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  • 1. A
  • 2. . '. <U . )*#** & x y c-w« >Q" (ffift K bs
  • 3. I t * li € ~ 1 '
  • 4. The Big Aviation Book for Boys
  • 5. DEDICATED to the spirit t r and enthusiasm the guide and of youth inspiration of the leaders of to- morrow. »i
  • 6. TIMES WIDE WORLD PHOTO Commander Byrd in his Antarctic Costume. Original printed for the first time.
  • 8. Copyright 1929 By McLoughlin Bros., Inc. Springfield, Mass. Printed in U. S. A.
  • 9. FOREWORD New York, August I was glad when going may still be flying Another years. in five thing, is it today to preserve in those who come for the sea. I adventures; especially because belongs essentially to youth. progress of flying in the 1928 prepare a recital of them for boy readers. to Aviation 13, heard that Joseph Lewis French was I to turn his attention to air he planned N. Y. He if only as a regular passenger. the duty of those of us With me who are here accurate detail the history of flying for Mr. French has done now done it this before equally well for the word on the eve of write this brief of today Certainly in ten he will be a factor after us. has The boy sailing south air. toward the Boy Scout and three other young men who are still undergraduates. One reason why I am taking these lads is that the spirit and enthusiasm of a man antarctic. is greatest before he stimulant for And my will is go a twenty-five. I feel they will be a tonic whole party. America, as well as T. nn h^r u^r*
  • 10. CONTENTS PAGE The Story of the Airship .... Capt. T. J. C. Martyn The First Attempt at the North Pole Captain — 1 9 Andree and his Balloon 14 The Balloon in War The Wellman Attempt at the Pole Walter Wellman 24 37 The Birth and Growth of the Aeroplane Wilbur and Orville Wright .... Charles C. Turner 45 The First Aeroplane Flight .... Jessie E. Horsfall 58 Sensations of Flight Learning to Fly 70 The Army of Youth 88 Fighting the Flying Circus Eddie Rickenbacker 96 The Gauntlet of Fire By a British Airman 138 Stunt Flying Capt. T. J. C. Martyn 154 How Tubby Slocum Broke his Leg . — . . . James Warner Bellah Lindbergh's Start for Paris Jessie E. Horsfall Lindbergh Tells of his Trip Charles A. Lindbergh Chamberlin's Flight to Germany Jessie E. Horsfall Byrd's Flight over the North Pole Floyd Bennett Columbus of the Air Augustus Post "The Kid" Victor A. Smith Down to the Earth in 'Chutes Lieut. G. A. Shoemaker Sir Hubert Wilkins— His Arctic Expeditions A, M. Smith The "Bremen's" Flight to America Jessie E. Horsfall The Byrd Antarctic Expedition .... Russell Owen Adventuring into the Antarctic . . . . . . . Commander Richard Riding the Night Skies E. Byrd Capt. T. J* 163 168 181 185 194 208 231 239 247 256 263 C. Martyn 275
  • 11. THE STORY OF THE AIRSHIP ft BY N the recent Ocean T. J. C. MARTYN voyage of the Graf Zeppelin across the Atlantic to these shores there is more to be read and under- stood than the lessons of successful dirigible navigation and construction; it opens a new chapter in the annals of lighter-thanair craft, which one that has skill Zeppelin, in latest background of human endeavor in and courage have played equal parts. The Graf its construction and in its performance, marks the advances in its a rich own sphere advance that most certainly will the development of the airship. success is to be measured of aeronautical science, an have important influences upon At the same time its triumphant in large part by the labors and researches of those pioneer aeronauts who by their perseverance made lighter-than-air craft possible. Just as the history of the airplane cannot be divorced from the story of the glider, the history of the dirigible is inseparably bound up in the story of the balloon. In theory both types of aircraft have been studied since ancient times. Flight through the air has lured man all through the ages as perhaps few other things have, and it continues to weave its spell over millions of people today. According to tradition it was Archytas 1
  • 12. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 2 Tarentum who invented the kite, the forerunner of the plane, and Archimedes who first discovered the theory of body a will rise in the air if its total that of the air But the which it history of the lighter-than-air craft culmination such as airplane at Kitty Hawk success of the is less that than displaces. that of heavier-than-air craft first dead weight air- and attended the shorter than marked by no dramatic is it is flight first of a powered twenty-five years ago, although the balloon had a more immediate public response than had the successful demonstrations of the Wright which received no more than a paragraph politan newspaper several days after the event. brothers, America metro- home of the airplane, but it was France balloon. To Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier, is fathered the in a the that sons of a prosperous paper manufacturer of Annonay, goes the honor of constructing the agency of hot the British first successful balloon, lifted through the who was deputed by Sir Walter Raleigh, air. Air Ministry to write the history of the Royal Air Force, described their success as due to a ''happy chance," although their achievement was tion clouds of floating scientific deductions. the first balloon. It inflated with hot air to a height it lost its It due in reality to the observa- through the air and was based on was on June 5, 1783, that they flew was a spheroid from a fire of 1 10 feet in circumference, wood shavings, and it flew estimated at 6,000 feet and traveled a mile before buoyancy and The event aroused fell. the wildest enthusiasm in Paris and the Mountgolfiers were at once summoned to the French Court
  • 13. THE AIRSHIP and at Versailles where, in the midst of an admiring throng in the presence liberated of XVI and Marie Louis another hot-air balloon, basket holding a live sheep, physicist to Antoinette, which was attached a cockerel and a they a The duck. Charles at once perceived the advantage of using hydrogen and for a brief spell ballooning was the craze of Success had come to the balloon almost over night the age. in contrast to the decades —one might by only — experimentation a slight stretch of the imagination say centuries of patient that preceded the advent of a glider big to carry a When and strong enough man. the Englishman, Cayley, and the German, Lilienthal, indicated and proved the possibilities of the glider, attention was immediately centered upon the invention of a powered airplane. So with the balloon half a century earlier. Flight had been in a lighter-than-air craft man soon onstrated and and effectually dem- effective turned to the problem of transform- ing the balloon into a dirigible ship, that aircraft capable of being driven in history of the balloon After many successful was not flights success, the craze struggled with their for say, to any desired after it an into direction. a long nor a and military uses in the revolutionary is glorious The one. had been put to wars with but inconspicuous ballooning theories until waned and the arrival the pioneers of the steam and the internal combustion engines. Here the history real replete history of the dirigible begins, with human and patience and courage, it is a fantastic notions and later with mechanical and engineering skill wrested
  • 14. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 4 from actual experience a balloon to travel any in The problem was in the air. direction, to get even against the wind, instead of remaining exclusively at the mercy of the air currents —and even today the problem has only been partly solved, tremendous resistance offered by the frame- owing chiefly to the work of a dirigible to light engine had been invented the problem became one of its passage through the air. Once a constructing an aerostat strong enough to resist the strain of flying through the and capable of control air in the required direction. Before the test. however, this, The many was idea first grotesque theories were put to place a sail to one side of to the balloon, a theory put forward by land, despite the would have no fact, sail, in comprehended, that a then there effect, since can be attached, and the at precisely the not Thomas Martyn is no fixed point to Engsail which it therefore, travels through the air rate as everything forming part of the same Oars were then thought of and tried, and although the idea was theoretically correct, it was practically unsound; for the oars had to be very strong and very large, and, moreballoon. over, to be effective they surpassed had to be rowed at a speed that human endurance. Nevertheless, the Robert brothers of France successfully navigated a balloon with oars, hiring six sailors to do the rowing, and another aspiring inventor drafted plans for a mammoth plying huge silken the name was to have a galley of eighty oarsmen The inventor, a French General by oars. balloon that of Meusnier, later killed in the revolutionary wars,
  • 15. THE AIRSHIP 5 was, nevertheless, to recognize that an egg shape would be the best for a dirigible balloon, a host of aeronauts after great problem and since the model he him of propulsion summed up by an anonymous name his still is built inspired The important. remained and was neatly poet: To Montgolfier the Invention's due, Unfinished as But it his will be the lies, Glory who Direction's art supplies. The was not supplied until about 1850, although one earlier attempt came near to success. This was the theory of the Abbes Miollan and Janinet, who, utilizing of direction art quite correctly Newton's theory that every action must have an equal and opposite reaction, thought of supplying the propulsive energy by allowing hot air to escape from a hole at one end of the bag with enough force, as they hoped, to drive the balloon forward. Their experiments were delayed, for one reason and another, and an infuriated public, evidently fearing that •a not it was being imposed upon, destroyed uncommon their balloon experience for inventors. 1850 Henri Giffard came on the scene and earned for himself the title (though some dispute it) of father of the In dirigible. He to build a model had assisted moderate winds. he in that year a Swiss watchmaker made Borrowing a sum dirigible that successful flights against of money from friends, next year, a full-sized ship, utilizing Meusnier's principle of a long cigar-shaped gas bag, sharply pointed at the built,
  • 16. . THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 6 ends, and the suggestion of Francis Hopkinson of Philadelphia propeller oe used that a suggestion (a made when screws were the eighteenth century, at the end of not even used for ships) Giffard's airship had in gas bag, 143 feet long by 39 feet its diameter, covered with a network of cords drawn neath the balloon and attached was was In the rear fixed. as the rudder. The craft a to a huge triangular was powered by was taken and on semi-successful flight an to fly at the air — that a designed to act fin steam engine develop- Every precau- were to that he actually a be achieved. an enormous airship, much more powerful Accordingly he which was to a an hour, but went backward. engine set to made to get the ship to five miles several other small dirigibles and soon would need that he 1852, he he managed speed of about four wind being stronger than He made Sept. 23, to say, is be- long pole, to which the car ing one horsepower per 110 pounds of weight. tion against fire down came if to realize a high speed work and designed be 2,000 feet long and which expected would have a speed of some forty-four miles an he health intervened, however, and he died in 1S82 withhour. Ill out attempting his ambitious project. The next occurred in important 1885, when experiment the in airship construction Frenchman, Captain Charles Renard, with Captain Krebs, built the celebrated La France, working having received a grant of money from Gambetta for that pur- was 165 feet long and 2V/ feet wide at 2 pose. The France the first It was cigar-shaped, but it was maximum width. use a streamlined bow, that is, its to a blunt instead of a sharp nose.
  • 17. THE AIRSHIP was powered with an It successful flights at an hour, and in five electric motor and made a number of an average speed of about fourteen miles out of seven flights over a period of two years returned obedient to controls to its they did not use a gas engine man 7 is its Why starting point. hard to understand, as the Ger- Harlein had built and flown a small dirigible equipped with Wolfert, another German, such motive power as early as 1872. powered with a benzine motor, but uncaught fire in the air and he was killed. A flew a dirigible in 1897 happily his craft light, highly powered engine was, nevertheless, a vital necessity. Hitherto dirigibles were either non-rigid or semi-rigid, that is, they had either no internal bracing within the gas bag, which retained its shape as the result of the internal pressure, or they were partially braced by means of a longitudinal girder and perhaps few a lateral Schwartz was the the two ships was spars first to he who -that is fairly to Austrian named build a rigid dirigible, but neither of successful. Ferdinand von Zeppelin An and hoops. It was left to the genius of to perfect the rigid airship Count and it is be considered the father of this type of craft type that millions of New Yorkers have recently seen fly- ing gracefully over the city. Not that non-rigid and semi-rigid airships died a natural death; they were developed continuously in both France and Britain, and even Russia favored them. young Brazilian who thrilled Santos-Dumont, the wealthy France tury with his daring exploits and who gible with a rare prodigality, is but to perfect the semi-rigid airship. at the beginning of the cen- built dirigible after diri- who labored some ways Dumont is the one of the men In
  • 18. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 8 prototype of Colonel Lindbergh, for his zest and enthusiasm and his love of flying for popular interest in its in aeronautics, Europe, especially brothers, too, were and semi-rigids; where near its own sake Patrie, Bayard, fates, but won him active in designing in fact, much to stimulate a golden reputation France and England. in The Lebaudy and building non-rigids they brought the latter type to some- present state of efficiency, building for the French Government such famous La not only did airships as the Jaune, the Lebaudy, La Republique, La built for the Russians. however. Ville de Paris and the Clement- Several of these ships met tragic
  • 19. THE FIRST ATTEMPT AT THE NORTH POLE ANDREE AND HIS BALLOON E come now achievements of recent and living to the among aeronauts, and these the names of Camille Flammarion, the celebrated French astronomer, Gas- was thought to have partially solved the problem of steering a balloon, and W. de Fonvielle are most distinguished. As with Glaisher, the impulse of the three famous Frenchmen just named was mainly scientific, but they have all ton Tissandier, who, in 1883, come under the most romantic left to which is perhaps the feelings in this impassioned fascination of a pursuit man. M. Flammarion expresses address to his balloon as his lay formless in it its shed before inflation: "Inert and formless thing, that feet, that I the ground, can tear with my perfect slave, thou mayest become ity I shall make less thing! of my own into thy I my my I can hands, here stretched dead upon am I about to give thee sovereign. In the height of my life that generos- O vile and powermajesty, O creature thee even greater than myself. shall abandon myself to thy hands! and thou shalt carry own now trample under my element, which From The Conquest I me beyond my kingdom have created for thee; thou shalt of the Air. 9 British copyright.
  • 20. : THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 10 fly off to the regions of storms and tempests, and to follow thee. I shall shall be forced I become thy plaything; thou thou wilt with me, and forget that I gave thee life. thou wilt deprive me of my existence and leave do what shalt . .Perchance . my corpse ing in the hurricane above, until thy perfidy, fatigued by its float- own exertions, shall fall like a blind monster in some desert place, or into the foaming waves, which shall swallow us up together!" he name of S. A. Andree, the Swedish engineer, is famous for his attempt to reach the North Pole by means of a balloon. But had he never gone to seek death or glory in the frozen north, he would have been entitled to our notice for his wonderful aerial voyage across the Baltic Sea in October of 1893. He had ascended for purely scientific purposes on the 19th of that month, and in making his descent found to his horror that he had drifted out to sea, where his fate was certain unless he could reach Finland or fall in with a vessel. He did sight a steamer, but the captain, afraid of an explosion funnels, put out if the balloon came near and so could not move all fires, to his fiery Andree's assis- tance. In this critical condition the aeronaut maintained perfect possession of himself, and now determined on reaching Finland. The wind greatly increased, the balloon sailing on at eighteen miles an hour, often dipping towards the water, but never touching it. To prevent that danger, Andree cut away the anchor which he had been unable dusk he was ing, — a desperate expedient. flying over the cliffs of Finland, but the blew him along the ary voyage to raise is best told in "For ninety minutes I wind chang- The remainder of his his own words was standing on the edge coast. At extraordin- of the car,
  • 21. FIRST ATTEMPT AT THE POLE with some ballast danger of collision supposed I it was then three lights; lost I my I way hands, ready to throw with a Suddenly cliff. was evidently it out in case of saw I a lighthouse; but there and hang on to it with had passed the island, was lying in the the water. rushed it my a sharp light now two, For one moment appeared a building. presence of mind and failed to grapple the rope to the ventilator late. in 11 I to the next island I my Now powers. it was too and the balloon came down bottom of the with such force that in all car, and the water Most of the could not move. I into was under water. "But this could not continue. At length, after much turning and twisting, I succeeded in getting my legs over the edge of the car, just a wonder I when the balloon swept over the next escaped without having them broken. positions, but the car but could not endure I was so unsteady that it much longer. I I felt would have been an impossibility for me balloon. I had only one course now to pursue that it up in the air "I cliff, I jumped down. It was tried several I was never safe; myself so feeble to try to hold the — Passing over the next cliff. to save The my life. balloon shot and disappeared. was saved; what condition and for how long a time! I had hurt my leg in falling, and could not stand, so I crept round the cliff in search of shelter; but none was to be found. It was now between seven and eight o'clock. For a couple of hours but, alas! in I shouted aloud, in the hope that I might be heard by some passing boat; but the raging storm took away the sound of my "I then turned voice. my attention to making myself as comfortable
  • 22. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 12 as possible for the night, though the prospects were anything but pleasant. I I was wet through, had nothing anxious, because my my I head down on clear. my up my put on to if made not glasses, which I draw and waved them specially my keep So passed the long night. temperature. I was now able to stand, and, with my had fortunately round the to shivering, trying to keep hungry and attention to in me This made head. the distance the island over which In order to had blown away, and cap of some handkerchiefs and lay a "At length day dawned. my fur cap only chance of being rescued was the cold ground, courage my my I neck, saw in had passed the night before. position, I took off Shortly afterwards air. I I my trousers was glad to see a boat sail out from the island and steer straight for the place where "I the I lay. soon saw they had not men never once boat passed me, I looked set out in response to could make in vain. a raft out of the to look about to see if there were; but as had neither axe nor I signal, for in the direction of the cliff, shouted myself hoarse; but I my knife, I and the I began few trees was obliged to give up the idea. "When returned to my sleeping-place, by. A man on the island had seen a big I enormous sail, come sailing I found a boat close square boat, with an from the sea with a terrific sweep, and go flying over the ground, and again disappear This was my balloon, or, rather, his description of in the sea. it, for the had never seen anything of the kind before. was aroused, and early in the morning he went "His curiosity islanders down to the beach with his glasses to see if he could find out
  • 23. FIRST ATTEMPT AT THE POLE 13 what the strange apparition could have been. He then saw my signals and put off to my rescue. I was quickly taken over to home and well cared for." But, as we have said, it is his attempt his make an has rendered his name a North Pole that to the throughout the world. to made voyage familiar one His balloon was called the "Eagle," and resembled the ordinary aerostat, save that and the aerial it also carried a sail; accommodate three persons, had a comfortable sleeping apartment, the roof of which served as a deck. Danskoe, in Spitzbergen, was the place selected to start from. The balloon was inflated there on July 23rd, 1896, but two months car, to passed, the winter came, and the adventurers for a favorable wind. On July 1 1th, 1897, had waited in vain An dree and one com- panion, Strindberg, returned to Danskoe, and soon were favored by a south wind, borne by which the "Eagle" sailed away into the unknown. It was a strange, bold scheme, and by no means so mad as some people thought. But nearly five years have passed and the voyagers have never returned, though countless reports about them, never quite authenticated, have been circulated from time to time, the latest it was stated, coming from Kankakee, two citizens had returned Illinois, to which town, late in the autumn of 1901, from a tour in the to a report alleged to Hudson Bay territory, and according have been made by these gentlemen, cer- tain Indians in the spring of the previous of two white north of the year found the bodies men and the basket of a balloon at a spot 900 miles Moose River. The description of one of the bodies given to the Illinois tourists by the Indians tallied with that of Andree.
  • 24. THE BALLOON O WAR IN sooner had a means of ascending into the covered by the two Montgolfiers than the art of of ballooning war was was in the perceived. year 1783. The its first air been dis- importance to public exhibition Europe was about to be turned by French revolutions and by the boundless ambition of Napoleon into an armed camp. It might be said that war period was the principal industry of the civilised world. surprising, therefore, that in the year that stration of ballooning, Girond de Villette saw the pointed out the advantages which must result from It is first made an at that not demon- ascent and its use in war. Five years later the Committee of Public Safety considered ballooning as an aid to the defence of the country. And at this time Meusnier and Guyton de Morebeau were of the dirigible balloon. which however proved at work on At the siege of Conde futile, the besieged by means of were made unmanned to the problem in 1794, attempts, communicate with balloons. In those days, as now, the urgent needs of the military spurred the inventiveness which would ultimately be for the benefit as much Voisier, Urged on by de Morebeau, who had discovered a new method of From War in the Air. as for the destruction of the chemist La men. 14 British copyright.
  • 25. — THE BALLOON making hydrogen, set to work WAR IN to turn 15 to practical account. it "With the help of a physicist named Coutelle," writes Hildebrandt in his Airships Past and Present, "they proceeded to construct an oven which was to be used for preparing hydrogen by passing steam over red-hot iron. balloon, 30 feet in diameter, was sent on a mission the armies on the make use arrived in filled with the gas The experiment succeeded of the Tuileries. to was This was soon ready, and the of a to General Jourdan, the gardens so well that Coutelle who was commanding Sambre and Maas, with a view to induce him captive balloon. It so happened that when he Belgium he was received by To him Assembly. in member a of the National the idea of a military balloon appeared so ridiculous that he threatened to shoot Coutelle. on the other hand, was much General Jourdan, struck by the plan, and instructed Coutelle to return to Paris and procure the necessary materials." But before we relate for the first time, let humanity by world. in a this how aerial vessels were employed us try to picture the impression wonderful new element Carlyle, in his in battle made upon in the affairs of French Revolution, refers the to this episode passage of singular interest: "What will not mortals attempt? From remote Annonay the Vivarais, the brothers Montgolfier send filled with the smoke of burnt wool. Assembly is to up their in paperdome The Vivarais Provincial be prorogued this same day: Vivarais Assembly members applaud, and the shouts of congregated men. torious Analysis scale the very Will vic- Heavens then? "Paris hears with eager wonder; Paris shall ere long see. Reveillon's paper warehouse there, in the Rue From Saint Antoine (a
  • 26. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 16 noted warehouse), the new Montgolfier airship launches itself. Ducks and poultry have been borne skyward: but now shall men be borne. Nay, Chemist Charles thinks of hydrogen and glazed Chemist Charles will himself ascend, from the Tuileries silk. Garden Montgolfier solemnly cutting ; the cord. Charles does also mount, he and another! sand hearts go palpitating; fear; all By Heaven, Ten times ten thou- tongues are mute with wonder and a shout, like the voice of seas, rolls after him, till wild way. He gleaming circlet soars, he dwindles — like this upwards; has become some Turgotine snuff-box, on his mere a what we call some new daylight Moon Finally he descends; welcomed by the universe. Duchess Polignac, with Turgotine-Platitude' a party, is in < ( like ! the Bois de Boulogne, waiting; though winter, the 1st of Duke ; December 1783. The whole it is drizzly chivalry of France, de Chartres foremost, gallops to receive him. Beautiful invention; mounting heavenward, so beautifully so unguidably which ! Emblem of much, and of our Age of Hope mount, specifically shall manner; and hover and demount So, riding on wind-bags, will first men at Meudon. the balloons, by the way, In the was will. the Well, more if same it lost, just as do tragically! Empyrean." established towards the making of the envelopes was employed whose composition has been all scale the military balloon factory end of 1793 majestically in this —tumbling whither Fate not, Pilatre-like, explode; The light, itself; for a varnish the secret of has the secret of some of the unfading blues used by the Old Masters been forgotten. Whether this varnish was superior to all those is unknown, but it had a very high reputation. at present in use In the early mili-
  • 27. THE BALLOON tary balloon messages were sent IN now used for drawings the same method Speaking-tubes and and photographs. was formed on the 2nd of included a drummer-boy! The uni- military balloon division first The April 1794. form of Much of were also used. flag-signals The 17 down on paper by means a small sand-bag along one of the ropes. is WAR this division branch of the service consisted of a blue coat with black collar and facings and red braid. The buttons bore the aeronauts were armed with word "Aerostiers." These soldier swords and Within two months of pistols. were employed in the first in the battle they their formation against the Austrians at and one of the most dashing exploits Maubeuge in military ballooning. The incident is a curious one. These soldier aeronauts, it appears, because they were artisans, were regarded with con- tempt by the swashbuckling, fire-eating warriors that in those days made battles, with the result that their commander, Coutelle, begged for an opportunity to distinguish themselves. This was given to them. An ascent was made under fire, way and, one and another, a sub-lieutenant was killed and two of the men were badly wounded. But the work done was invaluable. Never had been such accurate reports of an enemy's movements. The' Austrians objected strongly, and not only objected, but had a • superstitious dread of the aerial monster. self, made made near several ascents. Charleroi, and In the General Jourdan, him- same month ascents were also at the battle of Fleurus, describing which Carlyle wrote: "Or see, over Fleurus in the Netherlands, where General Jourdan, having now swept the soil of Liberty,
  • 28. PHOTO BY TIMES WIDE WORLD The Qraf Zeppelin being Draum Out lis Flight Here of Its Shed ft
  • 29. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 18 and advanced thus about to far, is just swept, hangs there not in the Heaven's Vault, by Austrian eyes and spy-glasses: mous Wind-bag, with from it? A or be some Prodigy, seen the similitude of an enor- and enormous Saucer depending netting Jove's Balance, in and sweep fight, O ye Austrian spy-glasses? One saucer-scale of a Jove's Balance; your poor Austrian scale having kicked itself spy-glasses, it harmless as dog its a Montgolfier, a Balloon, is at the Moon: the Montgolfier what Austrian ambuscade ease. What there the and they are making Austrian cannon-battery barks at signals! detects By Heaven, answer quite aloft, out of sight? may this Montgolfier; makes be, its signals; and descends at will not these devils incarnate contrive?" The battle was won, and the victory was attributed largely to the work of the balloonists. The Austrians announced that all balloonists who fell into their hands would be treated as spies. From time to time balloons were used in wars in Europe, and in 1798 the First Company were ordered to Egypt. On the way thither the vessel containing them was sunk by a British manof-war. A second company was captured. Then, in 1799, Napoleon disbanded the balloon division. Some of their material The story was sold and some was sent to Metz for storage. goes that Napoleon disliked the balloon after the day on which one sent up in his honour descended on the tomb of Nero. But the French army had not had their last experience of balloons, apart from the revival in military aeronautics which took place about the year 1840. Napoleon's legions found bearing many thousands in the of On camp entering Moscow in 1812, of Voronzoff a large balloon pounds of gunpowder which was
  • 30. THE BALLOON to it have been launched upon them. was intended poleon and his to IN WAR was It 19 fitted with wings, and hover over the French army and destroy Na- The French made attempts staff. to raise it, but without success. In their at bombardment of Venice the suggestion of Uchatius, balloon torpedoes. batteries was was found It in an 1849 the Austrian army, artillery officer, employed that the range of the besieging Uchatius devised paper balloons, insufficient, so each capable of carrying bombs weighing 30 lbs. for thirty-three These were sent up from the windward side of the minutes. town with a time-fused contrivance. By dropped little and although in the streets, done the moral The next effect was this means bombs were material damage was great. big occasion for the use of military balloons provided by the American civil was war, General MacClellan making them with the co-operation of Professor Lowe. As an instance of what can sometimes be done by a balloon, it excellent use of may be mentioned that a man named Le Mountain passed right over the enemy's camp, took very complete observations, and then, ascending higher, straight back found a current of to his friends. air which took him Ascents and descents under heavy were made on several occasions, and on May 24, 1862, General Stoneman from his position in a balloon directed artillery fire the fire loons of the artillery with great effect. was done mond, where from place at Chikahoming, and a balloon to place. James River of the loonist. was attached On August fleet Important work by bal- Oaks and Richlocomotive and moved later at Fair to a 16, 1862, the position in the under Wilkes was exposed by a bal-
  • 31. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 20 The siege of Paris brought the balloon into service under romantic conditions. besieged city, some No fewer than sixty-six balloons to fall into the most left enemy's hands, others the to con- vey important personages from isolated Paris, others to convey letters, and two to be lost at sea. In the same war the Germans formed two balloon detachments under the direction of the Engglish aeronaut Coxwell, but very force service to the invading little was done. The balloon service in besieged Paris was under the control of the brothers Eugene and Julius Godard and The Godards had charge Yon and Dartois. of the Orleans railway station depot, the other firm had the northern station. Godard's balloons were coloured red and yellow or blue and yellow, the balloons of and Dartois were white. During the siege Yon 66 aeronauts, 102 passengers, over 400 carrier pigeons, 6 dogs, and 9 tons of letters and telegrams were carried out of Paris through the Of air. the carrier pigeons, 57 returned to the city with messages. Five of the dogs were sent back, but nothing more was heard of them. Five balloons were captured by the enemy. Some remarkable loons. On things were done with the aid of these bal- one occasion Tissandier threw down 10,000 copies of a proclamation addressed to the German soldiers. peace, but asserted that nevertheless France to the end. On October 7th, Gambetta "Armand Barbes" with The German balloon outposts, demanded was prepared left Paris in came march to the relief of the to fight the balloon the object of organising a fresh the country districts to city. It army in beleaguered perilously near the earth close to the and shots were fired, one striking Gambetta
  • 32. THE BALLOON By hand. in the IN WAR 21 throwing ballast the balloonists escaped before worse could befall them. The first duel in the air occurred in connection with the siege The French balloon "Intrepide" was seen floating near at Charenton and a second balloon was in the air at the of Paris. the fort same time. On account of the vagaries of the air-currents these Both flew the balloons were slowly approaching each other. French colours. When very close together rapid shots were heard below, and one aeronaut work was seen to fling himself into the net- of his balloon and to cling to descended rapidly, and suddenly the French balloon It is was removed and related that the The its side. "Intrepide" flag of the a Prussian flag flaunted in second place. its French balloonist on reaching ground re- paired a hole in his balloon and ascended again, continuing the fight with such effect that the Prussian balloon now wounded, was rescued Uhlans. Not much credence is fell, and its occu- pant, with great difficulty by a troop of given to this story, which, how- ever, was believed in Paris at the time. The Pigeon Post was conducted that it is well worth describing. in It such an interesting manner was organised by the Paris Pigeon Fanciers' Society. After one successful experiment a regular service was be very small and photography. The instituted. By light, this despatches, of course, and recourse was had means sixteen pages of to had to microscope print containing 32,000 words could be reduced to a small packet measuring 2 inches by 1 and weighing less than a grain. These messages % were sent from all over France into Paris. carry twenty of them. On One pigeon could arrival at the pigeon-cote in Paris
  • 33. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 22 the messages were taken from the bird, and the sheets, enlarged, were thrown on to a screen a halfpenny per word. this post and thence copied. The charge was The Prussians endeavoured by sending up hawks, but without very good Great Britain has used balloons in war as much as to harass results. any country.. In the Egyptian campaign of 1882 and in the South African trouble in 1885 balloons were employed with good results. the War Boer of 1900 they were In employed by General Buller on the Tugela and during the battles of Vaalkrantz, Spion Kop, and Springfontein. down by On the 10th of February a balloon the Boer artillery. When was shot Roberts and Kitchener rounded up Cronje, the position of the Boer army was located by means of balloons and the artillery fire was directed by signals. Italy employed balloons Dutch used them in its Abyssinian campaigns and the in Atschin. Kite balloons were used by both sides in the Russo-Japanese war; and in manoeuvres gible balloons first France, Germany, and England diri- and aeroplanes are now regularly employed, and with steadily increasing The in effect. aeroplane used in actual war was employed by the February 1911 to observe the Mexican frontier near Juarez during some revolutionary fighting in Mexico. The was Charles Hamilton, and the machine a Wright biplane. aviator United States in Aeroplanes were during the also used by the military authorities "Champagne in France Riots" in 1911. Curtiss demonstrated the possibility of alighting upon and from a cruiser's deck, which had, however, to be ascending adapted to the purpose by means of a large temporary platform;
  • 34. THE BALLOON and he also adapted an aeroplane WAR IN 23 ascend from and alight upon to water. "The aeroplane has proved that it is a marvellous instrument of war," wrote Clementel in presenting the French budget for 1911. manoeuvres dom a Aeroplanes weic extensively used Picardy in War Minister's in the autumn cf 1910. Taking in the at ran- the report of one aerial reconnaissance, one finds that after voyage of sixty-five minutes, during which the scout followed an appointed route of sixty kilometres, he was able to disclose four important positions occupied by the enemy. was kept at an altitude of about 1500 the journey planes. The feet, The aeroplane and during part of followed the flight of one of the enemy's aero- it altitude, although not out of range, was a fairly safe one for an aeroplane moving at about forty miles per hour.
  • 35. WELLMAN THE PROBLEM OF ESCAPE Note. These short N. Y. 191 1, describe British steamship in attempt ever made to from the book of Walter Wellman— The Aerial Age, in graphic fashion that daring American journalist's rescue by a the Atlantic Ocean when he was obliged to give up the second reach the North Pole by the air route. Wellman made the venture starting from New York in 1910 in a balloon largely of his own devising. He had for a quarter century been in the employ of the Chicago Daily News who backed the enterprise. chapters —Editor. get ourselves out of the airship in the lifeboat was anything but and safely upon the sea a simple problem. studied that problem carefully, you America was running an average of from 15 with the wind. She was which meant that too, may to be sure. We The 18 knots per hour drifting broadside on to the course, as the lifeboat must take the water headside was launched on. What we into the sea, it, asked ourselves, over and over, was this: Will not the craft be instantly capsized and foundered? how about Will it And if she be lucky enough to escape that the equilibrator, tearing along a few feet in the rear? not strike the struggling boat with the force of moving rapidly through smash us fate, to its two-tons the water, act as a battering ram, and pieces? These were pretty serious problems, indeed, and we considered them long and earnestly, though without the slightest trace of One proposal which found favor for a time was excitement. From The Aerial Age by Walter Wellman, 24
  • 36. THE WELLMAN ATTEMPT that of Louis there, Loud to be let down in a 25 boatswain's chair, and dangling between sea and sky and leaping from wave to wave, with his legs gripping the swaying hawsers, equilibrator away, thus is removing that part of the danger. There my mind not the slightest doubt in have accomplished upon reflection this we daring feat decided equilibrator, for then the it if and that the brave fellow America would to cut loose the and rise to the clouds, the little in way of ballast her and prevent her going plump into the sea, lifeboat all. We had this very day an illustration of the supreme impor- tance of the equilibrator or something else to take principle. The sun came out clear and warm. heat and expanded rapidly. Tank by tank and was At would he had had the chance; but would never do when she came down again we had to lighten cut the to finally the entire device this point a stupid bit of the in the air, place in its The gas absorbed serpent was lifted, and the ship work was done. rising- The only way to prevent a heating balloon or airship rising to a great altitude is r to let out gas the be permitted to moment rise, the aerostat starts upward; for if it every yard of ascent means diminished at- mospheric pressure, and consequently greater and greater expansion of the gas and more and more altitude. On this occasion, notwithstanding my order to the contrary, Mr. Vaniman, who was nearest the valve-cords, opened the air-valves instead of the gas-valves. The result still wider was that instead of letting out of the distending balloon, for every thousand cubic feet of expansion, a weight of about 7 lbs. of hydrogen, there was let out a weight of about 80 lbs. of air. Many
  • 37. — THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 26 thousand cubic feet the America shot were thus upward— up set free. Relieved of this load, so rapidly that we suffered all pains in our ears, whose membranes are adjusted to normal atmospheric pressure and find it difficult to accommodate themselves quickly to sudden changes, to a rapid ascent or descent. Up we went nearly 3,000 feet as shown upon our barograph. My aneroid dropped 1.8 inches ful indeed was the view at that height, the weed-strewn waters in that needless ascent. Beauti- of the eastern edge of the gulf stream below us, glistening in the sun, but it was a scenic delight obtained at the sacrifice of about one-seventeenth of our whole volume of £as ~« to m 100 j,^^ a lw S price. And when rium in the airship started the lighter air up high again the pains in down —having found her —she acquired a great equilib- momentum; our ears; and but for the two-ton equilibrator dangling below her she would have gone souse into the sea. was, the serpent went it in almost America rebounded and rose 200 or 300 ball. Gradually she settled down. the gas-valves the Lying obeyed. moment the tail was rising feet again like a rubber up out of the water, were compartment of the watching the aneroid and the barograph, the serpent length before the After that, orders to open crept in the water-tight full its As I could tell the lifeboat, moment from the sea without looking over the side of the ship. It we was a serious question this Monday afternoon if could keep the America afloat during the night, as the gas cooled after the sun should as during it was set. —hazardous because We if it decided to try should come on it, to hazardous blow dur-
  • 38. THE WELLMAN ATTEMPT 27 ing the night, or rain, and thus drag the airship we should ocean, what the mean to the be compelled to launch the lifeboat, no mattei With conditions. a high wind or rough sea that would And it was with most anxious eyes I watched we were approaching the area of the cyclone we disaster. the barometer; had heard by wireless was coming up the strike Florida a glass down few hours and which did coast, with destructive force; had the later shown any marked drop we should have taken to the life- boat at once for fear of running into the edge of the storm. me Irwin told Taking day. my also the course chart, to left Bermuda Mon- reckoning our position and course, and and probable speed of the steamer, was we should have forenoon. day a regular steamer that It is at least a my conclusion chance to pick her up Tuesday always well to be an optimist. And if we had launch the lifeboat, and run the risk of foundering and being smashed by the ship somewhere steel serpent, in the it would be pleasant to have neighborhood. This third night out, a bright, the waters. a steam- Wind from full moon brilliantly illumined the northeast, about 15 to 18 miles per Warmer, and the gas did not contract as much as we had feared. Not so difficult to keep afloat. Only a little lubricant and remaining parts of the motor thrown overboard. Barring hour. the uncertainty as to how we were an agreeable experience. to get out of the dilemma, Most of the crew and heaven knows they needed it. I slept fairly well had had more rest, and stood watch most of the night, eyes alert for signs of a ship which I had a belief we should find. superstitious, nor anything of that sort. I am not a But I fatalist, had been in nor so
  • 39. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 28 many tight corners, and always getting out of them with an approximately whole skin, that not for a moment did we should get out of doubt I sometime, somehow. this one, That Bermuda steamship would be about her so intently, and at times so drowsily, right. my I looked for eyes began seeing things in the gleaming horizon or the gloomier depths covered by passing clouds. full electric automobiles, myself, and more saw hundred steamers, some of them lighted from stem to stern; trains of cars, rushing tall I a saw nothing at ate at all times, cold and garret spirits was not strange was used on the biscuits, tinned meats, much The trip. We so strange. shook were and smoke. nibble, ham, ship's Horlick's malted milk tablets, drank ounce of I only to drowse again, and have all, optical delusions; then rouse, We Then buildings shining with lights. water, and not an cat ate, too; now down all settling the to the life. But we knew, each one of us, this was our last night; we could keep the America up during the following day, Tuesday, but when night fell again, and the sun set and the gas cooled, down she must come and into the lifeboat tions for launching in the if we is left for the barometer? neighborhood? don't see her, — what they might have not enough ballast How we must Is what is to favorable or fatal. We another night. the Where be the condi- go, is West Indian cyclone anywhere that Bermuda steamer? And become of us? At four-thirty Tuesday morning I thought I saw a ship; but had so often deceived myself that long and carefully, before crying out. I the lights of looked again, This time it was sure.
  • 40. THE WELLMAN ATTEMPT I my called to mates; told Vaniman or signal; roused Irwin and all waste with gasoline, lighted out to get some suspended the blazing mass from a wire; the steamer changed her course —they had seen Then he Irwin tried his wireless but got no response. the electric "blinker" and with Morse dashes and dots Her of light signaled to the steamer. We fashion. told been looking for! and in them we wanted them was of the ship; she the Trent us. seized in flashes officers replied in the and they said they would do to help us, sort of torch Vaniman soaked some the others. it, 29 to stand by, so. We same prepared asked the name —the Bermuda steamer we had Then Irwin signaled we had wireless aboard, a short time Mr. Ginsberg, the Trent's operator, was got From that on we conversed freely back and forth by The America kept drifting, and the Trent followed us, out of bed. wireless. having about all she could do to keep up at her topmost speed. — Strange chance that brought these two ships together that gave us the pleasure of establishing another record, the first rescue of an airship by a steamship. Europe with the America, make our adventure a Belasco hearsing. or half a it seemed the as thrilling had written it all If we fates and dramatic out for us, and could not reach had conspired as if a to Sardou or we were merely re- America had drifted a few miles faster or slower, point of the compass to the right or left; if the wind If the had not shifted morning; and time visited a if eastward an hour or two earlier in the the Trent had not on this voyage for the first to the Cuban port before starting to New York, thus being out of her regular schedule, the ship of the air and the ship of the sea would not have come together. And in that case what would have become of us? We have not the slightest idea.
