THE sameness in layout, appearance and performance which has become characteristic of the American motor car, so that only by close scrutiny of the radiator badge or hub cap can one now ascertain the make, is not met with in aircraft of the U.S.A. On the contrary, designs are extremely varied, and often original, which is scarcely what one might expect from a country where rigid standardization in production has for long been regarded with so much importance.
Over here, many erroneous ideas are prevalent concerning ” airplanes.” One is that every U.S. ‘plane is a cabin monoplane. In point of fact there are about as many biplane types as monoplanes in use, while departures from recognised practice and principles are quite common. In the flying boat and amphibian class the Americans display considerable originality, and a typical example is found in a small two-seater machine of the latter type, known as the “Privateer.” The hull is built up as a separate unit entirely. The monoplane wings are attached to the upper structure, and braced atiove and below by streamline wires. The tail unit (as in the Sikorsky) is mounted on steel tail booms, and the engine, with pusher air screw, is perched on struts above the cockpit. The motor is a” Scarab “radial of 110 h.p., and 95 m.p.h. all out, and a landing speed of 41 m.p.h. are claimed. The pilot and passenger seats are arranged side-by-side. It costs about £1,000.
Another machine of very unusual design is the Bellanca “Blue Streak” Tandem. This plane is a twinengined sesquiplane, with the power units (650 h.p. Conquerors) placed one behind the other. The forward engine, geared 2 to 1, drives a tractor screw, and the rear
one, geared 7 to 5, and connected by a short shaft which passes through the fuselage, drives a pusher propeller. The tail is attached to four large diameter tubular outriggers ; a large fin and rudder are fixed in the centre of the tailplane, and there are two additional fins near the tips. The “Blue Streak” has been designed for long distance flights and carries something like 2,200 gallons of fuel. The wing span is 83 feet, and the machine empty weights 8,000 lbs. A feature is that both engines are accessible in flight.
Going to the other end of the scale,, one finds an extraordinary little craft—an amphibian glider. This machine is 36 feet-span monoplane, made by a firm in New York. And you can buy it with or without an engine. The latter is a 25 h.p. ” Jacobs ” flat-twin, and the buyer can, if he wishes, take delivery of his machine in pieces, and erect it himself. Little structional alteration is apparently necessary to convert the machine from a sailplane to a power-glider, the engine being mounted on the centre section, on a tubular strut arrangement.
Amateur construction of planes is far more common in the States than over here and, apparently, the supply of designs, materials and parts to private builders is a growing branch of the industry.
At the recent National Air Races, a notable performance was put up by a” home-made” machine—a monoplane constructed by Mr. Ben. 0. Howard. Built solely as a racer this little craft has a span of 20 feet and weighs (empty) 635 lbs. It is crediterl with a maximum speed of 194 m.p.h. So Mr. Howard obviously knows what he is about.
The Schneider Settled.
The conference held in Paris by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (P.A.I.) terminated last month with satisfactory decisions connected with the Schneider Trophy Contest, arrived at on the numerous points which have been under discussion for some time. Of major importance, of course, was the matter of entrants’ deposits for this year’s event, and it has now been agreed that each entry must be accompanied by a deposit of 200,000 francs per machine. Thus, the contention of the Royal Aero Club on this matter, previously disputed by both Italy and France, has been finally upheld. The closing date was Tuesday, 30th of last month, but the list of competing machines has not yet been issued. The date of the race is to be fixed for a day between 31st August and 19th September, and the course will be 50 kilometres. According to reports, the circuit will be the one chosen in 1929 in the Solent, while it is also stated that the British entry will comprise the same machines as those used in the last contest, flown by R.A.P. pilots ” loaned ” for the occasion.