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Title: Opportunities in Aviation
Author: Lamont, Gordon, Sweetser, Arthur
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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        ESTABLISHED 1817

[Illustration: At work on one of the F-5-L type of seaplane at the
Naval Aircraft Factory, League Island, near Philadelphia. The F-5-L is
one of the largest type of naval seaplane, and flew from Hampton
Roads, Va., to Rockaway Naval Air Station, L.I.]



U.S. Air Service

Author of "_The American Air Service_" and

GORDON LAMONT, Late Lieutenant
in the Royal Air Force, Canada



_Publishers_ New York and London

Acknowledgement is made to the _New York
Evening Post_ for some of the material
which first appeared in its columns.

Copyright, 1920, by Harper & Brothers
Printed in the United States of America
Published, January, 1920

          To that great new gift which is so soon to come
          to us, this little book is enthusiastically
          dedicated by the authors.


CHAP.                                                        PAGE

      INTRODUCTION                                              i

   I. WAR'S CONQUEST OF THE AIR                                 1

  II. THE TRANSITION TO PEACE                                  11

 III. TRAINING AN AIRPLANE PILOT                               24

  IV. SAFETY IN FLYING                                         39


  VI. THE FIRST CROSSING OF THE ATLANTIC                       63

 VII. LANDING-FIELDS--THE IMMEDIATE NEED                       76

VIII. THE AIRPLANE'S BROTHER                                   85

  IX. THE CALL OF THE SKIES                                    96

      ADDENDUM                                                107


Any ordinary, active man, provided he has reasonably good eyesight and
nerve, can fly, and fly well. If he has nerve enough to drive an
automobile through the streets of a large city, and perhaps argue with
a policeman on the question of speed limits, he can take himself off
the ground in an airplane, and also land--a thing vastly more
difficult and dangerous. We hear a great deal about special tests for
the flier--vacuum-chambers, spinning-chairs, co-ordination
tests--there need be none of these. The average man in the street, the
clerk, the laborer, the mechanic, the salesman, with proper training
and interest can be made good, if not highly proficient pilots. If
there may be one deduction drawn from the experience of instructors in
the Royal Air Force, it is that it is the training, not the
individual, that makes the pilot.

Education is not the prime requisite. Good common sense and judgment
are much more valuable. Above all, a sense of touch, such as a man
can acquire playing the piano, swinging a pick, riding a bicycle,
driving an automobile, or playing tennis, is important. A man should
not be too sensitive to loss of balance, nor should he be lacking in a
sense of balance. There are people who cannot sail a sail-boat or ride
a bicycle--these people have no place in the air. But ninety-nine out
of one hundred men, the ordinary normal men, can learn to fly. This
has been the experience of the Royal Air Force in Canada.

There will be as much difference between the civilian pilot, the man
who owns an airplane of the future and drives it himself, and the army
flier, as there is now between the man who drives his car on Sunday
afternoons over country roads and the racing driver who is striving
for new records on specially built tracks. If aeronautics is to be
made popular, every one must be able to take part in it. It must cease
to be a highly specialized business. It must be put on a basis where
the ordinary person can snap the flying wires of a machine, listen to
their twang, and know them to be true, just as any one now thumps his
rear tire to see whether it is properly inflated.

The book, in a large sense a labor of love, is the collaboration of
an American officer of the United States Air Service and another
American, a flying-officer in the Royal Air Force. If the Royal Air
Force way of doing things seems to crowd itself to the fore in the
discussion of the training of pilots, the authors crave indulgence.

In a subject which lends itself dangerously to imagination, the
authors have endeavored to base what they have written, not on
prophecy, but on actual accomplishments to date. The latter are indeed
so solid that there is no necessity for guesswork. Aviation has proved
itself beyond peradventure to those who have followed it, but up to
the present the general public has not sufficiently analyzed its
demonstrated possibilities.

The era of the air is undoubtedly at hand; it now remains to take the
steps necessary to reap full advantages from it.

                                        ARTHUR SWEETSER,
                                            GORDON LAMONT.




The World War opened to man the freedom of the skies. Amid all its
anguish and suffering has come forth the conquest of the air.
Scientists, manufacturers, dreamers, and the most hard-headed of men
have united under the goad of its necessity to sweep away in a series
of supreme efforts all the fears and doubts which had chained men to

True, years before, in fact, nearly a decade before, the Wright
brothers had risen from the ground and flown about through the air in
a machine which defied conventional rules and beliefs. The world had
looked on in wonder, and then dropped back into an apathetic
acceptance of the fact. Despite the actual demonstration and the
field of imagination which was opened up, these early flights proved
to be a world's wonder only for a moment.

For years aviation dragged on. Daredevils and adventurers took it up
to make money by hair-raising exploits at various meets and exhibits.
Many died, and the general public, after satiating its lust for the
sensational, turned its thought elsewhere. Flight was regarded as
somewhat the plaything of those who cared not for life, and as a
result the serious, sober thought of the community did not enter into
its solution.

Business men held aloof. Apart from circus performances there seemed
no money to be made in aviation and consequently practically none was
invested in it. What little manufacturing was done was by zealots and
inventors. Workmanship was entirely by hand, slow, amateurish, and

Strangely enough, scientists were equally apathetic. It might have
been expected that their imaginations would be fired by the unexplored
realms of the air and by the incomparably new field of experiment
opened to them; but they were not. The great question, that of flight
itself, had been answered, and but few were interested in working out
the less spectacular applications of its principles. Aviation remained
very much of a poor sister in the scientific world, held back by all
the discredit attaching to the early stunt-flying and by failure to
break through the ancient belief in its impracticability for any
purposes other than the sensational.

So the science limped along, unsupported by either public interest or
capital. Now and again some startling feat attracted the world's
attention, as when the English Channel was first crossed by air and
England was made to realize that her insularity was gone. For a moment
this feat held public interest, but again without a true realization
of its significance. There seemed nothing which would drive man to
develop the gift which had been put within his reach.

Up to that fatal moment in August, 1914, when the World War broke out,
aviation had made but little progress. All nations had what passed as
air services, but they were very small and ill-equipped and were
regarded with doubt and suspicion by the military leaders of the
various countries. Compared with what has since taken place, the
experiments previous to the war were only the most rudimentary

Then came the war. Man's imagination was aroused to a feverish desire
for the development of any device for causing destruction.
Conventions, usages, and prejudices were laid aside and every
possibility of inflicting damage on the enemy was examined on its
merits. Sentiment or any regard for personal danger involved was
thrown to the winds. Science was mobilized in all lines in the
struggle to keep one step ahead of the enemy.

Almost immediately aviation challenged the attention of the
responsible leaders. The handful of French planes which in those early
fateful days of August penetrated up into Belgium brought back the
information of the German mobilization there, and this led to the
rearrangement of French forces in preparation for the battle of the
Marne. As a result aviation at once leaped into high repute for
scouting purposes and the foundations were laid for its great

But as aviation had proved itself in the warfare of movement leading
down to the Marne and sweeping back later to the Aisne, so it proved
itself in the French warfare which was so unexpectedly to follow. When
the two opposing lines were so close together that they locked almost
in a death grip, each side kept such strict watch that ground
observation was greatly hampered. Apparently there was only one way to
find out what was going on behind the enemy's lines. That was by
looking from above. The first aviator, therefore, who sailed into the
air and spied the enemy introduced one of the most important
developments in the strategy of modern warfare.

Thereupon began one of those silent battles of the rear, of which we
see and hear so little, but which indeed decides sometimes far in
advance of the actual test of battle just which side is going to win.
Scientists, inventors, manufacturers, and practical fliers began
coming together in increasing numbers to exact from this latest method
of warfare its last degree of usefulness. In the studies and factories
on both sides of the lines men dedicated themselves to the solution of
the problem of flight.

Stage by stage the difficulties were overcome. First it was the
Germans who with their terrible Fokker planes harnessed the
machine-gun to the airplane and made of it a weapon of offense. Then
it was the Allies who added the radio and made of it an efficient
method of observation and spotting of artillery fire. Increased
engine-power began to be developed, and bombs were carried in
ever-increasing numbers and size.

The moment an enemy plane fell on either side of the line the victors
gathered about their prey with a keenness which could come only of the
hope that they might find in it some suggestion that would make their
own flying more efficient. Each learned from the other, so that the
different schools on either side of the line had all the advantage of
watching the development of their rivals. Very shortly after an
improvement appeared on one side it reappeared in the planes of the
other side.

It is doubtful if ever a more desperate scientific battle was fought
than that which featured the development of the air services of the
various belligerents during the war. Control of the air was so vital
that neither could afford to overlook any possibility; and, as a
result, the scientific evolution was truly astounding. No man was
reserved on this subject of airplane improvement. All contributed
their best skill and ability to the common reservoir of knowledge.

Very soon man's conquest of the air became so complete that different
types of planes were developed for different kinds of work. The plane
of the early days which wandered off by itself wherever it saw fit,
gathered what information it could, and returned to drop a note to the
commander below, developed into a highly efficient two-seated plane
equipped with machine-guns for protection against attack, wireless for
sending back messages, and cameras for photographing the enemy's
positions below. The plane which had earlier dropped an occasional
bomb in a hit-or-miss fashion over the side now developed either into
a powerful two-seater with a great weight-carrying capacity and a
continually more efficient scientific method of aiming its missiles or
into a huge machine for long-distance night-bombing work capable of
carrying from two to a dozen men and from two to four tons of bombs.
During this time the strictly fighting plane, usually a single-seater,
increased in speed, "ceiling," and agility till it could dart, twist,
and dive about, three to five miles above the trenches, protecting
friendly bombing and observation planes below from enemy attack or
swooping down to send enemy planes in flames to the ground.

Vital though all this work was for the war, it had an incomparably
greater value for the perpetual struggle which all mankind is waging
against nature. While the various nations were seeking to destroy one
another through the air, they were in reality destroying the chains
which bound them to the ground and winning their freedom in a new
element. The advance which the Allies or the Germans made over each
other in scientific aerial development was a joint advance over the
restrictions of gravitation.

This, indeed, apart from the spread of democracy and internationalism,
may well stand out in history as the war's richest heritage. Problems
which had been considered insoluble were solved. The casting aside of
all conventions, all restrictive habits of thought, all selfishnesses,
and the focusing of the highest scientific ability in a struggle which
might mean the life or death of the nation, had brought as a
by-product a development beyond our wildest fancies.

Aerial operations in any future war, however, will have at once a
problem which has only recently and in very much smaller degree
confronted the navy, namely, the assurance of attack not only on the
front, in the rear, and on both flanks, but from above and below as
well. Recently the navy has had to face that problem--submarines
operating below and airplanes above; but the problem of attack upon a
ship is not so serious as upon an airplane.

Already, in order to meet this danger of attack from every possible
direction, a most complete strategy and system of formations have been
worked out. In this way the various types of planes operate in
different air strata according to their missions, the upper planes
echelon somewhat behind those below on the order of a flight of steps
facing the enemy. This system provides a quick method of reception of
an attack and the assurance of quick support, no matter where the
attack may come. Obviously there would be nothing in all of warfare on
either land or sea comparable to a collision between two such aerial
fleets. The speed of the lighter planes, quick, life-taking duels in
several different strata at once, would provide a clash of action,
speed, and skill far more beautiful and yet in many ways far more
terrible than anything ever recorded in the history of war.

Fleets of the skies--who shall attempt at this day of the infancy of
the science to limit their scope? Aerial battle-planes of colossal
size and power are as certain to come in time, and in not a very long
time, as the dreadnought of to-day was certain to follow the first
armored ship of only a half-century ago. Never yet has man opened up a
new avenue of war that he has not pursued it relentlessly to its final
conclusion. It is certain that he will not fail to push aerial
development with all the energy with which he has devoted himself to
the science of destruction.

The avenue of the seas has been up to now the world's greatest
civilizer. Very shortly, without doubt, it will be replaced by the
avenue of the skies. If we are to strive for freedom of the seas, what
shall we say about freedom of this new element? The laws of aerial
travel and aerial warfare open an unlimited field of speculation.



Developments during the war, despite their startling sensational
character, had, however, been so overshadowed by human suffering and
desperation that but few minds were awake to the changes that were to
influence man's future. Amid the disasters, battles, and unprecedented
movements in the politics of nations, the achievements of flight could
command but a passing notice. People looked and wondered, but were
distracted from following their thoughts through to the logical
conclusion by the roar of a seventy-mile gun, the collapse of a
nation, or the shock of battle on a one-hundred-mile front.

Let us, however, weave together a few things that were done in those
days of sensation, which may have a particular effect on the future of
the science. Most conspicuous, perhaps, was the obliteration of
distance and of all the customary limitations of travel. German
airplanes in squadrons penetrated into snug little England when the
German fleet stood locked in its harbor. The Italian poet D'Annunzio
dropped leaflets over Vienna when his armies were held at bay at the
Alps. French, British, and finally American planes brought the war
home to cities of the Rhine which never even saw the Allied troops
till Germany had surrendered.

