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  < Back to Table Of Contents  < Back to Topic: Create & Innovate Plus Home Made Gifts & Games

article number 698
article date 01-04-2018
copyright 2018 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Our Technology, 1922 - Part 3: Little Advancement In Flight . . . But Big Dreams
by Various Popular Science Magazine Writers
   

From issues of Popular Science Monthly, 1922.

* * *

Injured Man Carried on Airplane Wing

IN the inland jungles of Haiti, a man had been badly mangled in an accident. To save his life it was imperative to carry him to a hospital at once. Hours of jolting over the rough roads was unthinkable, so the physician telegraphed for an airplane, and soon Lieut. Kenneth B. Collings, of the Marine Corps, arrived at Maissade in his plane.

Transportation of the sick and wounded by air is a common occurrence in Haiti, where the roads are bad and at times infested by bandits.

This case, however, was an unusual one. The man had been badly hurt. Both of his thighs were broken and he was in splints, so that it was impossible for him to sit in the cockpit, or even to be carried there. His condition was critical, and Lieutenant Collings decided to rush the journey with the patient strapped to the wing of his plane.

The man was bandaged to the eyes, covered by a blanket, and securely lashed to a six-foot plank. A helmet and goggles were slipped over his head, and he was placed on the lower wing, where he was tied by straps secured to the wing supports and the fuselage.

The weight on the wings made flying “rather difficult,” comments the official report. It was nearly impossible to keep the plane balanced, and Collings had to be constantly “on the stick,” that is, manipulating his controls, in order to make the trip safely.

The patient was delivered at the hospital, however, within thirty-five minutes. Hours or days would have been required to make the trip over the rough Haitian roads.

   
The patient on an improvised stretcher, was lashed to tie wire supports and fuselage.

Plane’s Fuel Cost only Two Cents a Mile

THE Fokker monoplane illustrated is believed to hold the record for economical fuel consumption. It recently carried five passengers 228 miles between Washington and New York at a cost of $5.80 for gas and oil.

This machine is one of the commercial planes that is being widely developed in Europe. The passengers are carried in an enclosed limousine body, and every effort is made to streamline the entire car to reduce air resistance and fuel consumption. The gasoline tank, for example, is carried in the interior of the metal wing.

The maximum speed is 110 miles an hour, and the carrying capacity five passengers and the pilot.

   
Fokker monoplane carries five passengers and a pilot.

Monoplane Flying-Boat Sets Altitude Record

PILOTED by David McCulloch, this Loening monoplane flying-boat rising over Port Washington, Long Island, reached an official altitude of 19,500 feet, the record for hydro-airplanes. Four passengers were carried during the flight, which was made to demonstrate carrying capacity rather than to determine the “ceiling” of the plane.

While the record is not remarkable compared with that of land planes with their present record of 40,800 feet, it is a noteworthy performance in view of the fact that passengers were carried. Furthermore, the record was made without the use of superchargers and oxygen tanks usually considered essential in high-altitude work.

Since the altitude record was made, this plane has flown from Philadelphia to New York with four passengers at a speed of 171 miles an hour.

   
Loening monoplane flying-boat which set the altitude record.

The Day of the Air Flivver Has Dawned

Here are the latest baby planes designed to provide rapid transit at low cost for business men and sportsmen.

Photos from V. M. Kellett.

* * *

Weighing only 652 pounds, with a wing spread of twenty feet and a height of seven feet, this single-passenger plane can be driven ninety miles an hour on a gasoline consumption of only four and one half gallons.

   
652 pound single-passenger plane. 90 miles an hour.

Baby planes cost little more than a good motor-car and are no more expensive to operate. They attain a speed of one hundred or more miles an hour with a fuel consumption of three or four gallons.

An air motorcyclette, so called, made in France, and driven by a sixteen-horsepower engine. The pilot sits unprotected in an open cockpit seat while the plane reels off its fifty-eight miles an hour.

   
"Air motorcyclette."

To make landings in confined spaces, baby planes are designed for low landing-speeds. This “airster,” weighing six hundred pounds, has a landing-speed of only thirty miles an hour. One feature is its interchangeable wings.

