A Monthly Ulustrated Magazine devoted


to all subjects connected with the

Navigation of the Air.




| 1922.

Printed by the Lewes Press, Ltd., High Street, Lewes, and published by the

Royal Aéronautical Society, 7, Albemarle Street, Piccadilly, London, W.1.



(FounpepD 1897 in succession to the ANNUAL REPORTS.) THE ORGAN OF THE Royal AERONAUTICAL SOCIETY.

Published Monthly at the Offices of the Society, at 7, Albemarle Street, Piccadilly, London, W.1. Telephone: “‘ Gerrard 7373.’’ Telegraphic Address: ‘‘ Didaskalos, Piccy, London.”

Subscription per annum, £1 12s. 6d.; single numbers, 2s. gd., post free. Edited for the Council by J. LAURENCE PRITCHARD, Fellow.

All communications should be addressed to the Editor.


Notices of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Election of Members. The following members were elected at a meeting of the Council held on Friday, December 16th :— Associate Fellow.—O. E. Simmonds, B.A. Students.—A. O. Adams, F. G. Kay, T. H. Smith. Members.—V. S. Gaunt, D. Woods Mason, Captain F. H. Parkes- Warmington.

Research in Aeronautics.

The Council have had several discussions on the question of the furtherance of Research, as distinct from ad hoc experimentation in aeronautics ; three special meetings having been held for this purpose. As a result it has been decided to send a deputation (consisting of the Chairman (Colonel M. O’Gorman), Dr.. L. Bairstow, Sir Mackenzie Chalmers, Professor Melvill Jones and Colonel A. Ogilvie) to lay the views of the Council before the Air Ministry. The Secretary of State for Air has consented to receive this deputation at 11.30 a.m. on January 17th.

Airship Records.

On the closing down of experimentation with airships the Air Ministry, as was announced in a previous number of the JourRNAL, decided to present certain books of airship photographs to the Society for safe custody and purposes of record. These books, to the number of nine, have now been received and placed i! the library. They should prove of great interest to members as they constitute a complete record, with considerable constructional details, of the development of British airships from 1607 to the present date.

Juvenile Lecture.

Major D. C. M. Hume has consented to deliver the Annual Juvenile Lecture at 3.0 p.m., on Thursday, January 12th, in the Theatre of the Royal Society of Arts, John Street, Adelphi. He will talk on ‘‘ Boats that Fly,’ and members may obtain tickets for the children of themselves and their friends on application to the Secretary.


Joint Meeting.

The IMluminating Engineering Society have arranged a meeting at the Royal Society of Arts, Adelphi, at 8.0 p.m., on Tuesday, January 31st, when Major- General Sir Frederick Sykes will take the chair at a discussion on ‘** The Use of Light as an Aid to Aerial Navigation,’’ to be opened by Lieutenant-Colonel L. F. Blandy, D.S.O. At the request of the Illuminating Engineering Society this Society have agreed to treat this as a joint meeting, and it is therefore hoped that as many members as possible will be present. The Secretary will be grateful if any member who wishes to take part in the discussion will kindly inform him.

Associate Fellowship Examinations.

At a meeting of the Candidates’ Committee held on Tuesday, December 6th, 1921, a letter from the Honorary Secretary of the Students’ Section was discussed and the following recommendations to Council were made. They were subse- quently considered by the Council and adopted in toto.

1. That it be agreed that Students admitted for the regular engineering course in a college of university standard shall generally be regarded as exempt from Part I. of the examination for Associate Fellowship.

2. It is not to be understood from the note to the Rule given on page 2 of

the Rules for Election to Fellowship and Associate Fellowship that attendance throughout an approved course of Aeronautics will necessarily be counted as equivalent to one year’s experience of the science of aeronautics.

The flying or technical service during the war of any applicant for Associate Fellowship must be considered by the Candidates’ Com- mittee on its individual merits. This does not make any _ specific distinction between flying service during the war and at any other period.

3. It is recommended that the Diploma of East London College in Aeronautics and Aeroplane Design be accepted as exempting from the paper in Aerodynamics under the Rules of the examination for Associate Fellowship of the Society.

