Cranwell-Cape Non-stop Attempt THE LONG-RANGE FAIREY OFF THIS MONTH
FOLLOWING successful test flights and the completion of meticulous preparation, the Fairey long-range monoplane will set out this month (on or about the 22nd) in an attempt on the World’s long distance record.
The present holders of the record are Messrs. Boardman and Polano, who completed a wonderful nonstop trip of 4,999 miles from New York to Constantinople in. an American Bellanca monoplane (Wright Whirlwind engine).
The new attempt will be from Cranwell to Cape Town, a distance of about 6,000 miles, and if successful, the journey will occupy three days and three nights. The Fairey machine is a fullcantilever monoplane with a span of 82 feet, a length of 48 feet 6 inches and height 12 feet. The engine is a Napier “Lion,” specially tuned for low petrol consumption, and with a compression-ratio slightly higher than standard. The whole machine is a remarkable example of careful streamlining, with drag-producing excrescences reduced to an absolute minimum. Like the main plane, the tail plane is full-cantilever, the only exterior bracing wires being those which are fitted between the rear plane and the vertical fin. The
petrol tanks are housed in. the wings, and the full amount carried totals 1,100 gallons. The fuel is fed to the carburettors via a “collector “reservoir, which is kept supplied by gravity, and the delivery in the last step is by a pump driven off the engine ; an emergency hand-pump is also provided.
One contingency which must be provided for is a forced landing when the aircraft is still heavily laden with fuel, and for this purpose two of the tanks are fitted with dump valves which allow the unshipping of their contents in a matter of seconds. The cockpit of the Fairey is totally enclosed, and every item which would add to the comfort of the pilot and alleviate the strain of being at the controls for so long a time has been incorporated in. the equipment. The foot-rests of the rudderbar, for instance, are covered with Sorbo rubber, and are made so as to support the entire sole of the foot. The seat is also adjustable so that the angle of the back rest may be altered to give a change in position when desired. The navigator’s seat is similar to the loungechair type found in air liners ; a window is provided in the roof, through which bearings and sextant
readings will be made. The front windows of the cockpit are provided with wipers which can be operated mechanically or worked by hand.
Besides the usual instruments, the equipment includes, an automatic gyroscopic control which incorporates a highly-sensitive pneumatic mechanism. This can be set to actuate the rudder and elevator and so relieve the pilot in keeping the machine on its course. The apparatus is not new, of course, having been experimented with and developed over a period of several years, but when the Fairey sets out for Africa it will be the first time that the device has been used in a record-long-distance attempt.
A short-wave transmitting wireless set is also installed in the big monoplane, and with this the crew will send out reports of their progress and their position every two hours.
The pilots of the machine are Squadron-Leader 0. R. Gayford, D.F.C., and Flight-Lieutenant D. L. G. Bett. The former joined the R.N.V.R. in 1914, and later transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service ; subsequently he served with No. 221 squadron R.A.F., and he continued with the service after the Armistice. Flight-Lieutenant Bett entered the R.A.F. in 1920.