  • 41. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 30 Navigator Simon, with the instinct of the brave sailor, blurted out that we'd better stick to the America and run for But it. that was instinct, not reason. We been forced to leave our ship within twelve hours had we run make a should have at most, and was not improbable, it might The chance for safety at hand, into the cyclone area, as have gone very hard with it soon us. would have been madness to go on, with nothing to be gained by the further hazard. But how was not to get out of the airship as easy as it looked. In fact, and upon the Trent? it was that same lem we had so often and so anxiously considered. the danger that the lifeboat would be launching her. indeed, But we could swamped find no other way. It big prob- There was or crushed in Vaniman dream of having the Trent come up and get did, a line to when we were to be transferred to her deck by life-buoys. An effort was made to attach a line, but it was lucky it was not us, successful, for if it had been probably the straining of the would have pulled the thrown us into the sea. steel car of the Captain America Down came in pieces line and very near us, in- curring the danger of collision or of the ignition of the balloon by sparks from his smokestacks, but he handled his ship with great skill and fine judgment. Other plans were suggested and discussed, the Trent patiently following, her passengers on deck to now all witness the rare spectacle, and, as they afterward told us, so fearful for our fate that many of them were weeping or praying for our escape. While we were hesitating and discussing, the America lost her equilibrium, and was in imminent danger of capsizing, end over
  • 42. THE WELLMAN ATTEMPT The end. with one end had not been completely air ballonet at the supply pipe having air, 31 Thus that this lighter end become deranged. end of the ship was lighter than the other; as filled rose in the air the hydrogen rushed to the elevated part, greatly None increasing the buoyancy there, and threatening disaster. of us would have been surprised if in the next moment the air- ship had taken a header. At up this crucial juncture was young Fred Aubert who leaped it forward into the car, ran to the disarranged pipe, put in it engine room, started the service motor, and order, rushed kept going until the America was once more upon an even keel — a it brave deed by the youngster of our party, of proud. all to the Had near doing, this is The weight of the the America turned what would have happened, car have had some chance to would there have been To came very in all probability: would have stripped; the car would We five men have been thrown into the sea. is as she are would have been thrown upon one end of the balloon; the suspension That turtle, whom we save ourselves. for the brave the sort of crew I in the lifeboat might But how much chance boy up aloft? had with me —every one of them. bring out these qualities of courage, coolness, resourcefulness, good humor, was worth To end that there was nothing was made ready gas cord the cost of the voyage. the discussion of other plans of escape and take our chances thing all down for it in the but to go back to our I announced first proposal launching of the lifeboat. Every- for the maneuver. Vaniman passed the within reach, and began opening the valve, letting out hydrogen and causing the airship to descend slowly; Simon
  • 43. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 32 saw in that all the boat tackle was we took our places the boat, ready for the plunge. But stop — now behind, Vaniman, who had wanted the cat! worried lest puss should not have enough fresh for time to had to make an laugh partment to there ; air, opening. at and in his moment was, we com- fresh air in that month! at least a Vaniman's expense, even compartment excitement asked Critical as the must have been enough Kiddo to leave in the water-tight keep kitty going for have our joke it proper trim; in if we were We had to with to die the next minute! THE FATES WERE KIND THIS DAY Down came We the America nearer and nearer the sea. gripped the lashings of the boat, and each of us held fast — and No, Vaniman had none a life-preserver. to the fact; so to called attention Louis Loud and Jack Irwin promptly gave him one of theirs and shared the other between them, though neither is much were Simon and Loud swimmer. to release the When was of a the water given, snap boat at a single pull. was only four or five feet down into the rough sea plumped our She almost capsized, then righted At that instant the dreaded equilibrator Loud, and stove a hole in make In ten seconds and the forward compartment of the boat, sure kitty had from the herself in a twinkling. hit us, bruised Irwin —probably kind —and was enough fortunately above the water-line eager to from us the word went the two release-hooks simultaneously, up shot the lightened airship, craft. held the lines which pull fates the air it were all over. on the release-hooks we were caimiy
  • 44. THE WELLMAN ATTEMPT riding the waves in a 33 staunch, well-provisioned and watered, fully-equipped lifeboat, prepared to sail to land or wait to be picked up by some passing ship. thought that in the we had There was some satisfaction really saved ourselves, as the Trent did not put a boat over into the water; prepared to do, but could not for this which her reason; the officers were moment the Trent should stop her engines and slacken speed sufficiently to permit of the safe launching of one of her boats, the fast-drifting America would have run away from if the steamship would again be able we were running about had foreseen to start was doubtful overtake us. As it was, her, to and it as fast as the Trent could steam. this possibility, and prepaTed in We case of necessity our motor and try to bring the America round under her own power so that the steamship might overhaul us. For, to we were glad enough to have the ship somewhere near by when we resorted to the dangerous experiment of launchtell the truth, ing our lifeboat. Now we were in our boat, the cat and all, and barring accident or hurricane could probably have taken care of ourselves. But was the splendid and now famous Trent, a ship's length away, her passengers and crew waving welcome to us in their joy that we had escaped the perils which beset us. How good she looked— one of our men said she appeared to him there as big as the Waldorf-Astoria. did not have to spend a week And how glad or ten days we were that pounding about we in the sea in a half open boat trying to reach land or meet a ship in a part of the ocean where ships are but rarely seen. Still we were not quite out of danger. Almost before we could
  • 45. - An Early Design for a Dirigible Balloon with Sails
  • 46. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 34 realize before it, what clumsy prow, rising we had craft it time to unship oars and get our some- under seemed to was upon control, the Trent us as high as a church, was coming Were we straight for us at a speed of fifteen knots. smashed to smithereens here within ten feet of safety escaping all tell She the story. is We are all are running along her port quarter. But we of us are not yet aboard. must run before safety is in we many minutes our favor. and the ship is fast running on deck, and our fingers. into the rope; the hitch is and is but tighter, I can't. and it sure to happen The flashes —my lifeboat fifteen knots the hour. and burns through our let go, We all grab. six. We all grip it. middle of the group of it round line off, One more chance at least one ours. As we spin along the iron one on our craft swings out to catch But they have made No, Indeed Some- sides of the big ship the sailors on deck throw us a line. to be in the after sheer right. the fates are good to us this day; thrice within as they have resolved dubious chances and going to smash us! her sharp stem hits us a glancing blow on the side, we to be we had passed? these other dangers through which Five seconds will Her us. In my some way right winds round through The I chance the line. heavy, is line sings a hitch has come hand; the others have my fist, draws tighter my mind that one of two things fingers will go with the rope, or I shall; and what chance shall I have to get out of the sea alive, dragging captive at the end of a line trailing at fifteen knots? Of course only a flash; for in two seconds it was all over— and it was neither happened. My fingers were not torn off strange to say, was not dragged into the sea; only a lacerated and that was all Such a day for good luck! hand, I bruised
  • 47. THE WELLMAN ATTEMPT But was not this ing. We that we were quite 35 was Just behind us the sea all. boil- were nearing the propellers. One of our men cried out Were we going lost. by those to be cut to pieces rapidly revolving blades of the ship the fates had sent to save us? Into the whirlpool we drifted, and for a moment the out- come was rather doubtful; but the motion of the waters sent us The Trent was running away from us. We were rolling in the trough of the sea. "That must have been our ninth escape from Davy Jones' locker/' quoth sailor Simon; "told you it was a good thing to have a cat along cats safely past the propellers. — have nine lives!" At we were last safe on board the Trent, ceived with amazing kindness by Captain crew, and all where we were Down, his officers Soon we were again the passengers. re- and in wireless communication with the shore, and learned of the more than generous interest and sympathy the people of the whole world had my felt for us during our adventurous wandering, and for which comrades and Upon a printed I feel more grateful than words can passenger list tell. of the Trent there soon appeared this postscript: Picked up at sea, from the Airship America, Oct. W. Wellman The Irwin F. Aubert we saw of our good airship, which had own power and drifting, a little more than last under her statute miles over the sea, she 1910: M. Vaniman L. Loud M. Simon J. 18, was floating about carried us, a thousand 800 feet high,
  • 48. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 3d 375 nautical miles in all probability, valve was tied east of A Cape Hatteras. later, she disappeared beneath the waves; the gas- open when we and the big left her, reservoir, with a capacity of 1,600 gallons, so that the sea water could enter and sink moistening of the eyes Vaniman and craft that day or two I had been cut open With just a little said good-bye to the big had brought us so much trouble ping us once upon a Spitzbe^gen it. steel gasoline glacier, a in this world — drop- second time into the polar sea, and this third and last time into the Atlantic. Good old America, farewell. Thank you for the noble com- rades and rare experiences you have brought me, for the lessons you have taught ress. us. In the years to and you will You played your part in the game of progcome many aircraft will cross the Atlantic; be honored as the ship that showed the way.
  • 49. THE BIRTH AND GROWTH OF THE AEROPLANE NE of the first principles of the biplane was proposed and explained by a British subject, Mr. F. H. far He back as 1866. of smaller surfaces one above another. built use of his by Wenham on as pointed out that the lifting power of a surface can be economically obtained were Wenham, Indeed, flying-machines this principle, own muscular power. He by placing a number with appliances for the did not, however, accom- plish actual flight, although valuable results were obtained as regards the driving power of superposed surfaces. After various further experiments in the same direction, to H. von Helmholtz to emphasize the improbability that could drive a flying-machine by his But period of stagnation followed. and fresh efforts it fell were made, varying man own muscular power. interest in A was revived later, down to the importance, Maxim and Professor Langley. These two eminent men, who took up the subject of flying experiments of Sir Hiram in the last decade of the last century, great scientific knowledge. minds of the public with came to their task with Hitherto flying was associated in the failure and folly. Indeed, Sir From Heroic Airmen and Their Exploits < 37 Hiram
  • 50. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 38 Maxim once remarked that it was almost considered It was thought great They Sir But mind were not in to the and a men flying-machine largest had 4,000 It feet of that was of 363 had been then con- supporting surface and weighed feet 11 inches in The wooden and was restrained from premature 300 rails. and rails, This remarkable machine had wheels h.-p. a railway line, But it proved unruly. by flew in a wholly unexpected fashion for feet! 1896 he of a mile. machine that flew built a In this for h.-p. engine, machine there was only 70 square weighing 7 still to build a This he did was being put to the test over water, into the water. caught It had a in machine that would due course, but when the machine carry a man. it lbs. feet of lbs. But Professor Langley had being launched, further. still more than three-quarters supporting surface, and the weight was only 72 1 flight burst through It Professor Langley's experiments carried flying In He a large scale. screw propellers measured 17 lbs.; the in of light and learning.' Hiram Maxim's experiments were on system of wooden the two be turned aside by ridicule. diameter, the width of the blade at the tip being 5 feet. boiler it. rescued aeronautics from a fallen position, and fired structed. 8,000 to think of 'quite out of the practical question.' men now the built any one a disgrace to cause the enthusiasm of its he took up the subject at the time in the and at the very moment of launching ways and was pulled Progress had, however, been made, and it is of note that of recent date an American aviator has well worthy Langley's machine and flown on it, thus giving postunearthed humous honour to the inventor.
  • 51. GROWTH OF THE AEROPLANE Following the professor's efforts, further 39 progress was made by Mr. Octava Chanute, who introduced the important principle of making moveable surfaces. He also made use of superposed surfaces. But it was reserved for the two famous aviators, the brothers Wright, to bring the desired conquest of the air to a definite point. Their Kitty first practical experiment Hawk, North was with Carolina, in 1900. gliding machines at They endeavoured with comparatively small surfaces to raise their machines like a kite by the wind. But they found that the wind was not always in and often blew too strongly for their method. Consequently, they abandoned the idea, and resorted to flight by their favour gliding. Their machines also introduced now had two superposed surfaces. They two highly important principles, namely, a hori- zontal rudder in front for controlling the vertical movements, the principle of warping or flexing one wing or the other for and steer- ing purposes. Later a vertical rudder was added. Writing of these improvements, Mr. Eric Stuart Bruce, VicePresident of the Aerial League of the British Empire, remarks that their importance cannot be over-estimated: to look at the nature of their raison d'etre, of seagulls over the sea. How varied 'We have only and observe the flight are the flexings of nature's aeroplanes in their wonderful manoeuvrings to maintain and re~ cover equilibrium V A feature of these early experiments was the placing of the operator prone upon the gliding machine, instead of in an upright position, to secure greater safety in alighting and to diminish the resistance. This, however, was only a temporary expedient
  • 52. ! THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 40 while the Wrights were feeling their way. In the motor-driven aeroplanes the navigator and his companion were comfortably After the experiment of 1901, the Wrights carried on seated. laboratory researches to determine the amount and direction of the pressure produced by wind upon planes and arched surfaces exposed tables of the air pressures As They discovered at various angles of incidence. which had been in that the use were incorrect. the result of these experiments the Wrights produced in 1902 a new and larger machine. This had 28.44 square metres of sustaining surfaces, about twice the area of previous experi- ments. At first the machine was flown with a view of learning whether it in manner the would soar in a wind. of a kite, Experi- ments showed that the machine soared whenever the wind was of sufficient force to keep the angle of incidence between four and eight degrees. and four flights Two hundred Later, in made. 1 903, screw propellers were applied Definite progress favoured the venture. and sixty metres were covered at a height of two metres In the following year, 1904, there ress, many successful flights, some was further 'circular,' marked prog- being made. In next year came an astonishing achievement: The Wrights the This was rightly less than 2414 miles in half an hour. flew no deemed at the time a great flight forward. But a period of silence It was not until 1908 that seeming inactivity followed. and revelations were made. It was then seen that the Wrights further had not been that 'to idle. Indeed, it is said (and with obvious justice) the labours of the Wright brothers the mobile and truly we owe efficient military air scout.' the advent of
  • 53. GROWTH OF THE AEROPLANE The earliest were, as experiments we have the construction of aeroplanes seen, to a considerable extent made England had not been Farman idle. Biplane, in France. Meanwhile States have also played an active part. The United of the in 41 Mr. Henry Farman, the inventor was the apply the famous first to motor, in which seven or more cylinders revolved. The Gnome influence of this motor in facilitating flight generally has been remarkable. The owing to the great speed demanded. the aeroplanes of the great enemy's line into hostile the had proved early forms of aeroplane engines first European Indeed, War it is unreliable, said that were flying over the with old-fashioned engines they would drop hands as quickly as dying flies if from the down ceiling on winter day. Side by side with the efforts of Mr. Henry Farman in the con- M. Bleriot gave his attention to the con- struction of monoplanes. After attempts, which unfortunately struction of biplanes, brought disaster and disappointment, he produced a machine which astonished by its remarkable performances the whole aero- nautical world. Simplicity machine in was the keynote of the Bleriot monoplane. which M. Bleriot flew over the Channel been described by a well-known member in The 1909 has of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain as 'stretching like the wings of a bird on either side of a tubular wooden frame partly covered with canvas and tapering to the rear, with two supporting planes, roundea at the ends. At the front was placed the motor, geared direct to a 6 feet 6 inch wooden the rear end of the planes. propeller, and on a level with Immediately behind the engine was a
  • 54. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 42 petrol tank, and behind of the frame and beneath The elevating tips. wards actuated the chine, and caused from side planes. to side The act that the aviator's seat. was the fixed tail, with two moveable, of moving a lever backwards and forit tips of the fixed tail at the it Near the end lo rise and warped the act of pushing fall. Moving back of the mathe same lever rear surfaces of the supporting from side to side a bar on which the aviator's feet rested put the rudder into action and steered the machine.' Still fresh in the memory the flight in which the Bleriot is monoplane carried M. Prior from London miles in three hours and fifty-six minutes. to Paris, covering Later, a Bleriot 250 mono- plane carried M. Garros up to a height of 5,000 metres. At this height the engine broke down, but in virtue of wonderful gliding powers the machine was landed safely. It was same type this of machine that flew over the Alpine peaks, and later carried the first aeroplane post, flying from Hendon to Windsor in seventeen minutes. Another monoplane which calls for special reference Latham Antoinette monoplane, which enjoyed invention of this machine, aviators had only dared to It and h.-p. The machine, with gave great impetus fly in favour- At the rear of the machine were vertical fins. were hinged horizontal planes chine. Before the consisted of large, strongly constructed wings. The motor was about 60 fixed horizontal the the great distinc- tion of being the first to fly effectively in a wind. able conditions. is its At the end of the tail there for elevating or lowering the ability to ma- withstand high winds, to the adoption of the aeroplane for military
  • 55. GROWTH OF THE AEROPLANE Latham, the inventor, performed some remarkable purposes. feats, 43 and must be accounted an heroic pioneer more recent in the history of flying. Progress continued on the lines indicated. ble, for But it is impossi- obvious reasons, to touch upon the modern types of ma- We chines employed by Great Britain and her Allies. however, deal briefly with certain outstanding types of may, enemy machines. One of the most familiar biplane. The with metallic German machines vital parts of this 'fighting 'capot.' The movement the Aviatik dragon* are fortified rest of the fuselage is also In the forepart of the fuselage a space observer free is is armoured. provided allowing the for scouting, photographing, &c. machine can be quickly erected and dismantled. The The supporting surface consists of two planes of unequal dimensions, the upper plane being the larger. Stability is assured by a fixed plane pro- longed by a rudder. Two planes give lateral stability. a vertical rudder placed 'ailerons' at the Steering is back of the upper effected by means of between the two portions of the hori- zontal plane rudder. Another familiar type, the Etrich monoplane, of the German bird-shape design. is on the lines The wing-shaped supporting planes have upturned wing tips at the back, which are flexed up and down for the purpose of lateral stability. The back part of the tail planes The Germans batross biplanes and also many is also moveable, also and can be flexed for elevating. have large numbers of the well-known Al- and various monoplanes of the Taube design, waterplanes of the Albatross type. An inter-
  • 56. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 44 esting feature of these machines is the fact that they are all double seated with the exception of the Argo type of monoplane. The monoplane did not swiftly dashing scouting favour with the enemy, but the war has brought at first find many sudden and sweeping changes, and, following the much-vaunted Fokker, we learn of a German machine able to attain the astonish- ing speed of 120 miles an hour! The Albatross, a much used type of German machine, was (about 200 of these first made at Johnnisthal, near Berlin Mercedes motors are fitted machines were made in 1913). capable of attaining a high speed. the In Rumpler monoplane, another well-known German type, the wings are again in the shape of a dove's wings, the ends being flexible. The well-known authority, wings and 'is stability of the apparatus,' writes a assured both by the shape of the their flexibility. It is at once a combination of the inherent stability type and the depending on the warping of surfaces.' The Rumpler biplane, as in the case of the Aviatik, markable for the space provided for the this case also the fuselage is pilot it is not made to move in the centre. The upper German machines; There is a short central plane, attached to the fusel?ge by four tubes. able planes are fixed to this central plane. other re- and observer. In strongly protected. plane varies from that of the majority of is move- The
  • 57. WILBUR AND ORVILLE WRIGHT Note: —This describes their first experiments BY CHARLES Y C. among the hills of North Carolina. TURNER long practice the management of a flying machine should become as instinctive as the balancing unconsciously employs with every step the early days, He and it is easy his brother to make movements a man walking; but, in blunders," says Wilbur made most in Wright of their glides quite close to Often a glide of several hundred feet would be made at a height of a few feet or even a few inches sometimes. the ground. Their aim was to avoid unnecessary risk. Fully half of their glides were On miles an hour. gliding in a wind made in winds of over twenty one occasion they found they had been of thirty-seven miles an hour. such high winds require much Of course greater readiness on the part of the operator than the low winds, since everything happens more quickly, but otherwise the difference not so is much very marked. "In those machines which are controlled by the shifting of weight, the disturbing influences increase as the square of the velocity, while the controlling factor remains a constant quantity. For this reason, a limit to the From The Romance of Aeronautics wind velocity London, Seely Service 45 & Co., which 191 2,
  • 58. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 46 it is possible to encounter safely with such machines reached regardless of the Since soaring is of the operator." skill merely gliding be easy to soar in front of any blew of sufficient were steady. in a rising current, more support is too a wind force to furnish support provided the wind hill at times than is so that a considerable degree of in the rising current. been made on the In a So to keep the machine exactly Little Hill, wind blowing from twenty-five duration with very made little the wind-speed or a slight error in about a landing in a had which has a slope of only seven to thirty-five glides of eight to fifteen forward motion. within five or six feet of the ground, a to bring experience, skill, far their only attempts at soaring miles per hour they frequently seconds' if needed, while at others there and sound judgment are required degrees. of suitable slope would it But, by reason of changes in wind velocity, there is little, soon is Keeping momentary lessening management was of sufficient short time. make soaring easy. The buzzards themselves were baulked when they attempted to soar on this hill, as we observed more than once. It would be 'The wind had well within the too little rising trend to power of the machine which has steeper slopes, but we to soar on the Big Hill, did not feel that our few hours of practice were sufficient to justify ambitious attempts too Before trying hastily. ought to work by know that, in to rise to any dangerous height man a an emergency, his mind and muscles instinct rather than by conscious effort. There will is no time to think. "No complete record was kept of all the glides made. In
  • 59. WILBUR AND ORVILLE WRIGHT the last six days of experiment we made more than 375, but these included our very best days. The season was probably between 700 and 1000. glide was total 47 number for the The longest and the time twenty-six seconds. 622J/? feet, "On two occasions we observed a phenomenon whose nature we were not able to determine with certainty. One day my brother noticed in several glides a peculiar tapping as part of the nation machine were loose and flapping. failed to it. Careful exami- Some weeks later, while same peculiar tapping began again a glide, the a wind-gust. It like little felt some anything about the machine which disclose could possibly cause if was making midst of in the waves striking the bottom of While flat-bottomed row-boat. I was wondering what the I cause could be, the machine suddenly, but without any noticeable change in of nearly ten ground. trend, was I its feet, am dropped a distance inclination to the horizon, and twinkling of an eye was in the certain that the gust went out with which struck the surface on the upper at first more rapid than that apparently rose off the machine touched it. Toward due till side. my downward The descent my hands and feet was slower. It may wind rapidly striking the surfaces alternately on the upper and the lower sides. rule almost universal that gusts a body the end the descent be that the tapping was caused by the and die out with on the a to gravity, for only flat come on with It is a a rising trend descending trend, but on these particular occasions there must have been a most unusual turmoil durin the continuance of the gust interesting spectacle had it which would have exhibited been visible to the eye. a very
  • 60. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 48 "Irregularities wind is wind are most of the high, on account of the greater when noticeable power then the exhibited, but light winds show almost equal relative variations. aviator must expect velocity, in direction, to encounter and in every in upward or An flight variations downward trend. in And these variations not only give rise to those disturbances of the equilibrium which result from the travel of the centre of pres- sure due to the changed angle of incidence, but also, by reason of the fact that the wind changes do not occur simultaneously or uniformly over the whole machine, give rise to a second series of disturbances of even more troublesome character. Thus, a gust coming on very suddenly will strike the front of the machine and throw Or all. the right it up before the back part wing may encounter a is acted upon at wind of very different velocity and trend from the left wing, and the machine will tend to turn over sideways. disturbances by automatic many The problem of overcoming these means has engaged very ingenious minds, but, to my the attention of brother and myself, it has seemed preferable to depend entirely on intelligent control. In all been of our machines the maintenance of the equilibrium has dependent on the skill and constant vigilance of the aviators. "In addition to the work with the machine we also made many observations on the flight of soaring birds, which were very abundant in the vicinity of our camp. Bald eagles, os- preys, hawks, and buzzards gave us daily exhibitions of their The buzzards were the most numerous, and were the most persistent soarers. They apparently never tapped except powers.
  • 61. WILBUR AND ORVILLE WRIGHT when it was absolutely necessary, while the eagles and hawks the Two methods the weather When of soaring were employed. damp and at leisure. was cold and when they were usually soared only wind strong the buzzards would be seen soaring back and forth along the They were trees. 49 hills evidently taking advantage of the current upward over these of air flowing clump of or at the edge of a obstructions. On such days they were often utterly unable to soar, except in these special But on warm, places. they would be seen high Usually, however, of several became hundred possible. in seemed it feet days when the wind was light clear the air soaring in great circles. to be necessary by flapping before to reach a height this style of soaring Frequently a great number of them would begin circling in one spot, rising together higher and higher they would disperse, each gliding off finally tion it wished to whatever direc- At such times other buzzards only a short to go. away found distance in till it necessary maintain themselves. to flap frequently in order But when they reached a point be- neath the circling flock they began to rise on motionless wings. This seemed to indicate that rising columns of air do not exist everywhere, but that the birds must find them. watch each other, and when one finds quickly of make wind was sailing in their way stirring circling to One it. on the ground, sweeps at a They evidently a rising current the others day, we when scarce a breath noticed two bald eagles height of probably 500 After a time our attention was attracted to the flashing of object considerably lower down. Examination with a glass proved it to feet. some field- be a feather which one of the birds had
  • 62. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 50 evidently cast. As it seemed apparent earth only a short distance away, get But it. no longer finally in a little falling, but, while it some was same rising current in and was carried up 'The days when it would come noticed that the feather It to of our party started to was on the contrary, was rising rapidly. went out of sight upward. into the that It apparently was drawn which the eagles were soaring, like the birds. the wind blew horizontally gave us the most satisfactory observations, as then the birds were compelled to make it use of the currents flowing up the sides of the was wind hills, and possible for us to measure the velocity and trend of the in which the soaring was performed. One day four buz- zards began soaring on the north-east slope of the Big Hill at a height of only ten or twelve feet from the surface. We took windward and about 1200 feet distance. The clinometer showed that they were 4]/ to 5 / degrees above 2 2 our horizon. We could see them distinctly with a field-glass. When facing us the under side of their wings made a broad a position to ] band on the sky, but when, in circling, they faced from us we could no longer see the under side of their wings. Though the wings then made little more than a line on the sky, the glass showed clearly that was evident it was not that the buzzards the under side that were soaring with we saw. their It wings constantly inclined about five degrees above the horizon. They attempting to gain sufficient altitude to enable them to were ocean beach three-fourths of a mile distant, but glide to the height of about 75 feet above the top of the after reaching a be unable to rise higher, though they tried hill, they seemed to
  • 63. — WILBUR AND ORVILLE WRIGHT a long time. At last 51 they started to glide towards the ocean, but were compelled to begin flapping almost immediately. at once y 12 z measured the slope and the wind. degrees; the latter was (about fifteen miles per hour). five The former was six to eight metres per second Since the wings were inclined degrees above the horizon and the wind had a rising trend of fully 12 degrees, the angle of incidence The wind grees. fifteen miles wind We an hour. For the most part the birds faced the the hills they were compelled to circle or and forth vide support. de- did not average more than seven metres steadily, but in glide back was about 17 As in order to obtain speed sufficient to pro- the buzzard weighs about 8 per foot lbs. of wing area, the lifting power of the wind at 17 degrees angle of incidence was apparently as great as it would have been had it been blowing straight upward with equal velocity. The pres- sure was inclined five degrees in front of the normal, and the angle of the descent was 2y degrees. 2 "On behind It another day I stood on top of the West Hill, directly buzzard which was soaring on the steep southern slope. was just on a level with my eye and not more than a 75 For some time distant. it remained almost motionless. though the wings were inclined about horizon it feet five Al- degrees above the was not driven backward by the wind. This bird is specially adapted to soaring at large angles of incidence in strongly rising currents. Its wings are deeply curved. Unless the upward trend amounts be unable to maintain attempting to to at least itself. eight degrees it seems One day we watched a to flock soar on the west slope of the Big Hill, which has
  • 64. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 52 a descent of nearly nine degrees. The birds would start near down along the slope very much as we did machine, but we noticed that whenever they glided the top and glide with the parallel with the slope their speed diminished, and when their speed was maintained the angle of descent was greater than that of the In every case they found hill. before they had gone 200 always with the same feet. They it necessary to flap tried time and again, but Finally, they resorted to hard results. flapping until a height of about 150 feet above the top of the hill was reached, without "On the after which they were able to soar in circles difficulty. another day they finally succeeded same from which slope, it in rising was concluded on almost that the buzzards' best angle of descent could not be far from eight degrees. There is no question little in my mind that men can build wings having as as or less relative resistance than that of the best soaring birds. "The bird's deed, but it is wings are undoubtedly very well designed not any extraordinary efficiency that strikes with astonishment, but rather the marvellous are used. It in- is true that I skill with which they have seen birds perform soaring feats of almost incredible nature in positions where it was not possible to measure the speed and trend of the wind, but when- ever it was conditions possible to determine under which the soaring was performed easy to account for artificial much one by actual measurement the wings. it it was on the basis of the results obtained with The soaring problem is apparently not so of better wings as of better operators.
  • 65. WILBUR AND ORVILLE WRIGHT "The first flights with the power-machine were 17th of December 1903. were willing see, as The made on or six miles, only five to face the rigours of a cold December wind they no doubt thought, another flying machine not first flight the Although a general invitation had been extended to the people living within five 53 lasted only twelve seconds. The to fly. fourth lasted fifty-nine seconds. "In the spring of 1904 experiments were continued on Huff- man Prairie at Simms Station, eight miles east of Dayton. The new machine was heavier and stronger, but similar to the one flown at Kill Devil hill. When it was ready for its first trial every newspaper in Dayton was notified, and about a dozen representatives of the Press were present. Our only request was that no pictures be taken and that the reports be unsensational so as not to attract crowds to our experiment-grounds. There were probably When persons altogether on the ground. preparations had been completed a wind of only three or four miles was track—but machine difficulty fifty blowing—insufficient since many had come for starting on so short a long way to see the an attempt was made. To add to the other the engine refused to work properly. The in action, machine after running the length of the track slid off the rising into the air at all. Several of the end without newspaper men re- turned the next day, but were again disappointed. The engine performed badly, and after a glide of only sixty feet the machine came to the ground. Further trial was postponed until tie motor could be put in better running condition. "We had not been flying long in 1904 before we found that
  • 66. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 54 the problem of equilibrium had not as yet been entirely solved. Sometimes making in a circle the machine would turn over sideways despite anything the operator could do, although in ordinary straight flight under the same conditions have been righted an instant. in In one flight, in it could 1905, while round a honey locust-tree at a height of about fifty the machine suddenly began to turn up on one wing and circling feet, took a course toward the tree. The the idea of landing in a thorn-tree, The ground. left operator, not relishing attempted to reach the wing, however, struck the tree at a height of twelve feet from the ground, and carried away several ten or branches but the flight, which had already covered a distance ; of six miles, "The tion was continued to the starting-point. causes of these troubles—too technical for explana- here—were not entirely overcome till the end of September then rapidly increased in length, till experi1905. The flights were discontinued after the 5th of October, on account ments of the number of people attracted to the field. Although made open on every side and bordered on two sides by on a ground thoroughfares, with electric cars passing every much-travelled hour, and seen by all miles around, and by for the people living in the neighborhood several hundred others, yet these flights newspapers the subject of a great have been made by some mystery." attached any credence to the At the time scarcely anybody experiments at Kitty Hawk. They were stories of the flying studiously kept as a secret by the not, as a matter of fact, But in people witnessed them. Many Brothers. Wright
  • 67. WILBUR AND ORVILLE WRIGHT 55 Europe they were regarded as newspaper sensationalism, and Bennet Burleigh, the war correspondent, who witnessed some of them and wrote an account of them in the Daily Telegraph, found that the general public were not prepared the conquest of the It air. They found two brothers. unsympathetic. own own countrymen were that their All the experiments and attempts expense, Americans siasm. welcome not necessary to detail here the later career of the is their to failed. had been conducted secure the aid of rich to In France, however, they Their success on European was at time when Frenchmen were at the soil in met with enthu- summer of 1908 acknowledged by the characteristically warmhearted and imaginative French; and coming, as it did, at the once same problem giving particular attention to the found an enlightened public opinion. The French were ready to acknowledge that the American school it was superior of flight as regards achievement, but they quick to oppose their own theories to French aviators would have nothing principle. They demanded automatic sought to obtain a large in the earlier to it. For instance, do with the stability, and were the tailless this they machines, not only by means of but also with the aid of vertical plane surfaces dividing two main planes into boxlike compartments. All this tail, was before It the triumphant was on August 8, monoplane had made 1908, that its appearance. Wilbur Wright made his Europe, and on various occasions he flew at Houandieres, Auvours, Pau, Chalons, Le Mans, Berlin, and first flight elsewhere. in His first flight in France was almost exactly two
  • 68. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 56 years after Santos-Dumont's autumn among first aeroplane ascent. the 1908 Wilbur Wright took up various passengers, of the first wards became being Charles Stewart Rolls, a pupil. Rolls was the who soon after- English martyr first to Bournemouth on the motor-driven aeroplane, being killed at July In 1910, soon after making the double crossing of the 2, English Channel on his Wright machine. It was while Wilbur Wright was making France that his his early flights in brother Orville, and Lieutenant Selfridge, of the United States army, had a terrible accident at Fort Meyer, when the latter was killed and the former severely injured. The accident was due to the transmission gear of the motor breaking. Among up the many into the air 1909. was The two distinguished people Wilbur Wright took the German Crown received brothers Aeronautical Society of Great Britain Orville September the gold 9, medal same in the a flight of over Wright achieved as long ago as Prince, on October 3, the of year. an hour's duration 1908, and on September 12th he stayed up for one hour and fourteen minutes. These created a tremendous impression at the time and did feats much to destroy the callousness and indifference which prevailed, especially in this country. year Wilbur Wright He minutes. also On December made a flight of two hours demonstrated that adept after spending a few hours their turn One became little 31st of that memorable his pupils in the air, and and nineteen could become his pupils in teachers. incident revealed the real partnership which
  • 69. WILBUR AND ORVILLE WRIGHT existed between the 57 The Wrights won two brothers. the Michelin prize of £800 in 1908, and at the presentation Wilbur, having expressed his thanks, calmly divided the notes into two packets, and without a word handed one of them to Orville, while he put the other into his pocket. The devotion work was shown still living with of the in their their two American experimenters manner of father and living. sister in to their In 1909 they were the wooden house when they were all children. The workshop where they make their engines was within a quarter of a mile, and was the same where, six years before, they were turning out Wright bicycles. Even closer to the house was the little printing-works, where, before making they had grown up in from the time bicycles, they expended their unlimited energy and ingenuity, not only in printing a newspaper, but in making the machine, which they constructed out of pieces of of string. signed for This Robinson Crusoe printing-press home use. printing- wood and was only At Le Mans, Wilbur Wright lived bits de- in his aeroplane shed, and was thereby enabled to keep guard over his treasures.
  • 70. THE AEROPLANE FLIGHT FIRST JESSIE E. HORSFALL HE flights of their glider in Orville Wright of the 1902 convinced Wilbur and efficiency of their system of main- taining equilibrium and the accuracy of the laboratory work upon which then felt the design of their glider they were prepared was based. They advance the per- to calculate in formance of machines with a degree of accuracy that had never been possible with the data and tables used by Before leaving their camp 1902 they were at work on which they proposed Upon at Kitty their predecessors. Hawk, North the general design of a to operate new machine with engine-driven propellers. Dayton they wrote their return to Carolina, in to a number of automobile and engine builders stating the purpose for which they desired an engine, and asking whether one could be furnished that would develop eight brake horsepower, weight complete not exceeding 200 pounds. with a Most of the com- panies answered that they were too busy with their regular business to undertake the building of such an engine, but one company replied that they pounds and rated ratings. It at had but 8 had engines which weighed only 135 h.p., according to the French system of a single cylinder of 4 inch bore From the Aero Digest N. Y. 58 and 5
  • 71. THE FIRST AEROPLANE FLIGHT inch stroke and less power probably was much overrated. would develop it serve its its 59 a full 8 brake horsepower it Un- would not purpose. Finally the Wright brothers decided to build an engine them- They designed an engine selves. of four cylinders with 4 inch bore and stroke, weighing not over 200 pounds including Up accessories. to that all time their only experience in the build- ing of gasoline engines had been in the construction of an air- cooled engine, 5 inch bore and 7 inch stroke, used to run the machinery cylinders of the size they necessary 8 h.p. they was first fitted them started they into a temporary frame Six weeks from the time had the engine on the block There was no provision power. its certain that four had decided upon wpuld develop the of simple and cheap construction. the design To be workshop. in their small for lubricating testing either was running and for run it more than a minute cylinders or bearings while this engine that reason it was not or two at a time. and In these short tests the engine developed They were then about 9 h.p. tion satisfied that with proper lubrica- more power could be exengine was therefore proceeded better adjustments a little The completion pected. possible to of the with at once. While this Mr. C. E. Taylor, was engaged with work, Wilbur and Orville were completing the design of their assistant, the machine itself. The preliminary engine having more than 8 h.p. would be secured, they felt add enough weight to build a more substantial machine indicated that free to tests of the than originally contemplated.
  • 72. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 60 Their tables of pressures and experience air the 1902 glider enabled them to calculate machine to sustain the would give this thrust in flight. But thrust necessary the. to design a propeller that command was with the power at their Data on matter not yet seriously considered. was not flying with in a propellers air available but they understood that an efficiency of 50 per cent with marine propellers was not unusual and that would be necessary only it theory of the operation to learn the of marine propellers from books on marine engineering, substituting air pressures for water pressures. Several such books were secured from the Dayton Public Library. lae on propellers contained nature and there was no ler a these books were of an empirical way of adapting them to calculations As they could of aerial propellers. expense of in All the formu- neither afford the time nor long series of experiments to find by suitable for their machine, they decided trial a rely to propel- more on theory than was the practice of marine engineers. They agreed ing in a spiral that a propeller course. aeroplane traveling late the effect of difficult. On was simply an aeroplane As they could calculate the effect of an in a straight course, one traveling they in a spiral felt propeller, or the moment. The medium to make in thrust depends a start, which it that to calcu- course would not be further consideration they found even a point from which travel- it hard to find for nothing about a acts, stands still for a upon the speed and the angle at which the blade strikes the air; the angle at which the blade the propeller strikes the air depends upon the speed at which the speed the machine is traveling forward, and the is turning,
  • 73. THb FIRST AEROPLANE FLIGHT speed at which the air is 61 slipping backward; the slip of the air backward depends upon the thrust exerted by the propeller and the amount of air acted upon. When any one of these changes it alters all the rest, as are only a few of the and determined they are many in calculating They engaged But these interdependent. must be considered factors that and designing propellers. minds became so obsessed with work. all it that they could do Their little other innumerable discussions and often after an hour or so of heated argument would discover that in they were as far from agreement as when they started, but that both had changed to the other's original position in the discussion. After several months of this study and discussion they were able to follow the various reactions in their intricate relations long enough to begin to understand them. They realized that the thrust through the air generated by a propeller was no indication of the forward. Their only recourse propellers would be to to actually try For two reasons they decided to when not moving thrust when moving really test the efficiency of them on the machine. use two propellers. In the place by the use of two propellers they could secure a reaction against a greater quantity of air and at the same time use a larger pitch angle than was possible with one propeller; first and in the second place by having the propellers turn in oppo- site directions the gyroscopic action and torque of one would neutralize that of the other. The method adopted of driving the propellers in opposite directions by means of chains is too well-known to need description here. gine to one side of the pilot so in They placed now the en- case of a plunge headfirst
  • 74. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 62 the engine could not ments they had had a upon him. In their gliding experinumber of experiences in which they had fall landed upon one wing, but the crushing of the wing had absorbed the shock, so that they were not uneasy about the motor in To case of a landing of that kind. machine rolling over like sled runners extending out forward in provide against the landing they designed skids main surfaces. in front of the Otherwise the general construction and operation of the machine was to be similar to that of the 1902 When it the engine would develop 16 rapidly dropped till, glider. was completed and h.p. for a at the tested, they found that few seconds, but that the power end of a minute, it was only 12 h.p. Ignorant of what a motor of this size ought to develop they were greatly pleased with their its command, they considered that they weight of the machine with operator to and in the first estimate of Before leaving for their camp chain drive for the propellers satisfactory. shafts, rise h.p. at would permit the 750 to 800 pounds have as much surplus power as they had originally still allowed for it With 12 performance. They 550 pounds. at Kitty in their Hawk shop at they tested the Dayton and found found, however, that their first which were constructed of heavy gauge were not strong enough to propeller steel tubing, stand the shocks received from a gasoline engine with a light fly wheel although they would have been able to transmit three or four times the applied. They tubing, They therefore built a new which were tested and thought left power uniformly set of shafts of heavier to be strong enough. Dayton, September 23, arrived at the camp at Kill
  • 75. THE FIRST AEROPLANE FLIGHT Devil Hill on Friday, the 25th. Provisions and tools had been shipped by freight several weeks viously. its The advance. in erected in 1901 and enlarged in 1902, blown by a storm from 63 was found building, have been to foundation posts a few months pre- While they were awaiting the arrival of the shipment of machinery and parts from Dayton, they put the old building in repair and erected a new building to serve as a workshop for new machine. Just as the building was being completed, the parts and material for the machine arrived. The next three weeks were assembling and housing a On spent in setting the motor machine together. days with more favorable winds they gained additional experience handling a flyer by gliding with the 1902 machine. in While Mr. Chanute was with them a great deal of time was spent in discussion of the mathematical calculations upon which the Wrights had based their machine. them that, in Mr. Chanute informed designing machinery, 20 per cent was usually allowed for the loss in the transmission of power. As they had allowed only 5 per cent, a figure arrived at by some crude measurements of the friction of one of the chains when carrying only a very light load, they were whole surplus in much power allowed in More than alarmed. their calculations the would, according to Mr. Chanute's estimate, be consumed in friction in the driving chains. After Mr. Chanute's departure, they sus- pended one of the drive chains over a sprocket and on a weight approximately equal to the pull that on the chains when driving the propellers. extra amount of weight needed on one it fixed would be exerted By side to measuring the lift the weight
  • 76. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 64 on the other they calculated the indicated that the loss of loss in transmission. power from 5 per cent, as originally estimated. no serious error were uneasy method in this until they had this source would be only But while they could first a chance to run the propellers with number run of the motor on the machine developed a flaw in one of the propeller shafts. to Dayton The shafts were sent at once and were not received again until NovemThey put them in the machine and made another test. ber 20. A new see of determining the loss, they the engine to see whether they could get the estimated of turns. The This for repair, trouble developed. The sprockets, which were screwed on the shafts and locked with nuts of opposite thread, persisted in coming loose. They heated the shafts and sprockets, melted hard tire cement into the threads This trouble was over. again. and screwed them together The sprockets stayed Just as the machine was ready for It had been disagreeably cold some days they could now began 25 to to rain scarcely test, fast. bad weather for several weeks, so cold that work on But the machine. While they were being delayed by the weather they arranged a mechanism to measure the duration of flight from the time the machine started to to the time air in that time, propellers. it and snow, and from the north a wind of 30 miles blew for several days. forward set in. it move stopped, the distance traveled through the and the number of revolutions made by the The watch, anemometer and revolution counter were all From data thus obtained they expected to prove or disprove the automatically started and stopped simultaneously. accuracy of their propeller calculations.
  • 77. THE FIRST AEROPLANE FLIGHT On November 28, while giving the 65 motor a run indoors, one Solid tool-steel shafts of smaller of the tubular shafts cracked! diameter than the tubes previously used were decided upon. They would allow shafts were many a certain amount of The tubular spring. times stronger than would have been neces- sary to transmit the power of the motor But them had been uniform. if upon the strains the large hollow shafts had no spring in them to absorb the unequal strains. Wilbur remained camp while back Orville did not get shafts. 11th of December. ready for trial, went Orville to to get the camp again till new Friday, the Saturday afternoon the machine was again but the wind was so light a start could not have made from been in ground with the run of only 60 level mitted by their monorail track; nor was there before dark to take the machine to one of the feet per- enough time hills, where, by placing the track on a steep incline, sufficient speed could be secured for starting in Monday, December calm 14, air. was a beautiful not enough wind to enable a start to be ground about camp. They from the side of the the members the level therefore decided to attempt a flight Kill Devil Hill. Having arranged with of the Kill Devil Life Saving Station, located a of the machine by made from over a mile from camp, to inform them little day but there was was ready to when the first trial be made, they were soon joined T. Daniels, Robert Westcott, Thomas Beachem, W. S. Dough, and Uncle Benny O'Neal, of the station, who helped J. get the laid machine 150 feet to the up the hill, a quarter-mile away. A track side of the hill on a 9 degree slope. < was With
  • 78. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 66 the slope of the track, the thrust of the propellers and the machine starting any trouble in getting But they track. directly into the wind, they did not anticipate up flying speed on the 60-foot monorail did not feel certain the operator could keep the machine balanced on the track. When so that it the machine had been fastened with a wire to the track could not start until released by the operator, and the engine had been run to make brothers tossed up a coin to see Wilbur won. sure was it who should make the restraining wire was slipped so quickly he could stay with 40-foot run, up too it lifted much. It it from the climbed a few watch showed that left it had been wing touched it ran the the first trial. But it feet. After a 35 or and then 105 feet below. in the air just first. the track. was allowed feet, stalled, hill, down the machine started off only a few rail. the ground near the foot of the landing the condition, Orville took a position at one of the wings in- tending to help balance the machine as When in to turn settled to The 3]/ seconds. 2 stop In The machine swung around, dug the skids into the sand and broke ona of them. Several other parts were also broken but the damage to the machine was The test had shown nothing as to whether the not serious. power of the motor was sufficient to keep the machine up, since the landing was made many feet below the starting point, but experiment showed that the method adopted for launching the the machine was a practical one. much On the whole they were pleased. days were consumed in making repairs and the machine Two ready again till late in the afternoon of the 16th. Durnot was
  • 79. t THE FIRST AEROPLANE FLIGHT wind blew from the ing the night a strong cold 67 When north. they arose on the morning of the 17th the puddles of water, which had been standing about camp since the recent were covered with miles an hour. ice. The wind had They thought a velocity of would it die down 22 rains, to before long and so remained indoors the early part of the morning. when 10 o'clock arrived and the wind was 27 But as brisk as ever they decided they had better get the machine out and attempt They hung out the signal for the men Saving Station. They thought that by facing the a flight. of the Life flyer into a strong wind, there ought to be no trouble in launching the level ground about camp. in flying in in flight in so high a They it from realized the difficulties wind but estimated the added dangers would be partly compensated for by the slower speed landing. A track was laid feet north of the work difficult on the smooth stretch of ground about 100 new and they had ing room, where there made was to a Devil W. Life S. good By fire in an improvised stove was ready, J. T. Dough and A. D. Etheridge, members of the Kill of a large carbide can. Daniels, The biting cold wind made warm up frequently in their liv- building. Saving Sration, W. the time C. all Brinkley of Mateo, and Johnny Moore, a boy from Nags Head, had arrived. They had a hand anemometer with which they measured the velocity of the wind. Measurements made just before the first flight showed velocities of 24 to 27 miles per hour. The records Government Weather Bureau at Kitty Hawk gave th velocity of wind between the hours of 10:30 and 12 o'clock, the of the .