None of the conventional barriers stood in the way of these long
trips. A new route of travel had been opened up along which men flew
at will. The boundary-lines of states below, which look so formidable
on the map, were passed over with the greatest ease, as well as such
natural obstacles as the Alps and the English Channel.

Tremendous saving in time was constantly being effected. Men were able
to dart back and forth from the front to the rear and from England to
France with a speed never dreamed of by other means of travel. To be
sure, the front-line demands for planes were too severe to allow a
very wide use in this way, but nevertheless the possibilities were
there and were constantly availed of.[1]

Indeed, the British early established a communication squadron for
this specific purpose. In the last three months of the war 279
cross-country passenger flights were made to such places as Paris,
Nancy, Dunkirk, and Manchester, all of them without a single accident!
Moreover, a Channel ferry service was created which in seventy-one
days of flying weather made 227 crossings, covered over 8,000 miles,
and carried 1,843 passengers.

With trains seldom going above 60 miles an hour, the slowest airplane
went 80 and the average daylight plane on the front probably equaled
110. The fast fighters went up to 120, 130, and even 140 miles an
hour, over twice as fast as any method of travel previously known.
Just as the curtain closed on the war, there had been developed in the
United States a plane credited with 162-2/3 miles an hour, and no one
for a moment believed that the limit had been reached.

Altitude likewise had been obliterated. The customary height for
two-seated observation and bombing planes was between one and two
miles, and of single-seated scouts between two and four miles. These
altitudes were not the freakish heights occasionally obtained by
adventurous fliers; on the contrary they were the customary levels at
which the different kinds of duties were carried out. Many men, of
course, went far higher. Since then an American, Roland Rohlfs, flying
a Curtiss "Wasp" set the unofficial altitude record at 34,610
feet--higher than the world's highest mountain.

Life at these altitudes was not possible, of course, under ordinary
conditions. The temperature fell far below zero and the air became so
thin that neither man nor engine could function unaided. As a result
the fliers were kept from freezing by electrically heated clothing and
from unconsciousness from lack of air by artificially supplied oxygen.
Similarly the oil, water, and gasolene of the engine were kept working
by special methods.

The armistice threw the different nations into a dilemma as to their
aviation plans. Obviously the huge war planes which were still in the
building in all the belligerent countries were no longer necessary.
Almost immediately, therefore, the placing of new contracts was halted
by the various governments, enlistments stopped, and plans set in
motion for the new requirements.

Within a very short time the United States canceled several hundred
million dollars' worth of contracts on which little actual
expenditure had been made by the manufacturers. Shipments of men and
planes overseas were of course brought to an end and at the same time
arrangements were made for bringing back from France the great aerial
equipment mobilized there. Indeed, the air service units were among
the first to be returned, especially the labor and construction troops
in England.

Nevertheless, military aviation of the future was definitely
safeguarded. A bill was presented to Congress for an aerial force of
4,000 officers and 22,000 men, a fitting contrast to the force of 65
officers and 1,120 men with which the country had entered the war.
Certain flying fields and schools which had shown the greatest value
in the past and promised most for the future were definitely
designated for permanent use, and especial effort was made to keep in
the service the best of the technical experts and designers who had
helped to solve America's problems of the air.

Abroad demobilization was less rapid, as it was in all other lines.
The British, who had given particular thought to after-war aviation,
immediately turned to converting all their valuable war material and
experience into a national force which should assure England of the
supremacy of the air as well as strength in her supremacy of the seas.
France, the custodian of Germany's great aerial force, found more than
enough work for all her men in taking care of the hundreds of
surrendered machines. Both nations at the same time took long steps
toward building up the civil machinery necessary for private,
non-military flying.

For several months, of course, there was a hiatus. Thought had been so
concentrated on military aviation that the conversion to peace work
proved slow. Only the most general plans had been made in any of the
countries, and those by ardent supporters of aviation, who were forced
to make the most earnest efforts to obtain consideration of the
subject in the midst of all the vital problems of peace and
reconstruction. Greatest of all the difficulties was that, as private
flying had been prohibited during the war, there were, with the coming
of peace, no rules and regulations ready for it. Also many great
projects for international flights had to be postponed because of
complete lack of international rules in this respect.

Nevertheless, most spectacular and convincing flights followed one
another in rapid succession. The most outstanding of these flights
was, of course, the first crossing of the Atlantic by seaplane--a
triumph of organized effort by the navy. At the same time all over the
world flights took place with astounding frequency which illustrated,
as little else could, the certain future of aviation. Seas, mountains,
deserts, places otherwise almost impassable were traversed with ease
and speed.

Army fliers flew from the Atlantic to the Pacific within a few months
of the signing of the armistice. It required but fifty hours of
flying-time, just a fraction over two days. At that time no attempt
was made to obtain speed, as the purpose of the trip had been to
locate landing-fields and make aerial maps for future transcontinental

The four planes that made this trip might be considered as the
pioneers of vast flocks of airplanes which within a short time will be
winging their way from coast to coast. If, with machines built
specifically for war purposes and with no special landing-fields or
routes laid out, aviators could successfully travel from one coast to
the other in fifty hours of flying-time, how much more rapidly will
future trips be made when special touring-planes have been developed,
routes and landing-fields are laid out, repair-shops are built, and
the trip becomes a matter of routine rather than aerial experiments.

The effect that this new method of travel will have on American life
and development is staggering to the imagination. San Francisco and
New York will be almost neighbors, while Chicago and New Orleans will
be but a pleasant day's trip apart. The business man, the statesman,
and even the courier can be transported from one end of the country to
the other, independent of steel rails and other devices, in record

Such experiments have already proved successful in Europe. The British
Foreign Office in London, anxious to keep in close touch with the
Peace Conference at Paris, turned to the airplane to assure quick
transportation of men and documents. The slow train trip with the
irksome transfer to and from the Channel steamer and the more irksome
voyage across the Channel itself, were avoided by a special service
through the air. Thus two great capitals were brought within a few
hours' time of each other, which greatly facilitated the vital
negotiations under way.

Civilians were finally granted the right to make the trip under
military supervision. Fourteen passengers were transported from Paris
to London in two hours and forty minutes as against six hours and
forty minutes, the fastest time ever made by any other means of
travel. Each of them had twenty pounds of luggage, and luncheon of
cold ham and champagne was served on board over the Channel, followed
by a game of cards. It was easily demonstrated by the return trip that
men could leave either capital after breakfast, have several hours in
the other, and return home for dinner.

Then a French flier with six passengers made the flight from Paris to
Brussels. The time consumed between the two capitals was but two hours
as against over five by the ordinary train travel. As an instance of
some of the problems which this particular flight brought about, it
was observed that a Belgian policeman approached the plane as it was
about to leave and inquired for passports and papers. Everybody made
excuses for not having them. The policeman refused to allow the
airplane to leave. Finally the pilot, losing his patience and temper,
started the motor and flew off before the angered official knew what
had happened.

Two other French aviators about the same time crossed the
Mediterranean from France to Algiers and back in the same day. Though
unequipped with seaplane devices, they started out with full
confidence that their motors would carry them over the water. With
only their navigating instruments and an occasional vessel to guide
them, they reached their destination after a perfect trip and created
a great sensation among the natives who came down to see the airplanes

Far more spectacular, however, was the flight made from London to
Delhi. A Handley-Page machine, which had flown from London to Cairo
during the war and taken part in the final military operations against
the Turks, left Cairo, on November 30th, shortly after the armistice.
Five and three-quarter hours later the airplane with five passengers
reached Damascus, a trip practically impossible except through the air
because of the ravages of the war. At 7.40 the next morning they set
out again, flew northeast along the Jebel esh Shekh Range to Palmyra,
then east to the Euphrates, down that river to Ramadi, and thence
across to Bagdad, a flight of 510 miles made in six hours and fifty
minutes without a single stop, part of it over country untrod even by
the most primitive travelers. Thence they went on _via_ Bushire,
Bander Abbas, Tcharbar, and Karachi to Delhi, where they received a
tremendous ovation as the first fliers to arrive from the home
country. From Delhi they continued on without mishap to Calcutta. This
distance from Cairo to Karachi, 2,548 miles, was made in thirty-six
hours' flying-time; from Karachi to Delhi the distance is 704 miles,
and from Delhi to Calcutta 300, a total of 4,052 miles from the main
city of Egypt to the greatest commercial port of India. No route had
been surveyed, no landing-places obtained, no facilities provided.
Territory inaccessible to ordinary travel, land where the white man is
almost a stranger, was crossed. Yet it was all done as part of the
day's work, in no sense as a record-breaking or spectacular trip.

The certainty of flight from London to India was demonstrated. A
bi-weekly service for both passengers and mails was at once planned.
Almost immediately preparations for the route were worked out,
twenty-five airdromes and landing-fields were designated, of which the
main ones would be at Cairo and Basra on the Tigris, with subsidiary
fields at Marseilles, Pisa, or Rome, Taranto, Sollum, Bushire,
Damascus, Bagdad, Bander Abbas, Karachi, Hyderabad, and Jodhpur. It
is estimated that the flight of 6,000 miles, at stages of about 350
each, would take seven or eight days as against the present train and
steamer time of five or six weeks. At the same time another route far
shorter than that which would be necessary by following the sea route
lies over Germany, Russia, and the ideal flying-land along the Caspian
Sea, Krasnovodsk, Askabad, Herat, Kandahar, and Multan.

As with Asia Minor and Asia so with Africa, the British at once made
plans for aerial routes. Only a few weeks after the armistice
announcement was made of plans for an "All Red Air Route" from Cairo
across the desert and the jungle to the Cape. This could all be done
over British territory, with the part over Lakes Victoria Nyanza and
Tanganyika covered by hydroplanes. The moment men were released from
the war, surveying of this route was begun and tentative plans made
for landing-fields every 200 miles over the 5,700-mile trip.

The air is ours to do whatever we can with it. There must be developed
a large interest in this country in the business of flying. We must
make the air our third, fastest, and most reliable means of
communication between points in a way to compete with transportation
on land and sea. The airplane, instead of being the unusual thing,
must become a customary sight over our cities and villages. The first
step in the development is the training of airplane pilots and


[1] Some of the British statesmen flew to and from the Peace
Conference in Paris.



Any ordinary, active man can fly. That is to say, any man with nerve
enough to take a cold bath or drive an automobile down Fifth Avenue
can maintain himself in the air with an airplane, and turn into a good
pilot with practice. In other words, the regular man who rides in the
Subway, who puts on a straw hat on May 15th or 20th, as the case may
be, has not only the right to be in the air, but owes it to himself to
learn to fly.

Any one with a reasonable amount of intelligence can be made a good
pilot. He need not hold a college degree, or even a high-school
diploma, tucked away in some forgotten place. If he has the sense of
touch of the normal man, the sense of balance of a normal man, can
skate, or ride a bicycle, he should be in the air, flying. There is a
difference between the war or army pilot and the peace-time flier yet
to be developed.

War flying calls for highly trained men, a man who has proved himself
fit for combat under all conditions, a man who can shoot straight,
think quickly, and turn immediately. He must possess a little more
than the average nerve, perhaps, or he must be trained to the point
where shooting and maneuvering are the natural reactions to certain
circumstances. He must be able to stand altitudes of 20,000 feet; he
must be quick with his machine-gun, have a knowledge of artillery, and
know, in fact, a little about everything on the front he is trying to
cover. This requires training and aptitude.

The day is coming for the man who wants to make a short pleasure
flight, or go from town to town, touring by air. He need know nothing
of machine-guns or warfare. He may never want to do anything more
hazardous in the way of maneuver than a gentle turn. His maximum
altitude would be perhaps 8,000 feet. He would in all probability be
flying a machine whose "ceiling" was 10,000 feet, and he might never
care to tour at a height higher than 2,000 feet. There is no reason
why he should go high. One can have all the thrills in the world at
2,000 feet, follow the ground more easily, without wasting time or
gasolene in attempts to fly high enough so that the earth looks like
another planet below.

Let us illustrate a bit from the Royal Air Force of Canada, which is
as good as any other example. The experience of the flying service of
one country has been essentially that of another country, and we
Americans may yet learn of the air from the English. In England the
air is just another medium of travel, as much a medium as the ground
and water--but that is, of course, another story.

In 1917 the Royal Flying Corps, later incorporated into the Royal Air
Force, came to Canada to take up the instruction of Canadian boys for
flying in France. Americans enlisted with the pick of the Canadian
youth, and droves were sent overseas. Very soon the cream had been
skimmed off and there came a time when material was scarce. Meanwhile
the war raged, and there was no option but to take drafted men from
all sections, Montreal in particular. Many could not speak
intelligible English, and few had enjoyed any educational advantages.
The men who came as cadets to be trained as pilots in 1918 graded much
lower in personal and physical qualifications than the type of the
previous year. And yet these same drafted men, who had withstood for
three and a half years the call of their country, had more control
over their machines at the end of their course than the men of the
year before.

At the end of four, five, or six hours' solo these men could do all
the high maneuvers, commonly thought dangerous, such as the barrel
roll, the loop, the stall turn, the Immelmann turn. An astounding
showing compared to the boys of 1917, who were forbidden to stunt and
who rarely disobeyed the orders. In our American service we had
specially selected men. They were college men, tested, qualified, and
picked. But our men--and it's no reflection on them--seldom did their
higher maneuvers with less than fifty hours of solo flying.

