This colour plate previously appeared as the cover to part 14.
This week’s cover shows one of the United States Boeing YB-17 heavy bombers during a landing approach with flaps down/ This type of aircraft has four 1,000 horse-power Wright Cyclone nine-cylinder radial air-cooled engines.
The cover was later used as the colour plate with part 34.
The idea of refuelling a machine in the air is not new. Refuelling was tried experimentally in Great Britain during the later stages of the war of 1914-18; but no progress was made for some years, chiefly because the attendant disadvantages outweighed the possible advantages to the aircraft of the period. Now, however, with modern aeroplanes and apparatus, the possibilities of refuelling during flight are becoming increasingly more interesting. This chapter, by H. B. Curtiss, describes a system whereby aeroplanes have remained inn the air for weeks without landing.
FLYING BOATS AND AMPHIBIANS are used by the United States in Seaboard Control
FLYING BOATS AND AMPHIBIANS are used by the United States as an aid to effective seaboard control. The pilots patrol the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and check smuggling, help disabled ships and give hurricane warnings to small craft lying in the path of an approaching storm.
Great Britain’s traditional insularity was weakened if not destroyed in forty minutes on July 25, 1909, when Louis Bleriot became the first man to cross the English Channel in an aeroplane. This chapter by H. G. Castle, shows that, although Bleriot’s fame rests on his cross-Channel flight, his other contributions to aviation were no less important. The article is the ninth in the series on Makers of Air History and is concluded from part 18.
Engineers Checking the Trueness of an Airframe
EVERY DETAIL OF AN AEROPLANE is checked before a Certificate of Airworthiness is issued by the Air Ministry. This illustration shows engineers checking the trueness of the airframe of an aircraft by means of a plumb-line. The first machine of a new design is known as a “Type Aircraft”. Other machines built to the same design are called “Subsequent Aircraft” and do not have to go through certain special tests before being given a Certificate of Airworthiness.
Whether you prefer to fly in an airship or in an aeroplane, you must, if you pilot either, obey the traffic rules of the airways. It might be assumed that with so large an expanse as the sky m which to manoeuvre it would not be necessary for pilots to have specific traffic regulations. But the aviator’s margin of safety is confined to the distance at which he can see an approaching machine. In clear weather it is seldom possible to see an approaching aeroplane more than a few miles ahead. Poor visibility will restrict this range of vision. Cruising speeds of 200 miles an hour are common today, and two aeroplanes flying towards each other on the same course would approach so quickly that little time would elapse before the machines were level. As it is, regulations exist to reduce to a minimum the possibilities of a collision occurring in normal conditions.
Air traffic rules were first laid down by international agreement in the Convention for the Regulation of Air Navigation signed in Paris in 1919. Most countries of the world were signatories to the agreement, and thus most pilots obey the same traffic rules; these rules are largely based on the Regulations for the Prevention of Collision at Sea. Just as steam vessels at sea must give way to sailing ships, so, in the air, power-driven aircraft must give way to balloons or gliders. Safety regulations exist for aircraft even when they are not flying. When moored, or taxying on water, seaplanes or flying boats must carry lights similar to those displayed by ships. A seaplane at anchor shows a single white riding light forward, normally visible for one mile. If, however, the seaplane has a wing span greater than 150 feet, it must carry, in addition, a white light on either wing-tip. If the machine has a length greater than 150 feet, it must carry a fourth white light on the tail.
Air traffic rules and regulations are numerous and, to the uninitiated, complicated, but a comprehensive knowledge of these rules and of the signals which aircraft must carry is an essential requirement of every pilot engaged in international aviation. In this chapter
T. Stanhope Sprigg describes the traffic rules and regulations for aircraft.
The Area of a Depression
DIFFERENT METHODS of showing wind direction may be used. A wind stocking, such as this one at the Brooklands Flying Club, is the most general type of wind indicator. Other types of indicators are a smoke trail in the centre of the aerodrome, or a revolving wind T. The wind T may be illuminated at night.