Arrangements for the Month.

Jan. 5, 5.30 p.m. Lecture by Wing-Commander W. D. Beatty, C.B.E., A.F.C., on ** Specialised .\ircraft,’? Roval Society of \rts, Adelphi, London.

12, 3.0 p.m. Juvenile Lecture, Major D. C. M. Hume on ‘* Boats that Fly,’ Royal Society of Arts, Adelphi, London.

»» 17, 11.30a.m. Deputation to Secretary of State for Air.

.o p.m. Candidates’ Committee.

30 p.m. Publications and Library Committee.

wi te

o p.m. Council.

19, 5.30 pem. Lecture by Brigadier-General R. K. Bagnall-Wild, C.M.G., C.B.E., on ** \eroplane Installation,’? Royal Society of Arts, Adelphi, London.

23, 8.0 p.m. Lecture by Brigadier-General R. K. Bagnall-Wild,

C.M.G., C.B.E., on ** Aeroplane Installation,’’ Royal Fechnical College, Glasgow. », 26, 7.0 p.m. Students’ Discussion Meeting, Mr. Colin Daniel on

““ Some Practical Points in Fuselage Construction,’’ in the Society’s Library. » 31, 8.0 p.m. Joint Meeting with the Illuminating Engineering Society.

W. Lockwoop Marsu, Secretary.



A meeting of the Royal Aeronautical Society was held at the Royal Society of Arts, John Street, Adelphi, on Thursday, November 17th, 1921. Lieut.-Col. O'Gorman presided.

_ The CHaAirMAN said that Colonel Frank Searle, who was to read a paper on ‘* The Requirements and Difficulties of Air Transport,’’ néeded no introduction to the meeting. They were all well acquainted with him by reputation. He therefore called on Colonel Searle to read his paper.


The subject on which | propose to address you to-night is certainly one with which this generation is not only rightly challenged, but one with which one could almost say that it should be taunted. For nowadays we pride ourselves on the fact that no great invention can be universally acknowledged to be suc- cessful without its being very rapidly turned to the economic service of mankind. But aviation has been a human accomplishment for more than half a generation, and so far no aeroplane has earned its cost and keep.

In the old days, when manufactures were primitive, when accurate machine tools did not exist, when very few people were interested or instructed in scientific things and no means existed for instructing or interesting the many, it was natural enough that great inventions should have been made and then allowed to expire, so to speak, without being used.

My historical friends tell me that the great Marquis of Worcester, in addition to many inventions which never materialised, did actually instal a complete water supply at his country house, and pumped the water from his well to the tank which supplied the house by means of a steam engine. What the Marquis of Worcester could do before the end of the 17th century remained unique and unimitated until steam was rediscovered more than a hundred years later. It was then applied first to actuating machinery, and then to actuating the paddles of a ship, and finally to actuating the wheels of a locomotive. But once the first railway had been shown in operation, the expansion of the railway service was both rapid and universal. Similarly, when it was shown that an internal combustion engine could be mada to drive the wheels of a car for use on the roads it was a compara- tively short time before the progress of the automobile industry was limited only by the time it took for manufacturers to learn the business of engine and car manu- facture. But it is not very far from twenty years now since the first aeroplane propelled by an internal combustion engine was made to fly. The science and the art of aviation received an incredible impetus during the war, and now after three years of peace we have sorrowfully, and perhaps shamefacedly, to acknow- ledge that we have not vet overcome and mastered the problem of serving mankind by air transport. But, like every other phenomenon, at first glance startling, there is an explanation of this failure, or if you prefer to call it so, the very qualified success of civil aviation. It is our business to end this failure, to complete this success; and I suggest that the right. way to begin is to visualise as clearly as we san what are the essential characters of the problem, because when we have analysed and stated these we shall see clearly what the obstacles are to their being practically met.