There is just one answer--it is a matter entirely of training.

It might be said that the Canadian casualties on the Texas
flying-fields near Fort Worth during the winter of 1917-18, when the
Royal Air Force occupied two airdromes, were the cause of comment all
over the country. There were fifty fatalities in twenty weeks of
flying, and machine after machine came down in a fatal spinning-nose
dive, or tail spin, as the Americans speak of the spin.

Shortly after the Royal Air Force returned to its airdromes in Canada
in the middle of April the Gosport system of flying training, which
had been used successfully in England, was begun on the Curtiss J.N.
4B-type training-plane. The result was an immediate and material
decrease in fatal accidents. In July, 1918, there was one fatality for
every 1,760 hours of flying, and by October fatalities had been
reduced to one in every 5,300 hours of flying. That is a remarkable
achievement, as official data from other centers of training show one
death in a flying accident for every 1,170 hours.

Briefly, the Gosport system is a graduated method of flying
instruction. The cadet is led by easy steps through the earlier part
of the training, and only after he has passed aerial tests in the
simpler methods of control is he allowed to continue with the rest of
his course and "go solo." The scheme provides that before he goes solo
he must have spun, and shown that he can take his instructor out of a
spin. Only then is he considered fit to go on his own.

"Dangerous" and "Safe" as terms to describe flying technique gave way
to wrong and right. There was built up under sound instruction one of
the best schools of flying in North America, the School of Special
Flying, at Armour Heights, Ontario. There is no reason why there
should not be established in this country a number of such schools,
under men who have had army experience, to train great numbers of
civilian fliers within the next few years. There is going to be a
strong demand for the best flying instruction that can be given. It
should be noted that only the most perfect system of flying
instruction should be used, for the best is safest, and the safest, no
matter how expensive, is comparatively cheap.

There is no reason why there should be an extended period of ground
instruction for the non-military pilot of the future. He should be
taught the elementary principles of the theory of flight, should know
something about the engine with which he is going to fly, and
understand some things about the rigging of his airplane. The details
could come to him in constant association with the airplane before,
during, and after each flight. No time need be spent on such subjects
as artillery observation, machine-gunnery, wireless, bombing,
photography, patrol work, and other subjects of a purely military
nature, on which so much stress has been laid in training army

"What is an airplane?" Before going ahead with the method of Gosport
instruction every pupil is given a lecture on the ground in which he
is asked that question. One definition which was passed out to us in
Canada was, "An airplane is a machine...." At this point the flight
sergeant in charge of rigging would look dreamily into the distance.
"An airplane is a machine...." he would begin again with an air of
utter despondency. That was certainly no news to cadets. They had an
idea that it might be a machine, and wanted to know more about it.

"An airplane is a machine with lift-generating surfaces attached to a
frame which carries an engine, fuel, aviator, and devices by which he
steers, balances, and controls his craft," the mournful flight
sergeant was finally able to convince them.

Lift-generating surfaces--these are the bases of all flying. Every one
knows, for instance, that a paper dart, instead of falling directly to
the floor, sails in a gliding angle for some distance before crashing.
Lift is generated under those plane surfaces moving through the
air--and the lift keeps that paper dart gliding. Little eddies of air
are compressed under its tiny wings. Imagine an engine in the dart,
propelling it at some speed. Instead of having to nose down to get
enough speed to generate lift under its wings, the dart would be able
to fly on the level, or even climb a bit.

Just so with an airplane. A gliding airplane about to land with power
shut off is that paper dart on a large scale. The airplane flying is
the dart with power. To make the airplane safe to fly, to give control
to the pilot so that he may steer it where he wants to, there is a
rudder, moved by a rudder-bar under the foot of the pilot. It is
impossible to turn a swiftly moving airplane in the air by the rudder
alone. It must be banked to prevent skidding, even as a race-track is
banked high on the turns. On its side an airplane will cushion its own
bank of proper degree by the use of ailerons. These ailerons are
sections of the wing-tips which may be moved either up or down. They
are counterbalanced so that movement of the left down gives you the
right aileron up. With left aileron down, the lift of the left wing is
increased, and it tips up; at the same time the lift of the right wing
is decreased, and it sags down. In that way the airplane is tipped up
for a bank. These ailerons, wing sections, really, are controlled by
a device known as the joy-stick in the cockpit.

We have seen how an airplane is made to tip and turn. Before a machine
is under control we must be able to climb, or come down to the ground
for a landing. Vertical control of an airplane is attained by the use
of elevators, flaps on the tail plane acting as horizontal rudders. A
pull-back on the joy-stick lifts the flaps, raises the nose of the
machine, and causes it to gain height. Push the joy-stick forward, the
elevators are turned down, and the machine goes into a dive for the
ground. In making many maneuvers all three controls, rudder, ailerons,
and elevators, are used at once and the pilot feels his way with the
machine, guiding it with the stick and the rudder-bar.

After the explanation of the use of these controls, and their
demonstration on the machine as it awaits its turn in the air, the
pupil is taken up for his first ride--strictly a joy ride, and not
always joyous for those who take every chance to be seasick. After he
has a glimpse of what the ground looks like from the air, and has
recovered from his first breathless sweep off the ground, the pupil is
given a lesson in the demonstration of controls. The instructor
explains through a speaking-tube attached to his helmet the very
simple principles. Forward with the stick to nose down, back to lift
it up, left stick tilts the machine over on its left wing, and right
stick banks it to the right. Right stick and right rudder, in proper
proportions, turn the machine to the right, left stick and left rudder
to take the machine out of the turn and fly it straight again.

Then the wonderful moment when the instructor calls through the tube,
"All right, now you take the stick." You clutch it as though it were
the one straw in a great ocean. "Not so hard," comes the voice. "Now
put your feet gently on the rudder-bar. Not so rough; easier, man,
easier on that stick!" For a glorious moment she is yours, you hold
her nose up, and you are flying an airplane tearing over the
checkerboard country far below.

Then, like the voice of doom: "Now, do a gentle turn to the left.
Don't forget to give her rudder and stick at the same time. That's
right. Begin the motion with your feet and hands at the same time."
The world swings furiously, and down below that left wing-tip a little
farm sways gently.

"Now you are in a gentle turn--feel that breeze on your cheek? We are
side-slipping; give her a touch more of left rudder. Not so much. Now
your nose is dropping; pull back on the stick. Back! Not _forward_!
_Back!_ Now your nose is too _high_; take us out, and don't forget
that _opposite_ stick and rudder.

"Now fly straight for a few minutes. Your right wing is low--bring it
up. Your nose is too high. Now it is too low. Keep it so that the
radiator cap is above the horizon. That's right."

So goes the business of instruction through the lessons on straight
flying, gentle turns, misuse of controls, side-slipping, and approach,
take-off, and landing. The trips should average thirty-five or forty
minutes, long enough to teach the lesson, but not long enough to weary
the pupil. Here at take-off and landing the pupil finds himself up
against the most difficult part of his training. He has the problem of
stopping a large machine weighing a ton or more, traveling at a
landing speed of forty to fifty miles an hour, with the center of
gravity just balanced over the under-carriage. An error in judgment
will pile the machine up on its nose with a crashed propeller, and
perhaps two broken wings and damaged under-carriage. Not a dangerous
accident for the pilot, but very humiliating.

Army practice has shown that a pupil should have about sixty practice
landings dual, that is to say, coached and helped by his instructor.
By this time he has a total flying time of six to twelve hours. At
this point, before he goes solo, the Gosport system provides that he
shall be taken to a reasonably safe height for the practice of high
maneuvers. At a height of say two thousand five hundred feet the
instructor shows him how a stalled machine falls into a spin. The
question of teaching higher maneuvers to civilian pilots is open to

As soon as the instructor shuts off the engine the machine rapidly
loses flying speed. It reaches a point where there is not enough air
passing over the wing surfaces to support the plane in the air. Her
nose begins to drop, and he pulls the stick back. The stick is full
back, she stalls, topples over on her side, and plunges nose first.
The instructor kicks on full rudder, and the world whirls below like a
top, and the air whistles, swish, swish, swish, in the wires at every
turn. Stick forward, opposite rudder, and she comes out so fast that
your head swims. That is the spin.

"Now you try it," says the instructor. For there is nothing to a spin
unless a machine does not come out of it--a rare thing if the plane
is properly handled. The pupil is now ready to go solo, and for the
first couple of hours' solo flying he does nothing but make circuits
around the field, landing and taking off. Then his instructor takes
him dual for forced-landing practice, business of getting down into a
field within gliding range by gliding turns. Then the pupil tries it
solo, throttling down for the practice, a most valuable experience
which increases the confidence of the pilot. He learns to use his own
judgment and to gauge height and ground distance as it appears from
the air.

After three or four hours of solo time the pupil is scheduled for
another demonstration of higher maneuvers, spinning and the stall
turn. For the stall turn the pilot noses the machine down to get an
air speed of seventy-five miles an hour. A little bank, stick back,
she rears into the air with her nose to the sky and propeller roaring.
Full rudder and throttle off. In silence she drops over on her side
into the empty air; blue sky and green fields flash by in a whirl. She
hangs on her back while the passengers strain against the safety
belts, and then her nose plunges. The air shrieks in the wires as the
ground comes up at terrific speed.

It is time for the pupil to go up for his solo spin under the plan
adopted for army purposes. Up, up, up the pupil flies, three thousand
feet, and the ground below looks soft and green. Would it be soft to
hit in a spin from that height? It would not. Have people ever spun
that far? he wonders. They have. Have machines ever failed to come out
of a spin and killed the pilot? The answer is too obvious. With faith
in nothing in particular, and with his mind made up that one can die
but once in a spin, he stalls and spins her--and comes out. He is so
surprised and exhilarated that he tries it again before he loses his
nerve. Yet again. The pupil is a pilot, the air has no terrors, and he
has learned the oldest truth of flying, that there is nothing to a
spin unless you don't come out.

The natural result of training a pupil along those lines is that he
graduates rapidly into a good stunting pilot. He realizes that he
cannot tempt the devil at three hundred feet and hope to live, but he
takes a good altitude, throws his machine upside down, and knows that,
given enough air, he must come out. He does come out unless he loses
complete control of his mind and body. With fifteen hours of solo
flying the pupil has really become a pilot. He is beginning to show
that he can control his machine. From then on it is a question of the
polishing of the nice points, making his forced landings perfect, not
side-slipping a foot on his vertical banks, and coming out of spin so
that he always faces the airdrome--all of which distinguish the good
pilot from the poor pilot.



The fatalities on the training-fields of every country during the
period of training in war, and before and after the war, testify only
too surely that flying cannot be absolutely safe. It is no reflection
on the future of flying to realize that it has not been safe, and that
it can never, perhaps, be made fool-proof. One or two things must be
remembered before we become despondent over the future safety of

When the United States entered the war the entire personnel of the
Signal Corps numbered one hundred and sixty officers and men. At the
time the armistice was signed more than thirty thousand pilots had
been trained. They were trained in great numbers under high pressure.
We did not have the machines to train them in or the instructors to
fly with them. We had not the experience in wholesale training of
flying-men, and yet we turned out vast numbers. It was a question of
getting the men through their flying and getting them overseas as
quickly as possible. We had no adequate methods of inspection of
machines, and no laid-out course in flying-training. We had to learn
by our own experience, in spite of the fact that England at all times
gave unstinted aid.

The wonder is really that we did not have more flying accidents. There
were few men in the country who really understood what conditions
tended toward a flying accident. There were few who had ever gone into
a spin and lived to tell about it. At that time a spinning-nose dive
was a manifestation of hard luck--like a German shell. If you once got
into it, it was only the matter of waiting for the crash and hoping
that the hospital might be able to pull you through.

Toward the end, of course, this situation had been largely overcome,
the Gosport system of flying had been tried out, and there was a vast
increase in the knowledge of flying among the instructors and pupils.
The spin had been conquered, training was on a sound basis, and
accidents were being rapidly cut down.

One of the most obvious ways to cut down crashes was by making sure
that the pilot was in good condition physically. Flight surgeons
assigned to every camp were detailed to make a study of the very
delicate relationship between a sick and stale pilot and the crash. It
was discovered, for instance, that a man who went up not in the best
condition multiplied by many times the ordinary hazards in the air. It
became the duty of these surgeons to conduct recreation and exercises
so that pilots would always be in good trim.

Flying for an early solo pupil is the greatest mental strain that a
man can experience. Every moment the fact that he is up in the air,
supported only by wood, wires, and fabric, may be on his mind. He is
making desperate efforts to remember everything his instructor has
told him since he started his dual. He tries to keep that nose on the
horizon, the wings balanced, and the machine flying true. He is in
fear of stalling and consequent loss of control. He goes into his
turns, hardly knowing whether he is going to come out of them, and
noses down for a landing, mentally giving prayer, perhaps, that he
will come out all right. He can't possibly remember everything he has
been told, but he tries to salvage as much knowledge as possible to
make a decent landing.

