THE collective tour by air which was carried out by private owners from Heston aerodrome some little time ago, was quite a unique event in the history of private flying and goes to show to a considerable extent the degree of development which private aviation has now reached. Altogether twenty machines took part in the tour and the majority carried passengers. No untoward event occurred and on their return all were enthusiastic about the venture. This tour, which was the outcome of a casual suggestion, is likely to be repeated, and as an indication of the growth of aerial continental touring, it is interesting to find that the Royal Aero Club have now opened a touring department for members. This department will supply all information necessary or likely to be of use in any contemplated flight or tour, and assistance is available as to air routes, aerodromes or landing-grounds, prohibited areas and air corridors. The Royal Aero Club, as the sole authority recognised in this country by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, issues Customs Carnets together with the necessary Customs forms. The Carnet, of course, enables the holder to travel without having to make payment for Customs dues on aircraft on arriving in a foreign counry. The charge for the Carnet is by no means excessive ; to members of the Royal Aero Club and associated light plane clubs it is £1. 5s. for aircraft not exceeding 21,000 in value and 21 1 Is. 6d. for aircraft valued at over 21,000. An additional guinea is charged to non-members. The inauguration of this special department of the Royal Aero Club is an excellent move and one which will undoubtedly be availed of by private owners. Full details may be obtained from the Royal Aero Club, 3, Clifford Street, London, W.1.
The ” Tailless ” Type.
Like the front wheel drive in the motor world, the ” tailless ” type of aeroplane constantly attracts designers, and periodically one finds experiments being carried out with machines of this type. The most remarkable effort of recent years was, of course, Captain Hill’s “Pterodactyl.” This machine is still being experimented with by the Westland Co. and before very long one may expect a rather startling second edition. Another tailless aeroplane which is now under construction is the Halton “Meteor,” which has been designed by Captain Latimer Needham. The ” Meteor ” is interesting in being a machine planned primarily for use in races and competitions. It is a single-seater and has two ” Cherub ” engines, one acting as a pusher and the other as a tractor. The wing span is 43ft. 10ins, and, as in most tailless machines,
it has a pronounced sweep-back and the chord varies. from 7ft. at the wing-roots to lft. 9ins. at the tips. It is wire braced and along the leading edge of the wing are pilot planes which are intended to work in the same way as the Handley Page slot. The under-carriage is reminiscent of the old R.E.P. machine of pre-war days in that the wheels are placed in tandem, and in order to make the machine manceuvreable when on the ground thefront wheel is made steerable. I am told that the work of building the ” Meteor ” has been held up from time to time for various reasons but it is hoped that it will shortly be completed and if its performance approaches that estimated, with a speed range of 25-120 m.p.h., it will certainly be one of the most astonishing light planes we have, so far, seen in this country.
Because, for many years, it has been generallyaccepted that the thermal efficiency of a two-stroke engine of large capacity is far inferior to that of the four-stroke, very little has been done towards the development of the former type. The excellent performances however, both in regard to power output and stamina, of the modern two-stroke motorcycle engineserve as a clear indication that the small valveless engine has now reached a high degree of efficiency, and in view of this fact there would seem little reason for not adopting the two-stroke principle in power units suitable for the smaller class of light plane. Dis-cussing the matter recently with an engine designer, I was interested to find that his views were that before very long a two cylinder two-stroke aero engine will beproduced and it was his opinion that owing to its simplicity and consequent low cost of manufacture such an engine may well prove to be the key to really cheap aircraft in the future.
The King’s Cup.
Particulars have now been issued regarding the King’s. Cup Race which will take place on July 5th. The racewill start and finish at Hanworth aerodrome and the course will be to Hamble (which will be a turning point), then to Bristol, Castle-Bromwich, Hooton Park, Manchester, Woodford, Sherburne, Newcastle, Hull, Leicester and back to Hanworth. It is interesting to note that a regulation has been introduced which specifies that the race is open only to bona fide civil aircraft,. that is to say machines which have been originally designed for use in civil aviation only, so that presumably service types will be barred. The entry fee for the King’s Cup is 25 and the closing date for entries is Friday,. June 6th.