These requirements are obviously of three kinds. First there are those proper to the vehicle you propose to employ; these group themselves naturally into the requirements of the engine, as a source of power, and the plane, both as a device for rising into the air, staying in the air, and descending from the air to the land it: a satisfactory way; and as a commodious and pleasant vehicle for the accom- modation of travellers. Next, bearing in mind that it is a question of transport we are considering, there are all the problems involved in bringing travellers from their homes to the flying machine before it starts, and delivering them from the flying machine, after it has arrived, to their final destination. And lastly—and it is these requirements which govern the whole problem—there is the question of giving that rapidity and certainty of service to the customer at a price which he recognises to represent the advantages offered, and this without the apparatus and the organisation costing more than the travellers are able to pay. Stated in another way, then, the requirements fall into three groups which should be called the technical group, the organisation group, and the economic group.

Now it is my belief that all these requirements can be met, and I base that belief on a considerable experience of transport in other fields, and by some experi- ence, not long but very instructive, in the field we are discussing to-night, and as I have suggested, the first condition is to state what the requirements are, and from these we shall see from past experience why they have not been met before.

The ideal aeroplane for civil transport must consist of an engine on which the undertakers of the transport service can rely, not only for steady work, but for long work at a reasonable maintenance cost. The vehicle it propels must take the maximum load with the maximum comfort, the limitation in each case being the speed, certainty and safety, without which air transport can never become a commercial success. And the cost and upkeep of both must be reasonable.

Our three vears’ experience of civil flying since the war show us that there is not in universal use to-day the engine which meets the requirements I have set out. The explanation is not so much that these requirements have not been under- stood as that at the time when civil aviation became for the first time a possibility, the argument for experimenting with makeshift gear was irresistible, the attitude of directors and others in aircraft manufacturing firms soon after the time of the Armistice when they, in moments of apprehension, turned their minds to air transport. This apprehension must have been genuine-and severe, knowing that the Government aircraft orders were ceasing and that something would have to be done, and done quickly, if the huge factories were to exist even on a much smaller scale.

When some of these firms turned their energies to aerial transport one had got to visualise the composition of these companies in order to see whether they were in any way competent to carry through to successtul issue aerial or any other form of transport.

It must be borne in mind that at the beginning of the war the science of aviation was so young and the necessity for aircraft so great that both the manage- ment and the technical staffs of aircraft manufacturers were intensive productions, and from the beginning of the war to the end of it, were fostered on expensive lines; whilst at the same time the managements and technical staffs of other and more slowly-developed industries were all fully occupied and necessary in their own particular sphere.

Another very great factor was that these intensive staffs were reared in an atmosphere of forced production with very little regard for economy either in personnel or material. It is not very surprising, therefore, that when they made their momentous decision to go into aerial transport they went ahead on what to them was their ordinary business methods; namely, of extravagance in men and material, and, instead of enlisting new men and material, carried on with what existed at the moment.



vm YW


Their first thought seems to have been to transfer war machines and men to the transport companies, the majority of both being not only unsuitable but detri- mental to the very progress they were so anxious to foster. The designers, too, who are the aerodynamic and theoretical people on whom we rely for flying efficiency, had not the advice of people with practical transport experience to guide them as to the requirements of a commercial transport service; they had only the advice of those whose experience was limited to war flying. The tendency ct the designers themselves, quite naturally, was also influenced by their experience having been gained, one might almost say entirely, in the design of machines for war purposes. My critics will no doubt say that it is easy to be wise after the event, but if we examine the problem they had to solve it will be admitted that any authority on transport for profit would have provided different men and different machines.

A transport man would have at once gone into the daily overhead charges per machine, in which would be included such ordinary items as depreciation, insurance, interest on capital and management and office charges, and these, plus the net flying cost per mile, would give clearly the number of miles per day per machine which have to be flown in order to break even, assuming the average normal load of other forms of transport.