  • 80. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 68 time during which the four flights were made, as averaging 27 miles at the time of the of the flight first and 24 miles time at the last. Wilbur, having used his turn the unsuccessful attempt on in the 14th, the right to the next trial now belonged After running the engine a few minutes to heat it to Orville. up he re- leased the wire that held the machine to the track, and the machine started forward into the Wilbur ran wind. of the machine, holding the wing to balance Unlike the on the 14th, made start in a it till lifted it a picture just as the and had Wilbur was able ratic, is clearly The slow forward shown by Wilbur's The about 10 feet, a rose into the result the control of the being balanced too machine would a little over a little air, to lack a tendency to turn itself and then as suddenly dart sudden dart when the track, or a it its er- when turned too far on one side and then too far on it As the other. on account of This gave near the center. started, so that difficult He effort. and partly air, of experience in handling this machine. was attitude. up and down was exceedingly of the flight partly due to the irregularity of the front elevator One machine had reached the end of the track stayed along beside the machine without any The course lo the camera for them, taking risen to a height of about 2 feet. speed of the machine now from the track after a 40-foot run. men snapped of the Life Saving on the track. it calm, the machine facing a 27-mile wind started very slowly. stay with at the side hundred rise suddenly for the ground. feet flight. As A from the end of over 120 feet from the point at which ended the to it the velocity of wind was
  • 81. THE FIRST AEROPLANE FLIGHT 69 over 25 feet per second and the speed of the machine over the ground against machine this wind 10 relative to the air feet per second, the speed of the was over 45 the length of the flight was equivalent made flight lasted in calm air. nevertheless the This first feet to a flight of machine carrying a man had raised had 540 only 12 seconds but in the history of the into the air in full flight, per second, and itself world by its in it feet was which a own power sailed forward without reduction of speed, and had finally landed at a point as high as that from which it started.
  • 82. SENSATIONS OF FLIGHT— LEARNING TO FLY— BALLOON AND AEROPLANE BY A MEMBER OF THE ROYAL BRITISH AIR FORCE IS not easy to describe the sensation of flying. It is enbefore tirely different from that of ballooning; but perhaps T endeavoring from give some idea of it, my own experience and that of others to a few words on ballooning may prove a suit- able introduction. In a balloon the moment you absolutely motionless. is It leave the ground you feel the earth that recedes from you direction. and, according to the wind, in a lateral downward no travelling at sixty miles per hour, but you have You may be sensation of speed; there is no breath of wind in the face; the from the envelope. It is only when car hangs always you realize your speed, for at the you touch earth again that you feel the wind; and if it be a moment that the car stops and repose and quietude are rudely dispelled, strong wind your the wind, heels over and drags you your balloon, caught by vertically along the ground. of height and none of giddiness. At a There is no sensation has a concave appearance, but as there is great height the earth to the ground the ordinary sensation no wall or line from you 70
  • 83. SENSATIONS OF FLIGHT of looking down a height also you are so far you are away from travelling at a very great you are moving at all. At any considerable quite absent. cliff is It is the ground that even speed the 71 difficult to it is same when you if see that are in an express train and your eyes are fixed on a distant part of the landscape; so slowly does the scene change that relatively to the swift passage of nearer objects opposite direction to them and careful observation of the the air and watch its thousands of below feet The extent limited man in appears to be going in the same the Looking down from a balloon train. a it end of the it is in in order to note the speed. of the views obtained mast 45 hanging free slow passage across the map-like country from a balloon feet is is atmosphere. in the standing on the seashore the horizon a necessary to take a trail-rope by the amount of haze or mist A flag on direction as the 3% only To miles distant. high and 12 miles distant appears to be on the edge of the horizon. The following table shows the extent of the balloonist's vision: Height in Feet. Distance of Horizon 500 30 mi 1000 3000 59K 2 72/ 2 4000 833/ 5000 1 42 2000 es. 93l/ 2 mile At the height of one 96 mile, in perfectly clear weather, the
  • 84. — THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 72 balloonist can see 96 miles any in direction. Theoretically, the top of the Alps could be seen from an elevation of 10,000 feet over London. But the air is never so clear as to give such extensive vision. Balloonists over London, however, frequently see the sea. As the balloonist reaches the higher altitudes, the sky be- comes of a deeper blue, and the sun appears bright disc on a dark background. seen by the balloonist. shadow cast Beautiful phenomena are Halos round the sun and moon, bows, "glories," or "aureoles" the a glaring like — rain- the coloured rings seen round by the balloon on the clouds —and splendid seas of rolling cloud above and below, reward his enterprise. But the scenery beheld by subject. my own No two voyages are the balloonist like an inexhaustible is one another. Quoting from description in the Daily Graphic of a night ascent from London: "For some moments our eyes were Palace, where our friends were riveted on the Crystal now watching us, some of them Soon the probably feeling anxious on our behalf. lights of the Crystal Palace could not be distinguished from the myriad lights stretching away on all sides to the horizon. The lights of London's 150 square miles were displayed below us, infinite in degrees of colour, brilliance, and arrangement. the stars completed the picture. It was in centre of a vast illuminated globe, as if Overhead we were whose dark poised sides were frosted with silver and gold, the roof glittering with lights of peculiar beauty, and adorned with the crescent moon, now- hanging over the southwestern horizon."
  • 85. SENSATIONS OF FLIGHT Over Essex at night the 73 was broken only by the silence barking of dogs and the occasional whistle and rattle of a train. Suddenly a voice hailed us out of the darkness, sounding very We near. had descended near the earth without knowing it, and quickly we shouted, "Where are we?" "Going towards Dunmow," came the instant Later on, as of "At ten minutes it: change to we were in over the North Sea, crossing 360 miles to us, one we became aware of a sudden the conditions around us. appear out of the void from but about the same as if the demonstration we became aware nearer to us. level, The Quite motionless for our progress, if by magic, summoned a great circle number of small, was complete. It must be intended that similar clouds weird shapes remained. As As in all directions, at a great distance white, fluffy clouds appeared. seemed in relation They were for us. Then were forming another ring to ourselves these travelling in the same wind. no sense of motion was perceptible. a tremor of the car, not a breath of wind, yet at thirty-five miles reply. we were Not going an hour." voyage we crossed the sea by day: "Sea everywhere, and no land in sight. The tens of millions of waves looked very diminutive, but crystal clear, and reflected In another from their facets every degree of grey and green, light and shadow. The sea was not rough, but the tops of an infinite number of waves were broken to snow-white foam. As we descended nearer to it the incessant murmur of the commotion of waters reached sweetness." us— a sound of unique quality and wonderful
  • 86. — THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 74 Dawn "At cloudland in always impressive: is was strong enough five o'clock the light The shadow. scenery balloon had fallen to now began commenced As to bestir itself. make a faint 4500 feet. The cloud if row of weird and rearing themselves from a that half-an-hour before appearing indefinite and "The dawn grew the row of flat defined. A us, then and a red tinge appeared behind which became blacker and more sharply beautiful green red. To were still hue appeared above the The stars brilliant. "Almost suddenly, trees lifted up to a at higher about six o'clock, the row of strange level. The balloon's altitude remained Imperceptibly the tree-clouds disappeared, and a the same. series of mysterious One be the same clouds to fleecy. the south the clouds were bluish-grey. very gigan- land covered with white had passed slowly below nearer, cloud-trees, Across the north- They resembled These grotesque shapes appeared mist. it fantastic shapes appeared, black as ink against the lightening sky. tic trees for our sole benefit, a series of wonderful groupings. east a straight to and ever-changing clouds took slate-grey, ponderous-looking mass occupied a giant's share of the northern sky slightly below us, but with peaks and domes far above our "It is their place. its topmost level. impossible to give any idea of the immensity and variety of these changing scenes. seen from the ground. peaks look like like Switzerland moulded in snow. to them could be In the south a limitless stretch of cloud- of distance conveyed by view extended Nothing was wonderful, and probably our or more of cloud." it 150 miles The impression I
  • 87. : SENSATIONS OF FLIGHT Infinite is the variety of cloudland! "Across the light slowly stalked. It Here is 75 another dawn in the east, regiments of vapoury figures is easy to imagine that these grotesque shapes were inhabited by spirits There was strange commotion akin to their weird in the field forms. Wisps of grey fog. of thin cloud would suddenly rise here and there, and as the light increased the cloud-shapes became better defined. at rest in the general air carried movement eastward, varying some portions of the cloud area Never currents of faster than others. There were other movements of irregular surfaces up and down. The woolly fell before each in other, against the background and, and of the only white and soft-edged like shooting-saloon, a other, rose they appeared like small moving pasteboard lightening sky, targets and repassed each hillocks passed frisking lambs." Passing over Germany at night: "At a distance milky light in the villages and towns were mere blotches of As we approached one darkness. slowly grow, the blur resolving of light, ter becoming larger and every minute. itself into a larger, would group of tiny points and developing In the case of a large it town the in charac- effect was very striking. What had appeared extend until covered half the visible area below with lights of it a small blur of light would every possible shade of yellow and white and the bluish-white of electric lamps. "Later the country seemed to be almost deserted. occasionally could a train. When we hear Only the barking of a dog or the roar of above the clouds silence seemed absolute. We
  • 88. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 76 appeared going to be in only faster than they. the It same was direction as the clouds below, a curious race between the bal- loon and the patches of vapour, and the balloon never failed to overtake and upon which we any point to pass set our eyes. we caught interstice in the clouds In a night in the diversified field of At grey rare intervals through an a glimpse of a cottage light." voyage over England a remarkable experience befell us, the balloon sailing near the ground and disturbing a number of pheasants, partridges, and water-fowl, whose remarkable, shrill cries and the rushing of myriad wings amounted to a deafening volume of sound. Dogs barked, and vast we heard the tinkling of sheep-bells and the trampling of horses over turf. we Coveys of partridges created sudden disturbances approached. We alarmed twitter of heard the peewit's many small birds. shrill It was calls as and the interesting to observe that the perfectly silent passage across the sky of our balloon was sometimes became enveloped tion, We sufficient to arose these sleepers. in thick fog. We could not see any habita- but once the sound of a man's cough reached us, and we constantly heard small birds twittering and the calls of water fowl. It is impossible to describe the innumerable small entertain- ments, and the constant anxiety of a night in the these circumstances. Fog is air under the balloonist's particular enemy, and although we were fortunately not imperilled by it, it cerFog all around, above and tainly caused us much anxiety. below, and suddenly, close to one's elbow, as of a church clock chimes three o'clock. it There seems, the is bell the constant
  • 89. — SENSATIONS OF FLIGHT same?" and inquiry, "Is our course the a momentary the eager watching for which clearing of the fog in 77 an observa- to take tion. Aerial travellers will be out in Here weathers. all is the description of our cold night over Russia: "We were huddled up keeping our electric lamp in corners, ready for reading the aneroid, the glass of which was coated with ice, which had frequently coats were thick with snow, and altogether 14,000 feet, accomplish. we climbed Steadily Arctic Circle. caps and and gloom- a colder As thermometer went down steadily the beyond which point to zero, a cold had not entered "Even feet forced our up —and "I to Fahr. and the thermometer down would not it to 5° indicate, for so great our calculations. snow was falling. way upwards against Through 16,000 it, in spite of Less rapidly the aneroid indicates that increasing burden. crept into at this height the we had 11,000, 12,000, 13,000, to each thousand taking no more than ten minutes to Fifteen thousand, 16,000 feet high, 17,000 feet, and 200 feet above that — 17,200 our we feet the temperature probably at 2° Fahr. below zero. think we were hardships, and this altitude of tain in Europe imagine it is all worn out by likely — may have forms the exposure enough that the over three miles strange streamed cold, to Our off. aspect of affairs could scarcely be imagined except in the ier to rubbed to be — light particles rarity of the air at higher than the highest distressed us a in and the the little. blackness, It out mounwas easy of which touching our faces and clinging our clothes: there a gigantic monstrous shape floating by;
  • 90. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 78 below, a dimly seen palace, and a steps, finding her way by Entirely different aeroplaning. is My my first first descending marble its the light of a lamp." as a passenger towards the took woman My own end of 1910 at Brooklands, where photograph from an aeroplane, and cross-country flight was on were first flights I Hendon. at a "Bristol" military biplane under the care of Archibald Low, who took me from Amesbury, Wiltshire, over hill and dale and woods and pastures —and Stonehenge! The circumstances that placed one of Great Britain's aviation centres in sight of Stonehenge, that mysterious ment of ancient times, first monu- must surely have been something more So dramatic and romantic an encounter between the ghostly past and the mightiest and most modern of scienthan chance. tific artist miracles might well have been arranged by a supreme weaving strange pictures swiftly through the air Stonehenge. in We the loom of time. some hundreds of Behind me the roar of a that impelled this great machine; around feet mighty me sped directly over Gnome engine the buoyant wings of the aeroplane obeying the lightest touch of the hand of the pilot in front; and, tearing past like a gale of wind, the frosty air that way. held us up yet seemed to strive Towards the end of the journey and brought the aeroplane down its Low utmost to bar our stopped the engine in a steep vol-plane to a lower altitude, approaching a flock of sheep, who scattered wildly. Then he started the engine again, and we resumed skimming along a few feet from the ground. In an aeroplane there is no sense of height except that de-
  • 91. SENSATIONS OF FLIGHT ever on the face, and in cold weather is But always indeed. It is and wire, so machine is He of the machine. The himself. In learning to ride a bicycle the pupil cannot easily damage any damages; and and it is and in I did not break my the time of obtaining Englishman imposed ation, and I now be said Take my own case, I learned to or strain a wire pilot's certificate do so under the to — I fly, up to was, by the way, new stringent condi- 1911 by the International Aeronautical Feder- in am No. 70 on the list of British aeroplane pilots never did more damage than could have been repaired for five shillings, and was simply what it wood proficient can typical of that of the average pupil. the process the fifth become this also of the great majority of flight pupils. command or seriously hurt it vast majority of cyclists have riders without doing wood proceed by com- fly to almost from the beginning entrusted with the sole tions very cold apt to result in broken necessary in learning to it is paratively cautious steps. I is as easy to learn to fly as to learn to ride a bicycle; but as a blunder in a flying is it of exhilarating. is it The rush size of familiar objects. duced from the apparent wind 79 was done in a this was not due a golfer would to a beginner's blunder, but call the "fortune of the green": bad landing brought about by thick fog, in which I flew perilously near to wires and was obliged to make a quick descent. my encountering some telegraph I learned to fly on a "Bristol" biplane at the school near Amesbury or Salisbury Plain. Whether ballooning mechanical flight I am is a unable very to say. valuable It preparative for cannot be denied that
  • 92. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 80 it has some value, and found that the idea of leaving Mother I Earth for an excursion into the air had, of no itself, terrors. That many people are appalled at the prospect is undeniable, and it is a factor that we must take into account. But it is not reasonable; and people make who would not on any inducement a balloon or an aeroplane ascent have indifferent to far greater risks on terra Flying has been compared to comparison mon, but is good. false, notions concerning To me danger of giddiness. To take feet precipice for it is my own this to my I have said, not the slight- gave no surprise; for, as down feet the sensation of height cannot look down a hundred- many seconds without being compelled to I can look down from a balloon vibration, And I can guarantee the same readers. an aeroplane flight, when the engine starts, the noise, and sense of speed as the machine shoots forward over the ground are certainly tremendous. at first Some people find somewhat unnerving, but even nervous people soon get used to them. moment is as 10,000 feet above the ground for hrlf-an-hour at a immunity them no I case, stretch without feeling a qualm. In is, matters not whether he look turn back from the edge, but that There it. from twenty or from two thousand absent. things; but, in truth, at a great height: there every balloonist knows, is fir ma. Let me, however, correct one or two com- no sense of travelling est many shown themselves that the It is almost impossible to perceive the exact machine leaves the ground; only there the increased speed along the ground and when is, with flying, a rapid diminution of the noise, a swift decrease of the vibration, until
  • 93. SENSATIONS OF FLIGHT the machine is 81 simply gliding with perfect smoothness and there nothing to inform you of the speed except the rush of wind is upon the For as you face. continue to from the ground rise rush beneath you, flight, there is As air its own peculiar music. and laterally the steady is in the corrected as soon as they occur. seem to sink slightly Occasionally, too, the machine and suddenly in what is known hole in the wind"; and at times one hears a slight as with a muffled mallet on the planes, caused of the path but the movements are as a rule very small and are flight, will this there over the planes giving forth Sometimes the machine rocks slightly of to one's sensations in the growl of the engine, which, with use, soon becomes unnoticeable, and with rush of does not and the higher you get the slower do you appear to be moving. full it as "a thumping by the buffeting air. The pupil's lessons begin with passenger flights, followed instructional flights during upon the lever which he by allowed to place a hand is order to feel the movements and to understand better what the pilot is doing. When he has obtained in experience the time approaches for him to make ascent, which, as can readily be imagined, is his or life. Having made how confused His second his first solo flight, his feelings, the battle flight is progress is rapid, home for there is in the a great event in no matter how short, more than half over. and with the infinitely easier, fourth he feels quite at is air. nothing From laid while the instructor third and that point his in the least difficult in the control of an aeroplane except in high wind. work was his first solo The ground- was deeply imbuing him with
  • 94. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 82 ft the idea of flying and compelling a him to realise, so as to second nature or an instinct of making all his make movements very gently and nicely but also as quickly as required. my After charge I my sixth or seventh flight with the machine in was ready to my for fly sole This, perhaps, certificate. would have been "pressing the game" somewhat; and, as a matter of fact, it was not until I had made eleven solo flights, including the two straight hops which are scarcely worthy first of the name, that my was put through I make two quired that the pupil shall These tests. separate tests re- each con- flights, them he sisting of five complete figures of eight; that in one of should attain an altitude of at least 50 metres (167 feet) ; that from each he should land with the motor cut off and come a halt within fifty yards of a spot previously designated. to Two of us pupils were flying for our "brevets" on the my and as before I was 700 or 800 made two fellow pupil had sent up, it was necessary So that embarrass him. feet. in my The second test but towards sunset the wind and I declared my intention to first test, of his figures of eight to fly first test namely, on the 23rd of April 191 I high in order not to flew at a height of took place three days It 1. fell to make had been windy all may tions my I give the reader an idea of is like, perhaps I may later, day, about ten miles an hour, the attempt, the official the Royal Aero Club being present and everything ready. it and what of As flying in difficult condi- be pardoned for describing at length final test flight. had no sooner was stronger than left it realized that the wind a matter of fact the wind the ground than had seemed. As I
  • 95. SENSATIONS OF FLIGHT was rapidly 83 Rising against the wind just after increasing. crossing between the two mark-flags the machine almost stopped in its career. side, calling for I reared up considerably and rolled from side to It quickness and strength to keep in it even flight. soon found that going against the wind the speed of the machine, judged from familiar landmarks below me, was not more than 6 or 10 miles per hour; the wind, about 30 miles per hour; also But finding severe tussle. was it that I clear that manage could was therefore, I was to fly to I have a kept on, taking care to go far beyond the mark-flag before attempting immediately the machine had to turn; for tail to the wind it would be driven along of course, proved to be the case, managed to effect the turn in Also, with a following again. tendency to come down to the and time its side, and then at a great pace. was only by care it its This, that I cross between the flags to wind the machine had a strong ground. This, by the way, would not be the case were wind to blow in an even current of uni- form velocity; nor would a machine tend when flying against the reader knows, all wind wind were is made up this the case. taken and most cases amountthis factor, conjunction with the inertia of the flying machine, ac- counts for the phenomena for at least I have mentioned, as also 80 per cent of the difficulties they are, of mechanical flight. that in going with the wind the speed was in 30 per cent of the average velocity; and in But, as the of alternations of small comparatively high velocity, the variation ing to plunge upwards to at least it accounts and dangers, such as But, further, 70 miles per hour, and it I found naturally relatively to the earth required considerable
  • 96. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 84 strength and quickness to keep her on her course. time, whether flying with strong wind abeam, or ahead, or this my behind, the sensation of wind on that was if my shut I flying in eyes At the same was unvarying, face so could not have perceived whether I one direction or another I relatively to the wind. After completing one figure of eight, taking care not to bank the machine up in turning with the wind from the outside of the turn, but taking advantage of having the wind on the inside of when on the turn the opposite side of the circle to bank the machine up considerably and so drifting, I some extent prevent decided to continue; and continuing because not only certificate, to but saw I my is the side- was the more desirous I of every pupil anxious to win his and Collyns Pizey, instructors, Jullerot together with the other pupils standing between the mark-flags, clapping their hands One was figure eight my change to avoid certain to make enough I another save difficult spots, in detail. but in to turn, and at the in I if it each case wide detour against the wind was each time it wind I the right with the I endeavoured were possible was necessary end of the eight away from the wind increased order to allow for the In the fourth eight crossed. I order to gain room drifted half a mile or so out of flying against the sible in like encouragement every time course somewhat and find out to a in altitude as a "side-slip." way. much downward course with experienced wind on the my my In as pos- the wind. In turning to outside, although careful not to bank the machine up on the left, the wind, nevertheless, caught machine it and threw the left wing up at such an angle that the began to slide downwards to the right. Good teaching came
  • 97. — ! SENSATIONS OF FLIGHT to my the rescue. turned the machine hard into the wind, I movement with After a the ailerons. so to spare, and the machine righted I flight lasted But using. ence of flying Also, I to still had efforts fifty feet or itself. 25 minutes, whereas in ordinary conditions can be got into 16 minutes with a machine of the type trial was moment my was checked with the desired result: the slip the i.e. and corrected the inclination by a very pronounced left, The 85 I had won my and had gained experi- brevet, wind which would certainly prove valuable. in had gained a confidence in the machine and flying in which were well worth the trouble. Wilbur Wright described the sensation of aviation as "something more exhilarating than motoring, easier and smoother, with a "At movement of added dimension. a height of 100 feet you feel hardly any motion at except for the wind which strikes your face. If you did not take the precaution to fasten your hat before starting probably lost it by this time. . . . You make all, you have a very short turn, yet you do not feel the sensation of being thrown from your seat, so often experienced in automobile and railway travel. "The operator stops the motor while still in the air. . . . The motor close beside you kept up an almost deafening roar during the whole flight, yet in your excitement you did not notice it till it stopped." Frantz Reichel, writing sions in the following "I flown how it the Figaro, recorded his impres- manner: have known to-day learned in a magnificent intoxication. feels to be a bird. I have flown. Yes, I hav« I have
  • 98. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 86 am "I an hour all still deeply moved. at it; still For nearly have lived that daring dream vainly pursued through I the ages by audacious man. was a sudden impression of a plunge Then suddenly space which gave me a coup a lestomac. "When we into it astonished was very smooth, a cradling amid the thunder of the all motor. did I started there my but not daring to utmost move to see well, to feel everything radiant, or even to stir. advanced towards the horizon, the dunes, the hills, the The It was strange and exquisite. fir-trees, in a giddy gliding. I could keep my eyes wide air flowed upon me caressingly. "We open; the first air bathed me This was the but did not whip me. impression a mile from the starting-place, above a magnif- icent carpet of heather. "I my hung out head and looked were waving handkerchiefs. my fixed to a side, dummy. myself. It I let was 'The sun is I at the Gently, moved my arm in a crowds below. They with we sinking, and elbow firmly mechanical manner, I was supporting risked more and more. are flying in the twilight. the ground appears and descends the big glens with a white carpet. a slight mist, It is like I go of the iron bar by which quite safe to move, my From which covers the doubtful and sus- picious hour of the day. 'The night has come. rising. believe is It is getting dark, and the moon is I cannot over the woods and fields. Silence reigns The sensation flying in the night. that it is I who am so magnificent that manner. I pass several hours in such a long to
  • 99. SENSATIONS OF FLIGHT "Night is now complete. Cyclists, peasants, have lighted their lanterns or their torches. nation pierces through the darkness. our shadow, which the "If I had known I moon throws and chauffeurs And But we this illumi- fly on, chasing before us. should have brought a pencil and a writ- ing-block with me, and have recorded able to write 87 much more comfortably my in impressions. One an aeroplane than is in a train or motor-car." Finally, Frank Hedges Butler, the founder of the Royal Aero Club, very happily describes the sensation as that of skating on very clear ice and seeing with perfect clearness the bottom of the lake.
  • 100. THE ARMY OF YOUTH HOW THE NA corner BOYS WERE TRAINED IN ENGLAND room windows whence of the Hotel Cecil, with we gained a superb vista of the Thames flowing beneath its many bridges, sat a small man talking quietly of the difficulties that had arisen definite accent which in his is work. be found to organising ability opens the way broke out he was known only needed his services, and in He was to a Scotsman, with that in all supremacy. positions When where the war in shipping circles, but the nation one rapid step he became Secretary new era in Government and civilisation alike. Lord Weir was the administrative head of the Royal Air Force, and when one read at the breakfast-table of State for Air, which marks a one morning that youth had taken wings and given the citizens of Frankfort a bad half-hour in the dead of night, then one knew that a part of his organization the proud soil of the German had been set in motion over fatherland. The blow on Frankfort, however, is the final act of an immense machine whose ramifications I have been permitted to The alert, laughing-eyed young man with wings on follow. his left breast, whom we see in hotels and other public places, so cherubic that we are apt to think the wings have been misFrora Training the 88 Airman
  • 101. *: THE ARMY OF YOUTH placed, is the product of a wonderful ' 89 mushroom organization, of a system that combines psychology with science and takes earth and air into domain. its between the schoolboy who, self with quadratic equations whose knowledge of and absence of the There is but six months' distance in the fifth form, familiarized and the debonair young gentleman aerial navigation, twelve-cylinder engines, first sense have enabled him to travel 300 miles through the night at an altitude of 5000 high-sounding visiting cards on cowering hosts. of six him- and drop feet It is the record months of concentrated pressure such as would burst any head not possessing the resilience and ardour of youth. months and follow him from the day he leaves a live that six tearful of type The mother in until the proud hour that he monopolises a may be nearly eighteen or thirty begins his career; if upon being a specimen of preserved youth. fine man who would for fitness is the first The medical requisite of the scorn earth and sever the air at a hundred He may miles an hour. when he near the latter age he can pride himself test is essentially severe, be slightly lame, for walking is not a but he must possess perfect sight, strong lungs, a sense of balance, pluck. line an R. A. F. communique. future airman strict test, Let us quick hearing, and above all, indomitable Indeed, he must have acquired the negation of fear which only youth can accomplish by indifference. The Royal Air Force is no place for the sensitive egoist. But the strictly medical test acutest test rooms of a is only one hurdle of may house many to be cleared. be classed as a psychological one. in The In the Hampstead, remotely associated with medi-
  • 102. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 90 cal matters in that maker, it was once the home of a millionaire pill- watched the cadets as they appeared in turn before the doctors. They were fresh-cheeked schoolboys, with curly I and hair clear eyes. Their bodies had the suppleness and rhythmical grace of youth which at seem of their make embonpoint The resisting power a miracle of degeneracy. forty lungs was tested by a method which threatened slow suffoca- they were tion, made thoroughly dizzy, and yet trod a line with would have inspired rapture in the breasts of performers. They were jerked and expected to keep perfection that alcoholic their feet, they show no were subjected surprise, to sudden noises and expected and they were called upon to to perform balanc- ing acts that aroused the shade of Blondin. The youngster cles of a panther; began when watched was eighteen, with the supple mus- I he held his breath until the He to think of writing to the Lancet. a examining sudden noise made us jump, and the officer did not flinch tell-tale turning make even "the little noiseless noise" of which Keats spoke. He was made to tread a straight and narrow line, no easy task when keen eyes are fork held outright in his hand did not — watching one and the nerves are strained by self-consciousness; this accomplished, progress must be made backwards, and the candidate must prove a birdlike ability to stand motionless upon one leg, as Then though he had been metamorphosised follows a quaint test that might have ish Inquisition. volves. The At a given unwaveringly along come from the Span- victim sits in a chair which rapidly resignal he a into a stork. narrow must jump out of line — it is like it and walk the bridge of hair
  • 103. THE ARMY OF YOUTH Mohammedan along which the good specialist with the 91 A crosses to Paradise. eye of an eagle and the mouth of a barrister looked up the candidate's nose, down his mouth, and into his He ears. it insisted upon with such fatherly affection that one began to comprehend had made him forsake the West-end the splendid spirit that ice in and said calling his patient "Laddie," worth several thousands One bare room. a a year to become a colonel could see by the manner in which he asked for the repetition of unsatisfactory tests how him He was to disappoint the eager spirit of a boy. it grieved deter- mined that shyness and nervousness should be banished from his presence. My young friend, safely out of the specialist's room, not finished with the lynx-eyed examiners. He was had led into dark chamber where oculists had laid cunning devices to prove that he could not see straight. Little holes, lights, letters, a and needles assailed the candidate with doubt. Clear vision seemed as impossible there as in a theological conference only — those of great assailing the senses. to fly, could possibly survive the temptations faith But our young candidate was determined and overcoming his flag flying. all provocation to squint, he passed out, He had now to pass the final review of the medical assessors, but here again pulse and blood pressure, determined by a black scarf and a chronometer that would have fired the tortured imagination of Edgar Allan Poe, were regular and uninterrupted even by the issue at stake. With a triumphant gleam young spirit in his eye he marched out, and his fresh was seized upon by a sergeant. Two months of
  • 104. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 92 strict head will act now are discipline before him, which in his and feet under the stentorian tones of those weather-beaten backbones of the Army. But the candidate has ing space ere he receives his kit and Brigade for the is sent on to the Cadet He stage of his training. first a little breath- sending of a triumphant telegram home, uses for the it which he mingles in flamboyant exultation with judicious pleading for cash; and, although his income is now one and sixpence per day, with uniform, messing, and quarters found, what stern parent could suppress prodigality on learning that his flawless youngster has become An a fledgling, a choice spirit of the air? open, wind-swept place, with low-roofed hangars camou- flaged with streaks of paint, a broad strip of tarmac on which various aeroplanes are receiving the solicitous attention shock-headed mechanics, and a few debonair greasy-coated, young gentlemen in fur-lined •that is the sight helmets and glossy leather boots which quickens the cadet's ground. Man's ambition He pulse. arrived at the place where he will leave the earth. jumping-off of has is his and the progress of It science have brought the cadet to his exalted moment. At last he is seated in his machine. by which means he can watch actions. They off. ing over The ground farmhouse its instructor and copy his "Contact, sir!" rings out, and they hurries by, and the cadet takes a deep breath; the edge of the aerodrome that the has a dual control, are wheeled off the tarmac, the engine whirrs with anticipatory delight. are his It in front chimney-pots. may That is perilously near. dissolve, is the when first lo! He he is prays glid- surprise of flying
  • 105. THE ARMY OF YOUTH realisation that •the one has Sight, left the earth. informs one; the rising into space feeling, 93 is and not an apparently Then comes the second revelation: there speed. The earth below seems winding away motionless transition. is sense of little slowly; the fields huddle themselves closer. The cadet is now holding his joystick; for two minutes he has flown the machine, and the fact must be gently broken to him lest failure. the ease and surprise should shock So he hears him into sudden and a voice in his ear, surprisingly near, loud above the roar of the engine. Down the telephone con- necting his head with that of the instructor's comes the voice The of assurance. done down it. age — The dream of man Such by with enfeebled one revolution per twenty- four hours! is trips dual, the beginning, but the end he must fly solo, Once more he must his career and then bridle his told that he's contracted So has And for ages has been fulfilled. there the silly old earth goes reeling at He cadet's heart leaps with great joy. bad is Tar off. After several his pride will be lowered. head with the telephone and be habits, and is asking for a fall. and education proceeds, with hours of single joy and periods of dual control. At the end of six weeks, if he has a sense of balance and a great store of pluck, he will be able to loop the loop, nose-dive, his wings, account at opens his chest Cox & The hour and half-roll. another two inches Then he —and banking Co.'s. of his great accomplishment marks the beginning of that fine humility characteristic of the airman. devout lads, these. a gets They know how near Death They is, and are al-
  • 106. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 94 though they laugh yet they know happen. It is flying in may the significance of what they do, of what told of the late Captain Ball that always before he could be seen silently face with the insolence of youth, his in his pilot's seat, few minutes; a moment for a eyes shut, praying he poured forth later an avalanche of oaths upon the laggard mechanics ere he leapt skywards. There is was It characteristic of the airman's temperament. something more than a mere custom "How they measure their lives by hours. the Front?" long were you at asked a young major with three decorations. I "Four hundred hours," he a very long the fact that in "How life. a marvellous stunter hours now," he said. replied, and learned that that I long have you been flying?" I was asked when he alighted. "Nearly two hundred They only live when they fly, and scorn time passed upon earth. ences flight, the gunnery learned at the put into practice. ing where he cadet's training depot station, At the pond True, the target whipped is bombardment from the into air. showers first experi- Armament School is not exciting, a gleam- is of protest Once, the story is by constant told, a young airman, in the glory of the moment, kept on firing long after he had flown over the pond, and an inoffensive cow was put out of action. carcase, and The cow, quite dead, for hours afterwards lead at least represented a was pumped into her, an airman announced, "the milk ran out." There was something so ludicrous in the last remark that we all rocked until, as with laughter; humour was we were delicious. sorry for the cow, of course —but the
  • 107. THE ARMY OF YOUTH 95 have an opportunity of becomThe young airman The instructors are drawn from experienced ing an expert. returned from the battle front with the latest pilots who have He will have learned to throw his machine about, manoeuvres. will later to test his instinct for balance by wilfully upsetting himself, landings in confined spaces, to alight almost to make forced of his own machine with the delicacy and poise in the length of a ballerina. But supposing he does not take kindly to crashes and is filling in that he Even then he turned out of the aerodrome? have a second chance, after will flight, fearful a paper wherein he confesses to his favourite poet or his hatred of And solitude. vanced to although psychology quite justify is not yet sufficiently ad- presence as a legitimate test in a its medical research department, the fact remains that the pilot gets a second chance under instructors who may prove more congenial or clearer in their methods. to fetch those wings took several months and now to the surface, taken to get them well spread in It flight; infinite care is and whoever gained heaven with such ease before? The boy who stood stripped months previously is now in the resplendent doctor's in room few a uniform, with those white wings on the breast which represent an increase of dignity and income. He can fly —he has learned the seeing the silver side of the cloud lining of which he by encouraging uncles from bovhood. thrill was of told
  • 108. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS Captain Eddie Rickcnbackcr, "American Ace of Aces" here tells his own story. Mr. Rickcnbackcr has a record of twenty-five victories in the Great War.—Editor. I INTRODUCING "ARCHY" FTER days of schooling and nights of anticipation, up one morning to find my dreams come Major true. Raoul Lufbery, the most famous of our American and the Commanding would take flight German the was patrol "Who we of us all for to is had himself was to lead the enemy territory go?" was the thought to be over stood by all He in more or less in the in flyers, announced that Officer of our group, off after breakfast for a look at the lines. woke I a war across The flight. Champagne sector. every pilot's mind, as unconcealed eagerness. as yet caught a glimpse of our future arenas. None We had vague ideas of the several kinds of surprises in store us over Hun lines and every one of us was keen to get into it. Major Lufbery looked us over without saying much. Luf was very quiet in manner and very droll when he wanted to be. He had seen almost four years of service with the French Air Service and This book is in the Lafayette Escadrille and had shot copyrighted by Mr. Rickcnbackcr, 96 1919. By his permission. down
  • 109. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS Hun seventeen aeroplanes before the American began active work at the front. 97 Air Service Every one of us idolized Luf- bery. "Rick!" said the Major casually, "you and Campbell be ready I to leave at 8.15." appear nonchalant as tried to I replied, "Yes, sir." Douglas Campbell put up a much better face than I did. The other boys crowded around and presented us with good advice, such as "Look out for Archy, mind," and one thoughtful fellow kindly cautioned Huns me to crash in our lines if the got me, so that he could personally put a cross over my grave. That memorable morning was the 6th day of March, 1918. I had joined the Hat-in-the-Ring Squadron just two days before at Villeneuve. We were then some twenty miles behind the lines and were well installed on an old aerodrome that had been used previously by several French Aero Squadrons. This expedition was to be the first essay over the lines by a madein-America Squadron. Sharp upon eight o'clock I walked into the 94th Squadron hangar and called my mechanics. We were flying the French single-seater Nieuport with a rotary motor, was kept I wanted in the pink of condition at make doubly to this occasion, for all and every machine times. sure that everything Major Lufbery had Nevertheless was a reputation right on for punctu- ality. "Henry," demanded, "how is my Number 1 ?" "Best machine in the shop, sir," the mechanic replied. "She's I
  • 110. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 98 been all tuned up since you came and in last night there's not a scratch on her." a There be will her out on the I left when you field see her again," I and warm her up." the hanger and looked Campbell was already down the road for the Major. his flying clothes. in and kept an eye on the Major's door. wanted I ready on the exact minute, but not too soon. ette "Run muttered. So I lit be to a cigar- All the boys came sauntering up, trying to look as though they were not half mad my with envy over chance my to get They wished me well, they said, but they what my to do with When Major for him. Bear It came over like to know personal effects. Lufbery entered the hangar he found us ready a flying helmet over Campbell and the glasses. Major gave would off first. takes about ten seconds to step into your Teddy- slip suit, head blown I climbed into our Nieuports. The few instructions a me. to I Lieutenant Campbell, then to like a man course I listened politely to his part- felt Of dentist approaches. your head and snap on in the chair ing words, but the only thing that appealed to me when the in his dis- course was the order to stick close to him and keep formation. He did not have to repeat that order. realize how first trip enemy Lufbery ran up lines. his motor Campbell followed upon field as I I I seductively cold death beckons a pilot towards his over throttle. Never before did for a his heels moment, then took and then I opened up off. my cast a last, longing glance at the familiar flying felt my tail go up, the wheels began to skim the
  • 111. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS ground and with the wind my in What headed after Campbell. teeth I 99 pulled her up and a devil of a hurry they were in! knew I should never catch up with them. The beautiful ruins of Rheims soon spread beneath my right wing. My machine was certainly not as fast as either LufI bery's or Campbell's. my The formation. my Lufbery, continued to hang back far behind I enemy were approaching and it appeared to me, was at least lines of the only salvation, as a mile ahead of me. I my shall believe to my dying day that Major Lufbery thoughts at that moment. forgotten all a position a about me he suddenly made few hundred my "Don't worry, For just as boy, I feet I felt a virage that he had and took up from me, as much as have an eye on you." knew to say, Again and again this occurred. orm maneuvers that Major Lufbery executed with such great ease. I grew somewhat interested with my attempts to imitate his example in preserving our little flight formation, and this occu- pation of keeping within shouting distance of my companions made me forget entirely that old Mother Earth was some 15,000 feet underneath ahead. The me and bitter, these high altitudes the trenches about the numbing same distance which always prevails at was of course by this time an old and cold familiar experience to me. We thirty it had been sailing along at this dizzy height for some minutes between Rheims and the Argonne occurred to me to look below at the Woods when landscape. And such
  • 112. *yZel^£3-^&i
  • 113. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 100 a spectacle spread itself out before my did look over the side of The same at last I little office! position To my inexperienced view me when eyes trenches in this sector were quite old and had remained practically the in my three years of warfare. for there appeared to be nothing below but old battered trenches, and trench works billions of which had dug up the whole surface of the earth for four or five miles on either side of me. Not a tree, not shell holes a fence, no sign of familiar occupation of mankind, nothing but a chaos of ruin and desolation. thing was this know feeling got the best of of what Major Lufbery was a thought to But just my keep feet accustomed far too when I to the situation to give this to formation and at the same time take an below me, I began had overcome me. to feel a terrible A wind was stiff time and no ship upon the high seas ever and pitched more than above I suppose I had gained enough equilibrium of mind realization that seasickness rolled moment. for a it. place in all me Campbell was thinking and interest in the battlefields blowing of the truly appalling. Perhaps don't The awfulness No Man's my Baby Land, while I Nieuport did this was attempting 15,000 to follow Major Lufbery's evolutions and maneuvers. I didn't want sick in the air. to confess even to myself that could get I This was what would be expected from a brand new aviator on his first trip over the lines. It would be wonderfully amusing to Lufbery and the rest of the boys in the Squadron when I got back to the field — if I ever did
  • 114. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS — advise to me my teeth along a bottle of medicine next time grew cold with the thought of and prayed that I might fight it off. tried to fly. I to take I look straight ahead and to my trate how I 101 fly straight Then it. I ahead and whole mind on the task of sticking it I set determined to out, concen- no matter felt. had hardly got control of myself when I was horribly startled by an explosion which seemed only a few feet in my rear. I didn't even have time to look around, for at the same I instant the concussion caught and toss much worse than The very terror of sickness. my I my had ever situation In the midst of it plane and began was realized drove away several I all to roll possible. thoughts of more shocks tipped my my machine and repeated sounds of nearby explosions smote ears. No matter what happened, I must look around to see what awful fate was overtaking me. All that could see were four or five black puffs of some distance behind and below my tail. I knew what they were They were eighteen-pound I right enough. smoke They were "Archy"! shells of shrapnel which were being fired at me by the Germans. And the battery which were firing them was only too well known to me. We had all been told about the most accurate battery that allied aviators had met in this sector. Suippe. left this wing. And A It was situated just outside of the town of was Suippe down there just under my mile north of Suippe was the exact location of there famous shooting battery. out quite clearly. And I I looked down and picked knew they could see it me and were
  • 115. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 102 seeing me much more plainly than And was seeing them. I probably they had quite a few more of those shells on hand which they were contemplating popping up shall never forget I felt at The in who were bursting around and telling us all it at they had cost the Any as well as amusement hit. And had been I happen entirely to to joke and a and then figure that a million dollars over the Archy batteries, fool enough to to hit good luck, and not at all one of them hadn't hit me with their criminal wit than firing at who had been believe me just It was burst a hundred yards away. my own the boys I the to those already. me Boche gunners who who had been was with more count up the cost of one of those shells might happen was more indignant with were to in flying just once guns were dollars apiece scoffers' silly advice, that I home German Government about for their morning's them. again and were terribly anti-aircraft or ten five with never a me They used never did any damage. I pretended to like the Archies. out on those blase pilots, newcomers that each shell was and how enraged I vengeful desire to get felt a I order to take due scared the old pilots at home, latter close how me. at stuffing me. Never before did I, and never again will I quite so much appreciate the comfort of having a friend near at hand. I suddenly noticed Major Lufbery was alongside me. Almost gradually I began I followed his maneuvers and subconsciously each maneuver he made was a direct word of to realize that His machine seemed to speak to me, to me. encouragement feelings, to prove to me that there was no danger to soothe my so long as I followed its wise leadership.
  • 116. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS Little by my little alarm passed away. the course of the black puffs behind me. momentary disturbance of the to and almost mechanically my the gentle pressure of and smoothed me its met I And with the assurance that was any longer I Jove, I me as my own wonderful to was last A for a successful war had feared that I knew I possessed my first feeling of elation clear could down deep fly! I could recent fear and so terror. moment had the requisite characteristics I had feared no enemy, myself might be lacking. Suippe battery brought my By shells. and gratitude remained that Though pilot. I all be sick nor who had seemed boys This feeling of self-confidence that this memory to delighted me, for not until that I Nieuport long dreamed and long all right. forgot entirely I dared to hope that I I At a deep feeling of satisfaction warmed me and yet my lines like the other me! my which righted rush of happiness came over a realized that I heart that go over enemy I of the machine with lift any terror of the bursting in watch to grew accustomed was neither going I dreaded noviciate was over. Only the had passed through the ordeal! possessed in I began the air after each explosion joystick, course. I 103 to me is first hour over the perhaps the most precious For with the sudden banishment of that mortal fear that had so possessed me came a belief in my own of life. powers that knew no bounds. been familiar with motors had always appealed all my life I loved flying. I had Sports of every sort The excitement of automobile racing did not compare with what I knew must come with aeroplane fighting in France. The pleasure of shooting down anto me.
