ORGANIZED air transport is now in a pioneering period which will probably continue for another five or ten years. Of all its possibilities, air express offers perhaps the most fertile field for further development and expansion. Express matter is generally replaceable, whereas passengers and mail are not.
OF all brands and species of military flying, pursuit aviation is the one that comes nearest to existing exclusively in the air. The observation pilot must be schooled in the tactics of surface armies and in the characteristics of surface ships, and must plan his whole course with reference to what lies below.
THE aircraft industry seems to be an outstanding example of a young industry in which, while there is a great deal of enthusiasm, there has been a sad failure to get down to fundamental business principles,—for, after all, practically all business must be run on the same fundamental principles in order to make money.
SEVERAL letters written recently by officers of the Royal Air Force to British journals have revived old discussions on the effect of aircraft striking birds in flight. As our contribution to the literature in this field, we offer an incident which came under our personal observation recently at one of the western stations of a well-known airline.
IF, ON a map of the Americas, four lines are drawn,—Brownsville, Tex., to Miami, Fla. ; Miami to Para, Brazil; Para to Panama; and Panama to Brownsville,—the diamondshaped area thus inclosed represents roughly the territory served by the Western and the Caribbean divisions of the Pan American Airways System.
An account of the Seventh Annual Engineering Conference of the N.A.C.A.
FOR the seventh time, the engineering talent of the aeronautic industry has made its annual pilgrimage to the secluded shores of Langley Field, to learn what progress has been made in the research work of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.
FIND a real air transport enthusiast, and ask him a question. Ask him whether he thinks it most important in the transport plane of the future to have extremely high speed, or luxurious accommodations for the passenger, or the very highest degree of economy of operation. If he answers your question in terms corresponding to those in which it is asked the quality of his enthusiasm is suspect.
<p>THERE is a parlor game. It calls for ten or fifteen people, and it has enjoyed brief spells of popularity in circles where psychology is a favorite study. The players sit about in a group, and one of them tells a brief but somewhat-involved story, of a very slightly scandalous nature, to his or her next-door neighbor. The recipient listens carefully, turns to the other side, and passes it on.</p>
NOT long ago the writer had occasion to visit the manager of one of the country’s major airports, a municipal field. It was on a Sunday afternoon and the field was fairly busy. The manager was not in his office, nor had he left word with attendants as to where he might be found, except that he was supposed to be somewhere along the apron.
ONLY a few cows offered a none too cordial reception when Amelia Earhart Putnam landed in a pasture near Londonderry, Ireland, on May 21, thirteen hours and a half after leaving Harbor Grace. Her Lockheed Vega monoplane with its 500-hp. Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine set a new record time for the trans-Atlantic crossing, two hours and 42 minutes faster than the first non-stop flight, made by Alcock and Brown in 1919.
The Naval Commission of the World Disarmament Conference, entrusted with the delicate problem of deciding what weapons should be abolished under qualitative disarmament, has been unable to get a unanimous verdict against the aircraft carrier on the three counts of its being specifically offensive, efficacious against national defense, and threatening to civilian populations.
<p>A technical commission on gliding recently formed by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, will have as chairman Professor Georgii of Darmstadt and of the Rhon-RossittenGesellschaft, guide, philosopher, and friend to German soaring pilots. Acting in an advisory capacity, the new group will study the problems of control of gliding and soaring as a sport and draft new regulations for the control of records.</p>
The second annual Omaha Air Races, culminating in the National Balloon Race on May 30 gave the gun to the racing season. Russell Boardman, who with John Polando holds the world's distance record for their flight from New York to Istanbul last July, carried off the Charles Holman Aerobatics Trophy, and also gave Bennie Howard, whose white midget plane played a prominent part in the National Air Races of 1930 and 1931, stiff competition in the free-for-all speed event which Howard won by 90 yards.
The London Morning Post’s novel race, flown from Heston Aerodrome on May 21, owing to the exigencies of English weather, proved to be practically a contest in blind flying. The winner, who averaged 108 m.p.h. in his Puss Moth, passed several of his competitors en route without seeing them.
The Jacobs Aircraft Engine Company of Camden, N. J., has transferred all its manufacturing operations from Camden, N. J., to Pottstown, Pa., where it has acquired the manufacturing plant formerly occupied by the Light Manufacturing and Foundry Company.
With understandable reluctance, reports for the year 1931 continue to come in. Bad as conditions are, most of the reports show the effects of drastic reduction of expense in a cutting of losses. The General Aviation Corporation submits a deficit of $2,232,735, to be compared with a deficit of $2,133,858 for 1930. Net losses from operations during the past year were only $861,819, but $1,370,916 had to be added to cover write-down of inventories to current market values and charging off of deferred experimental expenses.