   
Baby plane with interchangeable wings. Landing-speed, 30 miles an hour.

The next baby plane is unique in its four instead of two landing-wheels. All parts of the plane are constructed of the newly discovered metal, duralumin, which provides strength with lightness.

   
Baby plane with four landing-wheels.

With a speed of from sixteen to eighty-seven miles an hour, this trim-looking plane is yet small enough to be handled by one man. It can take off or land in a fifty-yard field.

   
Trim-looking biplane.

The triplane pictured here is but sixteen feet wide and weighs only 440 pounds. In spite of its small dimensions it has a maximum speed of ninety-two miles an hour.

   
Triplane is sixteen feet wide and weighs only 440 pounds.

Air Beacon for London-to-Paris Flyers

BEACONS for aviators located in the famous flying-field at Croydon, England, the terminus of the London-to-Paris air lines, are constructed so as to be seen at a great distance without dazzling the pilots by too much glare. Lighthouse lenses of medium intensity are used at the top of the beacon.

This powerful light can be picked up at a great distance. As the plane approaches the field, the pilot sees a white spot of light caused by powerful incandescent lamps reflecting downward and inward on to the white cone.

The beacon is not intended to illuminate the landing-field, but to point out a certain definite spot with the location of which the pilot is already familiar, so that he is able to approach the landing-field in the proper direction.

As he starts to land, the field is illuminated by searchlights which reveal objects on the ground in clear relief.

   
Powerful reflectors light up the white cone as a signal to guide the pilot to the landing-field from great distances.

Coasting in the Air Becomes the World’s Most Thrilling Sport

American Flying Enthusiasts Experiment with Novel Motorless Soaring Machine.
YANKEE imaginations, set whirring by the lately discovered possibilities of soaring flight, are already turning to glider experiments.

Neglected by us, until recently revived in Germany, this great new sport of air coasting is now certain to win its due from the land of the brothers Wright — and even you who read this may some day find yourself soaring, motorless like a bird high over towns and valleys, with only the wind to rely on.

"GO!”

At your command, men at the wing-tips release their hold. A giant sling snaps your engineless plane from the high hillside out into the air to soar above the countryside without power other than that supplied by the veering wind and the force of gravity.

How far can you and your plane rise above the starting-point? How far can you travel before you are forced to land? It will all depend on your daring, on your skill in taking advantage of favorable winds and on your machine design.

That is soaring—the newest sport—destined, perhaps, to become as popular as speedway races and gridiron battles. The sport was born when the Wright brothers and other daring pioneers in aviation made their early experiments with gliders. Today air-coasting is coming into its own as a spectacular pastime, while giving promise, as well, of new contributions to aviation.

The success of the spectacular German gliding and soaring contests in the Rhöne hills, described in the January issue of POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, has already resulted in the announcement of a similar contest to be held in France next July.

It is very probable that other competitions will be held during the summer in the United States, where individuals and organizations are becoming actively interested. The Aero Science Club of America, for one is already at work on an engineless soaring machine.

   
The motorless tandem soaring machine, designed by the Aero Science Club, is flung into the eddying air currents by means of a rope sling, as shown above.

Although the sport is still in its infancy, experts of the above-named organization believe the tandem type of glider will eventually prove most successful, and in consequence their machine consists of a fuselage with double, or tandem, wings and a fish-tail rudder. The operator sits in the center of the narrow, cylindrical fuselage and takes advantage of every favorable puff of wind by quick movements of the “stick” and foot controls.

The wings of this model are of the cantilever type, very thick in cross section, and have a pronounced sweep back. An aileron is provided for each of the four wing-tips.

The proportional area of the ailerons is much greater than that of the motor-driven plane.

Because of improved knowledge of wing design, the glider of to-day is a reasonably safe machine. In the recent great German meet only one serious accident occurred.

At present, the use of skids for landing-gear appears to be satisfactory, as is the catapult system of launching adopted by the Germans:

Short pieces of strong elastic, such as strips cut from an old inner tube, are spliced into a rope about 40 feet long. The rope is slipped around the landing-gear of the glider while it rests on the summit or side of a bill. Two men hold the tips of the glider’s wings. The rest of the launching party, grasping the ends of the rope, walk downhill until they have stretched the elastic as far as possible.