These experiences tend to bring about two conditions, aerophobia
(fear of the air) and brain fatigue, both resulting in complete loss
of head on the part of the pilot and inability to react to impulses.
Nothing is more likely to produce immediate and fatal aerophobia than
the sickening sight from the air of a crash, yellow wings flattened
out against the green ground a thousand feet below. A comrade, a
tentmate? The pupil looks at his machine, sees the wires throbbing,
and watches with wonder the phenomenon of rushing through the air--he
may let his imagination dwell too long.

During his first hour's solo a swift stream of hundreds of impulses is
borne along the nerve centers to the brain of a pupil. It is like the
pounding of heavy seas against a light sea-wall. His brain reels under
the repeated shocks and the pupil falls into a detached stupor. He
waits while his engine throbs ahead, and lets the machine fly itself.
He seems to take no active participation in the operation, and unless
he recovers control of his brain and his machine it is a crash.
Physicians then have the problem of learning from a dazed and perhaps
badly injured man how it happened. He can recall nothing, and seldom
knows when he lost control.

These are the things that happened when this country was hastening
fliers overseas. As a matter of national necessity it was essential
that as many men as possible be put through their dual and solo flying
and sent across to the other side. It was better for the country at
large to turn out five hundred pilots a month, say, with 5 per cent.
of casualties, than one hundred a month with one-half of 1 per cent.
or less of accidents. These figures do not represent the actual
conditions, but they picture the problem.

Now the civilian who would take up flying has just as much time as he
wants to spend in learning to fly. He is paying for his instruction,
and he should continue it for perhaps fifteen to twenty hours of dual
instruction. He should fly the machine with an instructor in it, and
really get accustomed to the feel of the air. He should become
sensitive enough so that he can differentiate between the tight, firm
touch to a machine flying under complete control and the slack
movement of stick and rudder of a plane very nearly out of control. He
should recognize these danger signs and know how to correct his flying

Dual flying should be continued up to the point where the pupil flies
without thinking, when it becomes the natural thing for him to use
both stick and rudder to correct a bump, and when he thinks no more of
it than riding over a rut in a road. He should be able to tell by ear,
when volplaning, whether or not he is maintaining sufficient speed to
hold it in the air. He should be acquainted with the principle of
spinning, and should have had some experience in taking a machine out
of a spin.

The treacherous thing about a spinning-nose dive is that, to come out
of it, a pilot must put his stick forward, not hold it back, in spite
of the fact that the machine is falling nose first and spinning at the
same time. A spin is possible only from a stall, and only when the
stick is back and rudder in either direction is given. The position is
an easy one to get into from a steep turn. Air resistance against a
machine turning becomes greater, it slows down the speed, decreases
the lifting power of the planes. The result is that the nose falls
slightly. The pilot moves the stick back to lift the nose, and in
doing so pulls up his elevators, offering still more resistance to the
air, and checking the speed. The effect becomes cumulative; he tries
to hold up his machine, and he has stalled. In a last effort to check
the spin he kicks on the rudder, and the thing is done.

The rudder and elevators have formed a pocket in the tail plane, which
is like the spoon on a trolling-hook. The pocket is off-center and the
air rushes into it as the machine topples over and plunges down. It
imparts a twisting motion, which in a turn or two develops into a
throbbing spin. Picture the pilot, trying to lift the nose of his
machine by holding his stick well back and wondering why the nose does
not come up. The pathetic thing is that so many hundred men have
thought their salvation was to hold the stick back.

The only possible thing to do in this case is to break the pocket. Put
the stick forward to neutral, or even farther if need be, and opposite
rudder. The machine will come out in three-quarters of a turn with
practice, into a straight-nose dive. Then ease the stick back, and
this time the nose comes up and the machine flies on its course.
Instructors who have taught their pupils this before they let them go
solo have saved many, many lives.

It is reasonable to say that there are no fatal accidents except those
from a spin, but, like all general statements, that is open to
contradiction. A nose-high side-slip may be fatal, but generally the
pilot pulls himself out of it. There may have been men killed in
landing accidents, but one seldom hears of them. Men have been killed
trying to loop off the ground, and Vernon Castle was killed doing an
Immelmann turn at fifty feet to avoid another machine. These are the
exceptions. The common or garden variety of accident is from a spin.
The spin once conquered, the air is conquered.

One hears about stunting, and the accidents which result from taking
chances in the air. There may be two opinions about whether for the
flying of the future it should be necessary to loop, to roll, to half
roll, and stall turn, or even to spin. As to looping and rolling, the
question of the type of machine to be flown will determine that
largely. There are many machines which cannot be looped. The large
naval flying-boats, for instance, describe a circle two thousand feet
in diameter for each turnover--it is almost obvious that not much
stunting is done on these boats. A small scout or sporting plane can
loop and come out higher than it went in.

There is certain value in practising such maneuvers if the machine
will permit it. In battle they are, of course, essential. In peace,
however, they may be valuable for the very fact that it accustoms a
pilot to unexpected changes in the air. He gets used to the idea that
he can pull himself out of any position, given air enough, and he will
never be afraid. He becomes orientated on his back, does not lose his
head, and simply waits with confidence for his machine to come around.
This means that if he is suddenly overturned by accident, or for a
minute or two loses control, he knows that his condition is temporary
and that he must simply "carry on."

Army pilots who have had a good course in stunting would certainly
recommend the same for civilian pilots. That does not mean that it
would be necessary, or even advisable. There have been accidents due
to stunting by both inexperienced and experienced pilots. Generally it
is a matter of altitude, for with sufficient height the greenest pilot
can come out of anything, if he does not lose his head.

For the man who would be the pilot for a large commercial plane, such
as the Glenn Martin bomber, the Super Handley-Page in England, or the
Naval Curtiss flying-boats, no stunting is necessary. He may sit in
the cockpit of his machine, and ramble off mile after mile with little
motion, and with as little effort as the driver of a railroad
locomotive. He has a large, steady machine, and there will be no
obligation for him to spill his freight along the course by turning
over in midair.

Whatever opinions may be held regarding the advisability of teaching
stunting to a civilian pilot, there can be no question that a civilian
pilot must have a long and thorough course in the very gentle but
essential art of making forced landings. The problem is that of
controlling a machine with its engine cut off, to have complete
control of it within the radius of its gliding distance. Again, the
dart gliding to its uncertain landing. In the hands of an unskilled
pilot, an airplane gliding without power is a very dangerous thing. He
may pile up the machine against some farm-house, fence, haymow, or
clump of woods, smashing it badly and injuring himself. Or he may,
through inexperience, lose flying speed in the course of his descent
and topple over into a spin.

Even the best pilot may make a mess of his machine if his engine goes
"dud" over a forest, city, swamp, or other impossible landing-place.
It is his business more or less to keep clear of such tracts when
flying. But one of the tests of a good pilot is whether or not he can
shut off his engine in the air, pick out his particular field below,
taking into account that he must land against the wind, then by a
series of gliding turns find himself just coming out of the last turn
in front of the fence. He may make a gentle little "zoom" over the
fence, using every last bit of flying speed for the last kick, and
settle down gently on the other side. One test of instructors in
Canada, before they were allowed to take up pupils, was to make three
perfect forced landings in succession--one of them as the pilot came
out of the spin. With his head still reeling he must pick out his
landing-place and make it.

The difficulty is, of course, not to undershoot, to fall short. It
must be remembered that in case of actual engine failure there is no
motive power, and if a man calculates his distance too short, he has
nothing left but to make his landing where he may be. He has lost his
height and his chance to reach other fields. He may find himself
rolling into the fence of the field he was trying for.

Or, equally bad, he may overshoot. The distance was shorter than it
looked, he has more height to lose than he thought. He can gain
nothing by sticking the nose down, because in his plunge he gains
speed which will carry him too far on the ground. He may bowl over the
fence, or, if there is a field beyond, make the next field. More often
he finds himself in a patch of woods with a broken airplane.

It is possible that on a turn, a gliding turn with the engine shut
off, the pilot may lose his flying speed. Unless he is experienced, he
does not realize that on a turn the machine presents more surfaces to
the air and greatly increases the air resistance. It is likely to
stall unless a safe margin of speed is maintained. The dangerous part
of this is that very often the machine will lose its speed when only a
hundred feet from the ground, approaching the field. There is no
chance to pull it out of a spin unless the pilot is alert and realizes
that he has lost speed, and noses down before he spins. Often he
spins, and a fall with an airplane from a hundred feet is just as
nasty as it can be.

For his own safety in the air the civilian who is about to take up
instruction in flying should insist at his flying-school that he be
taught thoroughly, to his own satisfaction, the control of his machine
with the engine shut off for the moment. There is a certain feel, a
sing in the wires, he must know. He should continue at the work of
forced landings, going on his solo flights to various heights, pick
out his field, shut off the motor, and get down into that field--no
other. He should keep it up until he can make nine out of every ten
absolutely perfect, and the tenth one, though not perfect, still a
good landing.

Then it may be said that a pilot is safe. When he knows in his own
heart that nothing can happen to him which will throw him off his
guard, or which will worry him, he can take the air without fear.



What chance has a good automobile man who knows his engine thoroughly
to become an airplane mechanic? There can be only one answer to this
question which men ask themselves daily--there is every chance in the
world. Commercial flying, in the day when the air is to become a
medium of transportation, just as ground and water are at present,
must draw to itself hundreds of thousands of mechanics. The only thing
to which the future of flying may be compared is the automobile
industry at present. And the only place from which the mechanics are
to be recruited are from the men who are working in garages putting
automobiles in order.

An interesting comparison between the future for the automobile
mechanic or airplane mechanic compared with the future for the pilot
is afforded in the figures of a well-known flying-officer of great
vision. He expects that the skilled mechanic, the man who has spent
years at his trade, will command more for his services than a pilot.
Any one can learn to fly an airplane in one or two months of proper
training. A mechanic may work for years to learn his profession.

It was estimated that it took ten mechanics of various kinds on the
ground to keep one airplane pilot flying in the air, and the
experience of the United States has shown that there must be a large
force of trained men to keep up flying. The present leaders of the
automobile world and the aeronautical world are men who got their
first interest in mechanics in some little shop. Glenn H. Curtiss and
Harry G. Hawker, the Australian pilot, both owned little
bicycle-repair shops before they saw their opportunity in flying.

Most essential of all, for the man who would become an airplane
mechanic, is a thorough knowledge of gasolene-engines. This should
include not only a knowledge of such fundamentals as the theory of the
internal-combustion engine, carburetion, compression, ignition, and
explosion, but also a keen insight into the whims of the human, and
terribly inhuman, thing--the gasolene-motor. Nothing can be sweeter
when it is sweet, and nothing more devilish when it is cranky, than an
airplane engine.

There are certain technical details which distinguish an airplane
motor from an automobile motor, but a man who knows automobile engines
can master the airplane motor in short order. Generally speaking, the
airplane motor differs from the automobile motor in shape. The Liberty
type of engine is V-shaped, with both sets of cylinders driving toward
a common center, the crankshaft. Most airplane motors have special
carbureters, and their oiling systems are extremely finely adjusted to
take up any friction at their high speed. They will be found to be
lighter in weight, with pistons, piston heads and other parts made of
aluminium. They are, as a rule, more carefully made than most
automobile motors, with especial attention to the fitting of all
working parts.

One advantage which an airplane mechanic has is standardization, which
has reached a high point with Liberty, Hispano-Suiza, and Curtiss
engines. Once a mechanic has learned his type he has learned
practically every engine of that type. For a long time to come the
18,000 Liberty engines which this country had at the time the
armistice was signed will be carrying commercial airplanes across
broad stretches of the United States. If it had not been for the
pressure of the war this engine might have been developed slowly, as
the automobile engines were, with changes from year to year. The
Liberty engine has reached a high standard of efficiency, and is
likely to be the standard airplane engine in this country for several
years to come. An airplane mechanic who knows his Liberty engine will
be able to look after most of the airplanes with which he will come
into contact.

An engine which was not developed to the same high point in this
country as the Liberty motor is the rotary engine, of which the Gnome
Monosoupape or Clerget are perhaps the best-known types. These were
favorites with airmen flying fighting scout-planes. They weighed
practically nothing, for an engine. A one-hundred-horse-power motor
weighed only two hundred and sixty pounds, and it was a splendid type
for fast work. Briefly, the power generated by the explosions in the
cylinders, operating against two centers of pressure, gave a rotary
motion to the cylinders and crankcase, revolving around a stationary,
hollow crankshaft. Cylinders and crankcase were bolted together, and
the cylinders looked like the blades of an electric fan. There was
always an odd number of cylinders, so that there would be no
dead-centers, no point at which two opposing strains would be
balanced, causing the engine to stop. The propeller was bolted on a
nose cap which revolved with the engine. This type of engine is not
likely to be used to any extent for commercial flying, or even flying
for sport. It is expensive, very wasteful of gasolene and oil, and
difficult to keep in repair.