  • 117. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 104 man was no more attractive to me than the chance of shot down myself. The whole business of war was ugly other being But the thought of me. to fidence against that of own their I pitting German my and beating them at combats had fascinated me. inexperience in shooting. that could be learned easily enough. my ascertain was of war. If that ability to own with any man who my in learning to France, flight, any I I went in I knew hungered I to I knew my could hold I ever piloted an aeroplane. myself must have aided After twelve flights fly. aloft for a flight alone. tried several I What But withstand the cruelties and horrors could be conquered, This confidence experience and con- aviators boasted prowess in air did not forget my different types of me a in considerably machine After that first in solo machines with never feeling of insecurity. was floating along through enemy skies templation of these thoughts when I my dashboard. It ecstatic con- suddenly discovered that Major Lufbery was leading us homewards. clock on in was nearly I glanced at the ten o'clock. We had been out almost two hours and our fuel supply must be running low. These fast-flying fighting supply of gasoline and oil, machines cannot carry a large as every pound of weight counts against the speed and climbing powers of the aeroplane. Gradually we descended as we approached the vicinity of our aerodrome. astated This lovely section of France, as yet undev- by war, spread below the wings of our little Nieu- ports in peaceful contrast to the ugliness that lay behind us. Some snow still filled the hollows as far as the eye could reach,
  • 118. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS this section of the had raged over for a severe storm 105 country but a few days before. We down gently a to once about the circled Quickening the speed of the propellers we pause. full quickly brought the machines mud which into the and, shutting off motor, slid field taxied one by one towards the door of the hangar before every which and mechanic stood awaiting us with open-armed pilot They were eager enemy territory and hear the details of our expectancy. to flight into to see how two first beginners, like themselves, had stood the experience. Both Campbell and We indifference. and batteries their I wore satisfactory countenances of bored had had a had been most it We ammunition. income by our must have planes, none of them dared a plane was our in Hun around over the droll seeing the jaunt into his little flip little cost Kaiser a year's the As lines. gunners wasting for enemy aero- venture up against us. to vicinity. Just here Major Lufbery broke into the conversation asked us particularly what we had seen. sound of we his customary little both repeated as easily as any other aeroplanes "Just what I Not in chuckle on we didn't I occasion. this could that like we and the But hadn't seen the sky. expected. They are all the same!" was the Major's only comment. We indignantly asked him what he meant two expert war i pilots in by addressing such tones. Lr Well," said Lufbery, "one formation of under us before we passed the lines five Spads crossed and another flight of five
  • 119. ! THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 106 Spads went by about fifteen minutes later and you didn't see them, although neither one of them was more than 500 yards away. It was just as well they were not Boches "Then there were four German Albatros two miles ahead of us when we turned back and there was another enemy twoseater nearer us than that, at about 5,000 feet above the lines You ought to look about a bit when you get in enemy lines." Campbell and stood aghast, looking at each other. I saw he was thinking the same thoughts as I. The I Then Major was ragging us from a sense of duty, to take some of the conceit out of us. But it was only after weeks of experience over the front that we realized how true his statements probably were. No matter how good a flyer the scout may be and no matter how perfect his eyesight is, he must learn to see before he can distinguish objects either on the ground or in called "vision of the air" can is and no pilot ever has it Then sauntering over upon to my air. What come only from experience his first arrival at the front. machine the Major bucked me up very considerably by blandly inquiring, "How much of that shrapnel did you get, Rick?" I couldn't help laughing at his me in boys who were effort to the put a heroic picture-frame for the benefit of listening. Imagine began interestedly poking his finger the in my horror when he one shrapnel hole in another fragment had gone through the outer edge of the wing and a third had passed directly through both wings tail; not a foot from The boys my told thirty minutes body! me and I afterwards that I believe them, for a stayed pale for a good week passed before the
  • 120. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS Major suggested German to me that 107 again accompany him into the I lines. II DOWNING MY my be noticed that It will FIRST HUN preparation for combat fighting was a gradual one. As I look back upon it now, seems that I had the rare good fortune to experience almost in the air it every variety of danger that can beset the war pilot before ever fired a shot at an enemy from an aeroplane. This good fortune man it appears to me. Many a better than myself has leaped into his stride and begun accumu- lating victories from was start a brilliant instant renown. start rare, is I his very first him and But he had been for and was unused his over the first lines. successes brought living It him on the cream at the skim-milk of aviation. to the the cream gave out and the flight One day dose of skim-milk terminated his career. So despite the weeks and weeks of disappointment that tended my enormous I early fighting career, benefit that would reap I at- appreciated even then the from these experiences. can now most solemnly affirm that had I won my first vic- tory during my first I trips later over the lines never have survived a dozen combats. that came me eventually tenfold. to me brought with If I believe I would Every disappointment an enduring lesson that repaid any one of my antagonists had it been through the same school of disappointments that had so annoyed me it is probable that he, instead of me, would now
  • 121. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 108 be telling his friends back home about his series of victories over the enemy. April in France much is like April anywhere Rains else. and cloudy weather appear suddenly out of a clear sky and flying becomes out of the question or very precarious at best. On the 29th of April, 1918, we rose at six o'clock and stuck our heads out of doors as usual for For the past three or four days sky. No a hasty patrols it survey of a dismal had rained had gone out from our aerodrome. gone they would not have found any enemy none had been sighted from the lines steadily. they had If aircraft about, for along our sector. About noon the sun suddenly broke through and our hopes began to rise. I was slated for a patrol that afternoon and from three o'clock on I waited about the hangars watching the steadily clearing sky. on Captain Hall and alert until six o'clock that night at the cisely at stand aerodrome. Pre- Captain Hall received a telephone five o'clock from the French headquarters enemy were to I at Beaumont call stating that an two-seater machine had just crossed our lines and was flying south over their heads. Captain Hall and I had been walking about the field with our flying clothes on and our machines were standing side by side with their noses pointing into the wind. minute we had jumped twirling the propellers. running out until to the Major would be on the into Within the our seats and our mechanics were Just then the telephone sergeant came us and told Captain Hall to hold his was ready. field in He was two minutes. to flight accompany us and
  • 122. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS While the sergeant was delivering the message ning the northern heavens and there 109 was scan- I suddenly picked up I speck against the clouds above the Foret de la Reine, which I was convinced must be the enemy plane we were after. a tiny The Major was not yet in sight. Our motors were smoothly turning over and everything was ready. Pointing out the distant speck to to give the word to Jimmy Hall, I begged him we lest sight of our easy Major we might be too late. go before victim. we waited for the To my great joy Captain Hall acquiesced and immediately ordered the boys to pull away the blocks from our wheels. His If motor roared as he opened up his throttle and in a twinkling both our machines were running rapidly over the surface of the field. Almost side by side we arose and climbing swiftly, soared away in a straight line after our distant Boche. minutes we were above our observation balloon line which stretches along some two miles or so behind In five the front. I was on Jimmy's tion right wing and of Pont-a-Mousson pecting quarry. Try as I might turn in that direction, ro away from him and tion to the target could I I though tried in off to still my right in the direc- distinguish our unsus- could not induce the Captain I every dipped way which was so conspicuous to to my wings, darted attract his me, He atten- stupidly continued on straight north. I determined Boche me sever relations with him and take on alone, since he evidently was generous enough to the to give a clear field. Accordingly Captain Hall and within five swerved swiftly away from minutes overhauled the enemy I
  • 123. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 110 and adroitly maneuvered myself into an ideal position just under his sheltering tail. It was a large three-seater machine and a brace of guns poked their noses out to the rear over my a With head. fingers closing on my triggers dash upwards and quickly pulled back zoomed until my began sights the fusilage overhead. It even thought of looking for was the French Up I this Completely disgusted with myself, I some latest blunder, finding time I had not so certain had nationality, its circular cocard to this must be the Boche machine by the French headquarters. my Up stick. to travel along the length of painted brightly under each wing! from my Suddenly they rested on a curiously familiar looking device. been that prepared for I that I had been sighted viraged abruptly away little satisfaction in wit- nessing the startled surprise of the three Frenchmen aboard the who had not become aware of my saw me flash past them. At any rate craft, proximity until they I had stalked them successfully and might have easily But been Boches. face Jimmy him alone as it was, it downed them if they had would be a trifle difficult to Hall again and explain to him to get myself five miles perfectly harmless ally three-seater. why away under I I the had tail left of a looked about to discover Jimmy's whereabouts. There he was cavorting about amidst a thick barrage of black shell-bursts across the German lines. him, for he for me to discover was having half-way to Hun territory. my mistake and Mihiel and a mile or two inside was waiting He was St. Evidently he then overtake a delightful time with the Archy gun-
  • 124. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS 111 and spins immediately over contempt for them, while he ners, doing loops, barrels, side-slips heads their waited show them to came out of the Archy and swinging up alongside my Finally he comrade. for his his area with a long graceful dive he wiggled his wings as though he were laughing at machine me and then suddenly he set a course back towards Pont-a- Mousson. Whether in that region could not I him knowing that there a me in Hun the new their tion was It moment Pfalz. But when he began sun still change to followed close behind good reason for this maneuver. every direction. between I saw for it, my knew he I it With the his side. I knew had the familiar confidence couldn't its in make it was lines of James Norman And a mistake. and the oncoming fighting plane. glare I could. The Hun was ing us, unconscious of his danger, for the was craft climbing into the sun, carefully keeping his posi- as closely to Hall as by I about our altitude. at Moreover, Hall was such that he was German There was a scout coming towards us from north of Pont-a-Mousson. a along that a into the was looked earnestly about Yes! all tell. and curve up his direction I knew or not he first We downward had dive of at least a enemy and we were two to when plunged feet the sun. a famous little was I advantage over one numerically. our faster climbing Nieuports had a droll ding their fabric full in Jimmy's machine is clung steadily approach- we were thousand outdive our machines, for the Pfalz I He might diver, while habit of shed- too furiously through the The Boche hadn't a chance to outfly us. would be in a dive towards his own lines. air. His only salvation
  • 125. 112 THE BIG AVIATION BOOK These thoughts passed through my mind in a flash and I instantly determined upon my tactics. While Hall went in for his attack I would keep my altitude and get a position the other side of the Pfalz, to cut off his retreat No sooner had altered I my line of flight than the saw me leave the sun's rays. Hall was already half-way him when he stuck up his nose and began furiously pilot to German ing to the upper ceiling. climb- him pass me and found myself I let on the other side just as Hall began Boche had seen Hall's Nieuport at Surprised by discovering this of him, the Pfalz immediately firing. down we sped with on somewhere in doubt if the all. new antagonist, Hall, ahead abandoned and banking around had expected him to I all idea of a battle to the right started for home, just as do. his tail In a trice I was on throttles both full open. my I Down Hall was coming The Boche had no heart for He was running like a scared rabbit, rear. evolutions or maneuvers. had run from Campbell. I was gaining upon him every instant and had my sights trained dead upon his seat as I before I fired my shot. first At 150 yards I pressed cut a streak of living ing the nose of itself my fire into tracer bullets the rear of the Pfalz tail. Rais- my it settled into the pilot's seat. the Pfalz course indicated that I The aeroplane slightly the fiery streak lifted like the stream of water pouring from a garden hose. Gradually by a triggers. directing hand. pulled up my At 2000 its The swerving of rudder no longer was held feet above the enemy's lines headlong dive and watched the enemy machine 1
  • 126. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS continuing on course. its Curving circled a little to the south slightly to the left the Pfalz and the next minute crashed onto the ground just at the edge of the own lines. I Hall was pleased as I my had brought down had not been subjected woods a mile inside their enemy aeroplane and first to a single shot! He was immediately beside me. evidently And Archy was back on the then We job. as machine success, for he danced his was over our about in incredible maneuvers. friend 113 realized that old I were not two miles away from the German anti-aircraft batteries and they put a I was quite furious bombardment of shrapnel all about us. ready to call it a day and go home, but Captain Hall deliber- ately returned to the barrage heels. Machine-guns and us and I I came rifle and entered with me at his from the trenches greeted fire do not mind admitting that in it I got out quickly the way without any unnecessary delay, but Hall continued do stunts over their heads for ten minutes, surpassing to the acrobatics that the enraged over their all his spirits at their available Swooping down home. for Boches had ever seen even own peaceful aerodromes. Jimmy exhausted exhausted all about the time the Huns had ammunition and we started to our field side by side, blithely we made and taxied our victorious machines up to the Then jumping out we ran to each other; extending a quick landing hangars. glad hands then we for our first exchange of congratulations. And noticed that the squadron pilots and mechanics were streaming across the aerodrome towards us from They had heard the news while we were still all directions. dodging shrapnel
  • 127. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 114 and were hastening out to welcome our had telephoned in a confirmation of my had had time to reach home. Not a The French return. victory first before single bullet 'hole I had punctured any part of my machine. There is a peculiar gratification in receiving congratulations from one's squadron for a victory in the air. It is worth more to a pilot than the applause of the whole outside world. It means that one has won the confidence of men who share the misgivings, the aspirations, plane fighting. and dangers of aerowith each victory comes a renewal and And re-cementing of the trials that bind together these brothers-in-arms. ties No closer fraternity exists in the world than that of the airfighters in this great war. And I have yet to find one single individual who has attained conspicuous success in down enemy aeroplanes bringing who can be said to be spoiled either by his successes or by the generous congratulations of his com- he were capable of being spoiled he would not have had the character to have won continuous victories, for the rades. smallest If amount of vanity distrust rather is fatal in aeroplane fighting. many the quality to which is Self- owes a pilot his protracted existence. It the was with warm revered for a very humble gratitude then congratulations his of Lufbery, seventeen victories — of whom that I I received had always Doug Campbell and Alan Winslow who had brought down the first machines that were credited to the American Squadrons, and of many others of 94 Squadron areas .than had who had I. I seen far more service was glad in the battle to be at last included in the
  • 128. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS proud were These pals of mine of victors of this squadron. roll 94 lead to see old of successes over the The following day Commanding all American Squadrons Government number in the Huns. I was notified that General Gerard, the French Army, had offered Officer of the Sixth Captain Hall and myself to decorate 115 for our victory of the in the name day before. of the French We were then operating in conjunction with this branch of the French The Croix de Guerre with palm was us, to be accorded each of provided such an order met the approval of our But ment. not accept at that time officers in the decorations from a American foreign Army. own govern- Army Government, could so the ceremony of presentation was denied us. Both Captain Hall and myself had been included, as such was the French rule where two The tory, I pilots participated in a victory. truth was was that in the tense excitement of this first vic- quite blind to the fact that bullets at another aviator; is no doubt in and my own mind if I was shooting deadly had been by myself, there but that I I should have made a blunder again in some particular which would have reversed the situation. Captain Hall's presence, if not his actual bullets, had won the victory and had given me that wonderful feeling of self-confidence which made it possible for me subsequently to return to battle without him and handle similar situations successfully. Ill AMERICAN ACE OF ACES On September 15th the weather was ideal for flying I left
  • 129. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 116 the aerodrome at 8:30 in the morning on a voluntary patrol, taking the nearest air route to the lines. I had reached an altitude of 16,000 feet reached the trenches. The no idea as to I had was unusually good. I every direction. I was flying visibility could see for miles and miles alone, with by the time in whether other planes of our own were cruising about this sector or not. a position over No enemy Fokkers six But barely had I reached Man's Land when I noticed a formation of at my about altitude coming towards me from the direction of Conflans. turned and began the usual tactics of climbing into the I sun. I noticed the Fokkers alter their direction and move eastward towards ing the Moselle. I still climb- did not see how they could help seeing me, as scarcely half a mile separated us. However, they did not attack nor did they indicate that they suspected my presence beyond continuing steadily their climb Three complete for elevation. of the lines. Just at below the man lines. I did the circles same on my they made on their side side. moment I discovered four Spad machines far enemy planes and some three miles inside the Gerthis I decided at once they must belong Second Fighting Group, at that time to the American occupying the aerodrome They appeared to be engaged in bombing the roads and strafing enemy infantry from a low altitude. The Spads of the Second Pursuit Group had but recently been equipped with bomb racks for carrying small bombs. The leader of the Fokker Formation saw the Spads at about the same moment I did. I saw him dip his wings and stick at Souilly.
  • 130. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS down Immediately the six Fokkers began a head- his nose. down long pique directly the formation Inside the taking the 5,000 feet followed I handed. At dead my into fired I home from fire mad its his own events I one of By to time the open was rapidly I fire over- we had reached upon the rear man. Either they had take them to was given ample time all on single- to get my man sights before firing. I saw fuel my tracer bullets go straight There came the pilot's seat. his like anxiety to get at their prey or else had in their all found I them looked around. of one long burst. into feet would not attempt I Almost Spads. suit. enemy machines. I was in a position me considered at the thousand first Not once had any forgotten 117 a sudden burst of tank and the Fokker continued onwards flight— now a fiery furnace. His He in crashed a mile inside companions did not stay to offer battle. still held the upper hand and even got in a few bursts at the next nearest machine before he threw himself into a vrille and lines. five I escaped me. The sight of one of their members falling in flames evidently quite discouraged them. Abandoning all their designs on the unsuspecting Spads below they dived away for Germany and left me the field. I up returned to my to the lines to victories that I secured a car and drove immediately our Balloon Section. I wanted to get my field, confirmed— both one of today and the Fokker had brought down yesterday no matter how many down this of an enemy pilots plane, in may have official the same sector. For witnessed the bringing confirmation of their testi-
  • 131. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 118 mony must be obtained from outside witnesses on the ground. Often these are quite impossible victory not credited to the is Upon In such a case the to get. pilot. who the tragic death of Major Lufbery, at that time was the leading American Ace, with 18 victories, the title of American Ace of Aces fell to Lieutenant Paul Frank Baer of Fort Wayne, Ind., a member of the Lafayette Escadrille 103. Baer then had 9 Baer a particularly is enough he a real is and had never been wounded. modest and lovable boy, and curiously one of the few fighting repugnance When victories Lufbery I office and talked seriously with him regarding the opportunity before him He Two far. days later Baer was shot down and Spad 3, on June held the American 1918. wounded New Bedford, Mass., French Escadrille of the Cigognes, of the crack 12, slightly lines! Thereafter, Lieutenant Frank Bayliss of member as America's lead- advised Baer to be cautious and he would go behind the German a felt task of shooting liam Thaw, called him into the ing Ace. have met who down enemy aviators. Baer's Commanding Officer, Major Wil- in his fell, pilots title until he was killed in action Bayliss had 13 victories to his credit. Then David Putnam, another Massachusetts boy, took the Putnam, as I lead with 12 victories over enemy aeroplanes. have said, was, like Lufbery, shot down in flames but a day or two before ' my last victory. Lieutenant Tobin of San Antonio, Texas, and a the Third Pursuit Group (of which Major William the Commanding Officer) , now had six official member of Thaw was victories. He led
  • 132. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS the confirmed. But upon my for I list. 119 had part five victories receiving confirmation for the two Fokkers yesterday and to-day, Tobin by one. So patience that last two I it above battles find my ground witnesses of St. Mihiel. this natural desire to Mingled with had vanquished would have my seven and would lead was with some little interest and im- set off to try to I I become the leading fight- Ace of America was a haunting superstition that did not ing my mind until the very end of the war. It was that leave Ace of Aces— brought with it the very possession of this title — unavoidable the holders. I doom wanted In later days I it and yet began it title-holder Eating St. my But never was it me was mine! was almost into the air. Per- my fight- caution and sharpened I previous able to forget that the life of a short. is my feared to learn that I carried with I served to redouble ing senses. its all to feel that this superstition the heaviest burden that haps had overtaken that sandwiches Mihiel and in the car that made my way on mont and then north I I knew been a balloon up near there both days and their observers must have seen soon ran through the main road east to Apre- Thiaucourt. to day my that there felt had certain that two combats overhead. Unfortunately the road from Apremont to Thiaucourt was closed, owing to the great which criss-crossed forest which lies it. south of Vigneulles. of shellholes and trenches After being lost for two hours in the between finally able to extricate number St. Mihiel and Vigneulles, myself and found I I I had emerged was just was about one mile south of our
  • 133. ! THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 120 And trenches. standing there with map where to go next to find our balloons, I A sudden flare of flames struck Running around the balloons between me trees my in hand wondering got an unexpected sight off to the right caught a view of one of our and Thiaucourt completely immersed I in names! Half-way down was a graceful neath which swung the observer as he little parachute settled slowly to be- Mother Earth And as I gazed saw I a second balloon two or three miles further east towards Pont-a-Mousson perform the euver. Another of our observers was making the A jump! same mansame perilous sly Heinie had slipped across our lines and had made a successful attack upon the two balloons and had made a clean getaway. I saw him climbing up away from the furious gale of anti-aircraft fire which our gunners were speeding after him. I am afraid entirely with the airman as of Archy exactly all around how he was his my sympathies were almost watched the murderous bursting machine. At any rate I realized I feeling, with his mixture of satisfaction over the success of his undertaking and of panic over the deadly mess of shrapnel about him. In half an hour I them already preparing at my first Fokker of arrived at the balloon site and to go aloft with a second balloon. question they smiled and told this morning's combat crash signed the necessary papers to this the required confirmation found for my me they had seen in flames. effect, And They my readily thus constituting last victory. But for the
  • 134. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS victory of yesterday that I claimed they told 121 me none of the who had been there on duty at that time. must go to the 3rd Balloon Company just north of Pont-aI Mousson and there I would find the men I wanted to see. watching the new balloon get safely launched with a After officers were present fresh observer in the basket, a process ten or fifteen minutes, back to under my his I retraced The observer motor. parachute had in the company headquarters. his my steps and made my way whom I had seen descending meantime made He was thusiastic over the splendid landing Incidentally I which consumed some his return to unhurt and quite en- he had made in the trees. learned that but two or three such forced descents by parachute from a flaming balloon are permitted any one These jumps are not always so simple and freobserver. quently very serious parachute jump. if not fatal injuries are received in the Seldom does one a balloon basket after his third in his own officer care to risk jump. And this himself fear for safety limits very naturally his service and bravery in that trying business. profession is held, I The American record believe, in this perilous by Lieutenant Phelps of New who made five successive jumps from a flaming balloon. On my way to the 3rd Balloon Company I stopped to en- York, whom I met As soon as I stated my busijust north of Pont-a-Mousson. ness, they unanimously exclaimed that they had all seen my flight above them yesterday and had seen my victim crash quire the road from a group of infantry officers near them. place and After getting them to describe the exact time and some of the incidents of the fight I found that it
  • 135. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 122 was indeed my combat they had witnessed. This was a piece of real luck for me. It ended my researches on the spot. As they were kindly signing their confirmation I was thinking to myself, "Eddie! You are the American Ace of Aces!" And so was I for the minute. Returning home, lost I Heed Chambers came up no time to in putting in me and hit me a my reports. thump on the back. "Well, Rick!" .he said, "Very fine for the "how I am feel?" it moment, Reed," any other fellow can have the so far as does title I replied seriously, "but any time he wants concerned." meant what I was saying. A fortnight Frank Luke began his marvelous balloon strafing he I it, really score in a single jump. Luke, as have later when passed my was on the same aerodrome with me, being a member of 27 Squadron. His rapid success even brought 27 Squadron ahead of 95 Squadron for a few days. The following day from our own Luke left machine. German I said, witnessed a typical expedition of Luke's aerodrome. Just about dusk on September 16th I the Major's headquarters and walked over to his As he came out of the door he pointed out the two observation balloons to the east of our field, of which could be plainly seen with the naked eye. were suspended in the both They sky about two miles back of the Boche and were perhaps four miles apart. "Keep your eyes on these two balloons," said Frank lines passed us. "You will see that first one there go up in exactly at 7:15 and the other will do likewise at 7:19." as he flames
  • 136. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS We we had little idea he really get either of them, but would gathered together out all and kept our eyes glued in to 123 the open as the time grew near the distant specks in the sky. Suddenly Major Hartney exclaimed, "There goes the first one!" A tremendous flare of flame lighted up the It was true! We all glanced at our watches. It was exactly on horizon. the dot! intensity of our gaze The Hun may balloon distinguish the be imagined. balloon we it had grown too dusk It we but itself, point in the horizon where as towards the location of the second well Not hung. a knew the exact word was spoken alternately glanced at the second-hands of our watching group yelled simultaneously. up the point at watches Almost upon the second our at the eastern skyline. and then to which we were gazing. A small blaze It lit Almost instantaneously another gigantic burst of flames announced second balloon had been destroyed! first was a us that the to most spectacular exhibition. We stood by on the aerodrome in front of Luke's hangar all until fifteen hum red minutes later we heard through the darkness the of his returning motor. His mechanics were shooting Very tion of he shut lights with their pistols to indicate to our field. off his of our group. With one short motor and made circle above the aerodrome Laughing and hugely pleased with heartiest congratulations. loca- a perfect landing just in front Luke jumped out and came running over the field him the up Within Frank Luke had destroyed to us to receive our a half hour's a his success, absence from hundred thousand dollars'
  • 137. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 124 worth of enemy property! He had returned absolutely on- scratched, A most extraordinary incident had happened Luke had left the ground. Lieutenant my Jeffers of had been out on patrol with the and did not return with them. anxious about him when from the lines I towards our down with engine field, the pilot, the valley to Jeff he Squadron was becoming somewhat saw a homing aeroplane coming I field. It was soon revealed to land course appeared to be very peculiar. steeply before others during the afternoon Spad and was evidently intending its just cut off. I at our watched as a but field, gliding it Instead of making for the whoever he was, seemed bent upon investigating the north of us before coming in. If this was was taking a foolish chance, since he had already been out longer than the usual fuel supply could last him. Straight down at the north hillside the Spad continued its way. I ran out to see what Jeff was trying to do. I had a premonition that everything was not right with him. Just as his machine reached the skyline I saw him make a sudden effort to redress the plane. It was too late. He slid on his right wing, causing his nose to turn back towards the field and then he cnstad in the fringe of bushes off a little — below the edge of the my Imagine hill. when hurried over to him. I met him walking towards me, no bones broken, but wearing a most sheepish expression on his face. I surprise asked him what I in the world was the matter. "Well," he replied, "I might as well admit the truth! went to sleep coming home, and didn't wake up until I I was
  • 138. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS about ten feet above the ground. my on little engine or even flatten out! Jeffers had tale set his course for switch to finished the home was nevertheless at a it had drifted smoothly along. lulled him upon it Like the true old coach-horse kept the stable door in sight and Jeff's if true. high elevation over splendid equilibrium of the Spad had kept an even keel without control. was, it Subconsciously his hand controlled the joystick or else the ever, I and monotonous luxury of motion had soft air to sleep. it. I'm afraid seemed, the lines and cutting off his engine it have time 'bus!" Extraordinary as this The didn't I 125 awakening might have been in made directly for another world, how- he had not miraculously opened his eyes the very in nick of time! The next that made day, us September 18th, our group suffered feel much vindictiveness as well as a loss sorrow. Lieutenant Heinrichs and Lieutenant John Mitchell, both of 95 Squadron, were out together on patrol when they encountered six Fokker machines. They immediately began an attack. Mitchell fired one burst from each gun and then found them both hopelessly jammed. He signaled to Heinrichs that he was out of the battle and started for home. But at the same moment Heinrichs suddenly put it received a bullet through his engine out of action. He was planes and some miles back of the through the enemy line and began surrounded by enemy German his which lines. slow descent. He broke Although was evident he could not possibly reach our lines, the furious Huns continued swooping upon him, firing again and again as he coasted down. it
  • 139. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 126 Ten different bullets struck his body in five different attacks. He was perfectly defenseless against any of them. not lose consciousness, although one bullet shattered He his did jaw- bone and bespattered his goggles so that he could not see through the blood. Just before he reached the ground he managed to push up his goggles with his unwounded arm. The was hanging limp and worthless by his side. He saw he was fairly into a piece of woodland and some distance within the German lines. He swung away and landed other between the turning his machine over as he crashed, but escaping further injury himself. Within an hour or two trees, he was picked up and taken to a hospital After the signing of the Armistice at the Toul Hospital. He was a mere in Metz. we saw Heinrichs again shell of himself. Scarcely recognizable even by his old comrades, a glance at his first shrunken form indicated that he had been horribly neglected by his captors. His story quickly confirmed this suspicion. For the several weeks that he had lain in the Metz hospital he told us that the Germans had not reset either his jaw or his broken arm. whatsoever. was In a had received no medical In fact he The food given him was bad and marvel that he had survived all fairness to the Hun I attention infrequent. this frightful suffering! think it is his due to say that such an experience as Heinrichs suffered rarely came attention. In the large hospital in care for their own wounded. people. to my which he was confined there were but six nurses and two doctors. several scores of It They had to care Their natural inclination was But how any people for to calling them-
  • 140. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS 127 Heinrichs' suffering to go selves human could have permitted understanding. during all those weeks passes all uncared for occasionally came to our ears served Stories of this kind which against any mercy towards the enemy pilots steel our hearts to in our And vicinity. way thus does chivalry give before the horrors of war —even IV LAST VICTORY OF THE GREAT WAR Returning from Paris on November 5th I found it still rainAlmost no flying had been possible along this sector since ing. my departure. In fact no patrol left our field until November same day on which we caught by wireless the informathat the Boche delegates had crossed the lines between 8th, the tion Haudry and Cheme on the La Chapelle road Peace then was actually in sight. tice. For weeks there had been of the war was the lines near. To their withdrawals of the Germans Huns had armis- a feeling in the air that the the aviators and who had with to sign the own to who had been end flying over eyes seen the continuous the rear there was no doubt lost their immoderate love for fighting and were sneaking homewards as fast as their legs would carry but that the them. duce Such survive that the should have operated to pro- among men who were desirous the end of the war," that is, men who preferred rather than run the risks of combat fighting now a desire to live of "seeing to a certainty of victory war was and let live fairly over.
  • 141. 128 THE BIG AVIATION BOOK it Squadr Squadron that at They I 7' '^ my found tuned pilots . my °f . Ieadersh * of most infatuated with on ^ Qut «* fighting perm ss fog and rain showed for single glance at the % 94th the foolishness of such a request. Not content with the collapse of the e my orc the Pile s wanted to humiliate them further with flights deep w. h.n their country where they might strafe aeroplane angars ^retreating troops they feared, or On it for the last time. would be too the 9th day of It must be done at o late. November Lieutenant Dewitt and Captain me after lunch and begged me to go to Fauntleroy came to he door of my hut and look at the weather with them. I laughed at them but did as they requested. It was dark and w.ndy outside, heavy low clouds driving across the sky, though for the moment no rain was falling. I took a good look around he heavens and came back to my room, the two officers following me. Here they cornered me ten minutes, urging and attack one my last permission to and talked volubly for let them go over the lines balloon which they had heard was still swinging back of the Meuse. They overcame every objection of mine wrth such earnestness that finally against my best ment judg- I acquiesced and permitted them to go. Major Kirby who had just joined At this moment 94 Squadron for a little experience in air fighting before taking command of a group of Squadrons that was being formed, had never flown over the and who as yet stepped into the room and quested permission to join Dewitt and Fauntleroy in their pedition. Lieutenant new lines Cook would go along with re- ex- him, he said,
  • 142. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS 129 would hunt in pairs. If they didn't take this opporand they war might end overnight and he would never have tunity the had a whack an enemy plane. at Full of misgivings at my own weakness walked out I to the and watched the four pilots get away. I noted the time field on my watch, noted that a heavy wind was blowing them away and would increase their difficulties in returning, blamed myself exceedingly -that my against I had permitted them influence to me The next two hours were miserable judgment. ones for me. The weather grew When grew stronger. I ordered at the of the fuel all steadily worse, darkness fell, rain fell and the wind shortly after four o'clock, the lights turned on the field and taking mouth of our hangar homecoming Spads. I It my seat anxiously waited for a glimpse was nearing the limit of their supply and another ten minutes must either bring some word from them or pilots had should I know that by my orders four sacrificed themselves needlessly after hostilities practically ceased. I believe that had hour was the worst one I have ever endured. Night fell and no aeroplanes appeared. The searchlights continued to throw their long fingers into the clouds, pointing the way home the storm. to any wandering scouts who might be Foolish as it was to longer expect them not order the lights extinguished and they shone on all lost in I could through The next day was Sunday and another Decorations Ceremony was scheduled to take place at our field at eleven o'clock. A number of pilots from other aerodromes were comthe night.
  • 143. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 130 ing over to receive the Distinguished Service Cross from the hands of General Liggett for bravery and heroic exploits over enemy's were be to Several of our lines. among own Group, including myself the recipients. The band played, generals addressed us and all the men stood at attention in front of our line of fighting planes while the dignified ceremony was performed. Two more palms were presented to me to be attached to Orders were read aloud praising How aeroplanes. bitter No had been forced captured— it or me The Army shooting down enemy decoration. for such compliments were morning nobody ever suspected. any one of my four pilots that day before. my Not I a me to word had come from had sent over the lines the explanation but one was possible. to descend little enemy in that territory mattered so far as — my All four crashed, killed culpability was concerned. In fact a had message had come collided in air with a late that afternoon. A in the night before that a French two-seater near Beaumont hurried investigation by telephone dis- closed the fact that no other Spads were missing but our thus my filling me Spad own with woeful conjectures as to which one of four pilots had thus been killed in our own lines. At the conclusion of the presentation of decorations I walked back to the hangar and put on my coat, for it was a freezing day and we had been forced out movement in dress tunic to stand for half an and breeches. The hour with- field was so thick with fog that the photographers present could scarcely get light enough to snap the group of officers standing in line.
  • 144. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS 131 have possibly be out to-day or I should No aeroplanes could daybreak to ascertain which of flown over to Beaumont at my pilots had been killed there. with 95 Squadron that noon and was invited to mess I fear I did not my ceived for As soon as I make The compliments merry guest. a newly received decorations decently could get away walked back across the aerodrome. I And fell I on deaf made my I re- ears. adieus and about half-way across I saw an aeroplane standing in the center of the field. looked at it idly, wondering what idiot had tried to get away I in Suddenly such a fog. I stopped dead in my The tracks. — Spad had a Hat-in-the-Ring painted on its fusilage and a 4t*OJ "3" was painted just beyond it. Number "3 large number was Fauntleroy's machine! I fairly manded tain ran the rest of the of the mechanics Fauntleroy. I way to my hangar where day. And was informed that he had just told five minutes later at plane across the he had landed to us It at landed last night would be back during the course of the to cap this joyful had just telephoned de- what news they had heard about Cap- and had reported that Lieutenant Dewitt had crashed inside our lines but I in Meuse climax to a day's misery Group Headquarters that he this that I was Major Kirby had shot down an enemy aero- morning at ten o'clock, after which an aerodrome near the front and would return when the fog lifted! was a wild afternoon we had of this wonderful news. at 94 mess upon receipt Cookie too was later heard from, he having experienced a more serious catastrophe the previous
  • 145. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 132 He had attacked an observation balloon near The Hun defenses shot off one blade of his afternoon. mont and he had barely made he was compelled to land propeller his way back across the lines in the shell-holes He area Beau- when which covered this escaped on foot to the nearest American trench and late Sunday afternoon reached our mess. Major Kirby's victory was quickly confirmed, disclosing the wonderful fact that this first of his was in truth the last aeroplane shot War! tory later inquiries remarkable victory down Great in the Our old 94 Squadron had won the first American vic... over enemy aeroplanes when Alan Winslow and Douglas Campbell had dropped two biplane machines on the Toul aerodrome. 94 Squadron had been first to fly over the lines and had completed more hours flying at the front than any other American organization. It had won more victories than any other—and now, for the last word, it had the credit of bringing down the last enemy aeroplane of the war! One can imagine the celebration with which 94 Squadron would nalize the end of the war! What could Paris or sig- any other community And in the whole world the celebration :> offer in comparison? came even before we had lost the zest of our present gratitude and emotion. The in story of Major Kirby's sensational victory can be told He had become a paragraph. had landed on the first field he saw. lost the night before and Not realizing the import- ance of telephoning us of his safety, he took morning to come home. surrounded our district. This time he got When off early lost in the fog next which he again emerged into clear
  • 146. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS 133 he found he was over Etain, a small town just north of air Verdun. And Spad was there flying almost alongside of his another aeroplane which a second glance informed him was an enemy Fokker! Both pilots were so surprised for a The Fokker that they simply gazed at each other. covered his senses first and began tail, within fifty feet of the ground firing all same With fate. his usual had scared the pilot to the Air on the American While his down to The Fokker followed him the way. crashed head on, and Kirby zoomed up just the time to avoid in modesty Major Kirby death. pilot re- towards earth. Major a dive Kirby immediately piqued on his moment insisted he Thus ended the War in front. listening to these details that evening after mess, our bubbling over with excitement and happiness, the tele- spirits phone sounded and I room was to silence. It stepped over and took a message to bring over across to the 95 Mess new of the speaker, era. I demanded to it up, waving the my husky braves celebrate the beginning of a was Jack (it Mitchell, Captain of the 95th) what he was talking about. "Peace has been declared! "Cest le finis de Without reply dropped the phone and turned around and faced the pilots of 94 Squadron. every eye was upon a breath. when It me but no one Not a made a was one of those peculiar instinct tells every In the midst of this of our fighting!" he shouted. Guerre" la I No more sound was heard, movement or drew psychological moments one that something big uncanny silence a sudden Archy battery outside was heard. And is impending. BOOM-BOOM then pandemo-
  • 147. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 134 nium broke other loose. in their Shouting like mad, tumbling over one an- excitement the daring pilots of the Hat-in-the-Ring Squadron sensing the truth darted into trunks and kitbags, drew out revolvers, German Lugers, that some of them had found or bought as souvenirs from French poilus, Very pistols and shooting tools of all descriptions and burst out of doors. There the sky over our old aerodrome and indeed in every compass was aglow and shivering with bursts Searchlights were madly cavorting across the heavens, direction of the of fire. paling to dimness the thousands of colored lights that shot up from every conceivable direction. Shrill yells pierced the darkness around us, punctuated with the of a score of machine-guns which the clamor. fierce rat-tat-tat-tat-tat now added Roars of laughter and hysterical whoopings came to us from the men's quarters beside the hangars. were fired in salvos, filled the weapon became until too hot to hold. I encountered a group of pilots rolling out tanks of gasoline. mud and my Instead of attempting the impossible task of trying to stop them A Pistol shots and emptied again and again At the corner of our hangar through the their noise to I helped them get struck the match myself and lighted it it. dancing ring of crazy lunatics joined hands and circled around the blazing pyre, similar howling and revolving circuses surrounding several other burning tanks of good United States gasoline that would never fighting aeroplanes over The stars were shining brightly overhead and But at times even the stars were day's mist was gone. enemy's the more carry lines. hidden by the thousands of rockets that darted up over our
  • 148. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS 135 with their soft 'plonks, releasing varicolored heads and exploded through this epochal night until they lights which floated softly withered away and streams of Very Star shells, parachute died. and way through continued to light our lights flares, aerodrome seemingly thronged with madmen. Everybody an drunk with the outgushing of their long pent-up was laughing— I heard one whirling emotions. "I've lived through the war!" Dervish of a pilot shouting to himself as he pirouetted alone Regardless of who heard the the center of a mud hole. in now inmost secret of his soul, that the one side to repeat retired off to this war was over, fact over he had and over to make himself sure of its truth. one an Ace of 27 Squadron, grasped arm and shouted almost incredulously, himself until he might Another this pilot, me securely by the "We won't be shot at any more!" Without waiting for a reply he hastened on to another friend and repeated this important information as though he were doubtful of a complete bit of understanding on this it will be — Meuse Arch that danger? in warn the can one enjoy What else boundary line as these held wards recalled me that new world life danger. is without this highly spiced sauce of there left to living entranced for the is now gone? that the zest Thoughts such moment and were after- how tightly strung were the nerves twenty who had for continuous months been to illustrate of these boys, of How was marked by pilot of his entrance into and excitement of fighting aeroplanes living sort of a future to fly over the dead line of the silent significant shells to How What be without the excitement of danger in it? will this queer trivial point. on the very peaks of mental excitement.
  • 149. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 136 In the mess hall of Mitchell's Squadron we found gathered personnel of the Group. Orderlies were run- the entire officer ning back and forth with cups brimming with a hastily concocted punch, with which to drink to the success and personal appearance of every pilot in aviation. Songs were bellowed forth accompanied by crashing sounds from the Boche piano the proudest of 95's souvenirs, selected from an officer's mess of an abandoned German camp. Chairs and benches were pushed back to the walls and soon the whole roomful was dancing, struggling and whooping for joy, to the imminent of the rather temporary walls and floor. Some unfortunate pilot fell and in a trice everybody in the room was forming a pyramid on top of him. The appearance of the C. O. peril of the Group brought the living mass to its feet in a score of rousing cheers to the best C. O. in France. was hoisted upon Major Hartney the piano, while a hundred voices shouted "SPEECH— SPEECH!" No sooner did he open his lips than a whirlwind of sound from outside made him pause and reduced the room to quiet. But only for an instant. "It's the Jazz Band from old 147!" yelled the pilots and tumultuous waterfall they poured en masse through a doorway that was only wide enough for one at a time. like a Whooping, shrieking and singing, the victors of some 400odd combats with enemy airmen encircled the musicians from the enlisted men of 147 Squadron. The clinging clay mud of France lay ankle deep around them. Within a minute the dancing throng had with their hopping and skipping plowed it into an almost bottomless bog. Some one went down, drag-
  • 150. FIGHTING THE FLYING CIRCUS ging down with him the portly bass foundation human forms in the spotless 137 Upon drummer. his uniforms of the Ameri- Air Service piled themselves until the entire Group lay can It was prostrate in one huge pyramid of joyous aviators. later bitterly disputed as to very bottom of this historic who was and who was not at the monument erected that night under the starry skies of France to celebrate the extraordinary fact that we had lived through the war and were not to be shot at to-morrow. It It was the was to us, "finis de la Guerre!" It was the finis d'aviation. perhaps unconsciously, the end of that intimate relationship that since the beginning of the war had cemented together brothers-in-arms into a closer fraternity than to any other friendship that in the whole world. pyramid of entwined comrades mass boys from every State it in be formed and bound together — known again will interlacing together in one our Union in When is —when again will mutual devotion?