In spite of the ease with which such figures could have been obtained, at the time I went into business (which was twelve months after air transport had been established) I was told by one cf the highest authorities on flying—a man who had gained a very high reputation during the war, but who had only war experi- ence and no commercial experience—that an aeroplane could only fly 250 hours a year. This means approximately 7o miles per day; therefore, at 50 per cent. load, a four-seater machine, charging 1s. 6d. per mile per passenger, could not possibly earn sufficient to pay its overhead charges—this figure represents an £718 fare to Paris, at which price passengers could not be cbtained. Nor could they be obtained at £715. At £10 they began to appear in small numbers, and at £6 we find signs of real interest. In addition to this, not having worked out and appreciated these fundamental figures, firms employed a far greater number of machines than were necessary to obtain even the above unsatisfactory figures. On the other hand, one must not lose sight of the fact that but for their heroic efforts and the colossal loss of their, and other people's, money, civil aviation would not be where it is to-day; though had they found the money and given the problem to some firm who had been successful for many years in mechanical transport, it could have been to-day on a much sounder basis. than it is.

The operation and maintenance of their machines was carried on with lamentable lack of knowledge. For instance, whilst they employed a vast number of machines for the services which were maintained and on which the overhead charges went on daily, there was a very serious shortage of spare parts and spare engines, and, in consequence, machines were lying idle whilst their engines were being repaired, which meant that they were not only losing their earning capacity but that the overheads of about £4 per day per machine were going on for two or three weeks.

Again, little or no equipment was provided for doing repairs and inspections expeditiously, whereas a small capital outlay in this direction would have saved hundreds of pounds in labour.

Again, none of the executive heads of the concerns held ground engineers’ tickets as granted by the Air Ministry. These were all held by mechanics, so the decision as to fitness or otherwise of a machine was in the hands of the workmen, whose word was final. It should, of course, have been imperative that those in charge held the necessary qualifications required by the Air Ministry.

In addition to this, the facilities for carrying on one’s work at Croydon were very poor since in many cases the machines of various companies were mixed up


in one shed and machines had to be constantly moved about in order to accom- modate others arriving at cdd times. Also, no bulk petrol storage tanks were provided, which meant that big quantities of petrol had to be man-handled in two-gallon tins, whereas a little forethought would have saved all this labour and at the same time saved 1$d. per gallon on the price of the petrol which, considering the quantities consumed by aeroplanes, amounts to a considerable sum at the

end of a year. The Air Ministry had considered the bulk storage question, but had shelved it owing to the fact that during the next three years they might have had to shift it to a more permanent spot. | mention this to show that the

people handling air transport at this time were lacking the commercial touch, since in this case an expenditure of £500 would have saved £750 the first vear.

Again, at this period the meteorological information was mostly too late and too meagre to be of real service, and the wireless installations were very ineffective. It was the same with the Air Ministry as it was with the companies—they had not the experience to differentiate between the essentials and non-essentials of air transport, and consequently often spent money unwisely from this standpoint. One must admit that the Air Ministry worked exceedingly hard in the interests of air transport, but they were guided by chance and not by experience, and | feel sure there must have been someone in the marine or road transport business who could have given them the guiding principles of their own business which would have been useful in air transport.

In the past the air transport companies were in the habit of carrying all their passengers and goods to and from the aerodrome (which cost them over 4:1 per head or 10 per cent. of the fare), and also of giving 10 per cent. commission to the various travel offices for booking a passenger by air. This again is excessive, and such offices should not expect more from air companies than from railway or steamship companies ; in fact, in order to foster the business, they should be prepared to accept less. It is these heavy unnecessary charges that must go, otherwise air transport must fail.

Now with regard to air passenger organisation. The circumstances proper to all other forms of transport are proper to transportation by air. Nobody would

make a success of the finest and fastest Atlantic steamer service that science can conceive or genius supply if the rapid and luxurious ships, we suppose in existence, started from some inaccessible port in England and arrived at some destination in America extraordinarily inconvenient to those who wish to go to the centres of

population. It is not a counsel of perfection; it is simply axiomatic that the aeroplane, like the express train and like the steamship, is not a_ self-sufficient vehicle as, for instance, is the motor car. To get to the train you have to use

