THE American people emerged from the World War the possessors of an inter-allied debt problem, a strong suspicion of all things European, and several thousand DH-4 airplanes. The debt problem is still very much present; the DH-4s are gone, but before they disappeared they had had a mighty effect on the development of American aviation, alike in military and in commercial application.
THERE are many open questions in air transport. There are many points on which it has not yet been possible, or has not yet been thought desirable, to develop uniformity of practice. We have undertaken, with the very generous co-operation of almost all of the leaders of American air transport activity, to find out how far there is uniformity of opinion.
<p>THE saga of the early transcontinental air mail is replete with the names of Elko, Cheyenne, Omaha, Chicago and Bellefonte—goals sought, sometimes in vain, by weary-eyed pilots “pushing the mails” through darkness, fog and storm —men whose names and exploits are now written indelibly into the traditions of the service.</p>
THE practice of using only one engine is very much under discussion at the present time. For purposes of this discussion we may neglect ships so small that only one engine is practically possible. Mail planes of the past came in that category, and led to a technique and conception of operations which have penetrated into the quite different field of passenger flying.
WHERE will transport flying be three years from now, or six, or ten? Will its principal patronage be derived from transcontinental passengers, or from those going only a couple of hundred miles? Will commuters hurry daily to the airport to catch the 5:18 from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, the 5:23 from New York to the Berkshires, or the 5:47 from Chicago to the Northern Peninsula of Michigan?
DIRECT from headquarters comes the detailed information about personnel and equipment given in the accompanying tabulation. A brief questionnaire was sent to each of the more important lines now active in the air transport field, and they cooperated practically 100 per cent in supplying the information requested.
TRANSPORT operators have been extremely slow to release detailed information on operating costs. By bringing together material from several scattered sources, however, it has been possible to build up a table of cost distribution over a period of several years which shows certain significant trends.
THE folk lore of primitive peoples is filled with tales of direct revelations from the gods in the form of mysterious voices out of the clouds. Certain back-country tribes along the Iraq-Kurdistan frontier have had ample reason recently to reaffirm their belief in such celestial phenomena, for the Royal Air Force has made use of powerful loud speakers mounted on aircraft to simulate the voice of the local deity and thus to issue proclamations designed to steer the wild tribesmen along a course in line with governmental policy.
FLYING by instruments is not mysterious. Neither is it a new phase of air piloting. But it is still treated by a great many pilots with something akin to awe, and the things one often hears said about it are strongly reminiscent of Josh Billings’ famous observation that “it’s better not to know so much than to know so much that ain’t so.”
THE utilization of engine exhaust heat as a means of preventing the formation of ice on airplane wings has often been suggested, but there has been little quantitative information upon which to base any really explicit conclusions on the value of the method.
<p>HERETOFORE the only method of approaching perfection in synchronizing engines on multi-engined airplanes has been by ear—pilots adjusting throttles until the disappearance of audible beats indicates that the vibration periods of all engines are in phase.</p>
IN one of the books about the war in the air there is a tale of how the news of the signing of the armistice came up to the front. A pursuit pilot of unblemished reputation and unquestioned courage heard the report and fell into a daze, and went about muttering to himself:
MORE passengers were carried on American airlines during the first five months of 1932 than during the first six months of last year, despite the general business conditions which have made reports of traffic decreases the order of the day in other transport industries.
<p>Air transport facilities were made available to many Middle Western communities by recent inter-system traffic agreements between Transamerican Airlines and two surface networks, Greyhound Bus Lines and Eastern Michigan Railways.</p>
Pan American Airways, which last spring arranged for joint exploitation of the sub-Arctic air route to Europe first investigated by Transamerican Airlines Corporation during 1931 [AVIATION, May, 1932] recently acquired all the concessions and other operating agreements previously procured along the northern route.
By the agreement of seven important airlines to exchange express business with each other and to prepare a uniform waybill enabling shipments to move without delay from one line to another the first national air express system for the distribution of general cargoes was created on July 10.
As climax to its successful debut in European air transport came the introduction of the Lockheed Orion to the French aeronautical world at Le Bourget. Purchased by Swissair for its Zurich-Vienna express service, it was flown by Walter Mittelholzer, Swiss pilot famous for his explorations and intercontinental journeys, from Zurich to Paris at an average of 186 m.p.h. with four passengers for a brief exhibition at the French airport.
Design competitions announced by the Navy a few months ago resulted in contracts for experimental planes with two manufacturers. The B-J Aircraft Corporation of Baltimore will build a single-seater fighter, XF3-J1, powered with a double row radial engine of 600 hp., carrying two machine guns and costing $98,000.