For men who may have had some experience in the assembly of airplanes
at factories, or of rigging them at flying-fields, there is great
opportunity. Expert riggers who know their craft are few and hard to
get. They are invaluable for maintaining a machine in flying
condition. The use of airplanes in this country will require men for
rigging, for truing up the wires and struts. Each airplane must be
overhauled after a few hours of flight to discover hidden weaknesses
and to tighten sagging wires.

Rigging an airplane has some resemblance to rigging a ship for
sailing. The first requisite is to see that the machine is properly
balanced in flying position. There is a number of minute measurements
which come with the blue-print of every machine and which must be
followed out to the letter to get the most successful results. An
important detail is the pitch of the planes, or the angle of
incidence, as it is called. This is the angle which a plane makes with
the air in the direction of its motion. Too great a pitch will slow up
the machine by offering too great a resistance to the air; too small
an angle will not generate enough lift. The tail plane must be
attached with special care for its position. Its angle of incidence
must exactly balance the plane, and it must be bolted on so that there
is no chance of it cracking off under strain.

Radio operators will be in great demand for flying. Brig.-Gen. A.C.
Critchley, the youngest general officer in the British service, who
was a pilot in the Royal Air Force, said that the future development
of the airplane must go hand in hand with the development of wireless
communication. He added that the most difficult thing about flying,
especially ocean flying, was to keep the course in heavy weather.
There are no factors which will help a man on "dead" reckoning; and a
shift in wind, unknown to the navigator of a plane, will carry him
hundreds of miles from his objective. The wireless telephone was used
to some extent during the war for communication between the ground and
the air; it will be used to a greater extent in the next few years.

Another development which is being used by the navigators flying the
Atlantic is the radio compass. This instrument may be turned toward a
land or sea wireless station, of which the call is known, and it will
register the bearing from the flying-boat to this station. It may be
turned upon another station, and this bearing also charted. The
intersection of these two wireless compass bearings gives the position
of the ship at sea. The radio compass is dependable day or night, and
is said to be quite as reliable as a sextant or other navigating

Sailmakers to repair airplane fabrics, to sew new covers for
planes--these men must find an opportunity in flying. There are
literally thousands of wings, as yet unmade, which will carry the air
traffic of the future. It matters not whether men or women take up
this branch of the work, it must be done, and done with a conscience.
Like all other branches of the mechanical maintenance of an airplane,
careless work on the part of a sailmaker may mean disaster for the
pilot. One of the latest fatalities at a Long Island flying-field was
due to careless stitching, or weakness of fabric, which gave way under
great pressure due to high speed. The linen cover of an upper plane
ripped off at a height of one hundred and fifty feet, and the pilot
was killed in the fall of the machine.

Photographers may yet take the place of surveyors, or work hand in
hand with them in the making of aerial maps of the country. The map of
the future must be an aerial map, a mosaic map such as was used by our
army headquarters. Nothing can exceed the eye of the camera for
accuracy. Cameras bolted to airplanes, such as were used by our army
for reconnaissance, have already been used for mapping cities. The
mapping of the entire country in such a manner is only a matter of

One thing which an aviation mechanic of any sort must bear in mind is
that he _must_ do his work with a conscience. True, he is handling
mute metal engines, or dumb wires and struts--but in his work he holds
the life of the pilot in his hand. It is not too much to say that
hundreds of pilots' lives have been saved by the conscientious work of
skilled mechanics who realized the danger of the air.

I have seen mechanics rush from a hangar in a frenzy of excitement
and agitation. "That machine must not go up; it has been repaired, but
not inspected!" They have done their work with a will in the army;
they have learned some of the dangers of flying and weak spots which
must be watched. The civilian mechanic must be taught many things.

First of all he must know the value of inspection. Every machine which
has gone through a workshop must be inspected and checked over by a
skilled mechanic before a pilot is allowed to fly it. The ideal thing
would be to have legislation licensing the inspectors of aircraft and
requiring that repairs on all machines be examined by a licensed
inspector. The inspectors would be under civil service and would be
selected by competitive examination. It may sound fantastic, but such
precautions are as necessary for the preservation of life as
legislation on sanitary matters.

In the second place, there should be time limits placed by law
covering the period of usefulness of various parts of an airplane.
After fifty hours of flying there should be an inspection of certain
working parts of the engine, certain wires in the body which may be
strained by bad landings, and other wires in the rigging strained by
flying in bad weather. New wires are always sagging and stretching a
bit. Wings will "wash out," lose their usefulness by excessive flying,
and must be replaced. There is a great volume of data on these matters
which should be the basis for laws covering mechanical inspection of
airplanes, and with which the airplane mechanic must become familiar.

For the man who would like to work into the piloting of aircraft there
is a very good opportunity by starting with the mechanical side. Too
many pilots know next to nothing about the construction of their
machines. When an engine goes bad they know that it won't run--that is
all. The pilot who is a good mechanic is a gifted man in his

There are endless opportunities at flying-fields for mechanics who
want to learn to fly. During the war it became customary to take
mechanics up for flying at least once in two weeks on some fields. It
gave the mechanic an interest in his work and an interest in the life
of his pilot. Perhaps nothing stimulated accurate work by a mechanic
more than the knowledge that at any time he might be called upon to
ride in one of the planes he had helped make or repair.

Some were taught flying by their officers, and later qualified as
pilots. Others went through as cadets and became pilots after the
regular course. The pilot of the future must learn the mechanical
side, and the mechanic should be a good pilot. The two must go hand in
hand to make flying a success.



The story of the American triumph in being the first to fly from the
New World to the Old World is a story of careful, painstaking,
organized effort on the part of the American navy. With the flight of
Lieut.-Commander Albert C. Read from Rockaway Naval Air Station to
Plymouth, England, nearly four thousand five hundred land miles, the
navy brought to fulfilment plans which had been maturing for two
years. Since 1917 there have been naval flying-officers anxious to
cross the ocean by air, and their plans have been cast and recast from
time to time. At first there were many reasons why it was impossible
to attempt such a thing while the United States was at war.
Destroyers, busily hunting German submarines, could not be spared for
a feat more spectacular than useful at the time. Pilots and mechanics
could not be spared from the business at hand--training hundreds of
seaplane pilots for service overseas.

American efforts to cross the Atlantic by air date back to the spring
of 1914 when the flying-boat _America_ was built to the order of
Rodman Wanamaker. She was a large seaplane, a new departure in her
time, and represented the combined effort of a number of the best
seaplane designers in the world. Lieut. John C. Porte, of the Royal
Navy, came over from England to be pilot of the boat, and after her
tests in August she was to have made her flight. But Porte was
recalled by his government at the outbreak of war and the project
given up.

In the latter half of 1918 the naval seaplane NC-1 was delivered to
the Rockaway Naval Air Station--the largest seaplane ever built on
this side of the water. She was originally planned, with three sister
ships, as an aerial submarine-chaser. One hundred and twenty-six feet
from wing-tip to wing-tip, she was equipped with three big Liberty
motors--a monster seaplane, ideally suited to the purpose for which
she was designed.

The signing of the armistice interfered with her use as a submarine
scout, and naval plans for crossing the ocean in the air were brought
from their pigeonholes. The NC-1 and her sister ships under
construction appeared to have been built for just such a flight. When
the war ended, the navy as a whole, and the naval air service in
particular, concentrated attention on the possibilities of using the
NC planes for the flight. One of the first decisions made was to
increase the engine power by adding a fourth engine, and to enlarge
the gasolene-tanks for a long flight.

Early in March of this year it became apparent that the spring or
early summer would see several attempts to cross the ocean by air. On
March 19th it was reported from England that the unfortunate Sopwith
machine with its lucky team of Harry G. Hawker and Lieut.-Commander
Mackenzie Grieve had started from England for Newfoundland. At the
same time announcement was made that naval officers had been
conferring over their Atlantic flight plans, and that a start would be
attempted some time in May.

As a matter of fact, a great deal of work had been done in secret by
Commander John H. Towers, Lieut.-Commander Albert C. Read, and
Lieut.-Commander Patrick N.L. Bellinger. As early as February 24th a
conference was held in Washington and a date of May 15th or 16th for
the flight from Newfoundland was set. This date coincided with a full
moon over the North Atlantic, and the machines started May 16th from

There were really only three routes open to pilots anxious to make the
first crossing of the Atlantic. There was the flight straight from
Newfoundland to Ireland, a matter of about one thousand nine hundred
miles of straight flying, with the possibility of favoring winds.
There was the Newfoundland-Azores route which the Americans took, and
the route from Dakar, French Senegal, to Pernambuco, Brazil, which
French fliers attempted. In addition there was the possibility of
flight from Ireland to Newfoundland, given up by Major Woods, pilot of
the Short biplane, after his forced landing in the Irish Sea.

The great question of a flight straight across the Atlantic was that
of fuel consumption. Could a machine be devised which would carry
enough fuel to fly across one thousand nine hundred miles of water?
The Sopwith Aviation Company designed their machine for such a flight,
but sent it out to Newfoundland to catch and take advantage of the
prevailing west winds across the North Atlantic. The story of the six
weeks' wait for favorable weather, and the desperate take-off to beat
the American plane, the NC-4, at the Azores, make it appear doubtful
whether such winds are to be relied upon.

The American planes took advantage of those winds in their flight to
the Azores, that much is certain. But they were well protected with
destroyers, were not pushing their planes to the limit, and did not
depend upon favoring winds. That the NC-1 and the NC-3 reached the
Azores, but did not make safe landings in the harbor after their long
flight, is one of the fortunes of flying which must not reflect upon
the American effort as a whole.

The French route which Lieutenant Fontan, of the French army, tried
twice, and on which he was twice forced to land because of engine
trouble, was laid to take advantage of favoring winds. Across the
South Atlantic the winds prevail in the spring of the year from east
to west, contrary to the winds on the northern course. A twenty-mile
wind at the back of a flier jumping the one thousand eight hundred
miles across this bit of water would add just twenty miles an hour to
the ground speed of the machine.

Capt. John Alcock and Lieut. Arthur Whitten Brown startled the entire
world on June 15, 1919, with the success of their straight flight
from Newfoundland to Ireland, covering 1,960 land miles in 16 hours
and 12 minutes, at an average speed of 120 miles an hour. Not only was
this the longest non-stop flight over land or water on record, but the
greatest international sporting event. As such, though credit for the
first flight of the Atlantic belongs to the American NC-4, it eclipses
for daring the flight of the American navy. The Vickers-Vimy plane
left St. John's, Newfoundland, on June 14th, at 4.29 P.M., Greenwich
mean time, and landed at Clifden, Ireland, on June 15th, at 8.40 A.M.,
Greenwich mean time. The machine was equipped with two 375-horse-power
Rolls-Royce Eagle engines, and had a wing span of 67 feet and measured
42 feet 8 inches over all.

The start of the American fliers was made after a series of tests of
the seaplanes which covered a period of almost two months. At the
outset it was decided to fly three out of the four NC planes, on the
theory that one of the machines would probably prove to be weaker or
less easy to handle than the others. The NC-2 proved to be the
unfortunate sister in this case, and because of some defects in the
arrangement of her engine-bearing struts she was dismantled and left

With the decision to start three planes simultaneously, the navy made
it clear that, although it hoped all three seaplanes might complete
the trip, allowance was made for one or two machines to give up the
flight if they found themselves in trouble.

The NC-1, and NC-3, and the NC-4 all proved to be up to expectations,
and, with increased engine power, showed that they could take-off the
water with a load of twenty-eight thousand five hundred pounds. After
the necessary tests had been made on Jamaica Bay, Commander Towers
said on May 4th that the start would be made a little after daybreak,
May 6th. There remained only the task of filling their hulls with one
thousand eight hundred gallons of gasolene.

Early in the morning of May 5th, while mechanics were pumping gasolene
into the tanks of the NC-1, a spark from an electric pump fell into a
pool of gasolene and set fire to her whole right side. In a moment the
heavily "doped" linen wings, with seasoned spruce spars, were a mass
of hot flame. The sailors at work on the machine, with complete
disregard of their personal safety, ran for fire-extinguishers, and
with the fire burning around the mouth of the open tanks, confined it
to the right wings of the machine and to the elevators of the NC-4
standing close by. No one believed that the NC-1 could be made ready
in time for the flight twenty-four hours away.

She was ready the next morning, with fresh wings from the discarded
NC-2, but the flight was postponed on account of a heavy northeast
wind, reported all the way to Halifax. The machines made their start
from Rockaway on the morning of May 8th, at ten o'clock, and two of
them, the NC-1, with Lieutenant-Commander Bellinger, and the NC-3,
with Commander Towers, arrived at Halifax after nine hours' flying.
The NC-4 proved to be the "lame duck" on the first leg of the flight,
and came down at sea a hundred miles off Chatham, because of
overheated bearings. Some alarm was felt during the night by the
failure of destroyers to find her. She appeared the next morning off
the Chatham breakwater, "taxi-ing" under her own power.