At a word from the flyer, the men holding the wings let go, and the others run rapidly downhill. The snap of the elastics, augmented by the run, give the glider a quick toss into the air.

The unusual large surfaces enable the pilot to keep the plane on an even keel when it is moving through the air very slowly.

   
To start this triplane glider on its flight, the operator runs down the hillside until lifted by air currents.

New Birdlike Wings for Airplane Save Power

SUCCESSFUL tests of a new form of airplane wing modeled after the wings of soaring birds may result in radical changes in airplane design in the future. This prediction is generally made following a recent demonstration of the “Alula” wing, illustrated and described in POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY for February, 1921.

In the test flight the trial airplane reached a height of 3000 feet in 72 seconds—demonstrating the excellent lift of the wings. These resemble those of a bird both in outline and cross-section, as each is arched at the center and tapers away to a point at the tips.

In the ordinary airplane wing there is considerable loss of power and lift due to inefficiency at the tips, but the new model is said to utilize the entire lifting surface efficiently.

The wing has a surface of single-ply mahogany built on ribs, with stretcher pieces lying between the ribs. Because of the varying curvature of the wing, spars of the usual type are impossible.

   
Birdlike wings: Because of the varying curvature of the wing, spars of the usual type are impossible.

Triplane at Paris Show Has Novel Wing Design

A TRIPLANE, exhibited at the recent Paris aerial show, was pronounced a unique departure from established lines, particularly in wing arrangement. The lowest plane is the largest and the upper the smallest. The struts are so arranged that they form a system of triangular trusses that make bracing wires unnecessary.

Instead of being mounted in the fuselage, the engine is in a separate “power egg” hung between the top and bottom planes. The cockpit for the pilot is in the fuselage, just behind the wings, and slightly below and to the rear of the engines. The machine is a hydroplane, and an attempt seems to have been made to add to the lift of the wings by altering the conventional lines of the boat hull.

   
Triplane at Paris Show. ©K.&H.

What’s the Matter with Flying in America?

By William Mitchell, Brigadier General, U. S. Army, Assistant Chief of Air Service.

* * *

Europe Outstrips Us at Our Own Game.

WE Americans invented the airplane. We taught the world to fly. With a marvelous spurt, we built nearly 16,000 airplanes and nearly 50,000 airplane engines in 18 war months. We established the world’s first and finest regular postal air service.

And to-day we have nearly killed this epochal industry that our own inventive genius created! Only about 150 planes were built last year. No commercial airplane line on regular passenger schedule was operated.

Meanwhile, Europe was being crisscrossed by scores of airliners.

Other Nations Are Active

We have allowed every other principal country to outstrip us in airplane design, in airplane construction, and in the commercial use of planes. Every principal country is likewise outstripping us in aeronautical appropriations and in the encouragement of flying—military, naval, commercial.

What is the matter with flying in America?

Isn’t it up to the public to answer?

For the only thing the matter with aviation in this country is that there’s so mighty little of it! And may not the lack of public support for the airplane industry largely account for that?

Certainly the reason the world has beaten us in aviation isn’t that airplanes are not available, for we have a score of bona fide, experienced manufacturers on a producing basis just aching to sell machines.

It isn’t that aircraft are not popular, for somewhere in the country there are 14,550 army and navy pilots and observers, and hundreds of thousands of admiring civilians who want to fly.

It isn’t that aircraft are uneconomic, for more than sufficient proof has been given of a hundred everyday uses to which they can be immediately put, with savings in time, money, and energy.

It isn’t because of prohibitive or annoying legislation, for there is none that is worth speaking of.

And surely it isn’t because these craft are impractical, for the daily operation of passenger routes all over the world—save in America—proves beyond cavil their reliability. And America can add the proof of its own incomparable air mail service.

Four companies have been operating continuously between Paris and London—two French and two British. These make the cross-Channel journey in three hours or less, with the fare one way somewhere about $31.50.