  • 151. THE GAUNTLET OF FIRE I F an airman ditions, earth, war could fly always under favourable conand was not obliged often to descend quite near the in he would have But when he ascends on sion to air He fulfil. from the anti-aircraft guns. active service he has a definite mis- must survey some clear or misty; is to fear little whether the position, or he must carry his bombs above a and then descend low enough, before he drops give them the best possible chance of hitting their certain point them, to target. Thus in one flight, the observation he has to very little taking is risk from zone of heavy he fire, the weather make and to drop, say, may have to trust to luck him from annihilation. The danger that threatens a is favourable, and proves simple, he pilot on a railway dive and may run on another occasion, hostile gunfire; while bombs with him well defended, if station that deliberately his own when he is into skill to a save compelled to descend near the earth, and pass within close range of a position where there are many that anti-aircraft guns, has been demonstrated times during the war; and, of unofficial stories available, which follows is one of the most striking. From Heroes of the Flying 138 Corps
  • 152. THE GAUNTLET OF FIRE During March 1915, with much as a seaplane air, Germans had scale, on the extensive established along the Bel- In one of these raids a British naval pilot, flying gian coast. and armed with bombs, was instructed and release a certain position at our Naval as possible in their submarine warfare, against the bases the Germans the idea of harassing the Air Service organised attacks by He 139 started accordingly his missiles to the best advantage. and arrived above an altitude of about 8,000 for anything like effective above to fly feet. his objective, being This height was too great bomb-dropping; so he marked the point he wished to attack, and brought his machine down in intention, The enemy had seen him and guessed his and were ready to give him a hot reception. Several thousand feet a swift, steep dive. he descended, shells bursting all round him; then one of them, exploding quite near his machine, jerked downward, owing its bow to the air disturbance of the explosion, until he was diving almost vertically towards the ground; while some of the shrapnel bullets, besides puncturing his wings, and damaged his engine, putting two of its struck cylinders out of action. But the aviator was undeterred; he had no intention of abandoning his task. with shells still and began to Regaining control of his machine, and bursting near him, he continued his descent drop his bombs. perilously near him. Still shell came This time one of the bullets scratched his cheek; while others, passing cut several wires Again a well-placed between his sustaining planes, and weakened dangerously one of the wings. he remained within fire until he had dropped the last of
  • 153. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 140 his bombs; ward in then, turning his crippled machine, he steered sea- an endeavour motor, damaged as it to return to his starting-point. had been, failed to give to maintain his craft in flight; while ened any moment at But his him enough power to collapse. one of his planes threat- The only thing for him to do was to plane down towards the sea and alight on it, his craft resting on its floats. This he did; and immediately the machine was floating on the water he moved back from his driving-seat to the engine, endeavouring to repair to enable him to resume his and the end of his adventure the sea-coast until was rescued only was But in he this failed; that his craft drifted down arrived in neutral waters, where the pilot it to flight. sufficiently it be interned. II During the worst of the winter weather, when our air scouts were obliged if they wanted to see the movements of the — enemy — low through zones of gunfire, there were some extraordinary escapes from death. One to fly British military pilot, accompanied by an observer, on a special reconnaissance on a misty day, had risk passing low near some of the enemy's batteries. A setting out to deadly fire was —according —concentrated to the unofficial story cerning this incident upon shot hit an interplane strut and smashed holes through the wings; and then, motor ceased to plane towards his revolve. own his it; told con- machine. One many more tore damaged by a shot, the The airman turned and began lines. to These he reached, though only
  • 154. THE GAUNTLET OF FIRE And limit. then, 141 when he was by prolonging his glide to machine feet or so above the ground, his only a hundred beyond his control and dived helplessly to passed suddenly its earth. The to craft was badly smashed by the impact, and those who saw the killed; but the pilot been that both fall seemed it occupants must have its escaped with a damaged leg— it had — caught and pinned down beneath the motor while the been observer was lucky enough to sustain only minor injuries. Ill A German plane, aviator, piloting a has described a flight Gotha type of Taube mono- of 170 miles he made across the Meuse, examining a French line of defence on the western bank. He dawn with started at and they flew first had been ordered at German towards a French to inspect. observer, officer as his fortification, which they Here, however, guns were fired them, and they were chased by three hostile aeroplanes; but they managed they came a a in company this a large body of French troops, of soldiers, halting in a road, raise their rifles to and anxiously fire. in fire a volley at the aeroplane. his driving-seat, waited man was base. The pilot, for the effect of Suddenly the monoplane trembled; but the motor did not stop, and the machine continued penetrated Then and saw escape and continued on their way. view of their shoulders sitting to its its flight. Bullets had wings, but had struck no vital part; and the air- able to complete his observation, and return to his
  • 155. 142 THE BIG AVIATION BOOK " IV One of the most daring feats of the war, in its defiance by an airman of a concentration of gunfire, occurred during an attack that was planned, in April, against an airship shed the Germans had erected in the neighbourhood of Ghent. This shed, one of great strategic importance to the Germans, was guarded not only by anti-aircraft guns on the ground, but by marksmen who were stationed at some altitude also in the car of a captive balloon. armed though it Yet was against it was and with its this position, completely defenders on the one of our airmen, flying single-handed a in fast alert, that machine, delivered a successful attack; the details of which, as set forth below, are compiled from both official and unofficial sources. With bombs three powerful in his machine, grenades, he arrived above the airship shed evening, flying at a considerable altitude. noitred; then, from a height of bombs at the airship shed, low him. 6000 feet, in besides hand- the calm of the For awhile he reconhe dropped one of his which lay very Immediately he had discharged clearly revealed bethis bomb, he found that those in the car of the captive balloon were firing at him; while a heavy fusillade was being directed also from the ground. He was still too high to against the shed, and yet tain death to that make good it seemed descend any lower, in was being launched against him. to practice with his bombs be courting almost cer- view of the storm of shot He flew in a circle, con- sidering the position; then he decided on a method of attack which could have been carried out only by exceptionally skilled. a pilot who was Flying until he was exactly above the
  • 156. 143 THE GAUNTLET OF FIRE were stationed who were firing balloon in which the marksmen descend very rapidly, steering his volleys at him, he began to small, steeply-banked spirals, which kept machine in a series of balloon that the occupants of its car, him so directly above the gas-container between them and the descending aerowith the plane, were unable Stealing down to see the in this machine or upon fire it. way, and shielding himself against the from the balloon— at which by the way he hurled a bomb lire the airman came down until he was just its mark that missed — over the balloon; then, with a rapid outward swerve, he passed the car the ground it on his descent and came even nearer — of the balloon being above to the fire of those owing who were He Germans were kept his machine moving in immediately under the balloon. circles, machine exposed his But, stationed on the ground. to the pilot's clever flying, the quandary. car, him now, and when they aimed down on the in a still the smallest of Thus the men in its aeroplane, were in danger who were grouped gunners on the ground, when with every shot of hitting their comrades, around the airship shed; while the they came to ing or fire upward at the aeroplane, wounding those who were The airman, profiting in kill- the balloon. by the confusion caused, came down within 200 not then, did he drop the last of his till ran the risk of this shrewd manoeuvre ground. feet of the Then, and heavy bombs. This, released at such a point-blank range, struck the roof of the airship shed; and the impact was followed by a heavy explosion from within the shed. But the aviator did imagined, wait to see exactly what damage his not, as may bomb had be done.
  • 157. — THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 144 In extreme peril, every moment he remained range, he steered rapidly from the scene of conflict, and away within such short returned to his base with no greater injuries to his machine than the perforation of its planes by a number of bullets; he himself being unhurt, despite the volume of fire that had been directed against him. V An exploit that needed exceptional skill also, was that of Flight-Lieutenant in the early stages of the tors, had been war. detailed to important Zeppelin air and unusual courage, Marix at Dusseldorf, He, with two other naval avia- make station a raid by aeroplane on the has been established that at Dusseldorf, and endeavour if possible to destroy one of these giant aircraft while its shed. it lay in A previous raid, in which bombs were dropped with effect by Flight-Lieutenant Collet, had been made against Dusseldorf; but in this case the weather had proved unfavourable, and sufficient damage had not been done. — out Therefore a second attack was planned, and carried as described below largely from official sources —under weather conditions which were more favourable. Lieut. and on Marix was this flying a very machine, after invading than 100 miles — starting his flight fast Germany by from he arrived over Dusseldorf and came sheds. single-seated biplane; a point more near Antwerp in sight of the These were very completely guarded, machine-guns fixed on air for Zeppelin there their roofs, with larger anti-aircraft being guns stationed on the ground near by, and picked riflemen ready to
  • 158. THE GAUNTLET OF FIRE fire armament, Lieut. Marix, despite this But volleys upward. 145 approached the flew straight towards his goal, descending as he He sheds until he was not more than 500 feet high. on the speed of his machine, his flight, and his own dexterity in controlling carry him through this to and what violent the gunfire was, relied peril area of How fire. the aviator ran, may be guessed from the fact that, though he flew over the shed at a —seeming indeed was moment— very high speed almost in a dash to his were merely punctures of significance; but one shot, Most of these cost an airman his life, his by such times by shot hit several craft before he could escape out of range. ever, and out of range in wing The at any biplane, how- and had no fabric a stroke of ill-luck as may severed a couple of his control wires. This was extremely serious of course, but not as fatal hits, it happened though crippled, was just controllable- He rate to so skilled a pilot as Lieut. Marix. contrived to remain aloft and all the time under great difficulties, he succeeded in returning to a point to steer his craft; in within fifteen miles of Antwerp. him, and he had to land in Here his petrol failed dangerous proximity Fortunately for him, lines. however, though flying fact, to the German an armoured Belgian motor-car had been waiting about the roads so as to be ready, if necessary, to aid the British pilots on their return from their flight. Those in charge of and came promptly to his this car saw assistance. Lieut. But Marix descend, his machine had landed so near one of the advance posts of the enemy that it was considered too risky to attempt to dismantle it and transport it to the Belgian lines. At any moment the party might
  • 159. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 146 have been surprised by German cavalrymen. So the biplane, which had served its pilot so well, was destroyed where it had alighted so that it might not come into the hands of the enemy; and then Lieut. Marix, entering the armoured swiftly into Antwerp. was driven car, His raid on the Zeppelin sheds had been well worth while. In passing above one of the sheds, in which a Zeppelin was lying berthed, he had managed to drop two of his bombs with accuracy. Both of them, punctured it and burst striking the roof of the shed, inside; and, within thirty seconds of their explosion, a sheet of flame shed, rising high into the had had shot out from within the This showed, without any doubt, air. more of the gas-containers of a Zeppelin had been and the gas within them ignited. And this would mean that one or pierced, that the airship would be destroyed. clearly to have been the case. subsequently, Such, in seems fact, Reports reached our authorities from various sources, which placed it beyond doubt that Lieut. Marix had, with these two bombs, brought about the destruction of the Zeppelin that lay in the shed. VI Mr. Robert Loraine, the actor who learned to pilot plane soon after Bleriot had flown the Channel who has made some remarkable crossing of the Irish Sea —went flights to —including France as a Royal Flying Corps, and had an adventure which nearly cost him his life. and had been fired at flights, in in an aero- 1909, and an aerial pilot in the November, 1914, He had made several scouting by a battery whose attentions
  • 160. THE GAUNTLET OF FIRE he had begun to notice particularly, he was for a time able to avoid. details to and a shrapnel his machine, but the shells from which One — published unofficially a day, —according however burst quite close to shell bullet, striking in the Mr. Loraine body and came out near back, passed completely through his his neck, perforating his right lung. aeroplane, who was His companion in the acting at the time as pilot, returned quickly headquarters, and Mr. Loraine to their 147 was taken His wound, though very serious, did not prove to hospital. fatal. VII It is may not always, indeed, skilled though he pilot escapes the case of without injury from a zone of heavy M. Verrier, a several seasons at the be, that a Take fire. French aviator who, after flying for London Aerodrome, Hendon, and being an extremely popular figure at that flying ground, joined the French air service at the beginning of the war, and was soon doing valuable work as a scout. One his day, with an observation officer flying as passenger in machine, he was passing above the enemy's lines. weather, unfortunately for him, was not good The for aerial scout- There were low-lying clouds; and so he had to creep nearer and nearer the earth, until he was well within rifle range of any hostile bodies of troops which might lurk below him. ing. And it was at this —while moment —according statement the aeroplane to the earth, that it infantry. The first was came under the bullet in a fire to M. Verrier's own dangerous proximity of a body of that reached the machine German passed
  • 161. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 148 through a And map the observation officer was holding hands. in his M. Verrier could ascend, or steer his craft out of this danger-zone, there came a second bullet into the hull of the machine which wounded the observer in the foot. The pilot, of course, was now climbing as rapidly as he could, then, before hoping escape out of range with no further damage than he had already sustained. But the rifle fire from the ground was to moment exceptionally heavy; and in a was ascending steeply, a bullet tore or so, while the biplane way through its the floor- boards of the hull and struck M. Verrier just near the ankle, piercing his leg as far as the knee —where emerged it — leav- ing him with a painful wound. The position of an airman above the lines of the who enemy, is is wounded, while serious in the extreme. stops his engine, and descends at once, he made a prisoner, of any news he to regain his and that may have own will collapse all lines before mean and end its will be to flies on, striving he descends, he may be so over- shock and if loss of blood, that levers. And this, he in death, seeing that the aeroplane, with the pilot ceasing to control earth, he he suddenly over his control probability, will knows he If his headquarters will lose the value gleaned; while come by weakness, owing flying thus it, will side-slip or dive towards the career in a helpless fall, perhaps on a roof of a building or in the tree-tops of a wood. M. Verrier, wounded though he was, did not hesitate as to what he should do. He had, before being hit, gained information as to the enemy's dispositions that was of value; and this, come what may, he determined should be carried back to the
  • 162. THE GAUNTLET OF FIRE So he turned French headquarters. 1_49 his biplane, operating the rudder-bar with difficulty owing to his injured leg, and made which were more than ten miles off Each minute, as he flew, he felt weaker; but still he away. clung grimly to his levers, watched anxiously by the passenger towards the French -who knew that his pended on the The spirit lines, life, and endurance the the last to control the latter could display. Almost exhausted, scarcely able was made. flight as well as that of the airman, de- movements of M. Verrier and the news his machine, regained his starting-point and planed to earth; he had to communicate was borne at in safety to headquarters. VIII Less fortunate, though equally courageous, was mond, a French senator who had learned M. Rey- to fly before the war, and who joined the aviation service and did excellent work as a scout. One day — as the story is told unofficially in France he was despatched on an urgent reconnaissance, and passed above the German battle-front, securing some important news. flight towards the French lines. in the Then, turning But suddenly, course of his his craft, he steered just as he was pass- ing over the advanced trenches of the Germans, he came into hummed past his machine; and a zone of rifle fire. Bullets presently one, entering the hull, He The lines, wounded him did not collapse, though he felt his seriously. strength was failing. distance to be flown, before he could regain the French was not be over his great; in a own few minutes, in fact, he knew he would But he was unable to reach them. Overcome by exhaustion, he was compelled to plane to earth* troops.
  • 163. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 150 and the point which he alighted was almost exactly midway between the German and French trenches. at Germans ran out capture him, and at the same time a to party of French soldiers, eager to rescue the fallen aviator, dashed also from Whereupon their trenches. there was a fierce encounter, in which the French were successful, and brought back the wounded pilot to their Here, though sinking fast, own lines. he was able to furnish particulars to his superiors of the reconnaissance he a few hours later he died —but had made; and then not before the Cross of the Legion of Honour had been pinned on his breast. IX There are two points interesting is — apart from in regard to these stories that are One the courage the pilots displayed. the question of protecting the hull of an aeroplane from gun- fire by means of armour-plating. his craft had been armoured, the would have been unable If, for instance, the hull of bullet that struck to penetrate the floor-boards. Why, The answer was not the machine armoured? therefore, M. Verrier is simple: in flying, seeing that the planes of an aircraft will only bear aloft a certain limited load, it is the aim to reduce, in every reasonable way, the weight that must be carried through the air. that; Machines can be armoured; there and weight of armoured craft will steel to any ascend, even plating. extent, are at present available, But when is no difficulty in their hulls bear the the efficiency of machines, if and when driven by such motors as is reduced appreciably. What this
  • 164. THE GAUNTLET OF FIRE means, exactly, is than tinctly less it that the speed of an would be were it manoeuvred while in flight. power are ascensional armoured craft is dis- not to bear the weight of it ascends less rapidly, and armouring; while 151 is less quickly And, remembering that speed and in a war aeroplane, the drawbacks vital of armouring are serious, and need to be studied very carefully. What after a it was decided number to —and do after the outbreak of war of cases had been recorded in which bullets struck up through the floor-boards of the hull and an airman as he sat at his levers —was to place a had wounded very light but extremely tough sheet of steel plating immediately beneath the seats occupied them from any aircraft by the and the observer, and so protect pilot from below, without burdening the direct hit And with a heavy weight of armour. has proved a wise one — particularly when, in this safeguard delivering say a point-blank attack against railway communications or supply depots, an airman has had to sweep down into a zone of rifle fire. X It is not always that the airman, while flying on his mission overhead, is content to remain a passive target, and allow gun- ners on the earth to fire at him without Usually, though, seeing that he must not waste time or on some urgent task, and risk his craft in on the ground, he needs to fire, is fly fear of retaliation. any duel with those on grimly through the zones of and content himself with making his machine as difficult a
  • 165. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 152 target as he can. But may him, the airman occasionally, should conditions favour turn the tables upon his adversaries on the ground; and one of the strangest incidents of the war, so far as aircraft and gunfire are concerned, was an engagement that took place near Bruges, according to an unofficial report, between a French biplane and a German armoured car which carried an anti-aircraft gun. The armoured moving along car, a within sight of the aeroplane and stopped, fire and The promptly. carried, biplane addition to in was its open road, came flat, its gunner opening a large, powerful machine, pilot, armed with a small machine-gun. a passenger who was This fact emboldened the occupants of the aeroplane, when they noted the exposed section of road on which the armoured car had Germans had no other guns fact that the halted, in sight, to a lower altitude and deliver a counter-attack. skilled flyer, swung sideways and the descend to The pilot, a at first so as to take his craft temporarily out of range; then, making a quick half-turn and diving until he was near straight towards the the ground, he drove his machine armoured car, and at a speed of seventy miles an hour. The occupants The last oeuvre. of the car were disconcerted by this manthing they had expected was an attack from —which the aeroplane drawing in was moving at such a pace, and was on them so quickly, that they had no time their car in motion, whatever might have been their wish. gunner, turning his weapon against the approaching did his best to hit it to get The aircraft, with a shell; but the target offered was
  • 166. 153 GAUNTLET OF FIRE THE extremely small, and he made bad Meanwhile the practice. and the passenger, operatrapidly, biplane was closing in very stream of lead against his pour a his machine-gun, began to ing The antagonists below. car, though the protected only against attack from in* exposed air. their rifles, but this leaping from their its Some was ineffective; and it, machine-gun rattling, then the biplane, tude and continued in a its on gunner with moment they were in or so, full re- But the aero- was gained. undamaged, rose again flight. rain to was now at a very short dead, and two more were range; and two of the car's crew fell wounded, before the shelter of the trees And began trees that offered shelter. still occupants be- its replied to the aerial car and abandoning towards some plane, earth, completely to the bullets that them from the treat was armoured, was it to a high alti-
  • 167. STUNT FLYING BY OW that the open man on age MARTYN T. J. C. season for flying has begun, the aver- the ground — especially one who the sea gulls glide effortlessly through the sharp angles, swooping suddenly again —may cide that it to the occasionally see the stunting of an airplane and delooks rather clumsy. If he be watching from the bot- in the heavens, it; he but will naturally if miss much a plane looping of the movement and — machine stunting near the ground zooming over or flying between hangars he will catch some of the — breathless excitement of the swift and perilous manoeuvres. Instruction in stunting outside the ning high he be looking from the terra firma of an airport at a trees turning air, water and soaring up tom of one of Manhattan's yawning chasms beauty of has watched in the commercial flying schools. army and navy all pilots quired to put the machine into a spin and pull right direction, is first solos. begin- At the Roosevelt Field Flying School and at the Curtiss School they can go on their is it are now re- out, before This, though but a step in the one the importance of which cannot be too highly emphasized; for a thorough knowledge of aeria! acroBy permission of N. Y. Times. 154
  • 168. STUNT FLYING batics is almost certainly going to be the most valuable that a commercial can acquire. pilot may Stunts, so called, be divided into two categories The and the useful. foolish how expert a pilot — the done close foolish ones are those ground; for no matter to the 155 is only a is it matter of time before a slight error of judgment will cost him his The useful stunts, such Immelmann turns, &c, were de- or at best a serious accident. life, as looping, spinning, rolling, veloped in the wartime exigencies of pursuit flying and are per- — formed, usually at a safe height that to enable the pilot to machine without running the But risk of a crash. right his to the quite unnecessary in this This, however, much a is wrong way and ground observer, stunts Stunt flying for example, a right may seem day and age of commercial not the case. of a science as, an altitude sufficient at is, way machine seriously; the other every areodynamics. to loop; will is aviation. one way bit as There is can strain the put no more strain on it than normally encounter riding through rough weather. Moreover, although stunt flying is usually supposed to relate to air it will fighting, how is has a definite peace-time value; the pilot how stunt, to position who it and the the one difficulty most who and how to be trusted to get with the to into every conceivable it out again, lives of He knows what to do all in is the one passengers and be caught unawares dangerous situations that later experience. and he knows machine get his never likely is those sudden, tested in to who knows pilots in one of sooner or almost every crisis because his judgment has been formed and the arduous school of scientific stunt flying. it
  • 169. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 156 Suppose you are ground observer, and accompany an a structor of stunt flying. Perhaps you learned to fly years perhaps you have flown several hundred hours service; makes no it whether the object — suit flying present feet you the mail be treated as a novice a thrill or to qualify for passenger or pur- On reaching a height of two or three thousand will experience nothing how to fly much right straight and you will or left rudder or too more exciting than learning be shown the effects of too much right or left bank. Next come turns to the right and left, and you improve the turns become steeper and steeper until they That as is will ago; a test that ought universally to be applied but at not. is You difference. in in- is easy. are vertical. In a vertical turn an extraordinary thing happens. The rudder becomes fact, the more the elevator and the elevator, the rudder. In a plane is inclined laterally the change places, so that each turn is different, ment flying and the difference by the at a different detected by controls degree of bank feel, or in instru- indicators on the pilot's dashboard. But bank stage the instrucsuddenly kick on top rudder; the plane stalls and goes when you have progressed tor will is more the to the vertical into a spin. comes the quiet voice of the instructor over the teleThen "Switch off the engine. Push the stick forward. Cenphone: tralize the rudder bar." And in a moment the plane is flying no hurry, no excitement (except, on an even keel. danger. to an embryo airman) for there is no perhaps, next and longest lesson of all. When Landings will be the judge distances you will be permitted you have been taught to There is ,
  • 170. 157 STUNT FLYING wind. The next thing that will probto land straight into the the plane is is to have the engine cut out when ably happen above the airport at a height of, say, 1,000 feet. The vertically purposely cut the engine out and is telling you to instructor has land on the airdrome. —losing height by circling nately to the right will be your down, either lesson in spiraling first in one direction or alter- and left— and one way or another you to get into the have That airdrome. Spot landings— landings cross-wind landings follow. on a mark on the ground The latter are will —and done by side-slipping wind and landing on one wheel, immediately after the most difficult of all landings. These turning into the wind are necessary for forced landings in which a head-to-wind landinto the — ing is impossible for lack of time or space. You can now fly straight, turn in both directions at any angle, mark on the airport. You are The instructor no longer shows land regardless of the wind on a now ready to learn stunting. you how to do anything; he merely to directs you and never comes your assistance, other than verbally, unless necessary to avoid a crash. 3,000 feet up, his voice will When come over your nose down to ticular plane) Keep the rudder bar . the plane is is absolutely soaring about the plane telephone: 90 (or whatever the speed straight back toward you with a firm movement. ground, switch it is for "Put your par- and pull the When you stick see the off the engine." You push the stick forward and the plane gathers speed, and when the air speed indicator shows 90 you will pull the stick back as far as it will go. The plane rises swiftly, the earth
  • 171. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 158 disappears as had suddenly shot if it from under you and you are conscious of a vast expanse of sky and clouds rushing down to meet you, and the next moment the earth is directly below you. If this is your first loop you are probably so excited that you have forgotten to switch off the engine and the off plane begins to tear down structor's voice Your In first is some ways In a moment the in- calmly telling you, "Off with the engine." is loop at a terrific speed. over. a loop the easiest of is the stunts and after all you have done twenty or so of them they cease to yield any thrills. But at some time or other the instructor will almost certainly wait until you are about one-third up on a loop and then cut the engine out. He wants to see if you will keep your head. The enough to complete the loop mal second goes down plane, deprived of it hangs from which position and in the air in a spin or it its it On on either for an infinitesi- whips over and down And tail first), a tail spin, giving a If you know what if most un- to do and you lose your head soon calm you and instruct you should be doing. sailing is, slide (go the instructor will remain silent; his voice will more tail go into comfortable feeling to the novice. do stalls; that and then begins to may power, does not have speed in what you within a minute the plane will be once a level keel. another occasion the instructor will wait until you are on top of a loop and suddenly kick on right or left rudder with the result that the plane falls out of the curve sideways and rapidly goes into a spin unless you take immediate steps to counteract it. But by this time you are getting hardened to
  • 172. 159 STUNT FLYING surprises and have control of the plane every kind of this minute. side loop comes when you are taught to roll— a So the times one executed by putting on sharp rudder and bank In a training dual-control other and then pulling the stick back. movement plane, which you plane the suit in you can stop it, after way which out of is usually the is easily stopped there all may the ace. even go over twice before uncontrolled stunts, but as the spin never cause for alarm. is turn, invented by the famous merely a sideslip from a It is advantage of bringing the plane around direction to of the most which was going. it difficult There Some machines of stunts. initial stall into necessary to put the plane. You perform which as in a forward spin. straighten out the rudder bar To and bring the backward or forward when you to The back falling leaf is cause a its —one back and climbed out falling leaf so difficult the engine off, in a one spin, tail will not it is do it normally by getting is get out of it you stick to the centre until the spin stops, stall. perhaps the most exception of an outside loop down on and has the opposite the stunt of the cockpit but not it stall backward and then putting on opposite the machine to slide pull in the is and invariably complete the bank and rudder, In fact, a spin stalls into a spin. it Next comes the Immelmann German war machine whips over will shortly fly, the the twinkling of an eye and pur- in a fast slow and cumbersome, but is after the in difficult stunt, which the plane to the top. with the is dived What makes the that the plane has to be stalled, with horizontal position; that is, flying level with
  • 173. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 160 as forward speed as possible. In this position the plane is balanced laterally as if on the edge of a razor and the successful completion of the stunt calls for exceptional skill. little As soon as the plane is brought to a halt you push the stick over to one side sharply and at the same time kick on the rudder. The controls are limp and it feels as if nothing much has happened, but the machine heels over to one side. As soon as it does you have to bring the controls over to the other side and the plane should recover and list over to the opposite side. The effect that of a leaf falling through the is one direction and then in the other. The keeping the nose of the plane up and falling too far over to one air, swinging first in great difficulty in preventing it is in from side. All through this stunting period you will be practicing forced You landings. open the you to will find yourself coming out of a throttle but the engine is "dead." pick out a when you field and land on it. The You spin. instructor tells This you do. One day, are getting fairly expert, you will be taking off from the airport and at about 300 feet up your engine will cut out. Man's normal drome, but in the air instinct is to try to turn this almost invariably is have been caused by and get back on the fatal. air- Possibly more deaths this foolishness than by anything else. The only thing to be done is to go straight ahead and make the best landing possible, and as you have by this time been taught to land on a pocket handkerchief you should find no culty in making this however, the one extremely test in difficult forced landing. which the instructor diffi- It is, will not stop to
  • 174. STUNT FLYING instruct you; and if swift if to away, he right thing right you do not do the you "freeze" on 161 will, the stick you will probably get a knock over the head with a heavy stick that the instructor keeps by him for such dangerous pupils. Solo you have flown the machine In reality child's play. is You can yourself for perhaps fifty hours. as easily as turn. your chest You are thoroughly airbroken. puffed out to is its maximum, your suggest some more dual-control. He you way he are doing everything in the wants you with engine will surprise failure in only this time he will indicate a is the prize field of a high fence them on all all. It to and roll Then when instructor will make sure to speak. that So up taught you. you go and are put through your paces, so he loop, spin As usual an awkward moment, you field for to land in. It probably has high trees around it, between them on one side and high bushes between the others, and the field itself is about half an acre or less. You will not, if will circle you will you are smart, bother about the wind, and around the make for it. the low bushes and ing, field. Your wheels have you will have one with no forward speed. get out of the field again, into Seeing a gap it. If which to in between the trees, to scrape the tops of make a "pancake" land- This done, you will have to is almost as difficult as getting you are successful you can be assured that you will be passed as a first-class pilot; for the field has been artificially created, in all probability, so that only into it and take off from an expert pilot can get it. Since the scientific knowledge of stunting— knowing how
  • 175. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 162 much each control does and why—makes for safe flying, the observer on the ground should feel assured that in this way pilots are training for the day when they will take him from New York to San Francisco, and he may be further assured that no matter what ills befall the plane en route his life will be as safe in their keeping as gineer. it is in the hands of a locomotive en-
  • 176. HOW TUBBY SLOCUM BROKE HIS LEG BY JAMES WARNER BELLAH HE man's god," says "Hell's Bells" O'Neil, "is more powerful than dynamite. Call him what you like, but, alflying ways remember that he's got his tongue in his cheek and his thumb half-way to his nose— and never light three on a match. "Tubby Slocum was seventeen when he joined up. He had a hard time getting in on account of or less on the order of a bloated steamed his blubber came. At Slocum. off his training If there was his lines which were more blimp—but enough for him a Turkish bath pass and in he to 'drome they called him Crashing Tubby a forced landing to be made, he made it on a hangar roof, or a greenhouse or in a lake. He always cracked his 'buses to splinters when he cracked 'em at all, and he never even got bruised. There was only one tree near that 'drome and he pancaked into get by it, it it three times in Jennies. Couldn't They almost fired him out altogether war debt. But he stuck it somehow and seemed. mounting up the for got through his training days without even ripping his pants. "Everybody shook hell his hand and for them, because the he'd get the first way him to save a place in he had hard luck looked like wooden kimono By told in the crowd. permission of the Aero Digest— N. Y. 163
  • 177. 4 * *
  • 178. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 164 "Well, the plumb self into a thing he done at the war was chimney one evening first in a fog. 'way behind our own you as and says "Was 'Hell little shot at, Tubby Tubby hurt? starts down. in, I it him on early flying with Huns and About it. got ourselves ten minutes later, looks like he's got a bullet in his It We were about twenty or and God knows where our bombers had got circled Down field around a waved good-bye that's was he wasn't. stand by him but he waves 'No good* gone. is just bet seen a couple of I weren't worrying. so I but nothing serious came of him, he's picked his it You can later, We'd escort. tank and the gas we climbs out, wipes his nose I' and keeps going down. miles nearby treetop and lands as softly into a "About three weeks morning me. to Tubby and goes and landed. bit. I what they paid him He felt to the 'drome, there I to be taken prisoner, starts again. bit I and see of a blackjack. that way, but 'pip pip' and beat When got back the tarmac. I You could' ve He'd stood around waiting and when no Jerries came out for him, with his motor, gives the prop a So he hops "The next thing to, pretty bad about him go let waves him was Tubby on knocked me down with the last thirty climbed out of his 'bus and hated to for, so I before an 'archie' party opened up on me. he fiddles a lost, The chimney shears off his port cake, and the Camel ricochets like a Whereupon Tubby please. He was lines. wings as easy as cutting drunken mule driver smack him- to that in flip and she and comes home. happens to him the 'drome out of gas and cross-wind, is that he comes in to making pretty nearly a
  • 179. HOW TUBBY SLOCUM BROKE HIS LEG hundred and twenty-five by the time he gets close He can't sit her his motor down, so he hops some tree stumps that used into the far lip of a shell-hole. away from him. off sideways, break and Tubby, still The mud. Hurt? "Then there Gotha raid left left, skid tears All four longerons strapped to his seat, takes a flying loop out of the wreck and lands in the next shell-hole in to the floor. goes into the next county, skidding to the to be a forest, and smacks 165 Not Tubby. was the time Huns came the to get the hospital that was near up to his ears over on a night us. They drop more eggs than an orphan asylum has on Easter morning. It looks like the end of the world to me. We all bolted for our funk holes to wait was over and most of us slept in tin hats. But not Tubby. He was drunk and asleep in his hut, and a sixteen-pound bomb smashed through the roof and the floor and covered him with wood splinters. Hurt? Hell, no! It was a dud. 'till the reception "Well, one thing and another, and never a scratch on Tubby. guns jammed If his in a fight, the all Huns' guns would jam he got a burst of twenty in his control wires, one strand would hold out until he landed. I remember once—you may too. If recall it— they lost his left Menin still talk wheel taking Road— smashed stump or something. to do, so about he did it. off it it from down to let the bottles are full. He'd 'drome up near the Ypresballywest on a horse carcass, or a He knew a was gone, but he had' a job They got him in the motor and his prop froze at about sixteen thousand. flopped when it He dove out of the fight and 'em think he was done in. Got clean away
  • 180. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 166 and tried to had to make the 'drome, but he'd lost so land near a battery of heavies. room and height he There wasn't much wedge there wasn't anything to much so he side-slipped and tried to pancake. wings between, his The broken wheel caught in something and pirouetted him around about six times, and he landed smack on the ammunition dump. The gunners did a getaway in something under nothing Half-a-dozen shells were knocked about came back, there like tenpins. was Tubby sitting flat. When the gunners on one of them lighting a — Not a scratch on him and he'd had four Cooper Luck? My sixteen-pound bombs in his rack when he hit! God! "One night we were roaring back to work after a night in cigarette. We Busigny. We'd were red-eyed drunk and couldn't gotten around to The Captain has the Croix de Guerre, parley-voo!' in bar-room tenor, melman, does down. and I a split-air turn clawed the calls the roll. mud and We're all find the road. when the car takes a neat Im- and plops athwart a crater upside half a dead horse outa there but Tubby. my mouth, We poked round someone who had been fighting a war had Then I give a yell for left, but we can't find him anywhere. him and I hear his voice, sort of muffled like, say, 'Lemmelone -umtakinbath.' There he was under the car, up to his chin in the debris that If there'd of in shell-hole syrup. of been drowned. been an inch But not Tubby. less space he'd Safe and sound he was, without a scratch. "The cards wasn't right, you man's god let it pass. the flying see," says "Hell's Bells," "so Then one day he raised his
  • 181. HOW TUBBY SLOCUM BROKE thumb to his nose and wiggled his fingers. HIS LEG The way of 167 was it The Armistice was fought and won, and the squadron was ordered to Marquis to turn in the ships and report to the this. repatriation dent He was to meet marry her before het up over us all it. his He was set us drinks his drink, sits over— crashes up go direct through Customs. royally. By champagne from and Tubby a son of a to gen- like a He was all Took in Paris. the time we'd got to the champagne cooler, 'Beslilolesquarronworld!' he toasts, half in — and to who 'Sweet and Only' at the dock, and his stuff got he decided to have a toast. him up and I'm Air Ministry Said he'd give a farewell supper down and listed as a stu- God's Country, traveling to the point of drinking the tips a cousin in the special embarkation orders. Southampton and back eral. Tubby was at Shornecliffe. and he had in civil life, him got camp gun half out of his chair, chair yells blue if his leg murder. We wasn't broken in pick two places just below the knee! "He spent three months at a Frog hospital in a plaster cast, missed his boat home, spent four more months at Shornecliffe, waiting for that damned, concrete-bottomed tub they called the Canada and got a wedding invitation from his girl just before he sailed!"
  • 182. LINDBERGH'S START FOR PARIS BY JESSIE w HEN HORSFALL E. Lindbergh came down from lobby of the hotel at 2 1 : He was I not sure I to New flight eight tion enthusiasts During these of days before from York. got into our car and hand am the least excited person in the lobby. we took him to the hangar on the through rain and absolute darkness. He am I had become well acquainted with him during the days San Diego his flight, get further weather reports." waiting after his record-breaking field into the he said: going until He room 5 on the morning of the "Don't pass the word around because We his were on the field despite crucial hours his Probably 5,000 aviathe dreary weather. manner was perfectly normal, entirely steady, his expression wholly unexcited. had had little sleep but he refused the "shot" of caffein doctors offered; he even declined a cup of coffee bewhich the fore he got into his plane to "I need no drugs to hop keep comment, a part of that off. me awake," was his very simple supreme self-confidence with which impressed everyone, not only during the slow days he deeply 168
  • 183. LINDBERGH'S START FOR PARIS 169 waiting for favorable weather but during the final of moments prior to his departure. took with him He His friend from five sandwiches and two canteens of water. St. Louis, Mr. George J. Stumpf, representing Louis backers of the enterprise, laid these supplies in the St. carefully so that contamination by oil or gas would the cockpit Lindbergh said of the sandwiches: be unlikely. "They will be enough for me get there they will be if I get to Paris and don't if I more than enough." His further luggage consisted of a small white canvas dunnage bag exactly like a mammoth tobacco sack containing — — his maps and weather He was charts, a hunting knife and fishing tackle. dressed in an immaculate flying suit consisting of a tannish grey cloth lumber jacket shirt with a wide collar which in time of need could be turned up. Underneath conventional soft white shirt, with a collar and dark this tie. was a The two pockets of his outer shirt held a fountain pen and two handkerchiefs. He wore grey Bedford cord knickers, grey golf stockings and high tan shoes. His mother calls him Not a grease spot a neat person, saying that was visible. he could clean a motor in evening dress without getting spots on his shirt front. His silver watch had been in his pocket during four para- make in order Lindbergh estimation it was merely chute jumps which he had been compelled to to save his life. his watch, not a A A spectator But in the lucky charm. commented: real characterization. "Isn't he clean looking!" Lindbergh looks and morally and physically clean. is mentally,
  • 184. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 170 When we reached the Neon beacon field lights cast their red flashes upon the crowd but even this picturesque, unusual scene didn't distract the aviator's attention. Partly because of the crowd but mostly because of the lad's modesty, we drove to the back of his hangar. He didn't want to be hurrahed. The patient, waiting spectators did not catch sight of him until we stopped in front of the door from which the silver nose of the "Spirit of St. Louis" gleamed in marked contrast to the surrounding velvety darkness. Then Lindbergh stepped out of the car and made a bee-line for the hangar door behind which * waited his beloved ship which meant cause of aviation. Immediately he had gone in to so' much to him and the her; unseen hands closed the doors of the modest shelter which in its simplicity and unpretentiousness was in such marked contrast to the larger and elaborately painted and decorated house of the "America," Commander Byrd's transatlantic plane. Lindbergh's hangar in suggested to me its noteworthy aspects already had the descriptive term, Air Livery, for besides the "Spirit of St. Louis" two Orioles and a stored there. But To Lindbergh's Waco were also to these that particular night meant nothing. meant defiance of fate with death silvery steed it or glory at the end of the gesture. He examined his plane with calm, careful, expert eyes. haps he put an affectionate hand upon its touch a horse about to undergo epochal didn't see him. Per- man might but if so, we side as a strain, His mind was not occupied by sentiment, but - concentrated upon the weather reports, which Brice Golds-
  • 185. LINDBERGH'S START FOR PARIS 171 borough, the Pioneer Aircraft instrument specialist and navigator, who was He went had waiting his meteorological advisor, for him. hangar where, into the tiny store-room of the sitting on a keg of nuts and bolts and mechanical miscellany, he studied the weather reports intently. Presently, perhaps, the thought came him to that many hours were before him during which he would have no choice but remain seated, unable to stretch those long legs of his, for to he completing his checking of the weather data standing. rose, Lindbergh found these moments full of satisfaction. The reports revealed almost precisely such an atmospheric situation as he previously favorable detail had declared would be was ideal. the presence of fog off the foundland which was likely to clear a The only unBanks of Newthe flight don't put an exclamation point after the word little as progressed: "I'll go," he said. Note that was not an exclamation but as if he had remarked he would cross the street. No watcher ignorant of the "go." that I It circumstances could have dreamed that the two words meant that he would dare alone nearly 3,000 miles of sea. Quiet within the hangar but for the tunking of the rain on The showers were indicated as local and therefore troubled the young aviator not at all. But another detail had its disconcerting aspect— the field would be soft and muddy, the tin roof. complicating the take-off. The plane was turned in the hangar and taken out The Curtiss Field flood light fell upon the little tail first. ship and with
  • 186. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 172 the flares made Lindbergh high-lights bright as day, in the littered shadows very black. stockroom waited for more weather reports. The crowd went wild —proof hangar to them motorcycles fought had to A to was moved out as the plane was that he of the Police on roaring to start. herd the crowd back from the area which be kept clear. Of strange crowd. interested course many in and informed, but the general public was there Cars by the hundreds had concentrated on ground, from Among were technically it New York, their passengers parts of all Long were people of this especial bit of Island, everywhere. all sorts. Gotham's night clubs were as fully represented as the air clan, for a thrilling entertainment, a great tremendous field for scientific moment. days and nights. Long human too. it was episode, as well as a Small boys had haunted the before one lad had confided us his mother's decision that he could not come out that night. We understood the dreadful disappointment which would agonto ize his boyish heart if Lindbergh got away when eyes were not at hand to see the sight. his mother let him come, bringing "Our whole family No crowd is this I his worshipful telephoned him and message for the Captain: praying for you." ever gathered amidst circumstances more dis- The uneven surface of the field was dotted with heartening. pools; some deep, some shallow. The buzz of a multitude of the bursts of laughter, the sudden silences now conversation, punctuated by the splashes of unfortunates. One then were and heard little screams from over-slipper puddles. women as they stepped into deep,
  • 187. — LINDBERGH'S START FOR PARIS 173 But only murmurs of outer sounds crept into the hangar Stale where the atmosphere was dank, damp, unpleasant. The grooms were working on the flying horse which gasoline. Lindbergh was to ride that tunking sound as Not gine. while they a was poured it filled the as if Many to watch oil a curious But he was not his pockets, in made tank behind the en- tank he walked up and oil down silent the hangar whistling cheerfully. It the thing were commonplace. strong hands were ready to raise the plane's The a truck which backed into position. secured. The into the word from Lindbergh. with his hands deep was morning. skid tail tail onto was carefully Lindbergh emerged from the gloom within the hangar this process with that careful interest which charac- terized his scrutiny of every detail of procedure. When Lindbergh did not go with his plane. the plane had been started toward Roosevelt Field, a mile away, he went back into the hangar the office of the to study a weather chart newly arrived from New York Times. Having absorbed the message of door and cast a weather eye up this chart at the sky. he went The to a side rain poured sky which he could see showed the sullen dawn. steadily; the southeastern grey advance light of a The men with the plane had their own troubles. wheels cut deep into the saturated earth; vehicle bumped into ruts, the follow. now and then the water splashing on the few per- mitted to participate in the procession. stretched and harsh The truck authority Stern, official arms out- forbade the curious crowd to
  • 188. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 174 Motor-cycles flanked each side of the strange almost funereal The cortege. little silvery "Spirit of St. Louis," dragged back- ward through the mud, seemed humiliated. It was rough treatment for an instrument designed to undertake in a few hours so tremendous an adventure. The time came for the calm-eyed Lindbergh to follow the machine on which his life soon ney of the mile he had He flivver. chose the would depend. his choice flivver. For the jour- between a Lincoln and Lindbergh again. We a followed in the Lincoln. The dawn-grey A lightened morosely. spectator watching the procession from a short distance saw the plane blend so perfectly into the grey sky that for many minutes he doubted sharp eyes to Now make if was there. It took sure. and then along the flared as the machine line of the procession a flashlight some cameraman made one more picture for his paper. The balloons of smoke left by these explosions trended lazily away in dense formation which there was not wind enough to dissipate. Presently the plane came to a halt and stood in bold upon a rise against the sky. There was a significance particular place, noteworthy to us. It relief in this had been the elevation from which the big Sikorsky had crashed as Rene Fonck had That tragic episode came to tried to take off last September. was not thinking back toward last September and another man's disaster, but was thinking forward to the day after to-morrow and his own our minds but triumph. I know that Lindbergh
  • 189. LINDBERGH'S START FOR PARIS 175 Alongside Lindbergh's ship appeared the gasoline truck which had been held nearby in position several days. The barrel-shaped metallic drums were in careful the Mahoney, president of the Ryan Airlines, The factured the "Spirit of St. Louis." was poured into 5-gallon charge Inc., fuel Mr. of B. F. which manu- from the drums milk cans by workers tremendously slow-motion picture. deliberate, like figures in a Lindbergh! Lindbergh's coolness during this to me Speaking characterized his personality. to slow torture again no one he sat gas truck with his lips pursed as his car or stood beside the he were whistling noiselessly. I in if stood six feet from him. There was no sound. Immense care was exercised fuel into the cockpit this drums and then from the cans when close No morning the filled it flivver least later flyer. supreme mechanical occasion of filling cans from the pumps? prevent any dropping of the and the fuselage where gas fumes might have troubled the Why on to at this archaic filling the plane's tanks hand were highly perfected gas which brought out to the field that early important of the spectators had had by so crude a method. method Not only crude but cruel, its tank because held Lindbergh waiting for three dreary hours with thought was certain death ahead. "If he Still had had these hours what many Many of us were thinking: for sleep!" Lindbergh was Lindbergh. A man stepped out of the crowd, approaching him. presence at that particular moment was dramatic. With His pleas-
  • 190. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 176 ant and fraternal courtesy asked his rival flyer the "America" if Commander Byrd of the "America" while he was fueling he would mind made use runway of the if in taking off for a trial flight. "Not a bit," said Lindbergh, grinning. Soon the "America" roared down the runway, passed the Lindbergh plane and headed away on its trial run. The rival plane sailed almost over Lindbergh's head. When the last gallon of gas had been poured into the tanks of the "Spirit of St. Louis" Lindbergh walked toward his ship, hands deep his cerned as His of a in his pockets, he had been going for breakfast. if minutely expert, but all-seeing gaze was like that critical, man who saw that plane for the He was world did not exist for him. his little silver a particular Out and uncon- his stride as free airplane. first to outside alone in the universe with Lindbergh's absorption moment he happens The time. in be doing, always whatever at is complete. of the sidelines rose a loud chorus from the photog- raphers "Slim." who wished He for one more didn't resent this, but They pose. it bored him. all called It was him as if his calm, clear, thoughtful eyes said: "All right, but hurry. He had. The audible. He had have something else to do." to fly across the ocean. clicking of the By I cameramen's instruments was plainly this time the grey murk of the dawn had given place to the clear light of a grey morning. The recording barograph was to all flights where records are sealed, a to customary preliminary be attempted.
