with an open chamber near the upper end into which the spring under test is placed.
A NUMBER of German airplane factories and repair shops make use of the device shown in one of the accompanying illustrations when servicing wheels or tires, or for raising the wheels clear of the ground when an airplane is to be stored for any great length of time.
FOR convenience in servicing the four Hornet engines of the Clipper type Sikorsky flying boats now in the South American service, the Miami servicing shops of Pan American Airways, Inc. have developed a portable scaffolding. The main part of the structure is of welded steel aircraft tubing and supports a wooden platform approximately 15 ft. from the floor.
IN some airplanes, particularly of the cabin type, difficulty is sometimes experienced with the rate-of-climb indicator, evidenced by fluctuation of the pointer immediately following a change of altitude. The most common trouble is a temporary “down” indication of short duration when the plane is put into a climb, or a momentary “up” indication if a window is opened in flight, or the throttle opened suddenly.
THE Ford single-engined freighter (page 434, AVIATION, July, 1931) is one of the few commercial airplanes in the country today powered with a liquidcooled power plant. The radiator for the 650 hp. Hispano-Suiza engine is mounted on the underside of the fuselage below the pilot’s cockpit.
ONE of the most common complaints from maintenance men concerns the time usually required to detach and reassemble landing gear fairings to permit servicing operations on brakes and fittings. One designer’s answer to such criticism is to be found in the streamline housing surrounding the outboard fittings of the landing gear on the Pilgrim 100-A Transport, built by the American Airplane & Engine Company of Farmingdale, N. Y. (AVIATION, November, 1931, page 654).
THE Mercury Chic biplane is characterized by the absence of fixed horizontal tail surfaces. The fuselage tapers down to a wedge in the horizontal rather than in the vertical plane as is usual practice, and the elevators are hinged directly to the horizontal tail post. Fin and rudder are of conventional design, carried on top of the fuselage, with the fin strut-braced to the upper longerons.
THE main fuel supply of the new Model 21 Fleet trainer, (AVIATION, August, 1931, page 488) is carried in the center section of the upper wing. The flat aluminum tank is held in place between the front and rear spars by means of a pair of flat straps which permit its removal through the lower surface of the center section.
TO damp out unpleasant vibrational effects from the engine, the motor mount of the Pilgrim 100-A Transport (AVIATION, November, 1931, page 654) incorporates rubber cushioning both between the engine and the mounting ring, and also between the mount and the fuselage proper.
To THE EDITOR: The National Air Races have, probably more than any other agency, inspired the development of new designs in American aircraft. They have brought forth vast improvements in performance of engines, developed efficient streamlining and supplied incentive for speed experiments for several years.
A TRAFFIC promotion medium which works out to the mutual advantage of the airline, the hotels and the newspapers involved has been used successfully by Transamerican Airlines for some time. The scheme involves the placing of a Transamerican sticker on newspapers delivered to hotel guests registering from certain cities in the airline company’s territory, the newspaper being one of the dailies imported from the guest’s home city.
A PAIR of light guns, one red and one green, for traffic control, similar to those at Washington (D.C.) Airport, described and illustrated in the May, 1931, issue, have been adopted at a number of the busier airports. But they are being used at many for control of landings, rather than just take-offs, which has been the practice at the Washington terminal.
TWO Fords of Northwest Airways equipped with radio for passengers were placed in service last July on the Chicago-Twin Cities run. Following the successful introduction of radio service for passengers, a Sikorsky amphibion on the Twin Cities-Duluth service, a third Ford on the Chicago service, and a Hamilton, used largely for experimental purposes and by Col. L. H. Brittin, vice-president and general manager, were similarly equipped.
Aluminum Industries, Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio, has announced a new painting material known as Permite Resalum which may be used on metal, wood fabric, or stone. The coating is said to be highly resistant to heat and corrosion and unaffected by weather. The pigment portions of the material is “Albron,” manufactured by the Aluminum Company of AMERICA.-AVIATION, February, 1932.
For tool and die makers’ use, Grob Bros, of 90th and National Ave., West Allis, Wis., have put on the market two new types of continuous filing machines. The model B-l is for bench mounting and the A-2 a floor mounted machine. Both are designed for external or internal filing of work requiring close fitting or forming.
A small sized portable spray painting outfit easily carried and operated by one person has recently been announced by the DeVilbiss Company of Toledo, Ohio. This unit is known as the DeVilbiss M-3-607 and may be used as supplemental equipment for larger paint spraying outfits for touchup work on small painting or refinishing operations.
A new model tractor, the Caterpillar 50, has been recently put on the market by the Caterpillar Tractor Company, of Peoria, 111. Machines of this type have been found useful for grading and snow removal on airports, and also for moving large planes in or out of hangars.
An improved tool for grinding internal combustion engine cylinders has been announced by the Micromatic Hone Corporation of Detroit, Mich., in the model 1A-0-F three-finger automatic hone. All wearing surfaces of the new tool are carburized, hardened and ground.
The Weston Electrical Instrument Corporation of Newark, N. J., has developed and put on the market an aircraft tachometer of the electrical type. The apparatus consists of a compact direct-current magneto generator to be mounted directly on the engine, and an indicator for instrument board mounting calibrated to real directly in revolutions per minute.