While her sister ships, the NC-1 and the NC-3, were flying to
Trepassey the NC-4 waited at Chatham. Even after the repairs were
made, it seemed impossible for the NC-4 to catch up with the other
two machines, and she was held stormbound for five days. On May 14th
she finally got away from Chatham, and, with her new engines, made the
fastest time over the short course to Halifax recorded since the
beginning of the flight. Her average for the 320 miles was 85 nautical
miles an hour, about 20 miles an hour faster time than either of the
other two machines had made.

Four days later she left Halifax for Trepassey in a last-minute effort
to catch her sister planes. It seemed certain that she could not get
there in time and would be forced to follow on the course a day later.
Just as she flew into Trepassey Bay, on May 14th, the NC-1 and NC-3
were preparing to take-off. They postponed their start until the next
day. In the mean while repairs were rushed and adjustments made, and
she was ready to start the next afternoon, when all three planes
started a little after six o'clock.

From the beginning of the flight from Trepassey the NC-4, thought to
be the "lame duck" of the squadron, ran away from the other two
machines. She lost contact with them very quickly and plowed through
the night alone, laying her course by the line of destroyers lying
beneath her. She was about half an hour ahead of the NC-1 at daybreak
the next day and within an easy run of Horta, Fayal.

The half-hour lead gave the NC-4 a chance to get through a fog which
was coming up over the Azores ahead of the other machines. She held a
little above it until she thought she was in the right position. Then
she came down through the mist. As it happened, she landed in the
wrong harbor, but picked herself up and found Horta a few minutes
later. She landed in Horta after fifteen hours and eighteen minutes of
flying, in which she averaged 78.4 nautical miles an hour for the

The machine was nearly five hours ahead of the schedule laid down by
the Navy Department.

Both the other planes were forced to land at sea, the NC-3 after 1,250
miles of flight--the longest ever made over water up to that time--and
the NC-1 after more than 1,100 miles in the air.

The NC-1 with Bellinger and his crew was picked up on the morning of
Saturday, May 17th, by a Greek steamer, the _Ionia_, and brought into
Horta. Towers with the NC-3 tossed about for nearly sixty hours at sea
and was not picked up until the following Monday, when the public had
begun to fear for his safety.

On Tuesday, May 20th, the NC-4 hopped off for the shortest leg of the
flight, 150 miles from Horta to Ponta Delgada, where the fuel and
supplies for the machines were. With favoring winds at her back, and
with the lightest load she had carried, she covered the distance in
one hour and forty-four minutes, an average speed of 86.7 nautical
miles an hour, or more than 99 land miles. This was a new record for
the seaplanes on the ocean flight.

Meanwhile Harry G. Hawker and Lieut.-Commander Mackenzie Grieve, the
Sopwith team waiting so long at St. John's for a chance to fly,
stimulated in their daring attempt by reports of American successes at
the Azores, took-off on their flight straight across on the afternoon
of Sunday, May 18th. All through that night he flew, when his engine
began to give signs of overheating, due to a clogged water-filter.
Early the next morning, about half-way across, Hawker decided that
there was no chance to make the land, and began looking through the
fog for a chance for a safe landing.

By zigzagging on the steamship courses for about two hours, with his
engine hot but running well, he picked up the Danish steamer _Mary_,
and pancaked on the water about two miles ahead of her. Because the
little tramp steamer had no wireless, the world was kept waiting a
week, before word was signaled to land that Hawker and Grieve were

With the Sopwith team out of the race, it became evident that
Commander Read and the NC-4 would actually win the honors for the
first flight. On the morning of May 27th he started over his
well-patrolled course of eight hundred miles, and, after a little less
than ten hours of flight, brought his machine into the harbor before
Lisbon, Portugal. Americans had crossed the ocean in the air, and the
enthusiastic Portuguese capital turned out to do them every honor.

Read, however, rather than linger, pushed on again May 30th, in the
midst of the celebration for his triumph on the last leg of his course
to Plymouth, seven hundred and seventy-five nautical miles. Engine
trouble, the first since the machine had left Chatham, developed, and
at the end of two hours he was forced to land at the mouth of the
Mondego River, about a hundred miles on his way. The trouble was a
water leak. It was quickly repaired, and he started again, but
decided to put up at Ferrol, Spain, two hundred miles farther on the
course, for the night.

Early in the morning of May 31st Commander Read started from Ferrol
for Plymouth, and at the end of seven hours and six minutes of flight
came down in the harbor, where a warm reception was waiting for him.
The actual flying time since leaving the Rockaway Naval Air Station
was fifty-seven hours and sixteen minutes, and the average rate of
flight was at a speed of sixty-eight nautical miles an hour.



The immediate need, to establish aviation throughout the entire
country, is a series of landing-fields from the Atlantic to the
Pacific coast. These landing-fields should not be designed primarily
for transcontinental flying-stations, but for city-to-city flying.
There is going to be a great amount of aerial traffic from New York to
San Francisco, to be sure, but the future of flying is in the linking
up of cities a few hundred miles apart. The War Department has already
taken steps, and will establish thirty-two fields in the country to
encourage flying. Many more are needed.

Atlantic City is apparently the pioneer air port of the country, and
for many reasons this is natural. There are political and social
advantages which make Atlantic City ideal. Rules have been laid down
for the coming and going of airships, and a field for land machines
and water space for seaplanes have been laid out. A large
aeronautical convention has already been held there.

Every city in the United States will have a landing-field and hangars
for airplanes, as well as mechanics to care for them. Whether this is
to be a private or public enterprise lies in the hands of the people
handling such things. Much could be said for either type of
establishment. The thing must come; it is as logical as one, two,
three. There are some, perhaps, who remember the roars of derision
which went up when the first automobile garage was established in
their town. Such a thing was visionary-there would never be enough
machines to make it pay!

There are many reasons why it is impossible to consider the use of
city roofs, for the present, as suitable landing-places for airplanes.
In fact, the first successful landing on a roof made by Jules Vedrines
last January was hailed as a feat of almost unparalleled daring. He
flew and landed on the roof of the Galeries Lafayette in Paris, and
won a prize of $5,000 for doing it. The police of Paris refused to
allow him to fly off the roof, and he was compelled to take his
machine apart and lower it in an elevator.

The theory of flight, the laws which make it possible apparently to
defy all laws of gravitation, make it impossible for us to depend on
the roofs of buildings in large cities and landing-places. It will be
a long time before the dreams of men who would establish
landing-places on hotel roofs can come true. The progress of
aeronautical development has been great enough so that there is no
need to overemphasize it--to set ridiculous tasks which cannot be

We shall not see the business man flying to his office in the city
from his country estate--unless some landing-field is built on the
lower end of Manhattan Island as has been proposed. The Chamber of
Commerce of the State of New York has taken up the matter of
legislation to make landing-fields possible, and it must go through.
The business man ought, in the near future, to be able to use the
airplane for quick trips to Albany. It would save hours over rail
time, and here the airplane has a wonderful field of usefulness.

Airplanes have made the trip from Washington to New York in very quick
time, only to have to go on to Mineola to land on the airdrome there.
It takes nearly an hour to come in from Mineola, but even at that the
saving of time is still considerable. The speed and efficiency of
airplane travel to and from New York and other cities is materially
affected by the lack of landing-fields close to the business section
of the city.

There must be a large field, broad in every dimension, to permit the
landing and taking-off of airplanes. A machine must get up flying
speed running across the ground before it gets into the air. The
flying speed varies with the type of machine, and it may be estimated
that most machines take-off and land at a speed of from forty-five to
sixty miles an hour. The air must be passing through their planes at
this speed before they will begin to fly, and it takes a little run to
get up flying speed. Similarly, when an airplane lands, it must lose
its flying speed gradually. It may glide to within a few feet of the
ground, and then "flatten out" just off the ground and run along until
it loses its speed, the air no longer passes over its planes fast
enough to support it, and it drops to the ground.

Such are the limitations which the necessity for speed in airplane
flight imposes. Compare the paper dart flying through the air. As long
as it moves quickly it will fly. Or a kite, that will fly when the
wind is strong enough. The airplane creates its own wind to support

There are four forces acting on an airplane in flight, and they must
be properly overcome and balanced. There is lift, the upward force
exerted on the planes by the passage of air over their surfaces; and
drift, the resistance to the passing of an airplane, the retarding
force acting opposite to the direction of motion. Then thrust, the
forward effort of a machine exerted by a propeller pushing or pulling.
And finally gravity.

The primary conditions of flight are that lift made by the planes
shall be equal to the force of gravity, and that the forward thrust
must be equal to the drift. At that point a machine will sustain
flight--a fairly simple thing on paper. But the times that machines
have stalled in the air, with their motors full on because their
pilots have failed to sustain flight, have let the force of gravity
overcome lift, are too numerous to mention.

That dart, if pointed at a proper angle and let loose, will fly; its
lift will overcome the force of gravity, even though it has no motive
power of its own. An airplane without an engine could be pushed off
the Palisades at flying speed, and a skilful pilot could bring it to a
reasonably safe landing at the foot. Flight does depend on motion,
but motion does not depend on motive power. Given a sufficiently high
altitude, the mere act of dropping through the air creates motion, and
this motion will sustain flight.

An airplane is in no particular danger in the air if the motor
stops--provided it is in an open stretch of country with plenty of
fields. Instinctively the pilot will nose down and glide, and on that
glide he will find himself maintaining flying speed. He can turn and
maneuver his machine, and pick out almost any field near at hand. The
only limitations are that he cannot glide more than five times his
height, and when he comes down to the ground he must stop gliding and
land. He must land on anything that presents itself, a field if he has
good judgment; if not, then a barn or swamp or woods. He must land
when the end of his glide brings him to the ground.

This is commonly termed a "forced landing," and in every sense of the
word it is one. There is no pilot of any extensive flying experience
who has not had to make a forced landing. Ninety out of a hundred are
perfectly orderly safe landings; the odd ones are occasionally
crashes. Incidentally it may be said that forced-landing practice by
flying pupils is the most beneficial which may be imagined. It teaches
control over a machine as nothing else will. It may be carried out
from any height, shutting off the motor, picking out a field, gliding
for it, turning and twisting to get into proper position as regards
the wind, and "giving her the gun" just at the fence and flying on.

A forced landing over the country is safe, but over a city it is the
most deadly thing imaginable. For a machine caught with a "dud" engine
over New York there is no escape but a terrific crash in the city
streets, against the side of some building, with danger to the pilot
and the people in the street below. There has been no motor made by
the hand of man which would not let a pilot down at some unexpected
time. The instance of Major Woods, starting on his flight across the
Atlantic, and forced to come down to the Irish Sea is one example. The
NC-4, American naval seaplane, had a forced landing at sea, a hundred
miles from Chatham, Massachusetts, on the first leg of the Atlantic
flight from this side. Its engines had been carefully cleaned and
tested, and yet they failed. Harry G. Hawker's engine failed him
half-way from Newfoundland to Ireland and let him down into the sea,
from which he was picked up by the greatest good luck.

That is one of the most exasperating and human things about a
gasolene-engine. It is efficient, but not thoroughly dependable. The
best of them are liable to break down at the most needed moment, due
to a hundred causes outside of the control of a mechanic or pilot.
Care and rigid inspection will reduce the possibilities, but engine
failure cannot yet be eliminated.

That is one of the principal reasons why the roofs of buildings around
big cities are so dangerous. The sides of a building drop away from
the roof. An error in judgment and the machine is over the edge.

It is even more dangerous to take-off. An airplane motor is ten times
as likely to develop a weakness while it is cold. A motor starting a
flight is never well warmed up, and fifty feet from the edge of the
roof it may give out, with awful consequences. As a practicable thing,
roofs are at present impossible. There is not a flying-officer in the
world who will not agree.

An interesting series of experiments has been carried out in England
on what has been known as the helicopter machine. This machine is not
dependent upon speed to fly, but merely on engine power applied
through a propeller of great pitch. The idea is not new, but is along
the lines specified by Orville Wright when he said that a kitchen
table could fly if it had a good enough engine.

The effort is being made to make a machine which can hover, can hold
itself in the air by brute force of its propeller blades beating the
air. The thing sounds impossible to adapt, say some aeronautical
engineers. Those who have seen the experiments, however, express great

A machine of this sort would land and take-off in a very small space,
and might be adapted to use around cities. It might even make flying
over cities safe but for the human equation of the engine again. This
machine is dependent on engine power. Apparently there would be two
engines, or two driving mechanisms, one operating the lifting
propeller and the other the pulling propeller.

For the present the great need is for landing-fields as near the heart
of most American cities as possible. There should be quick
transportation to the business section provided, as well as hangars
and mechanics. When that is done we may very well say that aerial
transportation for passengers and freight is an accomplished fact.



At the end of 108 hours and 12 minutes of sustained flight, more than
four days, the British dirigible R-34 swung into Roosevelt Field, came
to anchor, and finished the first flight of the Atlantic by a
lighter-than-air airship. To the wondering throngs which went down
Long Island to see her huge gray bulk swinging lazily in the wind,
with men clinging in bunches, like centipedes, to her anchor ropes,
and her red, white, and blue-tipped rudder turning idly, she was more
than a great big balloon, but a forerunner of times to come. She had
come to us, a pioneer over the sea lanes which are to be thronged with
the swift dirigibles of the future plying their easy way from America
to Europe.