a carriage or car to take vou to the station; when you arrive at your train destination vou have to have another vehicle to take you home. If you leave England and live in London vou have to take a train to the port from which the ship starts. If you arrive in New York and vour destination is Chicago, you have to take a train from New York to Chicago. In the first case the carriage and the cab, and in the second case the train service, are integral factors in the journey. Now so far as civil aviation is concerned, we have neither in England nor in Paris a starting and landing point for aeroplanes which is served by cheap, commodious and punctual train services; for that matter they are not served by train. services at all. Secondly, to go back to our first comparison. If you are going from London to Liverpool, and thence from Liver- pool to New York, vou can drive in a closed carriage to Euston where there is a comfortable station and waiting rooms affording complete protection from the weather, and when you get to Liverpool the train runs alongside the steamer, and you go along a covered gangway to the ship. It is only a few years since the trains started running alongside the ships at Liverpool and other ports, but it was realised what an important advance it would be, and how much such a service would add to the comfért of passengers. You can hardly expect the air service to be


as comfortable as the train service until some such amenities as these exist at the starting and landing place. At present there is no means of getting to the aviation grounds at Croydon at all except by car, and arrived there, there are neither waiting rooms nor conveniences of any kind for the comfort of the passenger, and he has to walk many hundreds of vards, often through slush and mud, before he reaches the vehicle in which he is to spend two hours nursing his sodden feet to Paris.

I mention only the rudimentary shortcomings of the air service as it exists to-day, but obviously we cannot hope for flying to be a regular feature of normal travelling life until this form of travelling includes—I will not sav the luxuries— but these mere mitigations of discomfort which we all take for granted when travelling by train or steamer.

And here another point must be considered. One of the fundamental troubles in connection with flying to-day is not only that the traveller has none of the comforts and conveniences that he is accustomed to in cther forms of travelling, but he is put to enormously greater expense because of the absence of facilities which surely could be supplied without undue cost or risk. It is, in my opinion, simply absurd that there should not be a regular service of trains to a platform running alongside the plane at the aerodrome, so that within a quarter of an hour of saying good-bye to his friends in London the traveller should be seated in his aeroplane and ready to start; and that there should not exist in Paris a service of exactly the same nature. Apart from all other question, this provision for the comfort of the traveller is an indispensable condition cf successful commercial flying.

The question at once arises as to who is going to provide the railway facilities to the aerodrome. In the first place, an aerodrome should not be chosen which is cut off from the outer world either by distance or lack of communication, and if the ideal aerodrome necessitates such glorious isolation, then the Government must subsidise some railway company to provide the necessary connection. But for the Government to choose an isolated spot for an aerodrome and then subsidise air transport companies by a subsidy on gross takings from passengers who cannot get there is, of course, absurd.

Now when it comes to the economic side of flying, this obviously is a question of balance between receipt and costs. |The circumstances that define the most economical form of ship or train or motor car are the same as those that define the desired features of an economical aeroplane. The speed must be such as to give an overwhelming advantage over any other form of locomotion. But it must be speed consistent with carrying a considerable load at a running cost which is not excessive, and it must be speed that does not demand either excessive first costs of engine and aeroplane or excessive upkeep. On these points we have learnt a great deal in the last three years, but I venture to say that we should have learnt more if the public authority for dealing with flying had been composed of individuals more familiar with the problems as we see them in this room, and less influenced by experience and problems of a totally different nature, namely, those propounded by aviation during the war.

The position of the Air Ministry in air transport is a most important question, and one which ought to be cleared up at once. At the present moment it combines the equivalents of Municipal Authorities, Trinity House, the Board of Trade and Lloyd's, and I will deal with the analogous functions in this order.

In my opinion the Air Ministry must for the time being continue to act as Municipal Authorities in the way of developing aerodromes, and as Trinity House in regard to navigation, but in carrying out these duties every effort should be made to improve the foreign liaison with our neighbours and persuade them force- fully to provide the same facilities on their customs’ aerodromes as we provide on ours, as well as equal lighthouses on the routes. France has had far more money voted to civil aviation than we, and yet Le Bourget and St. Inglevert


are disgracefully organised. | The London aerodrome should be at least 1,200 yards square, and the adjoining land should be acquired and let out for grazing so as to provide a good take-off in every direction and provide good re-landing possibilities during that period of flight just after taking off. The sheds should be on the lee-side of the aerodrome to prevailing winds so as to minimise taxi-ing, which is a serious cost, and one which was given very little consideration during the war by reason of the fact that it was not necessary to count the cost; but | have no hesitation in saying that five minutes of taxi-ing does more damage to a machine than ten hours’ flying. Separate accommodation should be provided for each company, with a common shed for ‘‘ casuals.”