  • 191. LINDBERGH'S START FOR PARIS Commander Byrd Lindbergh a Luck from returned fine greeting — one man; you to you, old see his trial and gave spin, "Good to another. sportsman in Paris." 177 came from Byrd's It heart. A have failed close observer could not perfect admiration in the celebrities came forward Fokker, Godspeed: Now eye, Other Bellanca, Chamberlain, the stripling. and many Commander's to note frank and as he looked at to bid Lindbergh Acosta, Noville others. he stepped into his flying suit, with Mahoney acting as his valet. There was a spatter of applause. Lindbergh, the clean, with a waste wiped from one hand bit of a spot of oil. The spatter of applause continued. plane as if to think, to hide look for something embarrassment. in The Lindbergh turned to his the cockpit, but really, I seclusion that the cockpit gave his face apparently was grateful for he held his head thus for a moment. to the Then he tacked his sheet of compass deviations instrument board for ready references. Workmen now grasped the "Spirit of St. Louis" by the tail and leveled her so that the gas would flow into the feed pipes ready for the tuning up. Her tail was lowered then as gingerly as if it had been charged with dynamite or made of glass. A mechanic climbed stop-cocks. into the cockpit A and tested the fuel control quarter-inch stream of gasoline ran pipe through the bottom of the plane, making a tiny the sodden ground. All okay! from the pool upon
  • 192. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 178 The boy had won the love come into close contact at the of everyone with whom he had As Lindbergh prepared field. to climb into the cockpit Captain Skidmore of the Nassau County Police affectionately put his arm about his shoulders, saying: "Even if you have to come back, kid, we'll give you a great reception." Lindbergh grinned again and nodded. Then him He to and through the small door He not awkward. is is tall, his long legs took at the side of the cabin. but every movement of his limbs has a certainty of meaning. There no waste is in any- thing that Lindbergh does. He took his place on the wicker seat which he would not leave again until he had swept across the the controls; observers flippers saw the ailerons But tried out upon the wing and the and rudder of the airplane move that to the pilot's nervousness. He sea. the slightly and attributed man who moved them showed no signs of nervousness. He started the motor which barked and the barking gradually became a The roar. police on their motorcycles dashed their sirens away On sounding the few in down the runway, awe-inspiring chorus as they cleared who had encroached upon both sides spectators anxious the muddy course. to see the actual take-off ran along while Lindbergh was revving up the motor after "Spoons" Boedecker had whirled the blade which was over 3,600 miles of land and sea. Lindbergh beckoned to keep whirling Boedecker and Ed Mulligan, the engine experts in charge of his motor. "How's she running? to They approached. Everything all right?" He asked:
  • 193. LINDBERGH'S START FOR PARIS Boedecker later said: and always wished time for I me said I have A paused. I to to "I have tested a 179 good many engines say that they were running well, but lump came in my throat and made it this hard say '0. K.,' but the engine was running sweetly so it." looked through the side human seen on a I window of the cabin and never face a look of such determination, of such almost divine courage. "Well," Lindbergh shouted, with no violation of his usual calm, "Let's go." Boedecker and his assistant pulled away the chocks and the plane stood trembling for a few seconds as the engine gathered speed. That plane was alive. The personality of Lindbergh had thrust itself through every fibre. No the "Spirit of St. Louis" did not know it one ever can was on its way to Paris! At exactly 7:51 30 1/5 seconds by morning, May 20, the plane began to as well as my tell me that any of us that stop watch, Friday move, rolling slowly along runway and gradually gathering speed, the tail skid ploughing a deep rut through the mud. The three tracks left in the the ground were evidence of the great weight which Lindbergh was attempting to carry through the air on this unprecedented journey. The plane had run nearly 2,000 feet before Lindbergh apparently made any effort to put it into the air. Finally the machine left the ground. Ah-h-h! But the plane only described a graceful arc and bounded
  • 194. Tuning-Dp for The. Flight to Paris
  • 195. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 180 back This also attempt. It on for a short run before a second to the earth, to roll now seemed failed. Another gasp. everyone as to clear the telegraph wires just yond them were The distorting if it would be impossible beyond the edge But magic of the mist made the trees, really several close to it. They their threat to that of the wires. . When . . all then hope seemed gone, with a of St. Louis" slowly . . . slowly . . . final bound, the "Spirit slowly rose into the Actually off the ground to stay, Lindbergh levelled speed. Be- of the field. trees. hundred yards beyond the runway, seem added to A moment later, air. off to gain he climbed slowly and steadily to a safe altitude above the trees. Lindbergh was off on the greatest The haze was thick. was lost to view. flight in aviation's history. Almost immediately the daring venturer
  • 196. : LINDBERGH TELLS OF HIS TRIP BY CHARLES A. ELLING of his New York LINDBERGH to Paris flight in a speech at the luncheon given in his honor by the American Club of Paris, Captain Lindbergh said "Gentlemen, the reception I am not going to express my appreciation 01 have had here from Paris and the French. I would be unable to do so in words. But I will tell you a little about the flight from New York, and I believe you will be more interested in that than anything I can say, because I am not used to public speaking. I SUCCESS MEANT "We MUCH considered this project last fall in St. Louis had one of the most successful air races there that has ever been made, so we decided to organize a flight, and at that time the Atlantic flight from New York to Paris seemed to be the first We greatest achievement we could consider-although there are other projects that would be greater-also because a flight from New York to Paris meant a good deal to us. "There is no other country after America rather land than France, and I believe the in which we would name 181 -v of the^ne
  • 197. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 182 itself, 'Spirit was meant of St. Louis', ing to the people of France. I convey a certain mean- to hope it has. "There was a good deal of consideration of the type of plane to be used in the flight, but the single-motored was considered the best, and the reason for not carrying an observer was that we could carry more gasoline without one. enough was impossible we might have missed the few hundred miles if we had not carried to miss the coastline of coast of France by a It Europe, but fuel. PRAISES HIS MOTOR for the plane "The order motor of in this plane America. that of is, I The record was placed consider, one of the best types of the Wright motors San Diego, I and is The made greater than awaited favorable weather con- make ditions in the United States to was San Diego. any other type. "After visiting It in the flight to New York. that time the immortal Frenchmen, Nungesser during Coli, left have said before, on a much America, because they were know- France, and as greater flight from France to I greater difficulties on account of wind and ingly going into weather than from America to France. probably met on the western coast with "Unfortunately, they weather conditions as ever existed. as bad ALL "During four days clearer weather to go to I IN DAY'S was New tied York. WORK San Diego awaiting Finally we left San Diego up in
  • 198. LINDBERGH TELLS OF HIS TRIP 183 one evening, flying over the mountains during the night, and Then from arrived in St. Louis. New York we York. In ditions and inspection was done we went Louis to check up, but nothing beyond to either the motor or the plane. 'The machine had already done 6,200 miles I New to were again delayed by weather con- was necessary it St. — over 61 hours. think this demonstrates the reliability of the commercial motor of today and demonstrates also the reliability of planes of mod- ern construction. "We decided to leave finally good weather ing (Friday, and a flight, May his plane as 20) York, upon receiving fairly and after working on the plane and mak- reports, ing ready for the New . we left New York at 7:52 in the (Lindbergh habitually refers to morn- himself "we.") Weather conditions were satisfactory over Newfoundland, but after leaving the coast because of feet it was necessary to fly over 10,000 sleet. PLOWED THROUGH FOG "Then at night we flew over 6,000 to 10,000 feet, but in the daytime we plowed through the fog. We finally picked up a course definitely about three miles north of the point on the west coast of Ireland which we had hoped to reach. c< I want to say that the miles of that point it was an fact that accident. we came Had it within three been 25 miles, might have been navigation. "During the first trace of a saw no ship human being was a small entire trip, I at any time. The fishing boat, prob-
  • 199. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 184 ably 50 miles from Ireland. foundland I saw Several hours after leaving the lights of one boat. New- There were large ice fields. "My time is very short now and you more of my flight at taken up too much of your time to tell I believe present. as it is." I I will be hope I unable haven't
  • 200. CHAMBERLIN'S FLIGHT TO GERMANY, Establishing a non-stop distance record of 3 #23 miles from Roosevelt Field, New York, to Eisleben, Germany. BY JESSIE FTER Long HORSFALL.* several reported leave-takings Island, bia, piloted aerial exit E. New from Roosevelt Field, York, the Bellanca monoplane Colum- by Clarence D. Chamberlin actually made on June 4th, and before its again touched terra firma it had crossed the Atlantic Ocean and established a new record for —3,923 sustained flight Chamberlin had as of the plane, miles. his who sprang passenger Charles A. Levine, owner a surprise enclosed cabin at the last minute. by climbing Their destination in Europe was not announced, but Chamberlin said until into the glass- that he would fly every drop of gasoline on board was consumed. Police arrangements were less efficient than took off and was it difficult Chamberlin for space to accomplish his take-off. cycle policemen before them. immediately started across At the when Lindbergh to obtain a clear his request, field, chasing the crowd His motor well warmed, the Bellanca in the wake about a thousand feet •By of the officers, but he when one pilot started had gone only of the officers got permission of the Aero Digest, N. Y. 185 two motor- in his
  • 201. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 186 path and he was forced to bring the Columbia However, he stop. skillfully back to the starting point turned the plane about and taxied at the After giving the policemen a western end of the runway. little way, Chamberlin again opened the moved the plane the first way Then it more time to throttle of his clear the motor and forward, actually leaving the ground within thousand until an abrupt to Chamberlin kept the ship on the run- feet. began plunging up and down like a rocking horse. the ship began to rise and the take-off was officially clocked at 6:05:27 o'clock, Eastern daylight saving time, which was two hours earlier than Lindbergh's take-off. Chamberlin got into the air in a thousand feet less than his predecessor and the Columbia 350 pounds carried a load (total 5,500 pounds) heavier than that of the Spirit of Weather conditions the flight. began to were for the flight weight, St. Louis. ideal at the start of Before they reached the Nova Scotia coast they buck head winds and when they got there they were miles off their course and two a half hours behind schedule in covering the first 600 miles. Soon after passing Halifax, however, a sixteen-knot wind got behind the Columbia and increased her speed to nearly a hundred miles an hour. Yarmouth she was flying watchers on the ground. lin At low and could readily be seen by Visability was so good that Chamber- could see 50 to 100 miles. Chamberlin's "running card," Eastern daylight saving time, was as follows, according to reports from various points along his route: 6:05 a. m. —The plane takes off.
  • 202. CHAMBERLIN'S FLIGHT TO GERMANY 8:00 187 —Sighted North Westport, Massachusetts. m. — Reported over the town of Long Pond, Massa- a. 8:25 . m. a. at chusetts. 12:06 1:10 —Passed over Yarmouth, N. p.m. — Passed over La Have Harbor, N. m. — Approached Chedabucto Head, N. m. — Passed over Shag Lodge Lighthouse. m. — Passed over Wedge N. p. m. S. S. 1 :30 p. 1 :55 p. 3:00 No S. Island, p. fog was encountered off the leaving the North American coast at ran into storms, in continuing on S. Grand Banks, but after Cape Race, the Columbia fog and clouds but had no great difficulty its At 11:30 way. a. m., June 5th the Bel- lanca monoplane met the Mauretania, 360 miles west of the Scilly Islands, time as it and gave circled its passengers the low over the ship. at terrific speed. life- Chamberlin calmly sur- veyed the ship as he made a complete headed eastward of a thrill circuit of it, and then Within three minutes the plane was out of sight. The Mauretania passed the Memphis, upon which Colonel Lindbergh was returning home, and radioed the battleship the news that the Columbia was tearing off another world's record. Chamberlin flew a modification of the Great Circle route and first sighted land in England, whereas Lindbergh flew very near the Great Circle, and sighted Ireland first. Late Sunday afternoon they passed over Land's End and Plymouth, England, en route to Germany. At p. m., Eastern daylight saving time, 1 1 that the plane had passed over the airdrome it was reported at Dortmund,
  • 203. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 188 Germany, and out: "To Berlin the direction had dropped low and that Chamberlin I To The Berlin!" The aviation police signalled of the Teutonic capital, the plane rose again and pointed for 260 miles away, and its destination. was rapidly becoming depleted 05:35 hours, Mid-European time (12:35 a. m., ship's gasoline supply so that at Eastern daylight saving time) a forced landing, due tion called was made near of the gasoline supply, to exhausabout Eisleben, 110 miles southwest of Berlin and 3,923 miles from RooseTheir elapsed non-stop flying time was 42J/2 hours. velt Field. The motor was functioning perfectly and, after refueling, the plane again took to the air in an attempt to reach Berlin. Becoming confused darkness Chamberlin made another in the landing, this time at Klinge, a village near Kottbus, Germany, 70 miles southeast of than if he had gone Berlin. Thus, he actually traveled further to Berlin. The ground was marshy and resulted in the propeller strik- ing the ground and one of the blades was broken the fliers were compelled to off, so that delay their journey until a new propeller could be secured. The Columbia was located by one of the Lufthansa planes from the Tempelhofer Field, at Berlin, just as it was landing in the bog, where it dug its nose in the soft earth. Police established a guard around the plane and the tired, ibut uninjured, The Mayor and rest. and invited The fliers fliers them were taken to a modest hotel for food of Kottbus welcomed the airmen officially to be the guests of the city. reported that their worst air troubles began when
  • 204. CHAMBERLIN'S FLIGHT TO GERMANY 189 they reached the Irish Sea and that they had to go higher and higher to Over Belgium and Holland much avoid storms. fog was encountered and at one time have to it looked as if they would land regardless of conditions below. The populace of Kottbus massed itself in front of the hotel where Chamberlin and Levine stopped, and cheered vociferously from time to time for a sight of them. Intermittent showers seemed to have no dampening the crowd. On the day after their arrival, the citizens of As soon effect fliers Kottbus at a special ceremony as word of their on the spirit of were made honorary in the town mishap reached Berlin, the hall. civilian Lufthansa organization offered to place its facilities at the disposal of the Americans with transportation to the Templehofer airdrome by means of a large plane dispatched for the purpose to Kottbus. Chamberlin, however, felt that if it were at all possible, the trip A should be completed in the Columbia. propeller was at once shipped by air from Berlin and, in two wheels, larger than those originally placed' on the Bellanca, were supplied so that the take-off from the marshy soil would be facilitated. Mechanicians were sent to the scene to make such adjustments as were required and the Columbia was able to start once again for Berlin on addition, June they came When down 7, the day after capital they were warmly at Kottbus. they arrived at the German by the President of Germany, Field Marshall von Hindenburg, who received them at the executive mansion After congratulating the Americans upon their record-breaking greeted
  • 205. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 190 feat, President von Hindenburg presented each of his visitors with a framed, autographed portrait of himself. He expressed the hope that the flight would aid in bringing the American and German peoples He communication. into closer also sent a message to President Coolidge. Chamberlin and Levine were accompanied to the Presidential residence by the American Ambassador, Dr. Jacob Gould Schur- man. . Outside, in the Wilhelmstrasse, gave a rousing welcome make it crowd to the aviators. Chamberlin was offered $100,000 States, but a tremendous to fly back to the seems highly improbable that he would United elect to the attempt. Throughout Berlin the Stars and Stripes were conspicuously company with the German national colors and the Prussian state flag. Numerous dinners and luncheons displayed, often in were scheduled Italy for the aviators and and other countries poured invitations to visit Austria, in. President Coolidge sent the following message to the men in care of the American Embassy at Berlin: "Congratulations upon your wonderful feat in setting a non-stop record in conquest of the making first air. Our country rejoices with me sustained flight from America to our greetings to Following a its in your safety Germany with people." week of social activities, the aviators left Berlin 13th for Baden Baden, the Columbia being by train, on June the mechanics at Tempelhofer Field. At Baden in the hands of were the guests of the Mayor and of Count Baden, the flyers von Bernstorff, who will be remembered as the German am-
  • 206. CHAMBERLIN'S FLIGHT TO GERMANY 191 bassador at Washington during the early days of the Great Crowds of people acclaimed them. War. In the Lufthansa plane, they flew to Friedrichshafen where they visited the Zeppelin works and the plant of the Dornier airplane From company. Friedrichshafen they went to Stuttgart by plane and were given people lined the streets and At Frankfort, at Over one hundred thousand formal luncheon. a many in the evening, an elaborate dinner in the pelted the fliers with flowers. they were the guests of the city Town Hall. After resting there overnight they went by air to Hanover and thence to Bremen and Bremerhaven. Leaving Bremen, they flew to Hamburg, where they were welcomed by a Senate delegation, and from there to Magdeburg and Berlin. Hopping from Berlin on June 19th in the repaired Bellanca, Chamberlin and Levine reached Munich that afternoon. They were received by the Lord Mayor, representatives of the Bavarian Ministry, the Aero Club and the American Consul. City of Munich presented the fliers with the Bavarian attached to an American flag and the golden pin of the touring club. An official honor decoration was The colors German also given to them. They heavy arrived in Vienna rain. city officials the aviators side, High dignitaries and the in at 7:25 in of the Austrian Government, entire general staff of the a reserved enclosure at thousands of the evening during a men and women Aspern Army awaited Field, Out- roared a welcome. Both men were presented with diamond-studded medals by the Aero
  • 207. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 192 Club of Austria, and on the following day President Hainisch conferred upon Chamberlin the Austrian Order of Merit in recognition of his great non-stop Americans honor for other than to receive the olent activities. It is They flight. are the first distinctly benev- the only decoration conferred by the Austrian Republic on foreigners Thousands of people made the seven-mile journey to the aerodrome at Aspern last Sunday and from 15,000 to 20,000 of them stood from four to five hours in a steady rain waiting for the Columbia to arrive, which it did three hours after the A scheduled time. crowd of several thousand took up a stand front of their hotel in when the fliers entered it after their and on Thursday afternoon, when Chamberlin and Levine left, it had only dwindled to hundreds. Whenever they went forth they were followed by cheering Viennese. arrival, On June 22nd the transatlantic fliers arrived at Budapest, then returned to Vienna and flew from there, through wind and rain, to Prague, Czechoslovakia, on June 23rd, where they were feted by President Masaryk cient seat of government. at Hardschin, Prague's an- The President of the Aero Club, Mayor and the Secretary of the American Legation were among those who welcomed them. The news of their arrival the spread rapidly and soon the streets were ing Czechs. The American filled with the cheer- Minister, Lewis Einstein, gave the airmen a hearty greeting. Hopping Pilsen. off from Prague the transatlantic fliers landed at After being guests of honor at a luncheon they visited the famous brewery where Pilsener beer is made. tinued their flight that afternoon te Marienbad. They con-
  • 208. CHAMBERLIN'S FLIGHT TO GERMANY On June ately 27th the Columbia landed at was surrounded by 193 Warsaw and immedi- a cheering throng. entertained by the Polish-American Association. The fliers were Leaving War- saw on June 28th, they flew to Zurich. They visited Berne, Paris and London before they completed their air tour of Europe's leading cities.
  • 209. BYRD'S FLIGHT OVER THE NORTH POLE BY FLOYD BENNETT This is the First Exclusive Story by the Pilot of the Josephine Ford on the North Pole Flight UR expedition left New York April 5th, with a crew of 52 men aboard the S. S. Chantier, the 3500-ton steamer supplied to us by the U. S. Shipping Board. two We carried airplanes, a small Curtiss Oriole, to be used for finding a suitable landing field for our big three-motor the Josephine Ford, which me from supplies and equipment Commander Byrd and North Pole. Our 1500 tons of was Spitzbergen to the was Fokker monoplane, to carry sufficient for a cruise of 10,000 we sighted Spitzbergen miles. On the morning of April twenty-ninth 4:30 that afternoon entered King's Bay where we were by Lieutenant Ulling of the Norwegian gunboat Heimdal. met the Chantier to a berth alongside his ship. We had piloted and at He hoped to find the bay solidly frozen over so that we could tie alongside the ice barrier and land the Josephine up the Chantier supplies and make our attempt from the ice as with our Ford Amundsen had done By last year. But the few small floes were permission of the Aero Digest, N. Y. 194
  • 210. NORTH POLE BYRD'S FLIGHT OVER THE barely large enough to support the weight of a man. We season was the most advanced in years. other plans immediately. side the to The devise for a place along- dock would have delayed us too long, as the Heimdal would be coaling there A To have waited had 195 for the next four or five days. composed of Commander Byrd, party, Doctor O'Brien, Peterson, Touchette and search of a landing field and base. the village of King's Bay and A I "Doc" Kinkaid, went ashore in large space between the hangar built for the Amund- sen-Ellsworth-Noble airship Norge, about a mile wide and a mile and one-half long, would give us a about 600 yards long; off as it runway was down grade 5 per cent and good a landing place as we could hope was that was it a wind tage of the no other place in one-way in our equipment ashore. the bay worked was all field, freezing over. and landing. It was miserable weather. We night in cold slush and sleet that at times obscured ever, the first load, the Oriole, gathering ice amusement One drawback and we could not take advan- everything more than fifteen feet distant. and came for. But there was vicinity. Our next problem was to get The snow was coming down fast and getting off the for the take- to By morning how- had been taken ashore through and greeted the inhabitants when they awoke watch us with curiosity which often developed floes, for us all. We had chopped a runway through the edge of the ice, cutting it down to the level of the pontoon we constructed so we could haul the planes up to the beach, and on these landed the small plane. so we The work had nearly exhausted returned to the ship to sleep. the men,
  • 211. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 196 On the afternoon of the 30th the Josephine Ford out alongside the ship. was filled A with drifting it a raft to strong wind was blowing and the bay so ice, we did not then attempt to place We were compelled to keep away floating ice cakes which would The following morning, May 1st, was bay was packed with drift ice. Condi- the raft to push have broken the raft. perfectly calm, but the tions hoisted the fuselage of of the hold and lashed the large wing on the fuselage. men on we were perfect for hoisting out the big wing and placing and securing it on the fuselage. In about an hour we reached the beach. The first big job of getting the plane on shore was Our two wing motors, gas and other supplies remained surmounting obstacles ferried over, but our success in ting the plane ashore more trips made us Our base camp on the shore motors were installed and motor test conditions. and several on May was then we had We 3rd. we were the plane ready for the for three days test flight. for us to sleep with the constant daylight until nearly It is exhausted and an odd sensation to still wake Two Our plane established. difficult The temperature was 7 degrees (F) below of the men had frost-bitten hands and feet. needed sleep before attempting our be through. were working under had worked almost continuously to in get- regard this as a small job. with our ferry and done. It —one zero We and greatly was difficult could work not feel the need of sleep. at midnight and find the sun shining as at noon. On May 4th we were ready for the first engine test. The
  • 212. BYRD'S FLIGHT OVER THE NORTH POLE 197 difficulty of starting our three Wright "Whirlwind" air-cooled engines in the extreme cold had been anticipated before leav- New ing York. Therefore, for each motor we made a hood or cover of fireproof canvas which fitted snugly around the motor with a funnel-like extension below the motor. Three gasoline stoves with vertical blow torph burners were placed so the heat would be carried through the canvas ducts to the hoods. The heated air thus circulating around the engines warmed them up with warm in a few minutes. The oil tanks were filled After these preparations the motors started as easily as in a temperate climate,— a tribute to our Flight oil. Engineer, Lt. Noville. We were next ready to try the skis. To my knowledge no plane of this size has ever been started on skis, especially with a useful load of 6000 pounds. I had never flown any plane with skis, and had little knowledge as to how the plane would act. test flight of at least two hours was decided on before the final start, to give us a chance to see how our motors would function under these severe conditions. Finally all was ready. One motor was opened. Nothing A happened! happened. not move an Two motors With the inch! third opened and away up Again still nothing motor wide open our plane did After considerable effort the plane moving, taxied for the trial take-off. were all the we finally got and turned around motors would not start the hill, plane moving and the crew gathered around to give a lift for a start. Touchette, who was standing near, found a break in the main fitting which secures the landing gear to the fusel-
  • 213. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 198 The ship was strong enough for use with wheels, for which it was designed, but when equipped with skis and either age. of the wing motors used separately there a terrific strain is on the landing gear, because the skis do not turn on the snow as easily as wheels on the ground. when equipped with to turn a plane crew of men could not as is tail skis. we broke the had come prepared first It found that a it, was by attempting and landing set of skis for trouble We of the plane and turn usual in turning a ship with wheels. this that We the lift requires a larger space It fittings. and had an extra landing But it means time and labor to change them on a plane weighing 4000 pounds and in four It was necessary to dig down through the feet of light snow. snow in four places and build a foundation of gasoline drums gear and two extra sets of skis. upon which we could place jacks and raise the plane clear of the landing gear. This was a delicate operation as an increase of wind might have forced the plane the expedition would have reached off the jacks No end. its plane, and no flight. After fifteen hours of hard work attempt the test flight. we were again ready to Lieutenant Parker and I were at the and Flight Engineer Noville and Mechanician Peterson in the cabin. It was necessary to make to the right as we got under way as we had cleared a slight turn controls of the big plane only a narrow runway and there was The Then plane did not move a snow bank on until all three the left ski stuck slightly the left. motors were opened. and the plane headed to the the right, which caused the left ski to catch left instead of to
  • 214. BYRD'S FLIGHT OVER THE and break snow bank in a One snow. ski was We We it. were learning. ruined, one landing gear strut broken, of the center motor replaced. nearly cleared as the ski broke, plunged her members of the landing gear were badly peller 199 This experience increased our respect nose into the snow. for the we had just as The plane whirled around and, NORTH POLE was out The metal proand had to be bent. of line were getting quite experienced the plane in the snow, but this and other in jacking up meant another day's work and delay which was serious. Every day lessened our chances should we have to could get away walk back over the polar the less fog and naturally we hoped sea. The sooner we we would encounter upon our to be the first to flight, reach the pole by air. On May on our test up and 5th we were ready flight. for another attempt to get off Everything was the motors set, turning seemed as though every possible precaution was taken. The Norge was due the next day and as we were quite close it to the entrance of their hangar it would be necessary our plane before they could land. were son we in in move Lieutenant Parker and the pilot's cockpit and Lieutenant Noville I and Peter- With motors wide open we gained speed as down grade. It looked as though we would make it. the cabin. glided Off to at last! What that work. a glorious sensation to be in the air after wished then that the ship was loaded and headed for the North Pole. all I At the end of an hour everything was going great. fine and the motors The temperature and pressures remained constant
  • 215. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 200 and everything looked hour and thirty minutes favorable. Suddenly after about an in the air there was an alarming vibration throughout the plane accompanied by a dull hum. The motors were throttled preparatory to landing when it occurred me what to the trouble might be. with radio and the small electric The plane was equipped generator was mounted on the outside of the fuselage just off the cockpit. just in time to see the generator torn its looked out mounting. A went overboard, the balance hanging on about four of wire, Noville and Peterson had seen the generator and portion of feet it by opening a window it from I We in. continued our thirty minutes with Our reached down and pulled in the cabin, flight for a period of no further trouble. landing on skis was made, which first two hours and we found not and the plane turned around by hand and headed down grade, where it would start on its history-making flight. at all difficult, Final examination of plane and motor showed a leaking oil tank on the starboard motor. and repaired, and that remained fuel a for us new to radio generator do was to food, mostly was installed. All load the plane with the and equipment and give the motors Our equipment This me we had we removed a final looking over. consisted of about three hundred pounds of pemmican; two twelve-pound portable rubber boats with paddles; a tent built especially for us; two pairs of snow shoes; a sledge built for us in Remington and a twelve-gauge shot gun; 300 rounds of ammunition and 200 rounds of shotgun ammunition; an exparka; two pairs of winter mukluks and two pairs for sum- rifle tra rifle Spitzbergen; a thirty-caliber
  • 216. BYRD'S FLIGHT OVER THE NORTH POLE mer; an extra pair of reindeer trousers; and a gallons of gasoline and 40 gallons of of 615 total (sufficient for a flight oil was of at least twenty hours), 410 gallons of this gasoline our tanks and 200 of May was While in the plane. this in cans to be emptied through a in 5-gallon chamois into the main tanks during The seventh 201 flight. spent in getting the gear stored was being done, Peterson and Kin- On May kaid were carefully inspecting the motors. 8th, about 12:30 G. M. T. we were ready for the great adventure. The motors were warmed up and "good byes" were said. have preferred we would get to off. useful load being taken off omit the "good byes" as The plane was loaded I was not to capacity; Everything was set to go. down off. so sure our total New York. Motors opened wide, the plane the long runway. yards before our motors were could get would 6000 pounds, 500 pounds more than we had with on our test flight at Mitchel Field, started slowly I full We out but moved along 100 still I we thought So we continued down the long runway, our speed gradually increasing until we reached the end of the runway where we had packed the snow. I knew that if we snow here there would be no use continuing further, for as soon as we came in contact with the soft snow we would lose speed. At the end of the runway I made a final could not clear the attempt to get the heavily-laden unsuccessful as and I it plane off the snow. It was we had only about thirty-five miles air speed required around forty-five miles to ride with this load. throttled the motors so as to stop before waters of King's we reached the open Bay, one hundred yards away; when the motors were throttled the plane stopped almost immediately.
  • 217. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 202 We had failed in our first attempt. worry we had is putting it To say failed to get off. lightly. Then After all that was disappointed I thought of the crew I our work and who had worked almost continuously for the past forty-eight hours. have sleep and They must any more work could be done. Every hour was vital to us as the weather was now perfect for our start. Buried as it was in the soft snow it seemed impossible to move rest before the plane with ing the landing gear. its extremely heavy load without wreck- was necessary to remove most of the 6,000 pounds of weight and carry it back to the top of the grade for another trial. The crew was tired out and needed sleep and it looked as though it would be some time before we It make another we could get the plane back to its starting place immediately we could make another attempt at once. Therefore we took out about 1,000 pounds of the load and within half an hour we had the big Josephine Ford back could trial. to the top of the hill for another start. plane back in this position the felt there that we If was still a chance. spirit of the We crew With the rose. They decided to take out everything could possibly spare without greatly decreasing our cruising radius. By taking out various articles we reduced the weight about 450 pounds. The runway was feet sprinkled again smoothed out and the with water to form ice first which would hundred better sup- The tail of the plane was secured so that the plane would not move until all three motors were developing full power. A line was passed around the tail skid and fixed to the ground, to be cut when our engines reached port the weight of the plane.
  • 218. BYRD'S FLIGHT OVER THE their full plane and The gas and power. all was and some supplies were restored to the as to whether we should going on the rest before flight. start immediately Commander Byrd we should go immediately but Captain Chantier insisted that we should get some rest thought that I Brennan of the We first. 203 in readiness. The question arose or get NORTH POLE agreed to go to the ship and sleep for four hours. As we started down the runway towards the Chantier the Commander said, "Bennett, we ought to go while the weather is good." We I answered, 'Then let's go now." turned and walked back to the plane and gave instruc- have the motors warmed up and made ready. As this would take about two hours, I thought I might get a little tions to sleep while this was being done, so put on my flying suit of reindeer and laid down on the snow to rest. But there was much on my mind too for sleep. I rested for about an hour. At 12:50 A. M. (G. M. T.) on May 9th we were again in the plane and ready for another start, twelve hours after our first We attempt. time. had no "good byes" or handshaking this We took our places in the plane and when all motors were full out the signal was given to cut the line holding the tail skid. The plane glided smoothly down the long runway, rapidly increasing was apparent immediately that this time we would get off. When a little more than half way down the runway we cleared the snow and were actually in the air. What aration with its speed. It a glorious feeling! its many After four months of prepdisappointments and uncertainties were actually started on our we flight to the pole.
  • 219. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 204 It was a beautiful morning with the sun comparatively low on the horizon. Our sixty miles took us along the coast first of Spitzbergen and over open water. was directly north out into the great to find open water for the first After this our course We unknown. hundred miles expected off the coast of Spitzbergen but the polar ice pack extended nearly to Danes Island. The edge of the pack floating ice extending We was reached. large fields of back a few miles before the expected to find a belt of slush edge of the pack. this was made of We were not disappointed slush ice for in case of motor failure pack solid along the ice in not finding we would have a better chance to land on the large fields of floating ice than broken slush in the small I thought we would ice. find the polar sea a mass of broken ice with no chance to land without wrecking our ship. surprised at the condition of the ice; ' as rough as I by cakes of Running had expected. were great pressure from ten ridges, it ice of all sizes. It to was in ever/ direction there twenty a great feet high, formed network of presfields All of this great mass of ice ice. covered with snow and in many was did not appear nearly sure ridges, but between some of these ridges were comparatively smooth I of the fields of was between the ridges could plainly be seen large blocks of ice propressure jecting out of the snow. Some closely seemed smooth and I of the fields which I observed believe that a plane could land with some chance of rising again. be great I Of course there would risk. noted the various sizes and shapes of the sections between
  • 220. BYRD'S FLIGHT OVER THE the pressure ridges. We NORTH POLE saw three open 205 leads of water re- sembling long winding rivers extending through the Two ice. of these were very narrow, perhaps thirty or forty feet in width. The third was somewhat a large seaplane in. larger, large There seemed enough, to I believe, to be no great change in the condition of the ice throughout the entire flight. was an land There occasional lead that had just recently frozen over, pre- senting a blue line across the glaring white surface. Everything went along smoothly for the first six hours, mander Byrd continually checking our course with his Com- sun com- pass, taking the drift of the plane, using his sextant to deter- mine our position and taking photographs, both He pictures. relieved me out of every hour so that at the I still and motion wheel about twenty minutes might check up the gas consump- and pour more gas into the tanks from the 40 five-gallon cans. We did not have much time to let our thoughts wander and perhaps it was just as well. tion After about seven and one-half hours Commander ported an oil leak in the starboard motor. From Byrd re- the cabin he had a good view of the wing motors and could see the oil leaking out and covering the cowling and tail section. He came forward and took the controls and I went back into the cabin to see It could determine the seriousness of the leak. looked bad and I did not know how long the oil would last. if I not possible to get out to the motor. The oil tank was completely cowled in and covered with asbestos and over this a covering of canvas. Therefore there was no way to determine the position of the leak. If it should be at the bottom It is
  • 221. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 206 of the tank of our all oil would drain out our motor would be useless. mander Byrd asked, "It is a "Is it my returned to I a bad leak?" bad leak and we may Then we in a short lose the throttled the leaking motor any time." at determine to continue with the two remaining motors should and we were able one, the two motors. might land and I to if we we could lose this maintain our altitude of 2,000 with Commander Byrd indicated to fix the and Com- seat wrote on a pad I motor time and We motor. tinue the flight to the pole and that we decided however to con- necessary to return on two if motors. For the next hour and was busy with his thirty-five Commander Byrd minutes sun compass, sextant, and drift indicators Suddenly he came forward and shook hands with cameras. We had reached the pole! We circled at the pole and then me. now sun was is, I almost directly in front of us to the passed across the windshield from it was able to use it as a check in holding about six hours on our return course to be land but as attention to land and making it it. I was not sure I I left my did not certainly looked good. It to the call I left, that right, and After course. sighted what After another fifteen minutes better speed The started on our return. I thought Commander's was sure it was was apparent we were on our return than going out. were about a hundred miles from land when it was sighted as it took us about an hour to reach the coast We first of Spitzbergen. sure was still The remarkable thing was that the oil presup on the starboard motor, although half of
  • 222. BYRD'S FLIGHT OVER THE the oil We the tank.) a to — Now we neared the coast of Spitzbergen within had only one hour more that as two hours. I to land, I I As had to time there was a place get down there some Our for a set to I for the past were too many people where the place circle of the field. settled we down left I This safely on sixteen mission was accomplished, and at last sleep! Bay. landing and came over make another clear and we snow and taxied up before. to reach King's had been awfully sleepy spiraled the field to land. the Commander Byrd had a tribute to his skill as a navigator. was glad of wanted coming loose half way rivet one mile of the point toward which the course 207 (Later examination on our return had leaked away. showed the leak was due down NORTH POLE I hours could
  • 223. COLUMBUS OF THE AIR BY AUGUSTUS POST I NE night in May, 1927, a tall, good-iooking American boy stands in line unnoticed before a New York moving pic- ture house, like anyone else; a few hours later he drops from the sky crowded man to the roof to see the world's hero since men began world wide fame as gustus Lindbergh. make and the theatre before which he stood in Paris, to this screen. the deed and the hour combined to most quickly and widely known human greatest multitude of rejoicing come from San Diego, No make history has risen so swiftly to young American, Colonel Charles Au- The man, this the event upon the is beings. to He had the just California, alone, in twenty-one hours, the fastest air time across the Continent, and a record that would have put him on the quieter times than these. the flight that he a was about front page of the newspapers in But to this was only tuning up make; crossing the for Atlantic on sandwich and a half and a few swallows of water; landing at night, oil on it on unknown ground, in a machine with not a spot of nor a sign of having come from across the globe. North American Review, by permission. 208
  • 224. COLUMBUS OF THE AIR seems It to be the peculiar attribute of formidable, the fantastic and the 209 Lindbergh incredible, in to do the the simplest and most everyday fashion, and to keep this everyday simplicity through the fire of the most intense and exhausting publicity that has ever been turned upon a single individual. was eight years ago, while Lindbergh was still a schoolboy, that Alcock and Brown made the first air crossing of the It America with England. This fired Raymond York City, a passionately patriotic Frenchman, Atlantic, linking Orteig, of New with the determination to do something not only to advance aviation but to bring France into these new world-relations. I was time secretary of the Aero Club of America, and was to me that he telephoned to ask my assistance in formu- it at that lating plans. It New was clear that the best York by air. way would be to link Paris with This would require a machine to do double what had ever been done before, new instruments, and navigation in addition to piloting. scientific Naturally Mr. Orteig thought French would be the first to do it, and so did I; he drew up a deed of gift for twenty-five thousand dollars, and I drew up the rules to win this prize that was a challenge the to avia- tion. side. up Five years passed, however, without a start from either The general public did not take it seriously— indeed to the very day of Lindbergh's starting, Mr. Orteig was berated in letters to the press, for instigating men to go to their deaths for a deed not only impractical but impossible ot accomplishment. Mr. Orteig, however, extended the time, when an entry came
  • 225. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 210 from the foremost French was made. made from Rene Fonck, and an attempt flyer, In the following year, 1927, several entries were and from France two of the most intrepid of the world, Nungesser and Coli, flew out into the flyers this side, unknown and disappeared. Finally, on May 20, mist in the before morning, Lindbergh rose alone from Roosevelt Field, Mineola, Long Island; was sighted along our coast to the tip of Newfoundland; surprised a fisherman in Dingle Bay by asking from the clouds, "Is this the road to Ireland?" and before the day ended, was in Paris. The keynote then struck was soon to phony of homage; as he passed from sym- swell into a world France, to Belgium, to England, kings and commoners joined the acclaim and expressed, each in his at the own way, coming of the the long-waiting joy of humanity first citizen of the world, the human first being truly entitled to give his address as 'The Earth," the first Ambassador-at-Large to American warship, he received the tion at the in hands of the President New York Day Brought home Creation. official at welcome of in his an Na- Washington, was greeted with a demonstration to which that of Armistice alone might be compared, and set sail for home in the plane that he had always recognized as part of himself and partaker of his glory. The of reader of this survey of events, reviewing the great day Le Bourget from the perspective of even a comparatively why the excitement? brief interval, may Just what the significance of Charles Lindbergh's achieve- is be permitted to ask, all ment, that a world no longer looking on the aeroplane as a
  • 226. COLUMBUS OF THE AIR 211 marvel, a world that had already acclaimed the crossing of the Atlantic, the circumnavigation of the globe traversing of the North Pole thrill to this exploit as The answer again? if life is flight were air, and the dirigible, should some way beginning over in that the world An epoch beginning over again. by the by aeroplane and by in of Lindbergh, and with it is air Aviation right. history is was closed an epoch begins. II Before the hero of the New New York to Paris flight had regained York on the Memphis, another American youth had crossed the Atlantic," this time with Chamberlin with Charles Levine. a passenger; Steering for Clarence Berlin, their gasoline supply had lasted to within a comparatively few miles of their destination, lin when they were forced down. another type of American airman is was a way of "gypsy life. by flyer," the picturesque The gypsy flyer owns in Chamber- time of peace; he phrase for a picaresque his plane and picks up a however and wherever he can; taking up passengers, buying and selling second-hand machines, taking photographs, and especially stunt-flying at fairs or other open air living it assemblies! The gypsy flyer has been quite naturally looked by the profession as but he furnishes a sort of aerial some of the types of young Americans. acrobat down upon and camp follower, most interesting and significant The country is, if not full of them, at least well sprinkled with bronzed and competent youths, who may drop from the clouds almost anywhere over the countryside and earn a living by their skill, their courage and their often brilliant resourcefulness.