The performance of the R-34, undertaken in the line of duty, has
eclipsed all the previous records made by dirigibles and is, in fact,
a promise of bigger things to come. There was that Zeppelin, which
cruised for four days and nights down into German East Africa and out
again, carrying twenty-five tons of ammunition and medicine for the
Germans who were surrounded and obliged to surrender before help

The R-34 started from East Fortune, Scotland, on Wednesday, July 2,
1919, at 2.48 o'clock in the morning, British summer time, and
arrived, after an adventurous voyage, at Mineola, Sunday, July 6, at
9.54 A.M., American summer time. She had clear sailing until she hit
the lower part of Nova Scotia on Saturday. Electrical storms, which
the dirigible rode out, and also heavy head winds, kept her from
making any progress, and used up the gasolene. About noon of Saturday
the gasolene situation became acute, and Major G.H. Scott, her
commander, sent a wireless message to the United States Navy
Department at Washington, asking for destroyers to stand by in the Bay
of Fundy in case the gasolene should run short and the airship get out
of control. Destroyers were immediately despatched, but in the next
few hours the weather improved, and the ship was able to continue on
her journey. It was feared, however, she might run out of fuel before
reaching Long Island, and mechanics were sent to Chatham and to
Boston to pick her up in case of trouble.

The big ship surprised everybody by appearing over Long Island about
nine o'clock Sunday morning. The officer in charge of the landing
party having gone to Boston, expecting her arrival there, Major John
Pritchard "stepped down" in a parachute from the airship, and, landing
lightly, took charge of the landing of the big machine.

An approaching cyclone, which would have made it almost impossible to
handle the airship at Mineola, was responsible for a rather hurried
start back at midnight of Wednesday, July 9th. She visited Broadway in
the midst of the midnight glare, turned over Forty-second Street a
little after one o'clock in the morning, and put out to sea and her
home airdrome. The voyage back was mostly with favoring winds, and she
landed at Pulham, the airship station in Norfolk, after 75 hours and 3
minutes of flight. The voyage back was practically without incident
except for the failure of one engine, which in no way held back the
airship. She was turned off her course to East Fortune by reports that
there were storms and head winds which might hold her back in case she
kept on her way.

The voyage was probably the most significant in the history of
flying. It brought home to the public the possibilities of the airship
for ocean commerce as nothing else could have done. The ship remained
in the air longer than any previous airship, and pointed the way clear
to commercial flying. It is, in fact, only considered a matter of time
before companies are started to carry passengers and mails across the
Atlantic at a price that would offer serious competition to the
fastest steamships.

The airship has been very much neglected by popular favor. Its
physical clumsiness, its lack of sporting competition in comparison
with the airplane which must fight to keep itself up in the air, its
lack of romance as contrasted with that of the airplane in war, have
all tended to cast somewhat of a shadow over the lighter-than-air
vessel and cause the public to pass it by without interest. It is a
very real fact, therefore, that very few people realize either the
services of the airship in the war or its possibilities for the

During the war the airship was invaluable in the ceaseless vigil for
the submarine. England early stretched a cordon of airship guards all
about her coasts and crippled the U-boats' work thereby. The airship
had a greater range of vision and a better downward view than any
sea-vessel; it could travel more slowly, watch more closely, stay out
much longer, than any other vessel of the air. The British credit
their airships with several successful attacks on submarines, but they
give them a far greater place in causing a fear among the under-sea
boats which drove them beneath the surface and greatly limited their

The German Zeppelins, on the other hand, stand out in public
imagination as a failure in the war, especially because the British
shortly established an airplane barrage which proved to be their
masters. This view is correct only in so far as it applies to interior
raiding, for which, indeed, the Zeppelin was not designed. How untrue
it is of the Zeppelin as the outpost for the German fleet British
officers will readily admit. Indeed, they credit them with the escape
of the German fleet at Jutland, one of the deepest regrets in British
naval history. As eyes for the German fleet in the North Sea, the
Zeppelins, with their great cruising range and power of endurance,
proved almost invaluable.

Airships have, then, behind them a rich heritage and before them a
bright future. Much work that the airplane can do they cannot do;
while, on the other hand, much work that they can do the airplane
cannot. The two services are essentially different and yet essentially
complementary. Between them they offer nearly every facility and
method of travel in the air which could be desired. Each must be
equally developed in order to increase the efficiency and the value of
the other.

The great difference, of course, between the airplane and the airship
is that the former sustains itself as a heavier-than-air vessel by the
lifting power of the air in relation to a body driven hard against it
by its powerful engines, while the latter sustains itself as a
lighter-than-air body because of the large amount of air displaced by
a huge envelop loaded with gas much lighter than the air itself. The
contrast is obvious; one vessel is small, agile, and very fast; the
other is slow and clumsy. The airship cannot attain anything like the
speed of the airplane, nor can it go so high or maneuver so quickly,
but on the other hand, at least for the immediate present, it can stay
afloat very much longer and carry much greater weight.

Moreover, the airship has certain other easily perceptible advantages
over the airplane. Ordinarily an airship need not fly at much more
than a thousand feet, which not only makes far less cold traveling
than at higher altitudes, but also allows the passengers to enjoy the
view far better than from an airplane, whence the world below looks
like a dull contour map. An airship also flies on an even keel; it
does not bank as an airplane does nor does it climb or descend so

At present airship travel gives a greater feeling of comfort and
security. Sleeping is a calm experience; moving about comparatively
simple. Also there is less noise than in an airplane where the engines
beat incessantly and the wind rushes through the wires and struts. An
airship has no wires and can at the same time slow down and even shut
off its engine, so that it need be no more noisy than a motor-car.
Engine failure also is not so serious as in an airplane, for the
gas-bag will always keep the ship up until there has been a chance for

Up to the present, too, the airship is less of a fair-weather flier
than the airplane. A surprising record has been attained in the war by
British airships, as is shown by the fact that in 1918, a year of
execrable weather, there where only nine days during which their
vessels were not up. This is, of course, in considerable contrast to
airplanes as at present developed, but it may reasonably be expected
that the latter will very soon develop to the same point of
independence of the weather.

Of course, the great difficulty of airships has been their ungainly
size and the difficulty of housing them. The sheds, particularly those
for the Zeppelins, have been most costly, but the British have
recently developed a system of mooring masts which make much of this
expense unnecessary. If such a device can be successfully put into
every-day use it will enormously increase the ease of loading and
unloading passengers, which now makes for considerable discomfort and
loss of time.

Some of the plans for future airships are unbelievable to one who has
not followed their development carefully. Already there is planned in
England a monster ship known as the "ten million," for the reason that
it will have a gas capacity of ten million cubic feet, over four times
that of the largest Zeppelin. The length is placed at 1,100 feet, the
speed at 95 miles an hour, the cruising range 20,000 miles, and the
cost at about $1,000,000. As a matter of actual practice, however,
the best division of the space and lifting power of this airship would
be for it to carry a crew of about 20, a useful load of 200 passengers
or 150 tons of merchandise, and 50 tons of petrol, which would give it
a non-stop run of about 5,000 miles.

Airship travel would undoubtedly be expensive. The gas alone to
maintain such a vessel as described is expected to cost about $30 an
hour, which, added to the original investment for the ship and its
house and the wages of the crew and the 200 or more skilled men at
each station, would come up to a high figure. At the same time, the
airship would not afford the element of very high speed which is so
certain to justify any expense which may have to be put into the
airplane. Nevertheless, with the improvements that are sure to come,
with the ability to reach places not touched by other methods of
travel, the freedom from all the delays, inconveniences, and expense
of trans-shipment, this preliminary charge will be largely compensated

Those who sponsor the airship urge that it will be used almost
exclusively for long-distance flights beyond the range of the ordinary
airplane and very little for short local flights. For transatlantic
travel, for instance, it is being particularly pressed, as ships even
of to-day have all the capacity for such a voyage, without the dangers
which might surround an airplane if its sustaining engine power were
to give out.

There are several records which would easily justify it. Besides the
flight across the Atlantic by the R-34 and the four-day trip of the
German airship from Bulgaria to Africa and back, a British airship
during the war stayed up for 50 hours and 55 minutes, and another,
just after the armistice, stayed up for 61 hours. An American naval
dirigible a short time after the armistice made a flight from New York
to Key West, 1,200 miles, at 40 miles an hour, for 29-1/2 hours, with
one stop at Hampton Roads. As an example of some of the difficulties
of airship travel, this landing was possible only after the ship had
circled the town and dropped a message asking the people to go to a
large field near by and catch the dirigible drag-net when it
approached the ground. Even at that, however, the time of less than a
day and a quarter for what is usually a very arduous train trip from
New York down the coast to Florida gives some indication of the
possibilities of this method of travel when properly developed.

Practically all the new airships contemplated look to a much greater
speed than the pre-war speed of about 40 miles an hour. It is not at
all uncertain that they will not run up as high as 100 miles, though
at the present time that figure is extreme. But granted that they no
more than double the pre-war speed and reach the actual figure
contemplated of about 75 miles an hour, they still would triple the
best passenger-steamer speed, which would make them a matter of the
utmost importance in all long ocean voyages.

Just how the balance will be struck between airplanes and airships is
a big question. It is interesting to note, however, that the
supporters of the airship have worked out a general theory that the
lighter-than-air vessel with its already demonstrated cruising and
weight-carrying capacity will be used for all long routes, and for
that almost exclusively, while the heavier-than-air vessel, with its
great speed and facility for maneuvering, will be used for local
flights. This, in their viewpoint, would mean that the world would be
girded by great lanes of airships, fed from a few main centers by
swift-scurrying airplanes radiating in from every direction.



The day of the air has undoubtedly come. The old order of the world
has been entirely changed. A new life is breaking in over the near
horizon. Almost in a moment the span of the world has shrunk to a
quarter of its former size, so that where before we thought in terms
of countries very soon we must think in terms of continents. The world
is shortly to be linked up as it never has been before, till the great
continents are brought as near as were the near-by nations of the past

Any one who doubts the future of aviation should realize the
helplessness of the science after the armistice because of the
complete lack of international laws to make possible its application
in Europe, where it was most highly developed. With men and machines
ready, they had to hold to the ground largely because there was in
force no treaties assuring them the right to cross frontiers. The
broad plans for international routes were held up because aviation
itself was so big in its expanse that it could not meet its just
fulfilment within national lines.

As a result a new law must be written. The law of the air will be one
of the most intricate and the most fascinating in the world. It
presents problems never before presented and covers a scope paralleled
only by the laws of the sea. Very fortunately, however, aerial
international law may be written at the very start of the science by a
common international standard and practice, thus obviating the
greatest part of the divergences which long years of habit have
grafted into the maritime laws of the various nations. The slate is
clean so that uniformity may be assured in a law which is soon to come
into the most vital touch with the daily lives of the nations.

Who, for instance, owns the air above the various nations? Obviously
the individual landowner has rights, especially as to freedom from
damage. The nation also has rights, especially for its protection and
for police work. How high, however, does this jurisdiction go? Some
assert that a maximum altitude should be set, say five thousand feet,
above which the air would be as free as the seas; others that each
nation must have unqualified control to the limit of the ether.

Then comes the question of passports, customs, registration, safety
precautions, and damages. As already shown, the man on the ground is
helpless against the airplane which chooses to defy him. People and
goods can cross national lines by the air without passports or
customs. There will be no main ports of entry as in sea or train
commerce, and it is too much to think that any nation can patrol its
whole aerial frontier in all its various air strata. Undesirable
immigrants or small precious freight can be smuggled in with the
greatest ease through the route of the air.

Obviously the most elaborate international rules are necessary. Planes
must have some method of international registration and license, just
as in a more limited sense ships on the seas have what amounts to an
international status. Landing-fields must be established and open to
foreign planes, each nation providing some kind of reciprocal landing
rights to other nations. Arrangements must be made so that if a
monkey-wrench drops out of a plane a mile or two up in the air proper
damages can be collected. For such things there is to-day but little
precedent in law.

This but sketches the problems. It shows, however, how closely this
new science will bind the world together and obliterate national lines
and nationalistic feelings. As the sea has been the great civilizer of
the past, so the air will be the great civilizer of the future.
Through it men will be brought most intimately in touch with one
another and forced to learn to live together as they have not been
forced to live together before. The artificial barriers that have
stood so firm between nations in the past are now swept away and a
great common medium of intercommunication opened.

Let it not be understood that all this will take place overnight. Far
from it, for the experience of the war has taught only too well that
the organization of an air force takes time and patience. Up to date
the essential fact is that the science, the value, and the
possibilities of flight have been proved in a thousand different ways.
Vistas of travel and experience have been opened up which but a few
months ago would have seemed fanciful. Everywhere men are dreaming
dreams of the future which challenge one's deepest imagination.
Already Caproni, the great Italian inventor, has signed a contract to
carry mails from Genoa to Rio Janeiro.