If the Air Ministry are to continue to act Trinity House, as they must, they must accept the responsibility for persuading adjoining countries to do like- wise, so that night flying may be made as safe as daylight flving. On the Paris route there should be two lighthouses between Croydon and Lympne, and three or four between Paris, La Plage and Le Bourget.

In regard to the Air Ministry acting as the equivalent of the Board of Trade and Lloyd’s in marine matters, I have no objection to their doing the former's equivalent duties, but with regard to the latter I do feel that the time is here for owners, builders and underwriters to get together and form some sort of Lloyd’s Committee so as to keep the Air Ministry advised of their requirements. The question is one of the utmost importance. The Air Ministry has not yet the complete confidence of business men, and it is necessary for them to have some reliable source of information as to what regulations are necessary for the protection of all their interests.

There are some very brilliant young men at the Air Ministry who are most thorough and conscientious in their work; but when one deducts their negative commercial and economic experience of the war, one finds that experience with them cannot be expected. And in a few cases, after deducting their negative war experience, they could not have had more than the meagre engineering or technical training of an apprentice or pupil.

These men in many cases have the power to dictate as to design and details of operation, and companies have no appeal from their considered opinions which are invariably based upon war experience and R.A.F. training. Every official in the technical branches of the Air Ministry should be an engineer of good training and undoubted experience excluding his war service.

I should also like to mention the examinations for ground engineers. These are verbal examinations, and are therefore the most difficult to organise, and from what I have seen, they have a tendency to follow that unsound policy adopted temporarily years ago in some of the Board of Trade examinations for the marine engineers’ tickets—it is that of trying to “‘ catch ’’ the applicant by trick questions instead of thoroughly ascertaining his education, experience and

knowledge. An example seen in the Air Ministry was a_ stretching screw—or turnbuckle—which had both ends screwed to the same hand; and the applicant was asked to examine it and state where it was faulty. I suggest that such

‘* catches ’’ are not a reasonable test either for education, experience or knowledge, which all goes to indicate that the examiners do not quite realise the essential qualifications of the holder of such a ticket, and I consider that the examination papers for the applicants for these tickets should be laid down by the committee to which I have referred.

The wireless on this side is good but stronger liaison is required with the Continent, where the wireless service even yet, after two vears, is still practically useless, and direction finding must be developed to perfection along the whole of the Paris route without delay.

Some organisation would appear to be necessary for flying in mists and clouds, in that.on the organised routes machines flying in opposite directions

li a ens




should have different ranges of altitudes. This, I think, is where the Committee previously referred to should make some recommendations, and it is most impor- tant that the meteorological office should collect information from machines in the air and distribute it within a few minutes, when the information would be of vreat practical value.

The time must be fairly near when emergency landing grounds will not be required, but I think that for two years more the Air Ministry should maintain two landing grounds between Croydon and Lympne, and they should insist upon the French providing one near Abbeville and another near Beauvais.

I will now turn to the subject of aeroplanes and engines and the first remark 1 will make is that manufacturers must guarantee their productions for a reason- able period after delivery; the guarantee must include the risk of parts having to be re-designed owing to faulty design in the first place. It is no use a manu- facturer selling a batch of engines and after three months admitting that the compression is too high and offering to supply new sets of pistons for £60 or £100 per set; and then after another three months admitting that the connecting rods are of unsuitable design and refusing to replace them except at the cost of over £200. I can only say that those manufacturers who are not prepared to guarantee their goods for the purpose for which they were purchased will be left without orders as soon as opportunity occurs. I] am glad to say that there are signs of some manufacturers of machines taking some of the responsibility for their design.

In the interests of aircraft manufacturers I should like to sound a modest note of warning to the effect that they should not let history repeat itself by forcing the air transport companies into manufacturing their own machines, due to high prices, as has been the case with other forms of passenger transport. They must bear in mind that it is difficult for a manufacturer to retaliate, since he must make his machines suitable for as many markets as possible and therefore cannot specialise.

