Gloster IV. Again.

IT is interesting news that the manufacturers of the Gloster IVa have recently disposed of their machine to a private owner. The purchaser is Mr. Amherst Villiers, who is well known, of course, in connection with supercharger and racing car design. It is his intention to carry out certain modifications to the Gloster IVa (which is now at Croydon), in collaboration with Mr. Folland, Chief Designer of the Gloster Co., and to substitute a wheeled undercarriage for the floats. Afterwards the machine will be used in attacking the world’s aeroplane speed record which has been held by France for the past six years ; this record stands at the present time at 278i m.p.h., and it is anticipated that the Gloster will have no difficulty in raising this figure by a substantial amount. The main problem in making an attempt of this sort is naturally that of safety in landing, and the first essential is the finding of a ground or ‘drome of sufficient area where so fierce a machine can be used. It may be truly said that the Gloster Company reached the peak of high speed biplane development when they produced the IVa, and had it not been for a minor defect in the power unit it would undoubtedly have put up an astoundingly good show against the Italians in the Schne.ider Contest in 1927, if one may judge by its performance in the initial try-out. Where the machine will be flown in its new guise, and by whom, has yet to be decided upon, but it is rumoured that Flight-Lieut. Atcherley may appear with her at Pendine Sands. At all events any developments of Mr. Amherst Villiers’ project will be watched with the greatest interest.

Old Timers. recent air at feature

At a recent air meeting at Vincennes a special feature was a fly-past of veteran machines, which included a 1909 Bleriot monoplane. The idea of resurrecting these ancients is not altogether new, a similar ” turn ” being included in a flying display in Germany some years ago ; nevertheless, it is one which many people would like to see copied in this country. Apart from the interest provided, the appearance in the air of machines such as the old Farman or the early Caudron would serve as a most striking demonstration of the progress made since pre-war days. The difficulties of arranging such a display lies, of course, in the fact that very few of these old timers are still in existence, and even if they are, they would undoubtedly have to be practically re-built before they would be safe to take in the air.

A Growing Menace.

In my travels in the Southern counties and in the environs of outer London, during the past few weeks I have been surprised to discover the extent to which overhead power cables are being erected. These con

stitute a real menace to airmen, particularly as they are laid across open stretches of country where a pilot would naturally assume a good landing ground could be found in the event of a forced descent. Telegraph wires have caused a lot of nasty crashes in the past but, the fact that these power cables are of the high-tension variety makes them hundred times more dangerous. That this is no idle assumption is shown by the experience of an acquaintance who, losing his bearings temporarily through low-flying clouds, came down low in order to pick up his course and was suddenly confronted with a span of these deadly cables. He cleared them by inches only. Surely something should be done, and done quickly, to stop this wholesale placing of H.T. wires across the countryside.

Italian Light ‘Plane Contest.

A light ‘plane competition, organised by the Royal Aero Club of Italy, and of international character, is to take place in August. Known as the “Circuit of Italy” it will be run in four stages—Rome—Rimini (690 miles), Rimini—Venice (542 miles), Venice—Turin (386 miles), and Turin—Rome (497 miles). The contest will open with a series of eliminating-tests which will be the means of fixing the starting handicaps for each competitor. These preliminary trials will take place on August 20, 21, 22 and 23, and will consist of climbing, take-off and landing tests ; the judges will also allot machines to various categories after examining them in respect of comfort, equipment, safety, visibility, parachute installation, luggage accommodation, appearance and other qualities. Competitors will then start off on the circuit on August 25. A big and varied entry is expected.

Aerodromes in London.

The report that the Air Ministry and the L.C.C. have been conferring in regard to the possibilities of establishing an airport in one of London’s parks has aroused a considerable amount of interest and controversy. On the one hand there are those who are extremely hostile towards the idea and who declare that such a step, entailing the erection of huge hangars, etc., would amount almost to an act of vandalism. Others declare that our commercial air service has suffered too long through having its terminus situated at too great a distance from the centre of the Metropolis and it is suggested that, far from spoiling the amenities of a public park, the creation of an airport would add to the life and attractiveness of the Londoner’s playground. Certainly, if a central-London ‘drome were planned on the same lines as the Tempelhof in Berlin. only the most fastidious would be likely to find any cause for complaint.