The London-Brussels trip is made in 2 hours and 45 minutes; the London-Rotterdam-Amsterdam trip in about 4 hours; the Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam, in 4 hours and 25 minutes; the Paris-Strassburg-Prague-Warsaw in 12 hours and 30 minutes; Toulouse-Barcelona-Alicante-MalagaRabat -Casablanca, four times a week, in less than 32 hours—and so on.

During 1920, 10 French major commercial air companies maintained regular air traffic over important continental routes, in a radius touching points as far apart as Prague and Casablanca. A great air port has been created at Marseilles, the gateway to French influence in Africa; and another at Constantinople, the door to the Orient.

Network of Airplane Routes

In 1920, these firms made 2370 trips, covering, roughly, about 293,610 miles. They carried 108,568 pounds of freight and 6510 pounds of mail. In August alone of 1921 the French lines carried 2473 passengers and over 37,000 pounds of freight. The Compagnie Franco-Roumaine has a Paris office twice as large as the French transatlantic steamship line.

Germany has a network of airplane routes and, until of late, airship routes as well. Two of the large concerns operating airplanes over these routes, carrying passengers and mail, have connections with great shipping concerns that have turned to aeronautics for their endeavors, coincident with the loss of shipping. These routes, too, operate successfully and usually on time.

In the 166,600 miles flown by one make of airplane over various German routes in 1921, 693 trips—or 95 per cent of those scheduled—were successfully completed. The routes flown over varied from 180 to 270 miles in length.

   
MAP: How Europe’s Air Lines Would Serve Eastern United States. A map of Europe, showing its commercial air lines, is superimposed on a map of the eastern United State, revealing how European routes would link up our thickly populated districts.

America Far Behind

But in America not a single passenger air line has been in regular commercial operation between any two cities, despite all these proofs of efficiency that foreign countries provide.

This means that our manufacturers are hard hit. Airplane making members of the Aircraft Manufacturers’ Association, re presenting nearly the entire bona fide operating industry, built but 76 airplanes in 1920, and 142 in 1921, to October 1. The army and navy took 21 of these in 1920, and 142 in 1921, and the Post Office two in 1920.

Compare these figures with the production of American aircraft factories during the 18 months of war. In that brief effort our factories turned out 16,000 planes.

Yet, gloomy as it may seem, the picture is not without its cheering aspects. In the situation today are the seeds of growth and promise.

Public Interested in Flying

The American public has always been interested in aeronautics, first of all, from the point of view of the looker-on. It has always taken advantage of every opportunity to fly. And there is a vast number of persons interested in aeronautics very especially.

The war brought into active touch with every phase of military and naval aeronautics 219,977 men from every state in the Union and from her possessions. There were in the Army Air Service a total of 20,708 commissioned officers and 174,469 enlisted men. In naval aeronautics there were 2800 officers and 22,000 enlisted men.

Of these, a big percentage are actual flyers—ready for the coming of aerial travel. The army graduated from elementary flying training 12,000 officers, pilots, and observers, and the navy 2100 pilots alone. A goodly share of the airplane pilots can be called expert flyers, the kind that will be needed for the pilots of air routes.

Future Big with Possibilities

Here is a potential market for privately owned airplanes—were the cost within the range of the pocketbook. Here is a big group of intimately interested people who may be counted on to jump into the game as soon as there seems some feasible outlook for their endeavors. They are watching developments.

Of these trained men many are already in aeronautics, so far as they can be. The army has something like 8400 pilots, observers, and non-flyers, and the navy 1660 officers in the reserves.

Similarly all over the country there is a constant undercurrent of activity awaiting the floodtime. Here and there individuals and little companies are endeavoring to start small businesses—giving exhibitions, teaching flying, doing passenger carrying, making aerial photographs and maps, and planning express and passenger service.

There are over 150 companies who consider themselves manufacturers; and there are over 100 claiming to be in the exhibition-flying-passenger class.