Now comes news of an airplane with room for ninety-two passengers.
Engine power and wing space have gone on increasing in a dazzling way
till one is almost afraid to guess what the future may hold. But,
omitting all prophecy, the actual accomplishments to date are so
stupendous that there is no need to speculate as to the future. If all
technical development were to stop just where it stands, the factories
and workshops of the world could well be occupied for years in turning
out the machines necessary for the work awaiting them. Scientific
development has gone so infinitely far ahead of actual production that
as yet aviation is not being put to a fraction of its use.

Even more serious, however, is the general public failure to realize
the gift which is within their reach. Flying was first a circus stunt
and later a war wonder. The solid practical accomplishments have been
lost sight of in the weird or the spectacular. People who marveled
when a British plane climbed up nearly six miles into the air, or
30,000 feet, where its engine refused to run and its observer fainted,
failed generally to analyze what the invasion of this new element
would mean in the future of mankind.

What is now needed is a big, broad imagination to seize hold of this
new thing and galvanize it into actual every-day use. There are many
skeptics, of course, many who point out, for instance, that the
element of cost is prohibitive. This is both fallacious in reasoning
and untrue in fact. A modern two-seated airplane, even to-day, costs
not over $5,000, or about the price of a good automobile. Very soon,
with manufacturing costs standardized and the elements of newness worn
off, this price will fall as sharply as it has already fallen during
the war.

But what, after all, is cost in comparison with time? Modern
civilization will pay dearly for any invention which will increase
ever so little its hours of effectiveness. The great German liners
before the war lavished money without stint to save a day or two in
crossing the Atlantic. The limited express trains between New York,
Boston, Washington, and Chicago have for years made money by carrying
busy men a few hours more quickly to their destination. What will not
be paid if these times of travel can be reduced practically to half?

The element of danger has been reduced to a minimum and will be still
more reduced as emphasis is laid on safety rather than wartime
agility. Many men, of course, will meet their death in the air, just
as in the early days many men met their death in ships and in railroad
trains, but this will not be a deterrent if the goal is worth
attaining. There will be accidents in learning to fly, there will be
accidents of foolhardiness and of collision or in landing, but they
will decrease to the vanishing-point as experience grows. Already the
air routes which have been established have a high record of success
and freedom from fatalities.

The great need of aviation to-day is faith--faith among the people,
among the manufacturers, among the men who will give it its being. Its
success is as inevitable as that day follows night, but the question
of when that success is attained, now or generations from now, is
dependent on the vision which men put into it. If they are apathetic
and unreasonable, if they chafe at details or expect too much, it will
be held back. If, on the other hand, they go to meet it with
confidence, with coolness, and with a realization both of its
difficulties and its potentialities, its success will be immediate.

The task is one of the greatest, the most vital, and the most
promising which mankind has ever faced. With the general theories
proved and demonstrated, the great crisis of invention has passed, and
the slow, unspectacular process of development and application has set
in. Now has come the time for serious, sober thought, for careful,
analytical planning, for vision combined with hopefulness. It is well
in these early days, when flight is with the general public a very
special and occasional event, to remember what has happened since Watt
developed the steam-engine only a few generations ago, when Columbus
set the first ship westward, or when America's first train ran over
its rough tracks near the Quincy quarries.

The development of aviation will be world-wide and will include all
sorts and races of men. The nations all start pretty much abreast.
Those which developed war air services have an advantage in material
and experience, but this is a matter only for the moment. The main
lines of progress are now pretty widely known and the field is wide
open to those who have the imagination to enter it. There is
practically no handicap at this early stage which cannot be overcome
with ease.

There is, of course, an element of individual gamble to those who
enter this competition. Undoubtedly there will be many failures, as in
all new fields; failures come to those who put in capital as well as
those who contribute their scientific knowledge. But by the same token
there will be great successes both financially and scientifically. The
prize that is being striven for is one of the richest that have ever
been offered and the rewards will be in accordance. This has been the
case at the birth of every great development in human progress and
will undoubtedly be the case with the science of flight. Until a field
becomes standardized it offers extremes on both sides rather than a
dull, dreary, but safe average.

As aviation runs into every phase of activity it will require every
kind of man--manufacturer, scientist, mechanic, and flier. It offers
problems more interesting and more complex than almost any others in
the world. The field is new and virgin, the demand world-wide, and the
rewards great. For the flier there is all the joy of life in the air,
above the chains of the earth, reaching out to new, unvisited regions,
free to come and go for almost any distance at any level desired, a
freedom unparalleled. For the manufacturer there is all the lure of a
new product destined in a short time to be used as freely as the
automobile of to-day; for the scientist there are problems of balance,
meteorology, air pressure, engine power, wing spread, altitude
effects, and the like in a bewildering variety; for the explorer, the
geographer, the map-maker a wholly new field is laid open.

The best men of every type are needed to give aviation its full
fruition. In Europe this is realized to a supreme degree. England
especially, and also France and Italy, have put their best genius at
work to fulfil the conquest of the air. Their progress is astonishing
and should be a challenge to the New World. After the natural hiatus
which followed the armistice the leading men have set to work with
redoubled vigor to take first place in the air.

In twenty years' time our life of to-day will seem centuries old, just
as to-day it is hard to realize that the automobile and motor-truck do
not date back much over a generation. No change that has ever come in
man's history will be so great as the change which takes him up off
the ground and into the air. This swift and dazzling era that is so
close upon us is hardly suspected by the great mass of people. The
world will be both new and better for it. Less than the train or the
motor-car will the airplane disturb its features. On the blue above
white wings will glitter for a moment, a murmuring as of bees will be
heard, and the traveler will be gone, the world unstained and pure.
Meanwhile high in the clouds, perhaps lost to view of the earth, men
will be speeding on at an unparalleled rate, guiding their course by
the wireless which alone gives them connection with the world below.

Has there ever in all history been an appeal such as this?



What is to become of all the new words, some of them with new
meanings, the old words with new meanings, and the new words with old
meanings, coined by the aviators of the American and British flying
services in the war? Are they to die an early death from lack of
nourishment and lack of use, or will they go forward, full-throated
into the dictionary, where they may belong? Here are just a few of
them, making a blushing début, so that it may be seen at once just how
bad they are:

  AEROBATICS--A newly coined word to describe aerial "stunting,"
    which includes all forms of the sport of looping, spinning, and
    rolling. The term originated in the training schedule for
    pilots, and all pilots must take a course in aerobatics before
    being fully qualified.

  AEROFOIL--Any plane surface of an airplane designed to obtain
    reaction on its surfaces from the air through which it moves.
    This includes all wing surface and most of the tail-plane

  AILERON--This is a movable plane, attached to the outer
    extremities of an airplane wing. The wing may be either raised
    or lowered by moving the ailerons. Raising the right wing, by
    depressing the right aileron, correspondingly lowers the left
    wing by raising the left aileron. They exercise lateral control
    of a machine.

  BLIMP--A non-rigid dirigible balloon. The dirigible holds its
    shape due to the fact that its gas is pumped into the envelop to
    a pressure greater than the atmosphere. It can move through the
    air at forty miles an hour, but high speed will cause it to
    buckle in the nose.

  BUMP--A rising or falling column of air which may be met while
    flying. A machine will be bumped up or bumped down on a bumpy
    day. A hot day over flat country, at noon, will generally be
    exceedingly bumpy.

  CRASH--Any airplane accident. It may be a complete wreck or the
    plane may only be slightly injured by a careless landing.
    Crashes are often classified by the extent of damage. A class A
    crash, for instance, is a complete washout. A class D crash is
    an undercarriage and propeller broken.

  DOPE--A varnish-like liquid applied to the linen or cotton wing
    fabrics. It is made chiefly of acetone, and shrinks the fabric
    around the wooden wing structure until it becomes as tight as a
    drum. The highly polished surface lessens friction of the plane
    through the air.

  DRIFT--Head resistance encountered by the machine moving through
    the air. This must be overcome by the power of the engine. The
    term is also used in aerial navigation in its ordinary sense,
    and a machine flying a long stretch over water may drift off the
    course, due to winds of which the pilot has no knowledge.

  DUD--A condition of being without life or energy. An engine may be
    dud; a day may be dud for flying. A shell which will not explode
    is a dud. A pilot may be a dud, without skill. It is almost a
    synonym for washout.

  FLATTEN Out--To come out of a gliding angle into a horizontal
    glide a few feet from the ground before making a landing. The
    machine loses flying speed on a flat glide, and settles to the

  FLYING SPEED--Speed of a plane fast enough to create lift with its
    wing surfaces. This varies with the type of plane from
    forty-five miles an hour as a minimum to the faster scout
    machines which require seventy miles an hour to carry them
    through the air. When a machine loses flying speed, due to
    stalling, it is in a dangerous situation, and flying speed must
    be recovered by gliding, or the machine will fall into a spin
    and crash out of control.

  FORCED LANDING--Any landing for reasons beyond the control of a
    pilot is known as a forced landing. Engine failure is chiefly
    responsible. Once the machine loses its power it must go into a
    glide to maintain its stability, and at the end of the glide it
    must land on water, trees, fields, or roofs of houses in towns.

  FUSELAGE--This word, meaning the body of a machine, came over from
    the French. The cockpits, controls, and gasolene-tanks are
    usually carried in the fuselage.

  HOP--Any flight in an airplane or seaplane is a hop. A hop may
    last five minutes or fifteen hours.

  JOY-STICK--The control-stick of an airplane was invented by a man
    named Joyce, and for a while it was spoken of as the
    Joyce-stick, later being shortened to the present form. It
    operates the ailerons and elevators.

  LANDFALL--A sight of land by a seaplane or dirigible which has
    been flying over an ocean course. An aviator who has been
    regulating his flight by instruments will check up his
    navigation on the first landfall.

  PANCAKE--An extremely slow landing is known as a pancake landing.
    The machine almost comes to a stop about ten feet off the
    ground, and with the loss of her speed drops flat. There is
    little forward motion, and this kind of landing is used in
    coming down in plowed fields or standing grain. Jules Vedrines
    made his landing on the roof of the Galeries Lafayette in Paris
    by "pancaking."

  SIDE-SLIP--The side movement of a plane as it goes forward. On an
    improperly made turn a machine may side-slip out--that is, in
    the direction of its previous motion, like skidding. It may
    side-slip in, toward the center of the turn, due to the fact
    that it is turned too steeply for the degree of the turn.
    Side-slipping on a straight glide is a convenient method of
    losing height before a landing.

  STALL--A machine which has lost its flying speed has stalled. This
    does not mean that its engine has stopped, but in the flying
    sense of the word means that friction of the wing surfaces has
    overcome the power of the engine to drive the machine through
    the air. The only way out of a stall is to regain speed by
    nosing down. A machine which has lost its engine power will not
    stall if put into a glide, and it may be brought to a safe
    landing with care.

  STRUT--The upright braces between the upper and lower wings of a
    machine are called struts. They take the compression of the
    truss frame of the biplane or triplane. Each wing is divided
    into truss sections with struts.

  S-TURN--A gliding turn, made without the use of engine power. A
    machine forced to seek a landing will do a number of S-turns to
    maneuver itself into a good field.

  TAIL SPIN--This is the most dreaded of all airplane accidents, and
    the most likely to be fatal. A machine out of control, due often
    to stalling and falling through the air, spins slowly as it
    drops nose first toward the ground. This is caused by the
    locking of the rudder and elevator into a spin-pocket on the
    tail, which is off center, and which receives the rush of air.
    The air passing through it gives it a twisting motion, and the
    machine makes about one complete turn in two or three hundred
    feet of fall, depending upon how tight the spin maybe. The
    British speak of the spin as the spinning nose dive.

  TAKE-OFF--This is the start of the machine in its flight. After a
    short run over the ground the speed of the machine will create
    enough lift so that the plane leaves the ground.

  TAXI--To move an airplane or seaplane on land or water under its
    own power when picking out a starting-place, or coming in after
    a landing. This is not to be confused with the run for a start
    when the plane is getting up speed to fly, using all her power.
    The NC-4 "taxied" a hundred miles to Chatham after a forced
    landing, and the NC-3 came in two hundred and five miles to
    Ponta Delgada after she landed at sea.

  VERTICAL BANK--In this position the machine is making a turn with
    one wing pointing directly to the ground, and its lateral axis
    has become vertical. The machine turns very quickly in a short
    space of air, and the maneuver is sometimes spoken of as a
    splitting vertical bank. In a vertical bank the elevators of a
    machine act as the rudder and the rudder as an elevator. The
    controls are reversed.

  WASHOUT--Means anything which _was_ but is not now--anything
    useless, anything that has lost its usefulness, anything that
    never was useful. Flying may be washed out; that is, stopped; a
    day may be a washout, a vacation; a machine may be a washout,
    wrecked beyond repair; a pilot may be a washout, useless as a
    pilot. It has a variety of meanings, and each one is obvious in
    its connection. The term became familiar to American fliers with
    the Royal Air Force.

  ZOOM--To gain supernormal flying speed and then pull the machine
    up into the air at high speed. The rush of wind will zo-o-om in
    the ears of the pilot. It is a sport in the country to zoom on
    farmers, on houses and barns, nosing directly for the object on
    the ground and pulling up just in time to clear it with the


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