” Shilling-a-week ” Clubs.
IHEAR that the membership of the L.G.O.C. Flying Club is now round about 1,300, and that things are going well with them. Whoever is responsible for the organisation is certainly to be congratulated, for it can, be no easy task to run a club of such a size with only one machine available and yet keep individual members happy and satisfied. But the L.G.O.C. crowd seem to be as cheery as any one can find anywhere ; enthusiasm is obviously the main essential of a club run on such lines, and that is exactly what is so noticeable at Broxbourne where the L.G.O. Club’s Redwing is in operation.
Members pay a small sum each week, and a shilling or so per hour for instruction. All, of course, are not flying members, but those who are, have already got quite a good few hours in, and about a dozen have gone solo and are ready to take their ” A ” certificate. Such enterprise deserves to meet with success.
The L.G.O.C. Club, by the way, is not the only weeklysubscription club, for a group has been formed in Watford, and they propose to operate on similar lines. Each member pays a shilling a week, and as a ” kick-off ” they have managed to acquire the old Sopwith ” Swallow ” ; this is not exactly a suitable machine for club use as, of course, it is a single-seater and decidedly tricky to fly, but as Mr. Landon who is the prime mover of the Club, explains, they intend to recondition it to A.M. requirements and exchange it for some sort of two-seater. In the process of overhauling, members (who are nearly all in the engineering and kindred trades) will gain a good deal of aircraft experience and at the same time have plenty to interest them.
A Harry Hawker Memory. ” “
The old ” Swallow ” is a machine with a rather interesting history. Originally it was a Sopwith “Camel,” and at the end of the War the late Harry Hawker acquired it when it was in France. He flew it home to Brooklands—and during the journey suffered seven forced landings through dirt in the petrol tank ! Eventually it was converted into a wire-braced monoplane, in which form it appeared at the first R.A.F. Display.
After being owned by two or three people it came into the possession of Dudley Watt, who flew it with some success at various flying meetings. Then Staniland bad It, and he in turn sold it to someone else. And now it is to be found at Watford in a workshop, where it is being cleaned and re-fitted and furbished up by its new owners.
An Emotioning Visitor.
The War produced a whole lot of exponents of superstunt flying, and though many of the capers cut by members of scout squadrons were frankly foolish and
thoroughly dangerous, one or two pilots were absolute artists at aerobatics.
The late Captain Armstrong, to my mind, was unsurpassed at carrying out the most perfect evolutions near the ground. His judgment and skill in doing rolls with his wing tips practically touching the blades of grass, and his loops off the ground were amazing—and terrifying to watch. And although thirteen years have passed since I witnessed it, I have yet to see anyone equal Armstrong’s stunting. It was, therefore, much to my regret that I was not present at Heston last month when Herr Achgelis gave a display of inverted flying near the ground. Friends tell me he was simply astounding. Herr Achgelis uses a specially-built Focke-Wulf ” Kiebitz ” biplane, with wings of bi-convex section. His piece de resistance is to approach the aerodrome in an inverted dive, flash across the ground at a height of about 25 feet (with his arms outside the cockpit !) do a bunt into the upright attitude and then half loop onto his back again. Another trifling effort of his was to zoom the hangars upside down ! I don’t think I’d care to be his passenger,
Barnard’s Next Effort.
Having brought his “circus tour” to a successful conclusion, Barnard has now arranged another enterprise. Using the famous old Fokker “The Spider,” he proposes to set out this month on a winter cruise to Egypt and Palestine, taking with him a number of passengers. The cruise, which will be an easy-going affair, will include Italy, and while in Palestine and Egypt. Luxor, the Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings will be visited. This aerial cruise scheme strikes one as being very sound, and I should not be surprised if it develops very greatly in the future.
Anyway, Barnard deserves to do well out of it for he is certainly a man of bright ideas, and projects, and he ploughs a rather lonely furrow in the difficult business of profitable commercial aviation.
The King’s Cup, 1932.
It is good news that the Royal Aero Club’s Racing Committee has decided that for next year any type of British aircraft shall be eligible to compete and that the ban on professional pilots shall be removed.
After all, the King’s Cup is our sole aviation race of note, and the rules which were put into force this year made it a pretty mediocre affair. It is gratifying to find, too, that no machine which cannot keep up a sustained speed throughout the course of 110 m.p.h. can be entered, for this ought to ensure some pretty high-speed stuff coming onto the starting line.