Just as in personnel, so in engineering facilities, America has the possibilities of a vast development:
◦ The Army Air Service has its own engineering and experimental laboratory and plant; the navy likewise.
◦ The Bureau of Standards has a number of laboratories working in aeronautics.
◦ The Bureau of Mines is concerned with the investigation of fuels, helium, alloys, etc.
◦ The Forest Products Laboratory has to do with aircraft woods.
◦ The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics determines miscellaneous experimental problems to be attacked, has its own laboratory, and is supposed to coordinate all government agencies.
◦ The National Research Council cooperates in instruments, signaling, photography, and the like.
◦ The Engineer Corps of the army, the Air Service, the Board of Surveys and Maps, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, and the United States Geological Survey have all been concerned in aerial mapping;
◦ and there are still other agencies that certainly will later he concerned with the aerial photograph.

What the Government is Doing

◦ The Post Office operates the airplane mail, and experiments on and reconstructs airplanes and radio.
◦ The Weather Bureau, Signal Corps, and the navy are all concerned with radio broadcasting of weather information, which is indispensable to aerial traffic.
◦ The Forest Service and the Army Air Service cooperate in airplane protection for national forests, and the
◦ Bureau of Entomology and Bureau of Fisheries have utilized Army Air Service in their work.\
◦ The United States Coast Guard has already established an air station on the coast, with planes obtained from the navy.

There are the beginnings of a great aeronautical development, too, in the landing fields that are being established throughout the country. The Army Air Service has done much along this line in the past two years, having flown hundreds of thousands of miles over new territory.

Nearly two thousand fields have been located and their characteristics recorded and published. Many of these are municipally or privately owned, and prepared with markers, landing tee sand, housing, with fuel and oil and spares. Lists of these have been published. There is now a Blue Book of the air, giving all known data concerning these fields.

   
William Mitchell, Brigadier General, U. S. Army, Assistant Chief of Air Service.

Towns Mapped on Sample Route

A sample route is in operation between Washington and Dayton, Ohio, via Moundsville, W. Va. It is traveled over incessantly by army flyers. This was established as an experiment and as a guide for the mapping of routes by civil firms. Along this line towns are marked in accordance with the international system adopted by the International Air Convention.

The Weather Bureau also is active aeronautically. It is now in a position to furnish information in advance of flight as to fog, smoke, winds, visibility, and the like, having 132 stations scattered all over the United States, from which information may be had by any pilot upon application.

To the army and to the navy, incidentally, there is valuable meteorological information from other stations. The navy has a number, and the Signal Corps is expanding its meteorological project from the present 20 stations to as many military posts as have units of the Air Service.

On the experimental airway between Washington and Dayton, and Washington and New York, well developed systems of information and supply already exist.

But most promising, perhaps, of all indications that America is prepared for a vast aeronautical development, is the fact that the American public is awakening to the safety and entire practicability of the airplane.

No example of this demonstrated practicability is better known to the American public than our own air mail. Last winter, and the winter before that, when storms came and the wind blew and the rain and hail and fog made terrestrial travel an abomination, mail pilots were flying above, below, around, and through the clouds and storms in the actual delivery of mail. They flew when the “tin Lizzie” stayed in the barn. They completed 88.82 per cent of all attempted flights.

From the inception of the air mail on May 15, 1918, to October 1, 1921, mail planes have flown 26,215 airplane hours over routes. Many more hours have really been flown in tests, deliveries, etc. So far as records show—and one cannot go back of these—the distance flown is 3,881,648 airplane miles, the equivalent of more than 123 times around the world.

The ratio of fatalities to airplane hours flown is but one death to every 133,984 miles.

On three of the routes of the Rumpler Air Line in Germany, the percentage of reliability ran from 81 to 96.6 per cent, ten trips being defaulted on account of bad weather.

These figures represent possibilities at their worst. Civil flying for sport and for general commercial uses, save transportation, perhaps, will be done only in fairly decent weather, the same as houses are built, automobile tours made, baseball played, and so on.

The public is learning that the airplane is practicable. It is learning, too, that it is safe. In three years of passenger flying in the United States, “Eddie” Stinson has carried 8000 people without an accident. In covering 744,000 miles in 1919 and 1920, the regular and permanent French air lines, according to the veteran pioneer, Henri Farman, has had but seven fatalities—or one for every 106,000 miles. The operators of Fokker airplanes over routes connecting London, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Bremer, Hamburg, Danzig, Konigsberg, Memel, Riga, between April 1 and September 1, flew 166,000 miles without accident.