  • 227. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 212 III While all this was going on, a scientific expedition, headed by Commander Richard E. Byrd, was waiting suitable weather conditions for an Atlantic flight in the giant monoplane The crew America. consisted of Bert Acosta, chief pilot; Lieutenant George O. Noville, radio operator; and Bernt Balchen, reserve pilot. They were not competing for the Orteig Prize, but intended to chart the weather at various altitudes and generally and accumulate to scientific data in regard to would be of value air currents that to aircraft plying be- Commander Byrd tween America and Europe. type of American airman; engineer, naval explorer, intrepid and devoted. Arctic Regions were he is Pole. at this He made His storms officer, flights yet another is scientist and over the Pole and in the interests of exploration, writing arranging an expedition to the and South not only sustains the tradition of the American navy, but represents a family that has been prominent in the councils of the American Nation since the time of Washington. After waiting, like a good sportsman, for the return of Lind- bergh to this country, the America took from which the other two shore stations all other planes did, the flights started, way by —but was off wireless, from the very kept —which in field touch with neither of the exceptionally unfortunate in run- ning into dense fog which obscured the ocean for the greater part of the course. When the voyagers reached the coast of France the weather was so thick they were unable to determine position, and their compass went out of commission for their
  • 228. COLUMBUS OF THE AIR 213 - some unaccountable reason; but in difficulties they were able to return made best of airmanship coming in the ocean, to a spite of these disheartening to the seacoast, and by the fortunate landing at Ver-sur-Mer, shore in their collapsible life-raft. IV 1903 when the Wright Brief as the time has been since Brothers rose from the sand dunes of Kitty the era of aviation, periods, with each of started lived all placed that The first which everything may be said A man over again. through them I all; was still has been it could watch division and opened already divided into clearly defined is it Hawk all in to have middle age might have my good fortune to be so these developments at close hand. the period of the Inventors such as the Wrights and Curtiss in and Builders, America, the Voisin Broth- would be hard ers and Bleriot ers from inventors, for though the arch-inventors approached the subject by in way France; it to separate build- of laboratory experiments in aerodynamics, and others of their type sought results by elaborate calculation, there were yet others who made valuable contributions to the changing machine by empirical methods, approaching the subject by trying one thing and then another, working "by guess and by gosh," as the farmer built his bridge, and acting as developers in the building process. Immediately after this came the age of "aerial jockeys." the era of the Demonstrators, At first these were the inventors and builders themselves—Wilbur Wright Orville Wright at Fort Meyer, at Le Mans, France; and Glenn Curtiss elsewhere
  • 229. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 214 in But soon the United States. a generation of pupils, fell to who did not add a nut or a bolt who to the construction of the machine, them, but who by them new machines fulfill their was It new what they had, con- and constantly required would respond that this generation that for tasks, what was given to their abilities and demands. by concentrating on undreamed of by the possibilities hoped flew their intrepid use of stantly set the constructors of duty of demonstration this by the public, Pegaud's builder. flying proved and only remotely feat in looping-the-loop by the unthinking as foolhardiness, serving no good purpose; a reproach that has never been withheld from any stage of development of air flight, and from which even Lind- was reviled bergh himself has not been builder that was challenged free. But by Pegaud provide for to would withstand the all strain of this the aeroplane future flyers a machine new manoeuvre, to the general improvement of the plane and to the vast enlargement of the possibilities of During especially in warfare. flight, this period these expert demonstrators developed the plane by races and contests in reliability of altitudes. and speed, and carried They were to undreamed enlarging the pattern: already by the close of this era, the Atlantic Flight greatest possibility of it all in the way was on the horizon as the of demonstration. V But War went this period was to intervened. into the war Only to come to a violent end. The World light machine that compare the little, the deadly efficiency of the engines that with
  • 230. COLUMBUS OF THE AIR emerged from is it, about developments gery and 215 to see for one's self that this period comparable only to those in sur- vital necessity that made surgeons in aviation The in chemistry. brought and chemists take chances that a century of peace would not justify, sent men perform the impossible and into the clouds to make it the commonplace of a flyer's day. This period added armament to the plane and made the gun its raison d'etre, with flying only a means to this end instead of an occupation for all the powers and energies of hand and brain, as heretofore. It not only developed a type of flyer who could run his machine almost automatically, reserving his darting intelligence for the upon the builder the necessity plane whose mechanism would respond exigencies of conflict, but of providing at the him with a laid it once to the most sensitive control. Ace had been evolved, to the tips of its When the war stopped, whose personality extended whom mind and motor were one. a creature wings and in Opportunity for the Ace stopped with the war, and with the coming of the fourth period, Commercial Aviation, the machine began to take first place in the public the organization that Air lines opened scale. came made fication the machine and operation possible on a large every direction in Europe, and be- a short time a valued method of transportation, not respect to speed, but for the even more important quali- in only in in its — mind of safety. The Channel as a barrier had crumbled under Bleriot and disappeared during the war; it was now to be crossed daily by steady airgoing craft used by tourists no more freely than by staid business men desiring conservative and speedy methods of transportation for themselves and for
  • 231. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 216 merchandise. fragile crossed and recrossed From every airport of Europe lines the map. The globe was circled, Aus- linked to the mother-country, tralia Sahara opened and the Darkest Africa illuminated; the Atlantic, North and South, was crossed no less than fifteen times by airship and aeroplane; the islands of the Pacific, Hawaii and the Aleutian Islands were joined to the mainland, the flights depending in each instance not only upon the skill of the pilots in flying and navigating, but upon long preparation, organization and team work of their supporters, in some instances of supporting Governments. But although our Government took some part in the peak of our activity in this period the air mail, a fine was this procession, example of organized support of individual bravery and skill. VI The a actual achievement of Lindbergh monoplane named is easily set down. for the city of his financial backers, Spirit of St. Louis, built for him The May he flew on in sixty days, In 20-21, 1927, 3,610 flying miles, without stop or deviation from a determined minutes. course, in thirty-three hours and twenty-nine His only new instrument of importance was the earth- inductor compass; this he constantly watched, and in order to fly, as he flew, on the arc of a great circle, every hundred miles. drift of his ment in He had machine and allow it had to adjust about continually to judge the sidefor it, and also to use his judg- manoeuvring around fog and storm centres. The dis- tance he covered constituted the world's record for non-stop flight, at the time, but this was never emphasized in the popu-
  • 232. 217 COLUMBUS OF THE AIR lar mind, and I doubt one man if a in who thousand cheered offhand the number of miles that Lindbergh could have told memorable hours above the ocean. he had flown in those There are some flights that make records and some that make history-making flight. As with all the other history: this was a again history, everything is beginning over periods of flying again directed, not only to the machine, with it. Attention is the first days, when aviation was a matter but to the man, as in Old and young share in the thrill, for individuals. of great acclaims the young hero and to those who lived through youth In 1926 days, the days of pioneering begin anew. the pioneer Commander Byrd's magnificent feat North Pole in crossing the admiration of the world, but once done it was, so roused the while Lindfar as the public mind was concerned, done with, almost immediately followed by Chamberlin's and then by Byrd's, seems even to the unimaginative the openAs important as its being ing of a new era of transportation. bergh's flight, the aspect of was done on time, and ambassadorship that loomed large imagination. America done was the fact that it is a long way off again, it was the public in from Europe, and, with the best will in the world, professional diplomacy does not al- ways tend to diminish the distance. Radio ment has progressed step by step with graph accompanied the railroad and automobile —was doing together in thought, but step of this official much it to —whose aviation, the develop- as the tele- telephone bring the two hemispheres needed the actual crossing at a single level-headed boy, bringing a greeting no than his first the more words "I'm Charles Lindbergh," but with
  • 233. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 218 a smile that carried with words are more apt to obscure than to explain. doubt that Europe took was fulfilling speech to the in this spirit, a sacred trust to humanity There is no and Lindbergh when in his brief multitudes at Washington and to the thirty mil- he had seen and Belgium and in coming his lions of radio listeners, he ica that those assurances of good will that it in spoke only of the affection for Amerfelt everywhere displayed, in France, England, and of his sense of obligation to bring back with him the impression of this frame of mind, undimmed by time, and transmit it to his coutrymen. VII People appreciate what comes within their experience. Though the public thought the flight was great, it was even more impressed by the flawless tact with which Lindbergh met the kings of the Old World and the crowds of the New, and the unerring judgment that steered him past the two storm centers far of sentimentality and more by his actions than commercialism. he did by as they invariably were; he brought He conveyed his words, well chosen new power and vitality to diplomacy by the addition of the dramatic element. His actions the public could see, but what it could only faintly envisage was, after speaking, not more than these are the aviators a all, the flight through the This, strictly dozen men can really appreciate; who have had at least a similar ience; who have made, or partly made, They know itself. a transoceanic experflight. the fierceness of the forces that block the road unknown, the icy mist that may reduce the lifting
  • 234. — COLUMBUS OF THE AIR power of the wings and in a moment change 219 success to failure, death; the swift springing storms or blinding fog that life to they did for Byrd, blot out land and sea for nineteen may, as hours together, and the immeasurable waste of waters whose very thought pulls down the mind, the waters that hold some- where the Nungesser and secret of But Coli. aviators in gen- amount of imagination, can appreciate and it is from them that the praise most eral given even a slight all this indirectly, valued by Lindbergh has come. the exploit of Byrd as at large the disposition failed only in its it It is they also avowed With should be valued. has been to regard objective; though who the public as a flight that it it was The superhuman incidents of dramatic grandeur. can value beset with skill and the Commander each member highest science of aerial navigation on the part of Byrd, and the cool bravery and heroic courage of of the crew, brought to a well as of all them through imminent dangers earned ovation from the nations of the world as well their fellow citizens of for Berlin, found himself fact that this in America. Chamberlin, heading cucumber-patch a in Kottbus; the was some miles further than Lindbergh had flown did not count with the it crowd in comparison with the was some miles short of the spot he had expected though he had carefully refrained from making nouncement of this expectation. Byrd, in and, with four times the human risk, fact that to reach official an- the America, carried three times the weight, chanced three times the scientific in safety motor difficulties, completed a tremendous experiment, and revealed the possibilities of radio com- munication almost as remarkable as those of the aeroplane,
  • 235. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 220 and demonstrated, against almost inconceivable dangers and difficulties, that it was by no mere lucky fluke that the others had made the flight, and that the crossing could be made in almost any weather. The trans-Pacific flight of Maitland and Hegenberger, which took place with Byrd's, was but another proof accuracy of state brilliant precision at to almost the same time as to the public of the which the navigation of man/clous had aircraft reached; such small objects as the Hawaiian Islands, after a flight of twenty-five hours and fifty minutes, could be hit "plumb on the nose," although they were a distance of twentyfour hundred miles away over water. But long distance flights are becoming of everyday occurrence and the public no longer human life is being risked for only a glory. The mortality rate has always been complains that moment of for aviation than people generally believed, has been not upon the now the expectation is man that flies brief lower for the emphasis but the man that falls; that the pilot will win through, just as the traveller on the railroad train believes that he will reach Chicago on time. at If there is a train wreck the papers do not once complain that the steam engine is an affront to Provi- dence. Lindbergh's perfect characteristics of man: flight revealed the highest and noblest daring, skill, calculation and genius. It brought into the limelight of public knowledge the vast height of attainment and the tremendous possibilities even command in now at our the aeroplane of today; and as a flash of lightning illumines the landscape for a moment so that we see the moun-
  • 236. COLUMBUS OF THE AIR peaks upon tain 221 revealed to the horizon, so this brilliant deed the imagination of He had a clear vision of the future. man more important, was upheld by the wishes, the hopes and and he faith not only in his in himself, motor but, what is still the prayers of the whole Nation. VIII Today not only In 1914 prophesying. and Air, * wrote an 1 article called is now who living will be the cross the Atlantic ocean through the a still is young man. days nearer; instead of thirty hours. eral ... It He days away, it the alert for the that this is being to will cross will while move two will be distant only would seem out of keeping with the genparts are not dup'Lated, that the pilot should be carried in duplicate. awake and human Europe All at once, five first air. economy of weight, when even the knows Columbus of said: I "A man he and the airmen but the earthmen are planning flight, every aeronaut myself have kept alert for longer whole time of the possible. I ... As for keeping periods than this several times in international balloon races. Whoever will • crosses the ocean through the air for the be too busy • • to first time be lonesome. Imagine then, the welcome that awaits the Columbus of the air! The cable warns of his departure, before the wireless announcing his progress. the great him flies Ship after ship, waiting moment, catches glimpses of the black dot ocean steamers bearing each a cityful of human in the sky; beings, train thousands of glasses on the tiny winged thing, advance herald
  • 237. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 222 of the aerial age. ity; above no time all he The ocean comes rides, solitary, to decorate for his to life intent. coming; with gazing human- There flags will have been will run up hurriedly, roofs in an instant turn black with people, wharves and streets white with upturned faces, while over the heads of the multitude he rides in, to such a shout as the ear of man has never heard. No explorer ever knew such a welcome, no conqueror, as awaits the 'Columbus of the Air. 1 " To say that within less than a decade America will be covered with commercial air-lines America is now only to remind the public that is far behind Europe, much routes are at this time as equipment as those for land or improved; this is most evident where time-tables for air a part of a business man's Landing devices must be sea. in the case of airships. Indeed the main reason for the lagging behind of the dirigible it mu^t be pulled down the Leviathan being to earth warped by a into her swarm of men. in Imagine dock by an army of men each pulling on a rope, and you have something anachronism that is the working of the dirigible. like the present That this will be overcome there can be no doubt, nor that the landing devices of aeroplanes will be made The safer than they are at present. parachute as an emergency measure with the aeroplane comparatively recent date, and in its is of present improved form provides something like that ''sky-hook" the old-timers used to declare every aviator needed. piers will make every Platforms over city blocks and city a port of the air and bring to pass the famous predictions of Kipling's With the Night Mail. There will be "floating islands" in the ocean and moored ships for
  • 238. 223 COLUMBUS OF THE AIR sondes and kites for high altitude weather reports with batons flown to shore from Atlantic data; mail and passengers will be cutting two days off the passage. liners, New and better in- capacity indicator to show how high struments will come, a of the ground will make crossing you are above the surface and an instrument will measure dismountains less perilous, pilot earth's surface, and an automatic tance traveled over the course as set by an earth-inductor comkeep a predetermined pass, as men is on ocean liners by what done now We as "Metal Mike." will have devices is known to dissipate to sea- and to enemy of all craft, especially to lights and wireless beacons and powneon guide through fog, the greatest assist pilots to land; stations to transmit meteorological informaerful radio direction tion and give bearings observation stations in in the Antarctic. Greenland and vestigations and No be crossed In the course of these in- discoveries, great flights spot on the earth in must be generally established with the Polar Regions, on the ice-cap of a be unseen by man. will single must soon be made. flight, The Pacific will the world circumnavigated in Heights of 50,000 feet will be reached, and it fifteen days. possible to utilize the vast possibilities of speed at very may be great altitudes. We may see "superterranean" machines with apparatus for supplying passengers with air under pressure mixed with oxygen; Breguet built such a machine in France; and on account of the reduced resistance of the air speeds of five hundred miles an hour might be attained, according to some authorities. Experiments are now in progress in the use of the reactionary principle in propulsion, doing away with the
  • 239. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 224 propeller and motor as used in the present plane and substituting the exhaust of liquid air through nozzles. Wireless transmission of power is still Machines have been re-fueled distant, but not in the air, below the horizon. enabling them to continuous journeys of indefinite duration. earthbound reader has reached forecast, his round survey of reasonable of air transport. the time the this point in this conservative mind may be preparing off this By make to let go, and it is possibilities of the time to future
  • 240. "THE KID BY VICTOR AWD-A-MITY, A. )9 SMITH That don't look! fool Kid is at The C. 0. ducked and turned away. I didn't. Kid. He had taught me to fly and I was used I again." it knew the to his hair- But he'd only been with us about ten days and C. 0. and everybody else still threw fits every time he went raising stunts. the They were up. afraid all — that put Alex Smart, the field fool He is, all but the Kid. "Fear," as "wasn't in the Kid's Webster. the word." didn't Noah it, The Kid could do more things with ever saw and tion, like his there was day a I'd all —good than any and bad. nickname, had preceded his coming a lot of dapper seen 'em a plane man I His reputato us, but head-wagging and many doubtful looks the fellow about five feet three inches high, little weighing just over a hundred pounds and looking about seventeen years of age, reported for duty as the much instructor. "Your name," said the C. O. "The Kid," answered the new "I mean your real From the name. instructor. Haven't you one?" Aero Digest N. Y. 225 By permission. touted new
  • 241. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 226 c< Sure." And the Kid did, this "Who'll we way: T. H. E. Kidd. notify in the case of accident?' "Nobody," said the Kid, "there ain't gonner be no Me and the American Eagle is buddies." The C. O. About silver away with American eagle the Kid told the truth. An old dollar was his luck piece and I remember how, at another lost it one night days before payday. his dollar. He On By money he it started out to find ten dollars to get Like a blinking up. that flight, the idiot, I it went with Kid invented sky-writing. the time he had been with us a week, the Kid was a popular favorite. That That was three In those three days he never touched a paid the robber that had Then he went back. crap game. in a plane, but the minute he got his him. it. that he had field, the Kid get let accident. is, everybody but neck of a husky, original Everybody, from the C. 0. down, loved him. Brawner. Bill Bill was so, naturally, with, his initials, Big Boy, and he had been, a great rough- he became the until the Kid's arrival, the flying hero of our outfit. Two to days after the Kid reached him for a little lot while, then dived and did falling leaves of fancy all Kid was Boy happened decided he'd stuff. he got busy. so close to him that the Big get away, but the he and Big The B. B. be up at the same time. Kid up and he started a us, He the The Kid watched looped and nose- around the Big Boy. Boy show He flew got nervous and started to right on his he got above him and judging his dive tail. Then, gradually, to within ten feet of the
  • 242. 227 THE KID pulled off the prettiest Big Boy's plane, he saw. noser anybody ever got the B. B.'s nerve and he started completely It with the Kid just above him all down the time, circling around like an eagle after his prey. came to earth, literally run out of the air. But The Big Boy few minutes longer. By the time he came the Kid stayed up a had been pretty well kidded and he was down, the Big Boy he was always making dirty digs at and about sore. After that who the Kid, stood it like the sport were having six or eight of us he was a quiet one night when until party. little Present couple of quarts of white lightning, two or three sets were a The Big Bey wasn't exdice and very little money. of nice pected, but he came Kid a nasty look "Hello, you "Wait me a word into his eyes. son-of-" minute, Big Boy," drawled the Kid. "Don't call southern fellows only use that particular cuss Us that. came little He'd had a few and when he saw the in. in so-called funny stones, or when we're hankering for a nice big fight." "Fight, hell," snarled the Big Boy. you with two fingers of my left "Why, Kid, I can break hand." "Fair enough," said the Kid very quietly, "but I've warned you." Nothing else into the circle was said, the tension around the table, passed and the B. B. edged but on the opposite side from the Kid. Presently the dice got around to him. Kid as to if nag him on, "Til shoot five bucks." he said Looking at the
  • 243. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 228 Nobody said a word. Our speed that night was about a quarter. "What's broke?" matter," snarled the Big Boy, "are you pikers 'a Again he looked into his pocket I who the Kid, and pulled out four one-dollar a dollar on the table it, at in front As of me. then dug down There was bills. the Kid reached for nodded. "Ain't there any he-sports in this crowd of cheap skates," said the Big Boy, again right at the Kid. "I'm shooting five bucks." "You're faded," said the Kid as he threw down his five ones. "Y'don't say," came back the Big Boy. "Well, I don't shoot craps with no He little southern son-of-" any didn't get the table and at him. arms and his fist Like a flash the Kid was over further. His body landed square landed square in the Big Boy's mouth. in the impact from the Kid's jump threw both the fighters When we pulled the Kid off two minutes two black eyes and three front Kid said that —"I'm sorry, word down south teeth Big Boy, but unless later, I told the Big you we this is Kid's greatest admirer. He to the Of Then credit, the didn't use to his quarters 3ig Boy's course, the Boy had huntin' trouble." "good-night" just as though nothing had happened. math was, and The to the floor. were missing. we were he bathed the B. B.'s eyes, saw him Big Boy's Then and said The after- he became the Kid harbored no grudge. met the Big Boy half-way and taught him a lot of his stunts. It was on one of their flights together that the Kid walked
  • 244. THE KID 229 out on the wing of his plane to wig-wag "hello" to the fellows Every man of 'em turned away. below. "Is the When hot Kid trying down they got He just hell. to commit suicide?" said some one. the C. O. gave the grinned and said Kid —"What's all particular, red- the row about? I'm here, ain't I?" "Yes, but you won't be long But the Kid did keep up and never did he get a scratch it one day he asked leave to until let him spend the week-end at The C. O., thinking he was going by train, said 'all The Kid's home was just 200 miles from the field. At home. right.' ten in the morning he telephoned 'em that day fished you keep up that foolishness." if at his folks that he'd He one o'clock for dinner. him out of a live oak tree, The Kid had twelve forty-five. in his fallen did. drop in on His father own back yard, at two thousand feet and with the exception of a ruined uniform and a few scratches, he wasn't hurt. me His plane was not even badly damaged. later that "Always," he said, told it was just like landing in a feather bed. "pick out a nice, big live oak tree to The Kid came back He to the field on the train. When fall in." the C. O. heard his report, he immediately ordered him to Texas, from which place, it so happened, he had that day received a request for the loan of an instructor. "How'll "On I travel?" asked the Kid. the train," answered the C. "All right," said the Kid, "Good," said the C. 0. anyway." "I'll "Now O. leave tonight." I know you'll get there alive,
  • 245. — THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 230 "You're damn'd tootin," said the Kid as he walked away. "C. O.," I asked, "Why do you let the Kid talk to you like that?" a and Well," he replied, "I happen his family. I know, commissions, because, he down with shoulder to know too, that the said, all about that boy Kid has refused three he didn't want to be weighted straps and could do better instructing as a private with privates; and finally, Captain, because I'm so fond of him. longer I I'll honestly hate to see him go, but have a nervous breakdown. sending him away. I if he stays much why That's really I'm just can't stand the strain of his stunts any longer." The Kid left us that night. Two days later the C. O. received the following telegram, collect << Saved the Government railroad fare by and Texas flying to fixing in five up plane it. hundred dollar repair I Told you The C. O. exclaimed, "he ought as far as I damaged know, he never was. to at home bill last and week I'd get here safe." be court-martialed!" But,
  • 246. DOWN TO THE EARTH BY LIEUTENANT Former Chief IN 'CHUTES SHOEMAKER G. A. Instructor in Parachute Jumping; Army ARACHUTES have American airmen Air Corps saved the in the lives of nearly one hundred past two years. Their adoption as a standard part of pilots' equipment has saved for our air services more pilots than would normally graduate from one of our advanced flying schools in a year. Yet, it was only ago that jumping was regarded as high adventure had ever taken the leap from an The present after type first jump with were productive of The quired airplane. jumps. followed by weight tests and then first live seat pack, the air was only attained radical alterations of the original training which we made the in Army perfection of parachute design making many in were only six of us who In the spring of 1920 there service. six years it was the remodeled chute. Each my alteration job to Some make was the of these tests real thrills. which many months is now the standard service chute, re- of experimental By permission jumping and of the Aero Digest, N. Y. 231 alterations
  • 247. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 232 before we reduced landing speed to a safe figure. its various diameters ranging from 18 to 24 jump ever made with a seat of 40 feet per second. pack I rate ascended to 3000 from where feet elapsed time from leaving one at the 1000-foot covered in 50 seconds. my level, I emergency and was I lost I later discovered that 1000 speed at the A in my at which it. by cutting the silk panels of the in the is today the most to make air in This, together with a new type of vent, gave us a chute that landed a chute was chest for just such an opening second and was small enough I reserve chute, one descent and as a result the speed decreased. Such my In checking chute on the bias more resistance was offered to the feet per We feet. found tht distance had been was on no time had on that day plane and arriving abreast of the To land of the old training type, first the air with orders jumped. traveling would" not have been healthful. It in the field at a constant altitude of circle the only 17 feet per is We service. taken the precaution of putting one plane to On feet. tested attained a rate of descent As the normal second the chute was unsafe for We a at 17 compact pack. efficient airplane life preserver world. Many student classes were trained by us at the Air Service Mechanics' School. One of my first pupils was the present Assistant Chief of Air Service, Brigadier General James Fechet. August, 1920, he was Lieut. Colonel and Air Officer of the In 8th Corps Area. Colonel Fechet displayed a keen interest in our parachute work at Kelly Field and was a frequent One day he rode the rear cockpit while Lieut. visitor. Eugene Eubanks
  • 248. DOWN TO THE EARTH and I were making the parachute school lift-off 233 from the upper "lift-off" The next day Colonel Fechet came to the and informed us that he wished to make a DH. wings of a double first 'CHUTES IN from the upper wing that afternoon. for the was ready the packing of his chute he After witnessing jump. before taking his place on the wing the Colonel was Just informed of the signals to be used between us after taking the After air. His goggles flew a slight mishap occurred. helmet and the rush of Hanging over the wing was Diinding him. air ered the straying goggles with the other and ready for the jump. inch rope signaled I was attached as a support when feet to the rear of his supporting rope with one hand, he to a 3500 altitude of about we had reached an to the him at last recov- we were to rise to his feet. again A half- leading edge of the wing for use in this position. was only two It had long feet to be held as loosely as possible in order to prevent burning the palm when and the day before I had discovered that As the chute lifted one off the wing. was astounded to see that rope about his right wrist. his rip cord and as a signal to go. off I was the Colonel stood up he had taken He was afraid to it a half hitch I with the awaiting the signal to pull move hand a Should he pull the cord his lest he interpret arm might be it torn and worse might happen. Kneeling down on my small platform I attention with constant negative shakes of same time another I began my to attract his head. A; the looked back at the pilot and signaled him to circle over the field. for the Colonel's benefit. Then began Using my right make a series of gestures hand and my own
  • 249. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 234 guide rope I at last attracted his attention to the position of his own rope and was rewarded by seeing him and look over to me for approval. All this his feet on the were both worn field where it wing and out. had been I As soon would be safe Colonel Fechet took the time I have ever seen a to time he had been on various poses. we reached as lift off air. in take the proper grip It We a position over the the signal was given and was the and the only tumbled head over heels field officer first into space. Leaping immediately after the Colonel I drifted over toward him and both saw and heard him land with a resounding tH4 As he arose to his feet his first words were "wait till my wife hears about this." The Colonel had a badly burned palm but otherwise was unhurt. He also was game for another Lieut. jump. Jimmie winner of Doolittle, competition at Baltimore, last year's was another of my ^hneider Cup who had a The platforms pupils most interesting introduction to the parachute. which had been placed on the upper wing surfaces the fabric against our weight were of very light To reduce tion. wood to protect construc- the air pressure beneath them while in flight and so keep them from tearing loose from the wing spars to which they were screwed, we left openings almost a half-inch wide between the boards. feet square. Doolittle on two such platforms. were flying over and The I entire platform took off for his After we had in a few seconds. we would After this signal I first jump laying attained our altitude South San Antonio, headed signaled him to rise to his feet as was only two for the field. be ready to lift we I off again looked ahead toward
  • 250. DOWN TO THE EARTH As we approached the field. to pull his rip cord turned I 'CHUTES the spot over which to his side of the and was greatly surprised signal IN I 235 wanted him plane to give the him gone. to find saw him waving his hand to the He was There, floating slowly to earth, was Jimmie. rear. headed for the outskirts of the village of South San Antonio. Looking back I jumped at at the pilot once and upon landing me ambulance which met would probably little I to drive land. the field ordered the in toward the spot where Doo- The plane had turned about and About twenty minutes later we found him suspended from the branches of a small oak tree, his chute draped over the topmost branches and his feet just was now circling over this area. out of reach of the ground. developed then It form in move first that, his rip cord ring the platform down one had seen him come had held him a close prisoner. his harness and No while we were lying on the plat- had dropped through one of the cracks and as he got the signal to rise and made his had been accidently pulled and the para- the cord By chute released. wing this mishap we discovered that person a could leave the wing while the plane was in normal flying posi- to let the on the tail we had always banked Prior to this time tion. man on right. It the left off and side slipped to to the left wing unload the one had been our opinion that we would strike the surfaces unless our ship had been so manceuvered. Students were at a live classes near jump from first to the parachute by making the step alongside the front cockpit. were graduated fatality, introduced we were in this manner. Two Then, as a result of a forced to cast about for a safer method
  • 251. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 236 of getting the student off on his the upper wing was the solution. The leap. first Our lift-off from DH engineers figured that the wing of a would support the weight of a man's body at the take-off without undue danger. For the first jump of this type I had no platform to pro- A tect the fabric. rope was stretched along the leading edge of the upper wing and to this rope another was tied directly in front of to give where me added leave the plane. I was to take support after rising a place in my position. This was to my feet as about to Harry Weddington piloted the ship. San Antonio newspapers had been none too optimistic as to the outcome of the stunt and as a result a large crowd were assembled Lieut. when we were ready to take off for this first lift-off. The only bad moment we had was as the plane was reaching flying speed and we were cutting along the top of the grass. Weddington could not tell how much extra aileron it Kelly at field would take in overcome and almost result over-controlled was overcome to my added weight and as a rolled me off the wing. an instant and for the rest of the maintained an even keel. It was most pleasant This trip we riding on the wing away from the slipstream. Another plane was flying only cameraman aboard I arose to my slip so as to and body. me off feet assure away with a newsreel As we reached 3000 feet fifty feet to get the pictures. and Weddington put the plane my Giving the clearing the rip and the next instant After this experiment tail cord a jerk I was on we adopted into a side- surfaces with I the found my way down the lift-off my chute chute lifting to the field. method for all our
  • 252. DOWN TO THE EARTH We students. 'CHUTES IN the upper wings men on found that with two 237 and was easy to handle. The the plane balanced perfectly "freeze" onto his rip cord and chance that a student would So it was through the chute was eliminated. neglect to open another mishap we found that way the safest Just prior into the air for his first leap. to put the novice to my experiment a "frozen" after leaving the step and after falling student had had opened as a result of his left hand havhis chute 500 feet and ing the rip cord in a death grip in the his had flung the centrifugal force fall, as his body began to spin arm away from his trunk and torn the pack open. My while thrilling experience most one afternoon at Chanute Field at parachute work came in Rantoul, Lieut. Illinois. Hamilton, former holder of the world's parachute altitude record, was making riding the other a practice chutes and I threw my He was jump. wearing standard training was equipped with the newly perfected seat pack. Hamilton got away cord to open wing with me and we were merely in my own good shape and as we chute wing up several hit a I bump the air in and pitched me feet my reached for off rip which forward toward the propeller. In that short instant plane, pilot I also saw pictured and myself should the result that and become entangled well I in my my body mind the hit that would follow should in the tail surfaces. toward the engine. I I results to the whirring prop. open my chute had been thrown Having made about two hundred jumps with Weddington always piloting the plane I figured that he would sense the danger and do the only thing left to do
  • 253. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 238 give the ship hard right rudder and drive the the I This would allow left. was falling without so me to much danger these thoughts flashed through Confidence second. in my pilot of opening the chute which lage and shroud tail struck it by Weddington so As I a in to The chute my body We all tion with no one on the ground realizing dicament we were in. Had I at of a take the chance cleared the fuse- end of the at the closely that came out All tail. fraction I could have cleared the horizontal stabilizer a glancing blow. to chute from where me enabled did. away over of striking the my mind surfaces by inches and lines flew touched him. I my open tail my elbow of this tight situa- any time the pre- been equipped with the larger training chutes such as Hamilton wore on the other wing this might not have been written. Almost every time we made a parachute something new which we could pass on which added to their safety. When to jump we learned new students and an emergency arises, to have had the experience of a jump under ideal conditions behind one is of inestimable value and very few of our pilots are without this training.
  • 254. WILKINS ARCTIC EXPEDITIONS THE BY A. M. SMITH correspondent, North American Newspaper Alliance Detroit News and Detroit News— Wilkins Arctic Expedition, 1927 Barrow would say that Captain George HE Eskimos Wilkins "knows his muktuk." Since 1914, they Hubert him "Anakluto," which means "strong-wisehave called of man." How many white folks have called Wilkins a fool, because exploratory efforts of the Wilkins expeditions of 1926 and the over '27 of their objective, that is, a series of flights failed areas of the Arctic Ocean, with landings and the gathvarious ering of scientific data? No one has made the count of the smirkers and at least served to amuse Wilkins, for he is critics. They too well acquainted with the fickleness of the thrill-hunting public to be disturbed by the carping criticism of the ignorant herd. More than once I Wilkins expeditions of Get the Arctic. zero. Go fulfilling man who guffawed at the 1926 and '27: "Mr. Man! Go on up to have said into the to the comforting temperature of 40 below out over the most desolate, threatening — place on the face of this earth. By pcrmision of the Aero Digest 239 Go —and in threat- an airplane.
  • 255. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 240 Get an Arctic blizzard help you go and to prevent you from to When you get there, feel of your pulse—if you feel. And when you get back— if you ever do—tell returning. can still us what kinds of fool you were." "Sure!" replies Mr. Man. "Anyone is a fool to go there like that." Today, the highest award of the American Geographic Society, the Samuel Finley Breese Morse gold medal; a flood of congratulatory messages from all some from crowned many from heads, and parts of the civilized world, friends misunderstood Wilkins' purpose and mission ploration of the Arctic, and luto," are the fireside answer to know him for in who never the aerial ex- what he is, "Anak- "Fool" from the ranks of the ignorant, smugs. Sharing in the honor and congratulation of the world, 1 kins gentleman friend, Carl Ben Eielson, is Wit- more gentleman than a college and two university courses could make he had that training. was born with Eielson, like Wilkins, soul of a gentleman, with all him, though the the finesse of modesty, sense of proportion, tenacity of purpose, quiet and efficient performance which born gentlemanliness implies. Neither Wilkins nor Eielson were ever interested stunts. The most skillful piloting under the most in aviation difficult con- ditions in the history of aviation has been Eielson's contribution to the In new all ditions, ering science of the the plans and air. work of the three Wilkins Arctic Expe- both Wilkins and Eielson were interested solely new and in gath- useful knowledge about a large and important
  • 256. PHOTO BY TIMES WIDE WORLD Capt. Sir Hubert Wilkins after Flight over the North Pole
  • 257. THE WILKINS ARCTIC EXPEDITIONS unexplored area of this earth. would be, How important such knowledge all scientifically- gained, they fully understand, as if minded people do. 241 They knew they had the sympathetic and backing of the small minority of people— the understanding and with that they were content to go ahead, merely scientists— amused by the critics and the hoi poloi who said: "Fools." have digressed at the outset in this outline of the I the Wilkins Arctic Expeditions because, after element And people. is a deal of I smack comfort However, the man who as a fool tain I human the friends the real all of the two take vast comfort in looking over the who today critics two men, and with because, "heroes of the hour," former my up" the news about these wink one eye at them. There are "eating lips as in "I told I you critical attitude so." of the world that acclaims the goes through a hero, and condemns the same if of the heart of anything interesting to thoughtful at is all, work man anything stops him from going through, had a cer- unhappy effect on the plans of Wilkins in the early of preparation for the expedition of this year. It left months him out in the cold, so to speak. It threw him back on his personal resources expedition, and he had invested virtually fortune in the expeditions of 1926 and all '27. in financing the of his personal The excitement and romance of those two expeditions had passed. of them had gained the friends who results hoped for. Neither There were some doubtless would have chipped in to help finance this last flight if Wilkins had undertaken the role of salesman. Personal pride and dignity, and the dogged independence which
  • 258. 1 THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 242 always the other side of the shield of Courage, doubtless stopped him from making any appeal for financial aid. is The three Wilkins Arctic Expeditions of 1926, '27, and '28 covered more than 17,400 miles in above the Arctic flights with the loss of only one plane (Stinson biplane) in exploratory flights; the destruction of one Fokker wing in a test flight at Fairbanks, Alaska; the loss of one man, Palmer Circle, H. Hutchinson, Detroit News and North American Newspaper Alliance correspondent on the 1926 expedition, back into a whirling propeller of the tri-motored landing field freezing, The in by total 1926; 7 at who stepped Fokker on the Fairbanks; and the loss of one finger, from Eielson, chief pilot, on the 1927 expedition. personnel of the three expeditions was 20 in 1927; 2 in men — 1 1928. Major Thomas G. Lanphier, of Selfridge Field, on the 1926 expedition covered approximately 1,000 miles in flights between Fairbanks and Barrow, the Arctic shore base of exploration. Alger Graham, of Detroit, relief pilot of the made approximately 5,000 miles in similar flights and in the Arctic shore area. Eielson, pioneer of Alaskan pilots most experienced of wings in all Arctic aviators who have and the tried their those regions, covered approximately 10,000 miles on the three expeditions. Alaska 1927 expedition, Joe Crosson, who has flown in the past five years, made two all over flights for the expedi- tion of 1927, totalling 1,400 miles. On all of these flights, except trips by Lamphier, Crosson, and some of Graham's shore flights, Captain Wilkins was navigator with Eielson or Graham, and has to his credit a total of approximately 13,000 miles of Arctic flying.
  • 259. THE WILKINS ARCTIC EXPEDITIONS 243 used— Fokker, Stinson Four different types of planes were biplane, Swallow and Lockheed. Two Fokkers, one with Lib- tri-motored with Wright Whirlwinds, were erty Engine, and one Swallow Stinsons, with Wright Whirlwinds; the Two used. Hispano-Suiza motor; and the Lockheed, with Wright with a Whirlwind. wheels, aears were used in tests and on flights were Landing & £> snow and ice; skis, both wood and Severski landing on dirt, landing on ground in the last flight of the 1927 metal, the latter Barrow to Fairbanks; and a combination of expedition from skis and wheels was tried out in tests. The Fokker plane made Endicott Mountains as all in round a total of six trips over the 1926, from Fairbanks to Barrow, rising, planes on this route must, to 9,000 elevation to clear the lowest point, Anaktuvak Pass, and carrying loads up to 6,000 pounds, chiefly gasoline. The Stinsons were loaded up to heed, in Wilkins' and Eielson's flight from gen, took off with a load of of this consisting of The Lock- 2^00 pounds. Barrow to Spitzber- more than 3,000 pounds, the bulk 370 gallons of gasoline and 12 gallons of oil. Temperatures ranging from 33 above encountered in the to 48 below zero, were various flights of the expedition, the lowest, 48 when Wilkins and Eielson neared Spitzbergen on their last Except for the inconvenience and delay of warming flight. motors by covering them with tents, with oil stoves underneath, before starting in low temperatures, the cold of the Arctic did not appear at any time to prevent the proper functioning of motors.
  • 260. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 244 The only forced those of March 29, northwest of leaky oil landings, during the three expeditions, were when Wilkins and Eielson, 500 miles Barrow, were compelled to come down because a 1927, pipe fouled one of the magnetos of their Stinson; and their landing that night, after nine o'clock, because of failure of gasoline, after they had fought their way to 100 miles of the coast against a southwest blizzard with wind at 70 miles per Coming down in pitch darkness, unable to see out of the windows of the cabin, they crashed on the ice, breaking the skis, but with no other mishap. They were held in the plane hour. cabin for five days by the blizzard, then took 13 days to walk 80 miles to shore, arriving at east shore from Barrow. Beachy During Point, 92 miles their wait of five down days the in the plane they had drifted 167 miles southeastward. On that one they succeeded flight more than three in taking a sounding of 500 miles northwest of Barrow, proving miles, the continental shelf in that direction, and the impossibility of land in that The area of the Arctic. expedition of 1926 tion Society was sponsored by the Detroit Avia- and the American Geographic Society, and by the people of Detroit. It failed in Arctic exploratory flights because the Endicott mountains proved impassable to dog teams trying to get gasoline The through to expedition of 1927 the North American Barrow. was sponsored by Newspaper Alliance, the Detroit News, and the American Geographic Society; the Detroit News bearing most of the expense of the expedition. At the termination of that expedition, the Detroit News gave
  • 261. THE WILKINS ARCTIC EXPEDITIONS 245 remaining Stinson plane. The Fokker to Captain Wilkins the expedition, because left in Fairbanks, during the 1927 had been would not lift a useful load over the Endicott the propeller This plane, and the fuselage of the other Fokker, mountains. had been crashed the year before, were the property wing whose He of Captain Wilkins. sold the into the equipment, and put the proceeds his Stinson and the Fokker Lockheed plane of 1928 expedition. this last ex- Wilkins and Eielson were the total personnel of They pedition. left over the Endicott range to their memorable March 20; flew Barrow, and on April 15th made Fairbanks flight to the Lockheed in Spitzbergen, landing on a small is- land in the north of the archipelago, where they were storm bound for five days, finally getting off safely at Green Harbor, where, as this is again and landing written, they were waiting for the Arctic ice to break up sufficiently to allow a boat from Norway The to bring them out. severity of the weather; the storm area into which they ran on the Spitzbergen side; the impossibility of safe landing on the ice en route; and, more than changes of magnetic their route, fields in the makes the flight to all else, the rapid area northeast of Spitzbergen epochal and great Barrow on in history of aviation. They crossed the area of the northern hemisphere cult of aerial navigation, in a flight of in the worst month of a storm April, Spitzbergen and reached has most diffi- 2,200 miles, terminating seen in years in the their target in a non-stop flight- remarkable feat of navigation.
  • 262. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 246 The fact that no land was discovered on tive scientific result, but of great value to this flight is a nega- oceanography and Captain Wilkins meteorological developments of the future. reports that over a distance of to 120 miles, an area between Greenland and the Pole was blanketed with fog, making it possible to determine whether there might be land there. im- Ex- cept for this spot, their route, for nearly 100 miles on either side, was may have free from land, though drawn curtain, shut off extensive land to the north. Will they go again? them God-speed, skill this fog, like a for the If they do the whole world will wish world today acknowledges the courage, and steadfastness of purpose of Wilkins and Eielson.