The Los Angeles, which last year surrendered its title to the larger Akron, on June 30 gave up 60 per cent of its helium for the use of the newer ship, and now rests in the Naval Air Station dock at Lakehurst, out of commission. Built in Germany for the United States as an item of reparations under agreement that it was never to be used for military purposes, the Los Angeles was once the only rigid airship in service in the world, and chief experimental and training craft for the lighter-than-air branch of the service.
The attempt of James Mattem and Bennett Griffin to break the round-theworld record of Post and Gatty ended in a peat bog near Borisov, Russia, about 650 miles east of Berlin, due to a damaged stabilizer, but not before they had chalked up several new records for consolation, Though fog over Nova Scotia had made them two hours and a half behind the Post-Gatty schedule leaving Harbor Grace, a record Atlantic crossing of 10 hours 50 minutes, and a non-stop flight to Berlin (the first ever made from America) enabled the two ex-army fliers to leave the German capital almost eleven hours ahead on the basis of elapsed time in the race.
Outstanding among the new aircraft selected for exhibition in New Type Park and for demonstration in the flypast parade which was a feature of the Thirteenth Royal Air Force Display at Hendon on June 25 were two twinengined night bombers, and an enormous four-engined troop-carrier accommodating 30 armed infantrymen.
An innovation of the National Air Races at Cleveland this year is the sponsorship of closed course races by airplane manufacturers. The Stinson Aircraft Corporation has established the Edward A. Stinson Memorial Trophy with a $1,000 prize purse to be competed for annually by owners of Lycoming-powered Stinson planes, in five laps over a four-mile course.
With a 50-minute flight by Warren E. Eaton, president of the Soaring Society of America, in his black and white Franklin utility glider, the third National Soaring Contest at Elmira was officially opened. The American glides distance record of 20 miles, first established by Hawley Bowlus at Elmira last August, has been broken three times to date; first by Jack O’Meara in a 55-mile flight, later by Martin Schempp with 65 miles, and again by O’Meara when he soared in his remodelled Darmstadt sailplane to Tunkhannock, Pa., 75 air-miles from the starting point.
With the approach of Congressional summer recess come final decisions on many bills which have been the subject of weeks of debate. As finally written, the 1933 Naval appropriation bill, allowing $25,245,420 for naval aviation, provides for flight pay for all aviators now on duty, but requires cancellation of the flight orders of a number of non-flyers, lighter-than-air students and aerologists.
K. A. Kennedy, formerly head of the Extension and Promotion Departments of the Boeing School of Aeronautics, at Oakland, Cal., was appointed general traffic manager for United Air Lines upon the resignation of Stanley E. Knauss. Mr. Kennedy will be succeeded at the Boeing School by Walter van Haitsma.
SOME of the most successful, or at least widely read, columns lately have been based entirely on the average man’s appetite for scandal. It has suddenly occurred to us that we have been overlooking a good bet in not offering AVIATION readers enticing bits of scandal about leaders in the industry, in fact we are ashamed to admit that there has not been a single law suit over anything we’ve printed herein.
IN the decision to purchase a fleet of new transport airplanes, United Air Lines has, in the selection of the final Boeing design, established a precedent which may be of significance in the development of commercial aviation in this country.
AS A result of flight testing by the Department of Commerce, a standard four-place cabin Waco has been licensed on Edo Model 3300 floats fitted with water rudders. As a seaplane, the Waco has an official empty weight of 2,023 lb. and was licensed for a gross weight of 3,250 lb., giving it a useful load of 1,227 lb.
Designed to replace the Venturi used to operate suction driven aircraft instruments such as turn indicators, artificial horizon and gyro-compasses, a small engine driven vacuum pump has recently been put on the market by Eclipse Aviation Corporation, of East Orange, N. J.
A modification of the original Gyro Horizon has recently been announced by the Sperry Gyroscope Company, Inc., of Brooklyn, N. Y. The new instrument is the same size as the older model but is one pound lighter. As before, it simulates the natural horizon, showing the plane’s position both longitudinally and laterally when flying blind, but has the added feature of a calibrated indicator to give the exact degree of BANK.-AVIATION, August, 1932.
To protect the leading edges of wings and tail surfaces against abrasion from rain, hail, or flying sand or cinders, the B. F. Goodrich Company of Akron, Ohio, has developed rubber abrasion shoes. The installation is similar to that of the “de-icer” without inflation tubes or compressed air equipment.
Chart-A-Graph, Inc., 235 Seventh Avenue, New York, is distributing a new device on which a wide variety of graphs or charts may be plotted. It consists of a wooden frame surrounding a blackened background over the surface of which a set of strings is stretched, both horizontally and vertically. The strings are, in effect, endless belts,—half of the length of each being black, and the other half white.
A new combination of transport aircraft chair and parachute has just been announced by the Switlik Parachute & Equipment Company of Trenton, N. J. The parachute pack forms the back of the chair, and in emergencies, may be quickly attached to the occupant by means of a harness and two snaps.