Dangers Are Exaggerated

“The dangers of airplane transportation may be largely exaggerated,” says an insurance company in its book, “Airplanes and Safety.” There are now many insurance companies writing aircraft insurance as a part of their regular business. Aerial insurance is written as compensation for flyers or ground employees, for the machines themselves, and passenger hazard, against suits arising from injury to the public, individual accident insurance, and the like. Is it not interesting to see an insurance company publishing an optimistic work on safety in flying?

There are reasons for encouragement, also, in the cost figures. in a recent competition, trips were made between New London, Conn., and New York, and between Port Washington, Long Island, and New York, carrying passengers at a cost of 14.7 cents a mile.

So it is that the proved economy and reliability of aircraft point to the inevitable coming, sooner or later, of regular passenger air service in America. But its coming will be delayed unless sane, comprehensive aeronautical legislation receives strong public support.

THE only thing the matter with aviation in this country is that there’s so mighty little of it. And may not the lack of public support largely account for that?”—Brig. Gen. William Mitchell.

   
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Easy to build and fly. Send $2.50 for the complete set of blue prints, and price list of all parts. IRWIN AIRCRAFT Co., Sacramento, Cal.

First All-Metal Transatlantic Plane Will Carry Twenty

TO realize the dream of a giant air express, giving regular passenger service across the Atlantic, an all-metal airplane has been constructed in the Paris plant of Louis Breguet, noted French aeronautical engineer.

This new air leviathan, which is awaiting finishing touches before embarking on its trial voyage, weighs 13 tons, and has a wing surface of 250 square meters. Its most striking safety feature is its power plant, which consists of four motors, synchronized and geared to a single propeller, yet acting independently so that if one motor breaks down, the other three will continue to function. They will generate 1250 horsepower and will move the plane at a speed of from 160 to 190 miles an hour.

Metal is used throughout the fuselage, latticed girders of duralumin forming the frames, and the longerons, or longitudinal members, being of duralumin tubes.

From the maker’s preliminary figures this construction will give one of the lightest large-size machines ever built, since the weight empty is only 6600 pounds for a 20-passenger plane, and the weight loaded amounts to 7700 pounds. Both lightness and safety have been found essential for success on the long runs between Paris and Algiers.

Not a piece of wood or cloth is to be found in the entire plane, except for the propeller. This all-metal construction eliminates two of the greatest dangers—fire and the tearing of the cloth-covered fuselage, dangers that have hindered passenger-airplane development.

The duralumin girders have been stamped out of flat sheets and corrugated to withstand loads in compression, somewhat after the fashion of Zeppelin girders. Instead of crossing each other, however, the lattice bars make a series of zigzags.

The pilot’s seat is placed far back on the fuselage. Passengers will be carried in a large cabin immediately behind the engines in the very nose of the plane, their seats being placed on top of the plane’s gasoline tanks. The walls of this cabin are also covered with sheets of corrugated metal only 0.015 inch thick, instead of wood or fabric, although fabric will be used in the remainder of the fuselage.

   
The four engine units are geared to a single propeller. If one fails, the others continue to function.
   
The position of the motors in the nose of the plane is indicated by the dotted lines.
   
Lattice girders of duralumin form the frames of the fuselage. No cloth or wood is used in construction.

Biplane Folds Its Wings to Speed Along Highways

WHEN the roads are bad, a new combination auto and airplane of French design simply unfolds its wings and flies.

When the air is bad, the machine folds its wings back against the fuselage and an extra pair of wheels in the rear drop to the
ground for a spin along the road. Since these wheels lift the tail well off the ground, the fuselage, steered by an aerial rudder, can travel the highways like any motor-car, using a little extra precaution in rounding sharp turns.

When not in use, the rear under carriage folds up inside the fuselage.

A small 10-horsepower auxiliary engine supplies the power for road travel and a car-type drive with four speeds and a reverse transmits the power to the two main airplane wheels.