To my mind the price of the present day machine is altogether too high, although efforts seem to have been made to reduce the price. With the present wood construction, which still presents outstanding advantages, I am sure a lot more can be done. The all-metal machine seems as far off as ever, and I doubt very much whether it will ever be nearer than a composite of metal and wood.

Notwithstanding the many times I have expressed my candid views on such questions as engine installation, cowling, controls, etc., I find very little improve- ment to-day in most of the latest designs of aeroplanes; and the war-type practice in many Cases appears to be very deep rooted.

Also there still appears to be a strong tendency in design to put appearance, in the way of pleasing exterior lines, before utility and service. In the design of the various metal clips and fittings on our aeroplane I plead for the use of ordinary commercial mild steel plate, which after working requires only the crudest annealing. In speaking of the propeller, I think that it is time a weather-proof propeller was in transport service. A metal propeller fills the bill if it does not weigh too much or absorb too much power, but I think we are on the wrong lines still trying to use a metal tip on to a wood propeller, which twists and stretches all the time it is working.

The continued use of the pneumatic tyre surprises me. I feel sure that a solid-tyred wheel can be designed which will transmit safely all the shocks and forces to the undercarriage damping gear, and yet not be too heavy. The Germans used wooden tyres during the latter. part of the war. My critics will now tell me that they soon changed to pneumatics whenever they could get them. This is true, but one must bear in mind that the German undercarriages are not as shock-

absorbing as ours, and the fact remains that the German wheels stood up very well. ,


On the subject of engines, my chief complaint is the cost of the engine and spare parts. I give a few examples and comparisons. One of the best known modern aeroplane engines costs £6,000 per ton. Complete machinery, including hoilers and all auxiliaries, for a 35-knot destroyer costs only #200 per ton. Complete machinery, including boilers and all auxiliaries, for a 25-knot cross- channel vessel costs about £90 per ton. I am told that the reason for the high cost of the aeroplane engine is due to the expensive material and the still more expensive testing and heat treatment. If this is a fact then we must sacrifice 20 per cent. of the engine weight and get down to an article which will appeal to the commercial engineer, an engine which will run 30,000 miles without over- haul, and I am sure that one giving such results could soon be evolved if the tvpe tests for these engines were made on the time table basis. I suggest three 3-hour stretches a day with one hour’s interval between, during which time the engine must not be touched; the engine to start at the same hours every day until 300 hours is reached, ten minutes being allowed before the time table time for starting and warming up to full power. The three-hour stretches should comprise 10 minutes at the start at full power, then 75 per cent. full power for the remaining 2 hours 50 minutes. The engine that can stand up to this test, even if its price is not lower than say 25 per cent. below present prices, will fill the bill.

In conclusion, I do trust that those whom I have criticised will accept such criticism in the spirit in which it is made and as coming from one who has had some knowledge of other new forms of transport from the operator's point of view, and in consequence has suffered agonies from the official side and the manu- facturer’s side, and I wish to see air transport relieved from as much of that nerve-racking experience as possible. My final advice is that vou should make vour objective the success of aerial transport, forcing through the essentials and leaving the non-essentials until the industry is firmly established.


The CHAIRMAN said that at the appropriate moment he would ask the meeting to pass a hearty vote of thanks to Colonel Searle, but he thought they had bette: discuss the paper first. He opened the discussion by reading a communication which had been received from Captain «

mace ling ais ; . “ee ‘it Havilland and he was sure they would like to hear what Captain de Havilland ‘A

e | had to si

I have read with much interest Colonel Searle's clear and forceful paper.

In the main I agree with his remarks. There are a few points connected with design on which I would like to comment. One of the chief difficulties of designing firms has been the time factor. After the Armistice most

designing firms were either disbanded or had to reduce their staffs con- siderably, and could only eXIst on Government orders for military machines.