HIS SUCCESSFUL ATTACK on the German raider over London during the night of September 2-3 1916, won the VC for Robinson. After a long watch Robinson saw the German airship SL 11 in the beams of searchlights. At his third attack the airship burst into flames and fell near Cuffley, Hertfordshire. The following year Robinson was taken prisoner after a forced landing behind the German lines. He died of influenza at the end of 1918.
First Aviator to Fly the Channel
THE UNDERCARRIAGE WAS DAMAGED and Bleriot himself slightly injured when he landed after his Channel flight. This picture shows Bleriot with his wife beside the monoplane on the day after his flight. No one saw Bleriot land. The first people to arrive were a policeman and a French journalist.
THE HISTORIC SPOT where Bleriot landed is marked today by the figure of an aeroplane cut in stone. Bleriot had intended to land in a field marked by a flag. A strong wind, however, forced him down in a meadow behind Dover Castle. St Margaret’s Bay was the first part of the English coast which Bleriot saw.
In the early days of flying anyone who had the inclination (and, of course, the money) could not only build an aeroplane, but he could also fly it and carry passengers in it without there being any official supervision. There were no standards for designers and constructors to follow. If there was an accident, there was no inquiry into it, except an inquest, should it have been a fatal accident.
All this is changed today. Now, before any machine is allowed to fly in Great Britain, the Air Ministry must be satisfied that it conforms to certain standards; and when an aeroplane does conform to these standards a Certificate of Airworthiness is granted. This is no mere formality, but is granted only after a series of the most exacting tests. The first attempt made by the authorities to introduce such a safeguard was in 1914, when Captain Geoffrey de Havilland was appointed by the Government to the newly-created post of Inspector of Aeroplanes. He had to examine different makes of machines, fly them and report on them. The war held up further official action, but in 1920, when civil aviation was developing rapidly, the Air Navigation Act was passed. This Act carried with it widespread powers. Among other things it provided for the licensing, inspecting and regulating of aerodromes; it gave inspectors free access to aerodromes and to factories to see the work in progress.
When the Act was passed it was criticized for its severity, but the rapid growth of civil aviation since those days has shown that a strict supervision has been imperative. If it has accomplished nothing else - and it has accomplished a great deal - the Act has set a standard of safety. It has destroyed the casual, haphazard methods of designing, and has given aircraft designers a leaf in the right type of development. In this chapter Miles Henslow described work involved in ensuring that the materials and workmanship of British aircraft comply with the Air Ministry standards which have given British civil aviation so high a record of safety.
THE UPPER COMPONENT of the Short-Mayo composite aircraftMercury, undergoing flight trials at Rochester, Kent, where it was built. Every aircraft has to be passed by Air Ministry pilots before a Certificate of Airworthiness is granted. After certain flight tests have been completed the aircraft has to undergo full-load tests. On its tests the Mercury carried 1,200 gallons of petrol for the full-load separation trails from Maia, the lower component of the Short-Mayo composite aircraft. After the separation 1,000 gallons of petrol had to be jettisoned to permit the Mercury to alight with a light load. Thus the jettisoning valves and the inter-compartment valves of the petrol tank - which runs through the wings - were tested at the same time during the trials.
This plate was used as the cover design for part 14.
(Facing page 512)
An Aeroplane Receiving Petrol While in Flight
AN AEROPLANE RECEIVING PETROL while in flight. The machines are those of the American Hunter brothers, who set up an endurance record of 553 hours 40 minutes over Chicago in 1930. Their record was beaten by nearly 100 hours in 1935 by two other brothers, A. and F. Key, who remained in the air for more than twenty seven days. This photograph was taken over Los Angeles during experimental tests.
Many and varied are the fields of enterprise into which the aeroplane had found its way in recent years. Its advent has revolutionized old-established industries. All over the world aircraft have been used for purposes scarcely contemplated by the pioneers of flight. In this chapter,
T. Stanhope Sprigg describes how governments and private enterprises cooperate with aircraft. The article is concluded in part 20.