Aerodynamically the new plane is of the tractor type and is intended for sport use. It will find favor, it is expected, with those who like to fly for amusement, but who live at a distance from large fields, and accordingly must “taxi” along the roads to reach the nearest airdrome. The model is said to possess fair speed and carrying power.

Normally the machine proceeds tail first along the road, although the reverse drive enables it to travel nose first if necessary. It is capable of a road speed of 35 miles an hour.

   
For road driving, wings of the auto-airplane fold back against the fuselage, and extra wheels at the rear lift the tail.
   
For flight, the machine unfolds its wings and draws up its rear wheels.

The Sky Is the Limit for Airplanes

By GROVER C. LOENING, Head of Loening Aeronautical Engineering Co.

* * *

TEN years ago, when I predicted a speed of 100 miles an hour for airplanes, the prophesy seemed fantastic. Today 150 miles is common. The Atlantic has been crossed in 16 hours, while the United States may be crossed to-day in 48.

The airplane capable of a sustained speed of 200 miles an hour will probably soon be realized.

The next great step in flying will be the perfection of some new and better means of driving the machines. Instead of the cumbersome combustion engines and fuel tanks, the machines may be driven by compressed-air jets. An immense increase in speed and cargo space will thus result.

The future form of the airplane is uncertain. The monoplane has proved to have so many advantages, that development may lie along this line.

   
Loening S-1 monoplane.gif

How Cable Guides Airplane Pilots at Night

BY modifying his famous system of piloting ships by means of a submerged cable through which an alternating current passes, creating a magnetic field, Lieut. William Loth, a French aviator, has perfected a method of guiding airplanes through clouds and at night. The invention has already been investigated and approved for use by the operators of a commercial air line between London and Paris.

The airplane guiding cable is stretched above ground and between posts.

In studying the lines of force of the magnetic field surrounding the cable, the inventor used an apparatus consisting of a frame wound with an induction coil and mounted like a ship’s compass. The induction coil may be connected either with a telephone circuit or a galvanometer.

Aviator Tests Magnetic Field

By a series of tests, Lieutenant Loth ascertained that the induction in the coil practically cease when the plane of the frame forms a tangent to the lines of force of the field. In that position the sound in the telephone receiver is almost inaudible and the galvanometer shows only a minimal deviation.

Having ascertained the form and extent of the magnetic field of the cable, the inventor mounted three frames, wound with copper coils, on the tail of an airplane. Two of these coil frames are vertical, one longitudinally, the other at right angles to the airplane’s longitudinal axis. The third frame is placed horizontally and also at right angles to the longitudinal axis.

The two vertical coils locate the direction of the cable; the horizontal coil searches it while the airplane is at great height.

The sounds are received by a telephone circuit.

When the line of flight is parallel to the line of the cable, the pilot hears the maximum sound through the vertical longitudinal coil. If he crosses the line, the sound becomes weaker.

By following the varying intensity, the pilot can make a safe landing in the darkest night.

   
Three coil frames, mounted on the airplane tail assembly, and connected with a telephone receiver, indicate the position of the plane in relation to the guiding cable. Insert shows the apparatus with which preliminary tests were made.

Airplane Carries Engine in Hinged Nose

AMAZING lightness and reliability have been obtained in a new 400-horsepower air-cooled radial airplane engine, the first of its type to pass the British Air Ministry’s exacting tests, which include a 50-hour continuous run under full load.

The weight of the engine is slightly less than two pounds to the horsepower, and the fuel consumption is only six tenths of a pint to the horsepower hour.

The radial motor is not only light, but is shorter and more compact than the water-cooled type. Its circular shape adapts it to mounting in the front of the fuselage. In fact, a standard mounting is provided that can be fitted to the end bulkhead of any plane, in such a way that the engine can be removed easily for repairs.

Cylinders of the radial engine do not revolve, but the connecting rods of all nine cylinders are attached to one common crank, with the propeller acting as a flywheel. This design eliminates the inertia torque, simplifying gearing of the propeller.

