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Atlantic Flights Again.
THE Fly-the-Atlantic season, it appears, has once more opened, for in the past few weeks two pilots have set off from America to come to Europe. The first effort—which was unsuccessful— was made on 12th May, when Lou Reichers set off from Newark, New Jersey, in a Lockheed “Altair ” low-wing monoplane with the idea of flying to Paris via Newfoundland. Having landed at Harbour Grace—where some repair work was necessary following some damage to his machine—he set off on the long hop on 13th. No news was heard of him until it was reported that the American liner, President Roosevelt, had sighted the ” Altair ” in the sea 47 miles off Fastnet Light, County Cork. Reichers, when rescued was in an exhausted condition, and owing to the heavy seas, the machine had to be abandoned. While congratulating him on his good fortune in being picked up, one feels with him that it was bad luck indeed that he came so near to getting across when his engine failed.
A few days later Miss Earhart pulled off her successful trip with her ” Veega.” And in doing so she has established three records. In the first place, she is, of course, the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo ; secondly, she now holds the woman’s record for a flight in a straight line (2,206 miles), and finally she is the holder of the record time for an Atlantic flight with 13 hours 15 minutes. Whether one agrees with the stern critics of these Atlantic flights, who say they serve no practical purpose, or not, one cannot help admiring the pluck of these people and their implicit confidence in the machines they fly. And if they are doing nothing else they serve to remind us of that great British exploit of 1919, when Alcock and Brown brought their old Vickers ” Vimy ” over from Newfoundland to Clif den, Ireland. Their time was 16 hours 12 minutes, which considering the flight was done just thirteen years ago, and that their machine was merely a converted War-time bomber, is not so slow. We are apt to regard long-distance non-stop flights, and particularly flights across oceans as a modern de
velopment of aviation. That is far from the case. There was Gran’s flight from Scotland to Norway in a Bleriot before the War, Seguin’s non-stop trip from Paris to Bordeaux and back, a distance of 650 miles in 13 hours 5 minutes in 1913, and Garros’ crossing of the Mediterranean in the same year-460 miles in 8 hours. All were outstanding achievements, and are worthy of remembrance. In view of what is being done to-day in the way of regular non-stop flights it is interesting to learn that in 1907, Lanchester estimated the maximum possible range of an aeroplane built at that time as only 360 miles. It is facts like these which show how great has been the progress of flying during the past twentyfive years.
Air Race in the I.O.M.
It is interesting news that an air race has been arranged to take place in the Isle of Man this month. Organised by the June Season Extension Committee of Douglas, the event will comprise two circuits of the Island, with the start and finish at Ronaldsway aerodrome, Castletown. The course will total about 104 miles, and it will be diverted inland to Peel in order to avoid the dangerous area in the southwest corner of the Island.
Unfortunately the race, while being open to all types of aeroplanes, will be limited to only ten machines, as the aerodrome at Castletown is licenced for a limited number of aircraft. However, the character of the course should help to make it quite an exciting event both from the point of view of the entrants and the spectators.
A quite bright suggestion on the part of the organisers is that all competitors should assemble at Blackpool aerodrome and make the trip to the Island en masse, accompanied by a flying boat, and that the return journey should be made in a similar manner. Numerous money prizes are being offered in connection with the race, including one of £250 which will be divided among the winner and the pilots who secure second and third placings.