“G.-W.” Comes Back.
MANY stories have been written round the “call of sea” and the “call of the wild ” in which the seafaring man and the globe-trotter, after enduring hardship and dangers, retire only to find that they must return to the ocean or the wide open spaces, drawn thither by an irresistible attraction.
I have always held that some such lure exists in the air, for few old timers will state that they are content to remain on terra firma even though circumstances demand their doing so. Once a man has been bitten by the aviation bug he does not easily lose the desire to fly. Even a bunch of full sized crashes will not eradicate the disease, and I can point to a very concrete example. A friend of mine, after over thirteen years, has started to fly again. He is, of course, a War-time pilot, and as such he flew—apart from balloons, airships and flying boats—some of the most deadly aircraft that man ever devised. He also received his full share of ” hate ” when flying overseas. His career in the Service ended, as he states, with a descent in flames from 2,000 feet, during which he stood and clung on the wings for a considerable time. Needless to say, after this affair he remained for long in hospital, and he carries ominous scars as souvenirs of his terrible experience, and vivid memories of it. Yet this and many other ordeals now passed have failed to quench his keenness for flying, and to-day he is at it again.
A secretary of one of the leading flying clubs told me recently that there is a distinct influx of erstwhile pilots nowadays, so conceivably, the example I have just quoted may not be unique by any means. And this reminds me that no less a pioneer than Claude GrahameWhite is to be seen quite frequently at Heston. Last month he had his first flight for ten years in a “Moth ” with Captain V. H. Baker, and he confessed to being immensely impressed by the enormous advance made in aircraft design and construction.
The second aeroplane I ever saw in flight was piloted by Grahame-White. It was when he was competing with Paulhan for the prize of £10,000 in the LondonManchester flight in•April, 1910. What a sensation it caused ! Thousands waited all along the route to get a glimpse of those two old box-kites.
“G.-W.” is a pioneer in several ways ; he started the first British flying school at Pau in 1909, and he is the first Englishman to be granted a certificate of proficiency as an aviator. In addition he owned one of the first petrol-driven cars in England.
Innovation at Lympne.
A scheme recently adopted by the Cinque Ports Flying Club, which has headquarters at Lympne, should prove attractive.
For the sum of £1 1s. any owner of an aircraft living more than 30 miles from Lympne can join the club, and obtain full privileges of a full flying member. These are not insignificant, for they include free landings, and housing in the club’s hangar at very low rates. Already, the secretary has received many applications for membership.
A Club in the Making.
The new flying club at Watford which I mentioned some time ago is progressing well. They have completed the reconditioning of the Sopwith “Swallow,” and very smart it looks. Meanwhile the roll of membership is expanding, and a determined effort is to be made to start instructional flying. For the present, however, the site for their aerodrome has yet to be decided, but I am told that when this has been settled the inaugural meeting will not be long delayed.
A New Air Race.
Promoted by the “Morning Post,” a new flying race is due to take place next month, the provisional date being 21st May. This should be an interesting event in which ability to navigate and course-plot as well as pilot will be called for. The race will be a handicap, cross-country affair, and the itinerary will not be divulged to competitors until they are due to start. When the time arrives, they will be handed a ten-mile-to-the-inch Civil Air Edition map of Great Britain ; on this will be marked the numerous places where they must go, but apart from this, no other indications, lines and so forth will be shown. Instructions will be given as to the order in which the places on the map are to be visited as far as the first control, and in addition, a daily weather report will be issued.
Competitors will then have to find the bearings and work out their course without, any outside assistance. The total distance for the race will be about 500 miles, and there will be sundry turning points and controls on the route. Machines will be required to land at the intermediate controls, and after standing by for 50 minutes, the pilots will be handed a slip giving further instructions for the next stage of the race. No passengers are to be carried in the aircraft.
The main prize (which will be competed for annually) will be a cup valued at E50, and there will be sundry additional awards.
“The Morning Post Cross Country Air Race” as it is to be known as, will be welcomed by all enthusiasts who have been lamenting the fact that the calendar holds so few sporting aviation fixtures in this country, and it is to be hoped that it will be, in the near future, just one of many events of a like nature.