In much brighter colors is painted the air transport picture of new planes, new routes and new schedules. United Air Lines, which already have a service to the Pacific Coast in one business day and only slightly more than 24 hours, plans to reduce the time to 23 hours or even less with a fleet of 60 new transport planes recently ordered from the Boeing Airplane Company, another United subsidiary.
Air mail service between cities on the eastern seaboard and the West Indies and Central and South America has been shortened almost a day by a change in the schedule and route of the planes flown by Eastern Air Transport from New York to connect with the foreign air mail at Miami.
Further afield, the same activity is evident. The summer time-table of Imperial Airways provides regular daily air connection between London and 130 European cities. K.L.M., which during the winter varies its course across central Europe with weather conditions, now stops regularly at Budapest and Athens en route to Batavia.
<p>Trans-Atlantic airlines have been the chief subject of discussion at the International Congress of Transoceanic Fliers called at Rome by the Italian Aero Club on May 22 and attended by about 50 pilots. Detailed reports of his experiences were made by each transoceanic veteran for the use of committees appointed to study the problem of establishing regular airlines across the North and South Atlantic. While two alternatives for the northern route are still largely matters of discussion, definite steps have been taken by three countries to start operation of a southern line.</p>
Luther K. Harris, superintendent of maintenance on the Ludington Lines since their inauguration in 1930, and active in the operation of the Nyrba lines until their absorption by Pan American, was recently appointed assistant to the President of American Airways, to have charge of maintenance on the entire system.
THE recent advertising of the Autogiro Company has been headed by the “What if the the question “What happens if the engine quits?” Thanks to W. W., Jr., of Peekskill, N. Y., we can give the answer, which is : The pilot will be in a “tough spot” and he will be lucky if he escapes a lynching by the outraged natives of America’s backwoods.
Supplementing the statistical issue of AVIATION, March, 1932. Page numbers refer to that issue.
Analysis of the records of air mail carried on contract routes in the United States during the first three months of 1932 shows a decided improvement over the previous year, despite the current depression in all lines of business. The apparent drop in total mail poundage carried represents the effect of a change in routing, which if it could be applied to 1931 figures would reduce them considerably.
THE Fokker works at Amsterdam, Hodand has developed a new singleseater fighter of the D.17 type, fitted with a direct-drive Curtiss Conqueror V-1750 C engine, for the Dutch Army Air Force in the Netherlands East Indies. A special feature which must not be regarded as inherent in the new type is the unusually high landing gear which has been incorporated at the request of the customer due to the nature of their landing fields.
<p>TWO experimental military airplanes have recently been delivered by the B-J Aircraft Corporation to the Army and the Navy respectively. The Army machine, which has reached the service test stage and has been designated as the YP-16, is a two-place biplane with a gull-type upper wing.</p>
FORTY-SIX single-seat fighters of the Hawk type are now being built by the Curtiss Airplane & Motor Company at Buffalo, for delivery to the First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Mich. The latest type is designated as the P-6-E, basically the same as the original P-6 Hawk, but with added refinement in streamlining and in reduction of weight to yield higher performance.
<p>AN airplane convertible at will from a two-seater training biplane to a combat monoplane has recently been delivered to the Italian Air Ministry by the Compania Nazionale Aeronáutica at Reme. The upper wings are of the gull type which permits good visibility upward and forward from the cockpits.</p>
<p>AT THE Loewenthal Flying Field . near Friedrichshafen, Germany, test flights are being conducted on a new quadruple-engined commercial land plane—the Dornier Do.K. Such a machine would be suitable for routes offering no possibilities for emergency landings over long distances.</p>
THE latest Waco Model “A,” described on page 281 of AVIATION for June, may be fitted with the Jacobs 170-hp. plant in addition to the engines previously listed. Mention of the Jacobs installation was omitted in the original article. of his life bound to be in touch with, and interested in, aviation.
Governmental Regulation and Private Airplane Construction
To THE EDITOR : It seems that AVIATION has definitely taken its stand on the side of those who oppose any activity related to flying unless such activity is under the control of those who are at this time “regulating” the science to extinction.
ANEW “pay as you fly” plan of charging for field use was inaugurated at the San Francisco Bay Airdrome, Alameda, Cal., on May 1 by R. U. St. John, field manager. It appears to be more equitable than previous flat hangar charges, and at the same time offers a possibility for increased airport revenue.
A NOVEL method of attracting crowds was employed recently by the Pasadena-Alhambra Airport, Alhambra, Cal., when a week-end dog show was staged at the airport by the Pasadena Kennel Club. An unusually large crowd turned out to see the dogs and to watch a flying program.
