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8th July 1919, Page 18
8th July 1919
Page 18
Page 18, 8th July 1919 — COMMERCIAL AVIATION.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Some Topical Notes and Comments.

A Standing Advisory Committee.

IAM GLAD to see the report that the Secretary of State for Air has appointed a Standing Advisory Committee on Civil Aviation to advise and report to him on the best method of organizing. the Imperial Air Routes and on such other subjects relating to civil aviation as may be remitted by him to the Committee. The Committee has as its chairman, Lord Weir, formerly Secretary of State. It includes also Lord Inchcape, Sir James Stevenson, Colonel Moore-Brabazon, M.P., the Chairman of Lloyd's, the Chairman, of the S.B.A.C., Mr Bairstow, the Chief of the Air Staff, the Controller-General )f Civil Aviation and the Secretary of the Air Ministry. This Committee has the power to co-opt additional members for the discussion of specific questions.

One cannot complain as to the eonstitution of the Committee and the only possible criticism is that it may be a little too official in character. However, some of the nominations are not exactly personal. This apparently applia to Mr. White-Smith, who serves as Chairman of the S.B.A.C. This fact being recognized, he is presumably at liberty to discuss confidentially with his own committee the matters which are being considered by the Standing Advisory Committee and thus to ensure that the views of the manufacturing industry are properly put forward. ' One's only doubt is as to Whether this particular advisory comiissttee will share the fate of many of its predecessors which have worked hard and reported well, only to have their reports ignored by self-satisfied officials or ministers.

Schools of Aerial Navigation.

General Seely stated recently in the House of Commons that the whole system of instruction. in aerial navigation is being revised and the schools of aerial navigation are being reorganized. Recent events have certainly taught us that the navigator has got to take a very prominent part in the development of international aerial services. I have already suggested that, before long, he will in fact be the captain of the ship, the pilot being the subordinate officer. Up to the present, the personnel of the late R.N.A.S. has supplied most of our properly-trained aerial navigators. The basis' of the training must be very similar to that of a naval officer, and one wonders whether the right system would not be to train marine and aerial navigators together, except in respect of the last stage, during which they would specialize out.

When we come to civil aviation, we apparently . need navigation schools, not wholly official in character, but occupying the same relation to the official schools that the .mereantile marine officers training ships, the " Conway" and the " Worcester," do to Osborne. In such a system, we should probalely find that a good many boys, training to become °filters in the mercantile marine, would take the full course of aerial navigation, 'which would make them extremely useful in the event of their services being needed in an emergency. At present, we are probably extremely short of men sufficiently well qualified to teach others this science. Consequently, the thing to do seems to be to form training classes for teachers and this ought to be done at once, because the teacher needs to possess considerably more knowledge than he is ever required to communicate. In this connection there is just one other point. This is that, in the training of officers for the merchant service, it not for the Navy, there has been too c44 much rule of thumb. Boys have worked out problems depezdent upon first principles of which they knew nothilig and have done so successfully merely because they have memorized large numbers of forrnulte. This is all very well as a cramming system for examinations, but such knowledge, quickly gained, is almost equally quickly lost, because it has no sure foundatiOn. The man who really knows why he is doing things is far more likely to be able to improvise and, to be capable of doing something in emergency such that his usual resources would not serve to meet it.

London and Aerial Transport.

Lord Montagu seriously suggested the other day -the possibility of roofing in some of the parks with glass and turning them into winter gardens surmounted by central aerodromes: The central aerodrome is undoubtedly a real necessity, but those who have lived, for example, at the Crystal Palace will, I think, agree with me that, if we make any of our parks into central aerodromes, we had better recognize the fact and cease altogether to regard them as gardens useful to the public at any time of year. Mr. liolt Thomas, speaking on the same occasion, admitted that he saw no future for purely local aerial

traffic the metropolis. Where London will benefit will, at any rate at first, be in connection with foreign mails. There is much in Mr. Holt Thomas's statement that if we had a regular two-hourly service between London and Paris, nobody would ever again send a telegram between the two tOwns. Ile reckons that, putting the cost of a single flight at £120 and using a machine of present-day type carrying 672 pounds of mail matter, 700 'words could be conveyed from London to Paris at the cost of a id. There would be no risk of mistakes in transmission.' The aeroplane could take not only messages, but photographs., blue prints and documents. It could, for instance, convey the signed contract. The telegraphic rate from London to Paris is 2d a. word. Comparisons may be odious, but in this case the result of the comparison is fairly obv:ous.

The R34.

At the time of writing the airship R34 is engaged upon her voyage to America and back. The idea of making the double journey in one flight has been Modified, and it is now proposed to make a landing at Long Island.

The ship carries six officers and a crew of 20. Among the officers are specialists whose duties are concerned respectively with navigation, meteorology and wireless telegraphy, but on shorter trips these specialized duties would fall to the lot of the third officer. The ship is 633 ft. long and has a lifting capacity of nearly 30 tons. It is propelled by five Sunbeam Maori, •engines, each developing 270 hp. at 2,100 revolutions per minute. Under full power, the speed is 55 knots, but the cruisiag speed is in the neighbourhood of 42 knots, the petrol sonsumption being then ,a little over 50 gallons an hour. The course taken by an airship on the transatlantic journey would differ from that of an aeroplane. While the latter would keep as nearly as possible to a straight line, the airship will endeavour te take advantage of favourable winds and will avoid unfavourable weather conditions, being kept informed with regard to the latter by means of wireless telegraphy.


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