Air-cooling dispenses with radiator, piping, and water troubles, and strangely enough it is more efficient than water-cooling, both at high altitudes and in hot climates.

   
Four men can carry the new radial motor, which weighs less than two pounds to the horsepower. Insert shows how the engine is mounted in the hinged nose of the airplane to make it easily accessible.

All-Metal Biplane Designed for Speed

A LARGE all-metal airplane now being demonstrated exhibits the latest features of speed design as well as the adaptation of all-metal construction to the biplane. The metal used is understood to be duralumin.

The wings are thick enough near the fuselage to permit internal bracing, becoming thin near the tips.

The radiators are mounted on the sides, like luggage carriers in an automobile.

Truss forms have been adopted for the interior struts, which are only four in number.

The nose cap of the plane whirls with the propeller.

Contrary to familiar practice, the lower wings of this biplane are much longer than the upper.

The machine is driven by a 600-horsepower motor, and is said to be capable of 125 miles an hour.

   
This all-metal biplane is designed for speed.

Airplane Tows Wing in Novel Test

AN interesting method of testing aerofoils, or airplane wings, in actual flight, devised by the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, is described by the committee as follows:

“The method consists of lowering a large inverted aerofoil from an airplane in flight. Since the aerofoil is inverted, its “lift” makes it tend to dive down, away from the flying plane, and the amount and direction of this force can be measured by the tension put upon the three steel wires from which the aerofoil is suspended and the angle at which they trail from the plane to the model.”

It is expected that wings spreading 30 feet can soon he tested as quickly at a speed of 100 miles an hour as small scale models have been tested in a wind tunnel.

   
Tension on three steel wires that suspend the inverted aerofoil from an airplane in flight, as shown above, is measured by the spring scale apparatus at the left.
   
INSET: Spring scale and windlass apparatus.

The apparatus used for measuring the tension in the supporting wires consists of a steel tube connected by a pair of levers to a spring scale on the instrument board.

In the center of the tube a windlass is attached for reeling up the wires. Two of these wires are fixed to the forward wing edge of the model, while the third leads to the rear of a wooden boom extending behind the aerofoil.

The angle of attack at which the aerofoil cuts the air, is varied by reeling in the rear wire. The angle at which the model trails, is read by a telescope with a graduated circle attached to the fuselage of the upper plane.

Improvements in airplane design have been dependent upon facts discovered by testing small models in wind tunnels.

Until the present time airplane engineers have been hampered because their calculations have been based on behavior of models only a twentieth, or at most a tenth, the size of the actual machine. Such calculations have sometimes resulted disastrously.

Plane Makes Landing Automatically

LANDING an airplane solely by mechanical means while the pilot’s hands are off the control stick has been accomplished by means of a device perfected by Lieutenant Noakes, a British army flyer and specialist in low speed maneuvers.

A long arm is pivoted to a cross member behind the axle of the landing gear, and is connected with the bottom of the control stick by a strong elastic cord. As the plane approaches the ground, the stick projects downward. When its end strikes the earth it automatically pulls back the control and “flattens out” the plane.

By knowing the air speed and engine revolutions at which to glide in, and the moment to throttle down—which is indicated by the ground stick when it pulls back the control—the aviator can make a perfect landing almost automatically without touching the control stick.

   
Device hanging under plane makes landing automatic.

Three Liberties Geared to One Propeller

THREE four-hundred-horsepower Liberty engines geared to a single eighteen-foot propeller make up the new power unit that may assure non-stop flights from New York to Liverpool in twenty hours. The unit was put through careful tests recently at the Gallaudet shops in Warwick, Connecticut.

It is expected that airplanes with three or more of these units, with a total of four thousand horsepower, will have a non-stop cruising radius sufficient to cross the Atlantic carrying twelve tons of passengers or freight.

The safety of flight is increased by gearing three engines to one shaft, since a failure of any one engine will not necessitate a forced landing. While the speed of the plane will be reduced, it will still be able to proceed. The use of the larger propeller simplifies design and reduces propeller slip, which is, needless to say an important factor in airplane efficiency.

   
Three 400-horsepower Liberty engines geared to a single shaft drive an eighteen-foot propeller.
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