They could not atford to lav down commercial types on the chance of an

order, and it was only a few weeks ago that there was anv certainty of orders

for commercial machines. And these machines have to be turned out by next spring, embodying all those ideal points mentioned in Colonel Searle’s paper. Under these conditions it would be very unwise to strike out on any new line of design. \ machine embodving new features requires at least a

vear and probably more before it can be called * tried out.’

I entirely agree with Colonel Searle on the matter of speed and incidentally it is the fact that a high speed machine is cheaper in first cost and maintenance. The landing difficulties of high speed machines have been enormously exaggerated, as proved from actual experience.

I agree with Colonel Searle that pneumatic tyres are undesirable. I also fully éndorse his remarks about metal constructien. I can see nothing

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but trouble and expense with metal machines as at present designed and firmly believe in the future of wood construction. We want to break away from a lot of convention in construction, and the Air Ministry can help by not adhering to wartime restrictions (such as the absolute prohibition of piano wire, the laying down of close restrictions on petrol and water systems). The specifications for certain materials, such as three-ply and fabric, should be made easier, and every facility should be given for expansion of ideas on design. All this will help to cheapen machines.

‘* The only pessimistic remark in the paper from the public’s point of view is that * The ideal aeroplane for civil transport must consist of an engine on which the undertakers of the transport service can rely.’ ”’

Mr. Hanpiry PAGr said he had read through the paper, like everyone else, with intense interest. He had thought of opening his remarks by saying, ‘* Now we know all about it,’ because, if he might say so without offence to the lecturer, it was easy to be dogmatic in what are the requirements of civil aviation after one had found them out. One must carry one’s mind back to the early days of civil aviation when the mere thought of running continuously, day by day, no matter what the weather was, between London and Paris, was jeered at by a very large number of people. The initial problem was the serious difficulties in aero- dynamics which had to be got over before the super-men, who had had experience in the transport world, could make the undertaking the success which they all looked for, should he sav next vear? (laughter). He had been extremely interested, apart from this paper, in reading in ** The Times *’ a report of General Trenchard’s speech on civil aviation and whether, in fact, civil aviation was any good to any country. General Trenchard had looked at the matter purely from the point of view of one who was charged with the very high duty of defending our shores against invasion, and he had said that civil aviation, both from the point of view of cost and pilots and men and flying hours, was very expensive compared with the additional squadrons which could be given if the money had been spent on territorial forces. That seemed to him (the speaker) an extra- ordinary view, because if that was going to be the case, then civil aviation must always be looked at as a background for the military side. He himself was one of those people who thought that the military side of aviation was something which was in the background of civil aviation. The first thing was that the small amounts spent on civil aviation provided just that little difference between

big volume of receipts and the slightly bigger volume of expenditure which

occurred in the initial stages. The money wisely spent would thus produce far better results in that particular direction than on a military objective only. Civil aviation might take a most useful analogy from the animal world. He was in-

formed that of all animals the human infant was the most helpless, but when grown and of full size it had the greatest power of vision and the greatest intelli- gence of all animals, but it required a lot of money in the early stages, and the more sick the infant was, the greater the cost. There was a very good analogy in that for civil aviation. In the early stages it was very costly. If they did not treat it properly and it got sick it became more costly, and the only way was to treat it properly, and then it would grow up and, by its intelligence, far surpass al! other means of transport.

He had been extremely interested to read the different qualities which Colonel Searle laid down for an aeroplane which would be successful for air transport. It had been his privilege during the last few days to sit in the conference which had been taking place in Paris and listen—and sometimes understand—what was said, and the conclusion he had come to was that the most successful way of popularising civil aviation was by flying. Far more progress would be made by experimental research through continued flving and finding out the difficulties and the things that had to be overcome than by laying down too definitely at an early stage


what we must do and what we must not do, because he felt the time was hardly ripe yet when we could be too definite in our specifications. In saying that, how- ever, he did not wish in any way to detract from the excellent and lucid way in which Colonel Searle had put forward certain requirements that were necessary and essential to air transport.

Colonel T. F. BrigGs, called on by the Chairman, said he regretted that he had not received an advance copy of the paper and was not, therefore, in a position to discuss it very fully.

The CHAIRMAN reminded the members that<