THE Curtiss-Wright base at the Grand Central Air Terminal, Glendale, Cal., maintains a fleet of three automobiles for accommodating visiting planes. The Ford station wagon meets arriving planes, other than the airline transports, and carries occupants and baggage to the airport terminal.
FULL fire protection is given San Francisco Municipal Airport by the municipal fire department through the operation of a complete, independent fire station on the field. The fire house is located on the line of hangars and is in charge of a fire marshall on duty twelve hours a day.
IT IS always a problem to reconcile the conflicting needs of easy accessibility of the hangars of an airport from a good highway, of accessibility of the flying field itself from the hangars, and of guarding the flying area against unwarranted intrusion by pedestrians.
A.I.R. ; AN INTERNATIONAL REGISTER OF AIRCRAFT; Paris; 1932; 950 pages; $20 approximately. The International Association of Aircraft Classification Societies, of which the American Bureau of Aircraft is the local member, publishes the tenth annual version of its registry.
WHENEVER the large amphibions or flying boats of Pan American Airways are hauled out of the water at the Dinner Key seaplane base, either on their own wheels or on the specially designed pneumatic-tired beaching gear, a safety blocking device is attached to both wheel axles to prevent the machine from tipping over in case the air pressure in the tires goes down for any reason.
TO facilitate the testing and calibration of gyroscopic instruments on board their airplanes, the Atlanta shops of Eastern Air Transport are making use of a portable electrically driven vacuum pump. Both pump and motor are bolted to a common base plate, which is mounted on swiveling casters for convenience in pushing about the hangar floor and the apron.
FOR expanding cylinder heads to remove and replace valve guides and valve seats, the Thompson Aeronautical Corporation has developed a gas heater adjustable to the various types of engine cylinders. The device consists of a pipe framework which supports near its base a pair of ordinary cooking range gas burners, arranged side by side and close together.
ASIMPLE piece of apparatus which has proved to be highly useful around the field or hangars of the American Airways shops at Dallas, Tex., is a small compressed air tank mounted on a pair of pneumatic-tired wheels and equipped with suitable handles and supporting stands.
MANY industrial plants, especially those connected with the aircraft industry, are becoming so spread out that the time required for mail clerks or messengers to go from place to place entails an appreciable loss. Some plants have provided bicycles for messenger boys, but Eddy Jones, who runs errands and ferries messages around the huge Transcontinental and Western Air hangar at Kansas City, has been equipped with a pair of roller skates.
MORE and more airline repair shops are profiting by a lesson which has taken industry as a whole a good many years to learn—that good housekeeping pays dividends. A clean and orderly shop has a definite psychological reaction, not only on visitors but on employees, and a small amount of money spent in keeping up appearances often yields positive returns in improved quality of work.
Metallurgical Laboratories, Inc., of 1116 West Montgomery Ave., Philadelphia, Pa., exhibited at the Detroit Aircraft Show the prototype of a series of new chairs for transport airplanes. Several basic designs have been produced whose over-all dimensions, finish and upholstery may be modified to suit specific requirements.
The Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company of East Pittsburgh, Pa., has recently supplied the United States Army with a portable radio beacon transmitter. This apparatus will operate in conjunction with a main fixed beacon, the latter being used for the location of the airport and the small transmitter for a designated landing on a particular runway.
<p>The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, has recently produced a low-pressure tire designed for use on transports of the Ford class. With the new Firestone 15.00-16 Air Balloons, the gross load rating for a Ford transport has been increased to 14,000 lb.</p>
A combination safety belt and parachute harness has been developed by the Irvin Chute Company, Inc., of 372 Pearl St., Buffalo, N. Y. The entire equipment, including the parachute and its harness remains in the airplane at all times. The pilot simply climbs into the seat and snaps one set of harness which not only constitutes the parachute attachment but also holds him firmly and comfortably in his seat without a separate safety belt adjustment.
A rather ingenious portable lighting unit for shop, hangar, or garage use is being marketed by the Benjamin Electric Manufacturing Company of Des Plaines, 111. The “Mobilité” device consists of a porcelain enameled steel floodlight reflector with a cover glass protected by a wire guard, mounted on a small threewheeled truck.
Replacement parts for Szekely engines are now available through Air Transport, Inc., of Roosevelt Field, Long Island. The most recent type of reinforced cylinders and crankcases may be obtained from this SOURCE.-AVIATION, July, 1932.
Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company (twelve pages). Photographs and descriptions of famous flights, using Pratt & Whitney engines. Associated Alloy Steel Company, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Description and properties of “Nevastain” alloy steel.