  • 263. "BREMEN'S" FLIGHT TO AMERICA THE BY JESSIE E. HORSFALL. non-stop flight of an airplane across the first westward wheels Atlantic nearly ended in disaster before the North HE were three feet off the A ground. runway 4,000 feet long constructed at Baldonnel, the military flying field on the had been Dublin. The wall surrounding the military reservaoutskirts of tion was removed and the runway extended that lay beyond. The heavily loaded into pasturage lands Bremen— its total weight 8,140 pounds at the take-off—was unaided by even a was Captain If anything there was a slight tail wind. breeze. Hermann who since Koehl, who flew heavy then has spent bombers during the war and of his time flying almost equally much heavy passenger transports, was at the controls. The ship had used nearly all of its runway, the tail was up, the wheels barely touching the grass and Koehl was raising her carefully, by inches. Then a sheep appeared on the runway and started to browse directly in the path of the nine-foot propeller. animal, lifted the ship, and stacle, a large tree, just ing now and cleared it made it. Koehl saw the There was another ob- ahead but the all-metal plane was climb- by a matter of a yard or Permission of the Aero Digest. 247 less, or so it
  • 264. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 248 seemed to the little group of Irish Free State officers and their who had gathered at the airdrome for the start Among those who had gathered for the take-off were William friends T. Cosgrave, President of the Free State Executive Council, and Mrs. Cosgrave, Herr G. von Dehn, the German Consul General in Dublin, Mr. fense, Desmond and brother .With Captain Fitzgerald, the Irish Minister of De- officers of Major Fitzmaurice. James Fitzmaurice (since then elevated by the Free State to a majority in recognition of his accomplishment) pointing out landmarks, and Baron Guenther von HueneIrish feld, whose for flying among reckless energy, personal fortune and enthusiasm had made the attempt possible, more or less buried the benzol tanks in the dark fuselage, Koehl drove the low-winged monoplane for the Galway Coast and thence along the coast toward Slyne Head Light and out to sea. Slyne Head was the morning last thirty hours later land they saw until daylight the next and the first half of the water jump was uneventful. Variable winds prevailed, and for the first 400 miles after leaving land the weather was fair. Sometimes the wind helped them a bit coming from the east and southeast. Then it would veer into the west for fifty or a hundred miles but it was never strong enough to give the fliers either great joy for From its assistance or anxiety because of its opposition. time to time they corrected drift by dropping smoke bombs and circling as they watched. they also obtained a very maneuver. According fair estimate of 100 miles an hour. Fitzmaurice wind velocity by Their speed for this part of the at slightly better than to trip this they estimate
  • 265. "BREMEN'S" FLIGHT" TO AMERICA THE 249 encountered their first change in About four hours out they until within 400 miles of Newweather and from that time on frequent turned out, Labrador, they ran into foundland or as it and cloud banks. None of these were snow and rain storms Some of them they drove through region. extended over a big and they went around others. to break the monotony of the endless One incident occurred The sea during that first morning. expanse of blue sky and was nothing of importance. One of motor sputtered! But adjusting his mixture had "leaned" it a trifle more the pilots in L5 could stand. This was remedied quickly, than the Junkers it and the with first Bremen continued Koehl doing the serenely on flying way its and then Fitzmaurice, each taking the stick for about three hours at a stretch. load west into the pilot As the came slowly down away from the danger point they began frequently change their altitude, seeking out levels close to to water when the wind shifted for a time into the west, and the going higher to get as when it favored them. fifty feet to much help as they could from the wind Thus they ranged up and down from two thousand. There was little for the Baron to passed out coffee and meat sandwiches. do. Now Some of the time he slept and then he and again busied himself with his pen writing verse or prose, seeking to set down for posterity just how it felt to be the first passenger ever to fly westward across the North Hitherto, while preparation for the flight his dynamic energy had been expended had been going to the the enforced inactivity began to be trying. Atlantic. utmost and At 5 o'clock in on, now the
  • 266. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 250 afternoon he stepped monocle at its to the door leading into the cockpit, most formal and proper pitch, his and announced "Tea." About this time the some time it wind came about had held into the southwest. For steadily from the southeast, gradually increasing in velocity until the white caps were piling up below them. Then was climbing all too fast down the western sky trouble loomed up ahead. The wind increased in violence and shifted into the southwest. As close as they could judge as the sun they were about 400 miles out from the North American coast ahead was the for first real fog they had encountered. It blanketed the water below them and reached up like the Himalayas above them. They started to climb the ship and went up 6,000 feet without being able to grew cold and they went down was fairs in this situation that was not in darkness. the down to Then it within fifty darkness overtook them and af- were further complicated by the discovery that ing system for again, it. waves where the going was exceedingly bumpy. feet of the It to get over Now their light- functioning, leaving their instrument board and then they used a flashlight but only They did not dare to stay so close to water here because they knew that they were approaching moments at a time. land so up they climbed again to 6,000 feet. These hours in the clouds and fog and cold proved one thing of great import- ance it is believed. Either ice does not form as easily on the corrugated duralumin leading edge as on some other forms of construction or the thick coating of paraffin which was painted
  • 267. FLIGHT TO AMERICA THE "BREMEN'S" 251 corru^ed the combination of before the take-off or on iust Further against t defense oil was an efficient metal and the conrse w.ll be needed necessarily transoceanic, of flights, not bnilders as absolute fact. can be accepted by before this theory encouraging. results of this test idea is interesting, the The flew out of the fog and nioht wore on and finally they The discovered that they were which they at once saw the stars from still flying westward. For two hours more though they knew that land some 'time before. the westward course althey kept to have crossed from sea to they should Then help of flares they diswith the For some time both pilots covered that they were was patches of what they thought had been watching broken vast learned that they were over flares they over land. low fo° By the with mountains ahead. snow covered forests and over Labrador indicates that during The fact that they were had been steadily making norththe hours of blind flying they bent their course to the southwest When they should have ino rolling hills they were probably had not willing to trust their compasses which effects of the magnetic changes been showing the they kept on. up more fuel had been causing them to use The head winds had figured and at times they were than they running their motor to the point 130 miles an hour. Such a Shortly after sunrise the they were and so many where their airspeed showed speed eats the gas. fliers came to the conclusion that miles inland over Labrador and they swung southeast holding on this course for four hours. around into the arrived over Greenly Island, saw the lighthouse, Thus they
  • 268. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 252 circled and came down to a landing on a tiny reservoir Koehl made a perfect landing but the ship nosed over. center. ice failed in its and the They had been thirty-six hours and thirty minutes in the They had crossed 2,000 miles of open water and, while air. exact data not available, they probably cruised over 800 miles of land striking Belle Isle Straits one or two hundred miles to is the south of the point where they left the sea for the land. The rest is well known; how the light keeper, Johnny Le Tamplier, his buxom wife and six children, to say nothing of a dozen or so Newfoundland puppies and out to greet them, Tamplier how they were made fireside while Johnny sent word sled dogs, at home to the rushed at the Le Point Amour wireless station several miles across the straits on the mainland. They landed about 1 p. m. on April 13 Eastern Standard Time, but it was 7 o'clock that night before the waiting hundreds at Mitchel Field whose numbers had dwindled from thou- sands in the last hour before darkness learned that they were safe even though 1300 miles from their announced destination. At once Miss Herta Junkers, the energetic daughter of Dr. Hugo Junkers, ganize a York just now on his relief expedition, how much the way to this country, started to or- although Bremen was it was not known ways. New injured. Preparations to start planes northward were Field, at in made at Curtiss Hartford and by the Canadian Transcontinental Air- On the evening of the fifteenth a Junkers mechanic started north by train taking with for that of the him a complete landing gear Bremen had been badly damaged. Struts and
  • 269. FLIGHT TO AMERICA THE "BREMEN'S" were bent and the axle was wheels also cracked. The 253 propeller tips were bent. After several attempts made abortive by storms Duke Schiller a Fairchild-Pratt and Whitney and Dr. Louis Cuisinier flying next to Greenly Island and the "Wasp" job made the flight Fitzmaurice for spare parts. They back with day he started St. Law- Schiller finally set his plane down Natashquan on the Banks of the were forced down at but two hundred miles from Greenly. rence was April 18 when Duke Agnes near Murray Bay where Fitzmaurice on the ice of St. of the fliers and their ship to Miss made known the needs It Junkers. last flight, the Ford expedition, Floyd Bennett's Meanwhile under way at Detroit. Both Bennett and his fellow was getting tri-motored left hospital beds to fly the Balchen, flier, Bernt Ford into the frozen north. When they landed at Murray Bay had to be helped from his plane and two. on April 20th, Bennett he was lying in a Quebec Hospital close to death. days later destined to live to see the accomplishment of this He was not rescue expedition but Balchen carried on. he took off, with a heavily loaded plane carrying benzol, April 23 spare parts, Ernest Koeppen of the Junkers Charles Murphy. He landed at Greenly. the engine of the Bremen had April 26, to down in the learn that was found that were impossible, so regretfully the German-Irish crew decided to fly It here and suffered from exposure and that take-off conditions for wheels date and Company Ford. abandon ship They landed Bennett had died at the until a later Murray Bay, day before.
  • 270. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 254 At once a gloom enshrouded everyone. The Bremen's crew decided that they would go on to Washington for the pall of New funeral but at York, because of storms, they ship and went to Washington The next morning turned to New by left the Ford train, too late for the services. after laying wreaths on the grave, they re- York. In so far as possible they avoided greet- ings on that day, Saturday, April 28. The reception on April 30 was unique. Not so boisterous as Lindbergh's, not so noisy as that to returning troops after the war. But it millions Bremen had its own great significance. brought home to the who took part and to the Irish-German crew of the that peace between great nations had come again. Transatlantic flights is It Some concerned. may be useless stunts as far as aviation "experts" avow this over and over but the great gift of aviation to the world them because it is so graphically illustrates clearly realized how the in airplane brings peoples closer together. A is word about the a Junkers, type ship itself and W33, low its motor. The Bremen wing, cantilever, monoplane pow- ered by a Junkers 285-310 horsepower six cylinder in line water-cooled engine. over all of 34 feet It has a span of 58 feet 6 inches, a length 6 inches and a height over all of 9 feet 6 inches. Its weight empty pounds, feet, total is 2640 pounds, useful normal load 1990 load 4630 pounds. wing loading 10 pounds 15 pounds to the square foot. Its wing area to the square foot, is 463 square power loading
  • 271. FLIGHT TO AMERICA THE "BREMEN'S" For the ocean flight its 255 load was 8140 pounds, wing total power loading 26.2 pounds. loading 17.6 pounds, be 123 miles per hour, but can has a normal high speed of It landis 97 miles an hour, pushed faster. Its cruising speed in* speed 53 miles per hour. actual climb from 3300 Its ceiling feet to is 19,000 feet and its 6500 consumes 5 minutes and 30 seconds. The Junkers Aero engine L5 Dessau laboratories. Its weight is a recent development of the is 690 pounds. The six cylin- and 7.5 inch stroke. The fuel ders have a bore of 6.3 inches per cent benzol compound and the used on this flight was a 90 engine was 7 to standard compression ratio compression ratio of adjusted for this fuel with a 1. Its is 5.5 to 1. the intake air to the carburetor through This engine draws warming is provided by water jackthe crankcase. Additional double throat Zenith carcarburetor bodies. the ets A on buretor is used; it has an auxiliary air control for altitude economical cruising when flying with a partially flying and for closed throttle. The gallons. fuel load for the ocean flight was slightly over 600
  • 272. THE BYRD ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION BY RUSSELL OWEN EFORE another month has passed the auxiliary ship Samson, which will carry the Byrd Antarctic Expedition to the Ross Ice Barrier, will have arrived in New York and the assembling of the planes, stores and personnel of the expedition will be well under way. It will be the first time that airplanes have been taken into the Antarctic and because of them it is probable that more will be accomplished in a relatively short time than has been done before in the many painful years that men have struggled on foot over the desolate southern wilderness. Commander Richard E. Byrd, whose flights over the North Pole and the Atlantic are now a part of aviation history, will take at least three planes with him. will be a new and His most important ship specially built three-motored Ford. There are several reasons for his not using the Fokker tri-motored plane this year, the most important of which is that the Ford wing can be disassembled and packed away in much smaller space than the one piece wooden Fokker wing. When so much material has to be stowed on a ship as small as th< is an important consideration. N. Y. Times By Permission 256 Samson
  • 273. &
  • 274. THE BYRD ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION The Ford built of a is much 257 thinner duralumin than the and several hundred pounds have standard commercial planes, The wing spread is also greater, this way. been taken off in wing and feet, and the combination of larger measuring 78 has given the plane a quick take-off and rapid lighter material load of several hundred gallons of gas at the With a climb. got off the ground in five seconds, much to the Ford airport it delight of Floyd Bennett, Byrd's second in The pilot on the expedition. that was well it suited to Another plane its be used to first tests command and chief of the plane indicated task. is a Bellanca monoplane, which has Canada and showed good performance. The Bellanca has a cruising radius of 3,000 miles, and the been tested on skis in Ford about the same, although will be loaded to Byrd's longest full flight, it not probable that they is fuel capacity on the Antarctic that to the South Pole be about 1,400 miles less than his North Pole dangerous. as conditions just A flights. and back, flight, will but under third plane with a short cruising radius will be taken for scouting for airplane bases which can The flight to the pole will achievements tion. be put down by dog sled. later He be the least of he carries through his if full Commander Byrd's program of explora- make many side trips into the absolutely of King Edward VII Land, where there is intends to unknown land east a stretch of coast or charted. He 2,000 miles long which has never been seen will not be able to explore it all, but with side he will be able to clear up a great deal of the mystery of what lies trips from his bases along the in that line of the polar flight blank white space on the map.
  • 275. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 258 It is because of much more that this work on scientific Byrd has an opportunity this trip than on his North Pole Although he did survey on that expedition. do to trip a part of the polar basin never before seen, he traversed a relatively small part of In the Antarctic there are 4,600,000 square miles it. unknown and to some of extent to the east of his nobody knows. which is and Byrd should be territory, map two huge bodies of land. It is a division can be established it graphical knowledge. Byrd can reach by No water or on is a great ice stream which between two continents, and would be a great contribution if to this geo- In the other parts of this sector which a series of 500-mile flights there volcanoes, mountain ranges, some islands, possible that between the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea there give the Antarctic continent, really a vast ice cap, rests on would show observe Just what he will find there known whether not to a considerable extent of the quadrant main base. It is able all sorts may be of formations which would indication of the land beneath the ice. greater proof of the value of airplanes in exploration could be offered than the possibilities of discovery which lies Byrd compared to the relatively small areas explored by Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton and others who have risked Byrd will their lives on foot over hundreds of weary miles. before face great dangers also, but they will be dangers of flying in a up country where snowstorms driven on in a few hours. terrific But with good fortune he from his elevation of thousands of winds spring will feet to see scores of thou- sands of square miles of virgin territory on which never looked, and do it be able in a short time. men have
  • 276. BYRD ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION THE His base is ideally situated for his purpose. the Ice Barrier at the Bay 259 be on will It of Whales, an indentation in the low enough so that it will be easy barrier where the ice is At other points the supplies. to unload the planes and a height which barrier rises to white cliff which has may be 280 a glistening In invasion. repelled effectively feet, most and the outer edge places the barrier rests upon the water, with the years. But at the Bay of Whales retreats or advances on solid ground, for it has not changed its it apparently rests many years, and Amundsen came to the position there in conclusion that it was anchored enough for Amundsen back from the shore to At there. spend a winter on and Byrd line, will least it it was safe about ten miles also pitch his tiny village there. The main base of the barrier, in case will be near the eastern edge this and the central point from which may ing like the spreaders of a fan And Edward VII Land. if it is farther south toward the pole, down may at be made back the bases, which will 100-mile intervals until the polar plateau be used for the same purpose. by a storm, be the third King is These bases be laid reached, also will down and Byrd, Bennett and Bernt Balchen, who will member of the crew, have to walk back. Flying conditions on the in the of desired to extend these flights serve as emergency stations, in case the plane good flights diverg- summer are certain to be time. ice barrier are There may is forced expected to be fairly be some fog, and there snowstorms and wind. Amundsen reported only two severe storms while he was there, but the Antarctic
  • 277. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 260 weather it about the most uncertain thing in the world. When does blow it blows more than 100 miles an hour, and the is snow comes down the air is off the plateau almost fluid with by the millions of If the fliers it. tons, until encounter a storm of this kind there will be nothing for them to do except land and dig in until it is over, with a bare possibility of being able to get the plane off again. The worst of these storms will be encountered over the edge of the plateau, where the cold air like cap, momentum gaining as down from the domecomes. The ice barrier rolls it runs into the continent toward the plateau in shape roughly a triangle, and around the edge the storms die like down about 25 miles after they reach the ice barrier, which extends to within about 400 miles of the pole the barrier may not be so itself. difficult, be encountered when the plateau So, although flying over there is is tively calm, due itself, what telling however, the feet. air will be compara- a definite meteorological condition which to always exists there. The cold upper air flows on toward the pole and then drops downward because of weight, to again flow outward and When Byrd reaches this is flying downward will all its it ways he will be at in a sides greater the dome. off know when current by a sudden sharp temperature, and once past all downward toward the pole he downward wind flows gently will reached, and the plateau goes to an elevation of more than 10,000 At the South Pole no drop he in region where the once because of its general direction. So on the barrier and at the pole conditions will be much
  • 278. THE BYRD ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 261 the edge of the plateau, or over the mounbetter than along believed to fringe the Antarctic ice barrier to tains which are There he the eastward. as a has ever faced, and flier will will it Wright Whirlwinds and engines. They meet as dangerous conditions will probably be cowled in them with test of be used on will all planes planes. even more than on the North Pole plane, and they will be started ing be a severe in the same way by heat- gas stove at the end of the long fireproof a canvas funnel. Byrd gency. going to equip the plane for every possible emer- is He will North Pole be able to carry more equipment than on his and flight, it is take a few dogs and a sled quantities of emergency sary articles to use in possible that he will be able to in the plane with him, as well as rations, a a tent, skis forced landing. and other neces- He is none too optimistic about his chances of getting back, however, unless he lands within a reasonable distance of one of his emergency bases. work of the expedition will be its most important achievement, a number of scientists will be taken As the scientific on the Samson. be a geologist, ornithologist, There a will meteorologist, a is who will also physicist and possibly an They and ichthyologist. investigations while the flying tion be a geographer, will make going on, and side trips if and the expedi- spends the winter on the ice barrier they will be able to obtain a great deal of information about this mysterious sheet of ice. Byrd himself which are being much built will carry special cameras for sun-eying, by the Fairchild company, and map as as possible of the unknown territory by camera.
  • 279. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 262 In the expedition fifty-five when leaves it New York men, including the crew of the there will be There ship. one or two Norwegian veterans of the Antarctic. be mechanics, another will men other will be The others radio operators and pilot or two, necessary to carry on the details of the expedition. Special short-wave radio sets will be taken, and by means of them it is with The to believed that direct communication will be maintained New York Times, which has purchased the Commander Byrd's Scott, and story, as this newspaper did with Peary, Amundsen, Lindbergh, Chamberlin and other aviators on their historic trips. rights It explorers will be the first time that direct radio communication has been maintained with an Antarctic expedition, and the first time that news of every important movement of such an expedition has been sent the world a short time after The Samson tember, and it occurred. will probably leave may New York early in Sep- not return for a year and nine months. depend entirely on how soon the ship can through the ice pack which lies off the Ross Sea. will to get not through make it two months to the ice barrier until early in to get his winter season begins put back to New in by December January. That 15, crushed It way Byrd hopes but he may him only set up, March, and the Samson to avoid being fight its will leave equipment ashore and Zealand to will for the have to in the ice. Two months is a short time to do all Byrd wishes to accomchances plish, and he may be checked by the weather, so the are that he and will be forced to start in again early the spend the winter on the next spring. ice barrier,
  • 280. INTO THE ANTARCTIC ADVENTURING BY COMMANDER RICHARD HE see. been long, tiresome and yet E. BYRD interesting days of preparing for adventure are over at last and we are about our Antarctic What may be ahead of us no one can foreto start south. has as carefully and as thoroughly as We have prepared Antarctic has ways of playing strange possible, but the invade her desolate icebound coast and it may expected shall seem to fall short of what may be who tricks on those be that we of us. and courage and resourceBut I who are going with me to live more than a fulness of the men on the ice are what I believe them to be, the expedition year do not think so. If the skill will give a good account of are attempting a part of the world. Antarctic in trate will secrets of We We shall do our best. of exploration in a to learn should be able two short seasons than men who have Even a new kind itself. all little We known more of the and able the brave suffered or given their lives in other expeditions. superficial glance at the region that we hope to pene- show why that is so. Nature has guarded the Antarctica by locking them within a wall of ice, and By permission of the New York 263 Times.
  • 281. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 264 clothing the land with a white desolation in which no living When man thing exists. way on forces his great wilderness, he attempts the most confront an explorer. those all a glorious record in the Antarctic, and endurance of conquered as much as in task that can own unaided man and their bodies odds that seem almost insuperable. wills against his difficult this Shackleton, Scott, Amundsen, Mawson, who have made such pitted the strength foot into And can conquer when he We physical capacity. their yet they relies on more fortunate are having the wings of science to carry us quickly over the snow through which they laboriously forced their way. The there. ing It is bounded by a mass of treacherous their who have Antarctic has always fascinated those way carefully. by on the belt of floating ice, a drifting, shift- floes gale, through which ships must pick Sometimes the While a ship at a time. is belt is held fast for days icebound, sleet and and the explorer of storm that seems to been is wrapped warn him that he in a is snow sweep gray shroud venturing on forbidden seas. And then one day the sun shines, the storm passes and the ship finds its way through the ice and comes out into the vast Ross Sea, where whales play and the icebergs. Through this sea, which lies of the Antarctic Continent and which is light shines on great between promontories one of the few places where the land may be safely approached, we shall sail until the great ice barrier rises before us. That barrier has been a James Ross first found it symbol of the Antarctic since and coasted along its Sir precipitous
  • 282. INTO THE ANTARCTIC ADVENTURING front. rises as high as It which seems ice, most of drift its away a solid mass of feet, effectually to shut off the interior. cliff-like It rests and the sea and parts of it break off length upon those vast tabular bergs which are in the form of Some peculiar to the South. It 250 265 them are many miles of long. winter on the ice barrier because would be impossible to were able to scale the cliff at more danger, even if one of this than one point. Whales, an indentation in the ice That point is the Bay of whales found its name from the schools of barrier which gets picked this bay for his Winter quarters beAmundsen there. suspected that the ice there rested on land. shrewdly cause he He discovered no movement during his although charts of the ice barrier indicate that, and recedes at most points, and stationary at the Bay is of Whales. Winter stay and the it advances now receding, it is fairly The bay ice also has the advantage of being only a few feet above the water, so that great it is possible to discharge a ship there by mooring it to the floe. When we so of sea step ashore there ice, we will see before us a mile or then a gently rising slope glittering white in the sun and extending inland as far as the eye can reach. Far and to the left are the heights of King Edward VII Land and promontories of the to the right the undulating capes barrier. There is little broken only by the the isle and the and walk up at this point cries of gulls droll to the wind and and the silence petrels. ice is Seals bask on penguins cock their heads to one side queer visitors — the explorers.
  • 283. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 266 Before us will wrapped lie, in its mantle of 4,600,000 square miles of almost unknown been painfully blazed through an area territory, A as large as the United States and Mexico. and snow, ice few paths have land by Scott and Shackle- this ton along the western side of the ice barrier toward the Pole and by Amundsen due south Whales. The edges to Bay the Pole from the of Graham Land and of the Weddell Sea, a few other places on the circumference of this vast area have been charted, but the bitter cold, the treacherous storms that blow with a greater violence there than anywhere else in the world, and the complete absence of animal or plant prevented men from life have gaining any real knowledge of the con- tinent. I Antarctic, the* many have been asked times what we can do or why we learn there are going to the which expense or danger of such an expedition. own mind not because there answer, question to or in the minds of the panying or advising me is will This is any doubt scientists who justify a hard in my are accom- as to the value of the trip, but because the significance of data which may be obtained is far removed from popular knowledge and experience. Why did Peary Why did Nansen, Franklin and many labor for years to reach the North Pole? Nordenskjold and Amundsen, Greely and other men, spend years and some of them sacrifice life itself to penetrate the Arctic spend in five Sea? years in the Antarctic and lay Why down did Scott his life there one of the most noble and dramatic chapters of polar ex- ploration? Why did Shackleton return again to this desolate
  • 284. 267 ADVENTURING INTO THE ANTARCTIC Why did die finally from hardship and exhaustion? to region Mawson for struggle the Antarctic a gales that lasted in frozen threshold of foothold on the Why year? all do scientists go again and again to the frozen North and South and spend weary months in seeking to reveal some of the secrets of these mysterious regions? The human answer to these questions these things because they are men because ; Men simple. is in the unknown do lies a ceaseless challenge to man's curiosity, to his ever-expanding While anything fund of knowledge. earth of ours, of be found will form, its who will its history, it was in pictures and flying machines, will which add to the not let him comfort of of nature in laboratories that better food life is medieval times, that man which to be learned of this its strange forces, not rest until that knowledge That man himself advances, that than is due is radio and this some delve we may have moving driving force in Some men rest. life, to complete. worth living now better we have is men invent things into the secrets electric lights and machines which heal our bodies. and Some men unknown lands and seek to solve in them the riddles nature, that v/e may have a more complete and nobler com- explore of prehension of our world. The mere fact that on this earth of ours is a region larger than our own country of which nothing is known is a sufficient motive for our explored, have it, its men share although So long as that great space remains un- trip. will in attempt to penetrate that work. we hope to We it. America should cannot hope to complete do more than has been done before
  • 285. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 268 because of our airplanes. There are many interesting speculathe interior, and geologists have long been tions with regard to puzzled over some of the contradictory features of the known landscape. the Antarctic one continent or two huge islands? Is known that the polar plateau rises to 10,000 feet It is in the in- and that there are two large mountain chains running inland from the Ross Sea and at either side of the ice barrier. But opposite the Ross Sea is another indentation in the conterior tinent, the Weddell Sea, so similar Sea, so apparently related to it in appearance Ross to the in position that there has long been speculation as to whether or not these two bodies of water did not at one time meet in a strait which has since become overlaid with the knows how deep is Nobody ice of the polar plateau. the ice covering, and it is probable that a careful survey from the air would show that there once was connection between the two Antarctic seas and that a was two the continent of ice It is probable that we shall also be able to determine one of the mountain ranges Andean Cordillera. large islands before the Ice Age. The is whether actually a continuation of the interior of King Edward VII Land, or rather that part of the interior to the southeast of that land, has never been seen, and distance tains, by air, we if we are able to penetrate shall learn definitely the trend of the or perhaps discover an undulating plain. That some it mounis one of the greatest geographical problems of the Antarctic. There are many other things South Pole is far to do, of which flying to the from being the most important. The pur-
  • 286. ADVENTURING INTO THE ANTARCTIC pose of the flight to the Pole but to survey as cause of the limitations of their desire in going to the Pole not only to reach the Pole of the polar plateau as possible, and Scott were unable to do be- much something which Amundsen itself is method of to fly is It plain, an undulating it, its extends for but nobody knows. It probable that is travel. beyond ascertain the extent of the plateau and teristics. 269 it if My greatest possible, and physical charac- many miles in has never been approached except from the Ross Sea sector. over which we fly will be mapped with the All of this country specially constructed instruments which aid of aerial cameras, territory on each side of our routes, the size record a wide will depending on the height tions of the landscape. drawn which we are able to attain over many elevaFrom these photographs maps will be for the first time will give nearly accurate details Although mountain ranges have been glimpsed of the country. at a distance by expeditions tion and detail in the Antarctic, their actual posi- have never been accurately ascertained. There are many problems for the physicist in auroral observa- tions, earth radiation, radio-activity of ology. snow and There are meteorological studies to be ice and glaci- made, perhaps as important a task as anything else, for the Antarctic cold and storms affect the climate of half the world. There are studies in magnetism and spectro-photography, and the causes of that little-understood lieved that it is phenomenon, the aurora the result of an electronic australis. It is be- bombardment from the sun under which certain atoms are broken up, but that also is speculation.
  • 287. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 270 Fossils are to be sought, and rock specimens will be obtained There is much valuable experimental for careful examination. radio work to be undertaken. There is almost no limit to the work which may be done in the Antarctic; for, despite accomplishments of Scott, Mawson, Amundsen, Shackle- scientific the ton and others, the surface has been merely scratched. Our geographical work meteorological conditions. will be controlled almost entirely by Airplanes have never been used who the Antarctic, and any one in uses them there must begin work with somewhat the feeling that he is going into danger. The reports of Antarctic blizzards would cause the most adventurous spirit to become cautious. It is obvious that his flying should not winds rise be a slap-dash proceeding from dead calm in a region forty miles to an hour where in two minutes, and out of a sky that had been clear, carrying blind- snow through which ing clouds of fly safely. We It is testing and early flying We in shall laying down at the unusually uniform and free from storms. Bay This the unusual formation of the ice barrier, which 400 600 miles long miles. It is at its sea base bases will have an opportunity our skis under loads, for the weather angle, is down to of Whales is due a vast to tri- and running inland about believed that this offers a zone of comparative calm because of the peculiar nature of the storms which off the to why we are taking four planes. fortunate if we bring them all back. be comparatively simple. test would be impossible can be understood shall be extremely Our it roll high polar plateau, the largest plateau of similar height in the world.
  • 288. 1 ADVENTURING INTO THE ANTARCTIC 27 believes that the strong winds Professor Hobbs of Michigan are caused by the gravitational on the edge of the continent barrier of cold air, but that on the force of descending currents these winds are checked by their own pressure within a few Whatever the reaof the barrier. miles of the interior edge seems certain that on the barrier this phenomenon, it son for unusually good base for our planes. shall have an we But once we pass beyond meteorological conditions The this that are region in flight uncertain reasonable to enter and dangerous. mean. It seems Pole will indicate what I that from the edge of the barrier, where assume to the flight we be located, up to the glacier over which our main base flying his way at the edge of the plateau, the Amundsen made smooth air and with little danger of a sudden will be in fairly will storm. This fortunate, is for it will give us an opportunity to with our heavy load to an altitude of 12,000 feet climb slowly which we need to cross the mountains and the plateau. or more, We of course, take off may, plateau, but this from a base at the foot of the must be decided by conditions as we find them. moment we reach the mountains, we enter a storm area. The Winds howl down the passes in the mountains from the plawhich it will be teau, bearing dense clouds of snow through difficult to fly. wind such that The air is turbulent and the velocity of the we shall literally have to fight our way through This will tax the plane and the pilots to the utmost, unless it. and I very much doubt it is possible to climb above the storm,
  • 289. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 272 we that will be able to may stretch that we may storm area possible avoid it is all of it. impossible to how Just tell, and it far this is barely reach the mountains in one of those strange periods of calm which are almost as inexplicable as the storms themselves. But once through the mountains and it probable that is and we shall encounter snowfall, which should little make well into the plateau, merely moderate winds this part of our journey favorable for exploration of a part of the plateau and for close examination and for photographing of the mountains seen by Amundsen, to which he gave the name of the Queen Maude Range. make like Whether we shall be able to alight at the Pole observations on the ground much very to is problematical. I and should do so and possibly prolong our stay there a day or two, but this will have to depend entirely on the surface we find and the ability of the plane to rise with a load from an elevation of more than 10,000 feet, which, as every aviator knows, is very difficult even under the most favorable conditions. We k are still held by the present limitations of aircraft. A flight to the east and southeast over the mountains that are supposed to exist to the east of the barrier will be a very different and much more difficult trip. There we unknown land, flying directly into which come the pressure waves that control to absolutely will be over the path from a large extent the storms of Antarctica. The shall origin and cause of these waves are unknown, so we have the condition of flying over an unknown area, never
  • 290. INTO THE ANTARCTIC ADVENTURING 273 toward the threat of storms which we before seen by man, nor avoid. In these side-flights, however, can neither anticipate successes of the expedition, as they will greatest may lie the result in the of a vast territory hitherto mapping so they will be worth They all be long will not unknown, and the risk. flights, from inland bases, so that it of course, and will be started and will be possible to dash out storm. again as a precaution against being caught in a back which will be flight will be over a predetermined route Every held to rigidly, crew may so that in the event of a forced landing the be rescued by another plane. can readily be seen It sudden storm with snow would blind the pilot so that would be impossible to keep going, and if he should be it caught in a storm there would be only two possible manoeuvres that a -either to would be land at once and wait until was over, which or try to beat the storm back to the base. safest, That might be it possible, as the pressure waves move at a velocity of only forty miles an hour, and, fortunately, directly toward our main base. offers, of all which It It is known Bay Whales of parts of the Antarctic, the best base to direct operations by from Arctic Arctic during the danger of fog. flying. is There are few storms Spring months, but there is in very the the constant In the Antarctic, on the other hand, there fog but constant danger from storms. There part of the world where the weather is so certain in constant menace. In the Arctic, its from air. can readily be seen that flying in the Antarctic different little for this reason that the is is no other so uncertain, or rather, also, it is
  • 291. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 274 possible to fly at a low elevation above sea level, which makes it possible to utilize the full efficiency of the plane, but in the Antarctic nearly all flights thousands of feet above sea of the plane and must be level, many at a height of which limits the makes forced landings with a capacity load very dangerous. There the satisfaction of having a solid surface instead is of floating ice on which to much more months. severe than We hope believe that expedition to the Summer never gets above freezing. In most of our extensive program, and be able to do so. The personnel of the we is all shall I have every confidence be at their head. shall men that could be asked; no better be able to Our equipment in is ever went them and am of the best, both Nothing which foresight could vide has been overlooked. we in is to carry out aeronautic and scientific. that it of the Arctic cold lower temperatures would be encountered. into the Antarctic. proud that In the Antarctic flying, of course, come down; but Antarctic And so accomplish we push all that is off in pro- the hope expected of us, and that our expedition will carry a step further the glorious tradition of achievement which has already been made Antarctic. in the
  • 292. RIDING THE NIGHT SKIES ON THE WINGS OF A PLANE BY ACH T. J. C. when you night bed the night pilot MARTYN are probably tucked wings his way through the air safely in with the Across lakes and mail and perhaps a passenger or two. rivers, away over towering mountains or vast plains, through the silvery moonlit air or under the yawning star-studded sky, in fair weather and in foul, he carries out the bravest and greatest duty of commercial flying at speeds that make snails out of the fastest trains. night daytime, in practice theoretically the is it If flying at is vastly different. are those infinite combinations of cloud ature conditions that same mean good, fair as flying in the In daylight there and wind and temperor bad weather. At night each condition varies according to the fullness of the moon, giving awesome is sometimes rise sights some of the most beautiful be seen under creation. to the dark period, now and to when then, there is there is then there no moon and when, every nothing whatever to be seen are flying through the blackest of black fogs. By And permission of New 275 and York Times. — for you
  • 293. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 276 In the daytime one good flying day may be said to differ little from another, wind and temperature being equalbut at night any given weather conditions has at least two phases There is literally a world of difference between flying in a dark night, when only the stars in the heavens and the lights on the ground are visible, and under a full clear, when moon the ground seen almost as clearly as in daylight. If you ascend in a plane on a clear, moonless night New You York you will see in is will see a sight hard an ebony setting to match for over its brilliance. many diamond-studded lanes across the East River-Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queensboro and :es an — beetles, apparently motionless— the boats on the Hudson River. At the Battery there is a small cluster of lights in the deserted downtown skyscrapers and Broadway is to be seen with difficulty as a line of faint lights. the Thirties Street as a it Broadway reappears line in a is Between City Hall Park and no more, but from Thirty-fourth burst of illumination and can be traced of evenly spaced lights intersecting other straight 5 lines of lights, until at Forty-second Street flooding glow of brilliance. it The Great White merges Way is into a greater and whiter from the black sky than it is from the ground, distance lending enchantment to the view. And finally the lights grow dimmer and lose themselves in the gloom of distance. In the middle of the island from the irregularity of the lights that dot while skyscrapers, viewed obliquely, rise up like giant illum- faintly discernible it, Central Park's location will be inated honeycombs.
  • 294. 277 RIDING THE NIGHT SKIES Get away from and the towns the city, far out into the country, villages, and all away from will see is the occasional you remote house, the glow from a railroad locomolight of some smoke, or a motor car with bright, searchtive reflected in its Elsewhere the earth ing eyes going along the road. is invisible seemingly into a vast, bottomless void— no trees, and you gaze anything; rivers, no railroads, no buildings, no no roads, no inky blackness perforated above by the stars just an enveloping artificial light. and below by occasional pinpoints of But there is one sight that is only to be seen in its full bril- dark night, and that is a busy airport. The lights liance on a are often to be seen from great distances, and as of an airport you get close to Islands or them they appear as a fairyland, or as Coney Palisades— which themselves present very beautiful spectacles from the air. The airport will be first distinguished the dazzling floodlights that bathe the surface of the landby field in a light many times stronger than the daylight. These ing are powerful searchlights trained on the is preferred and this is so as to pro- Sometimes a narrow path vide a wide area of illumination. of light field lit by a single searchlight into which the planes land and from which they take off. Under the floodlight system planes can land almost anywhere in the lighted area. Then and out, and all its to too, are lighted, inside other buildings and natural obstacles carry a light to distinguish is They, there are the hangars. them in the dark. be seen sweeping the sky, its inky surroundings even blacker. Sometimes a searchlight great white But beam making for the most part
  • 295. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 278 you will see field only the humbler landing lights of an emergency and the great beacons flashing their seeming pinpoints of red or white lights to guide the night pilot on his way. How different is the view on a clear moonlight night! city lights are still there, but robbed now The of their brilliance by the sheen of the moon. The outline of Manhattan, its streets, its massed buildings and its parks are all visible. You will see the East and the Hudson and the Harlem rivers as streams of purest silver dotted with boats that now look like gray driftwood rather than beetles. Central Park appears as a ghostly wilderness of shreds and patches. If you gaze closely at the scene down to, from 2,000 you which feet, will see the may come the lowest you is automobiles along the streets. In the open country the aspect of the scenery undergoes a remarkable change — the view is now identical with that seen in the daylight, except that the outline of everything by the flooding moonlight. the moonbeam more nowhere bathed will in a you that fabled charm of and appreciated than in the air, and more the silent majesty of the earth and alluring beauty beyond expression. Rivers like ribbons of silver, crossed ribbons of white gray is softened felt feel poetic Nowhere is to jet black, houses, roads like long, winding, silk, forests shading criss- from greenish towns and hamlets shrouded in an almost visible silence, railroad tracks like endless serrated bracelets of shining platinum —such are the views on which your eyes will feast, and more than at any other time in the air the sheer magnificence, the exotic beauty, and the phantasmagorial unreality of the landscape will sweep you through space from the din and actuality of the ground. far
  • 296. RIDING THE NIGHT SKIES It is often said that bad weather flying through you are This difference. it is 279 bad weather and whether makes daylight or darkness in in the dark fails to pierce truer in the moonlight than is moon period; for there are few nights that the little the clouds or the fog sufficiently to relieve the darkness, just shadowing storm sky as the sun relieves the But on the moonless night, impenetrable on Navigating by night of it your plane, above and below such weather in difficult to the pilot escape the feeling of acute isolation and loneli- is too busy watching by such sensations; begins to tell some men. tively that the strain assumed that in the flying daytime, and it by night is speaking, is still in is useless to must be remembered, however, that night more deny flying, In the have come forward is first to by no means place, lost. as general as All the pilot has to Two and the radio aid the nocturnal of radio a pilot can be guided nights. for Nevertheless, the dangers of night flight are easy to exaggerate. their use rela- infancy; a great deal remains its be done to improve equipment and training methods personnel. is flight on him. dangerous than flying It But usually his instruments to be distracted only after the is it naturally be will It to no joke and the strain is ness that restricted vision entails for it. it. broke more than one man's nerve during the war; for it is nothing but a Stygian darkness is sides of all the daytime. ground and sky be obscured by if storm clouds or mists, there in it navigator, might home through do is to wireless stations pick the neon be. light although By means the murkiest of send a signal that he message up and both
  • 297. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 280 telephone to the nearest airport where, it exact position of the plane reach to his position it, peatedly until he mist is is in triangulation, the The determined. is told the direction of the airport on by and the course he must fly the air being checked up re- eventually steered into port. how lying on the ground, pilot is then But thick The neon can he land? if light, with red rays reaching through the fog, answers the question; it is said that these lights the pilot to the process is make is sunk them a landing over in its still ground into the in the will enable worst mist, but experimental stage and the neon light used mostly for beacons. Engine failure has to run. manage night to all If is, of course, the greatest risk the night pilot the engine come down more or he has to rely the daytime, he can usually fails in less safely, upon in case of a forced landing are his landing lights which, situated may siderable light and ever, the time limit is on the wingtips, shed enable a pilot tc land How- effect of blinding the pilot. Emergency landing grounds equipped —with neon in a field. a con- short and in mist or fog these lights are worse than useless, having the ticable but on a dark stormy floodlights, seem — if they prove prac- for night passenger services the only solution of the problem of forced landings. It seems not improbable that along passenger airways landing grounds will be placed close enough together so that a plane flying at a convenient height will never be out of gliding distance of one, certainly not for liable any appreciable time. And until some re- mechanical landing device has been invented such im- provements seem as safe as day to offer the flying. only way of making night flying
  • 298. RIDING THE NIGHT SKIES How, may it 281 be asked, does a pilot navigate at night when he can see nothing, or not enough to follow any natural feature How did Lindbergh fly New York? He did on the ground? the continent to known The night if it it, which was as instrument flying, way by very primitive from San Diego across by what developed first in is a the night flying squadrons in France. depends for pilot at night, his direction on his compass, and be an earth induction compass, whatever changes take place in the wind's direction he will be able to correct them; for the compass show any will instantly right of a given course. To keep deviation from left to a course accurately requires continuous concentration of the most exhausting kind. this is not the only instrument the pilot has to watch. But If you climb into a pilot's cockpit in any fully fitted plane you will dashboard covered with instruments, with others find the front underneath pilot will and it to To the side. pay only perfunctory must watch as closely as the all these except two the attention. The two that he compass are the bank and turn indicator and the inclinometer. It is a curious thing that in flying "blind" either in daylight or at night keep a man plane in has not enough natural sense of balance to its normal flying position. the daytime and practice flying If you go up in through the clouds without looking at your instruments, you will most likely be surprised, you know something despite the fact that yourself actually flying upside the clouds. It are to be seen. is the You same feel in is wrong, to find down when you emerge from a black night when no lights you are diving and you pull the stick
  • 299. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 282 toward you to bring the quite limp. Then you nose of the plane up, whereas you probably were stalling and suddenly you feel your stick go attempt to counteract instead of correcting what you of telling feel that the plane is turning and you and very probably speed up the turn Without instruments there is no way it it. are doing, and even with instruments one has such strong feelings that they are wrong and you are right that there into is ever a strong temptation to take the matter own hands one's —with an intensive concentration bolstered up with The bank and is on one's instruments has or the other, the fact is pilot is able to correct it. is be when he is and when one wing goes turn indicator shows the pilot say, is to up and one down, or when the plane when to power. inflexible will not flying laterally even; that pilot Thus disastrous consequences. the plane is side-slips to one side recorded on the instrument and the The inclinometer similarly flying level fore and aft. tells Now the there available an instrument that performs both these functions and at the and is same time called a gyroclinometer. ally a light ment acts as a compass. is in direction, When a dead centre position; up or down, the plane if is it. pilot But is norm- flying moves the plane to left or right, that fact sary movements to counteract same a French device behind the disk that forms the face of the recorded by the instrument and the the It is instruin any immediately can make the neces- the instrument demands intensity of concentration as the others. Night flying calls special type of man. not only for special training but for a Not every good day pilot makes a good
  • 300. RIDING THE NIGHT SKIES night many night pilot must, in addition to The flier. 283 requisite qualities, be a man other of iron nerve well able to with- stand the strain of flying weary miles by instrument alone; he must have the faculty of cool, rapid judgment, and he must be an expert flier in the As daytime. a matter of fact the pick of airmen are the night pilots. training of night pilots should involve, but sometimes The does not, a long course of special instruction. to say, It however, that most aviation companies only is fair country in this employ only the most expert fliers on their night lines, and any passenger who makes an air trip after dusk may be generPresuming ally well assured that he is in the best hands. that a pilot has graduated in is day work, the normal procedure allow him to "pile up" several hundred hours of flying to experience in daytime. the Then he landings practices at dusk, then at night in the moonlight period, and finally into the bright floodlights on a dark night. ment flying, at first Next he is taught instru- through clouds and afterward in a covered — method cockpit in which he can see only the instrument invented by a Dutch commercial air — work— line. Behind him instructor the only one he really needs in ing to sure to do. tell It is knowledge of the a moment pilot, and all him when he goes wrong, a long process, but air, it and no would-be a become first a good day rounds out pilot almost is a man's need think that he will get far without qualifying as to his his night fly- as he pilot is a for night and then an ex- perienced night pilot takes several hundreds of hours of flying time.
  • 301. THE BIG AVIATION BOOK 284 For the passenger no takes his the first night experience air flight. If, is necessary before he for example, you go up for time on a pitch-black night you will probably find less thrills in flying than you will in the daytime. For one thing there are rarely any bumps, and although first bumps are nothing to be worried about, they are unpleasant, especially to the person who is not flying the machine. But the chief reason for lack of thrills is that there journey of any length air thrilling. The result is is nothing to be seen, and an apt to be rather monotonous than is that if you happen problems of your own on your mind you have no weighty to most probably will fall asleep. you are If you will at a business man and some period believe that time is money or other fly through the night with every assurance that you will land at your destination not only safely but with a punctuality unsurpassed by any other form of travel. Night flying is necessary to aviation. There is a tradition in the mail service that a plane never waits on the weather, and if this is a little optimistic it is nevertheless almost true. may not be long, as time will be said of night passenger flying; for flying speed and fill it is its is reckoned, before the same thing and endurance have not too much It to in be sacrificed passenger all to reliability, to expect, if passenger flying manifest destiny, that reliable planes will roar ing numbers through the night skies. is to ful- in increas-
  • 302. Some Important Dates in Aviation History <* June First balloon, flown 1783 5, by Joseph and Etienne Mont- golfier. September 23, 1 852 .... Henry Giffard (father of the dirgible) made semi- successful flight. October S. A. Andree, Swedish engineer, flew across Baltic Sea in a balloon. 1893 7, S. July 23, 1896 A. Andree trip to December August 8, December 1908.. 31, 1908 made Wilbur Wright made his 1908 9, North Pole. Wright Brothers machine. 17, 1903 September inflated balloon in preparation for . first flight first flight in with Europe. ..Orville Wright achieved flight of over duration. Wilbur Wright made flight of power an hour's two hours and nine- teen minutes. July 25, 1909 L. Bleriot flew over English Channel in thirty-on minutes. February, 1911 First aeroplane used United States to war employed by the observe Mexican frontier near in actual Juarez. May 9, May 20, 1927. June 4, March 1926 1927 E. Byrd left from base camp near village of King's Bay in aeroplane for North Pole. Commander Richard Charles Lindbergh started his flight to Paris in the "Spirit of St. Louis." Clarence D. Chamberlin made flight to Germany. 29, 1927. ...... .Wilkins, on second flight to Arctic forced to land in ice fields the only forced landing in his three — expeditions. April 12, 1928 August 14, 1928 Bremen trip to the United States. ....Commander Richard E. Byrd Pole. starts trip to South
  • 303. I
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