THE enormous increase in the number of aircraft flying over some of the more popular aerodromes in the vicinity of London during the weekends and in fine weather, has been presenting a growing problem for some time, and many flying folk have expressed the view that something drastic should be done in regard to the control of aerial traffic round these places.
Apart from the risk of collision in the air (the most dread of all air accidents), the inconvenience caused to pilots is very considerable. As an instance, a friend of mine was cruising round for no less than 15 minutes on a recent Sunday waiting his chance to put his machine down, what time numbers of other ‘planes were darting round him from all directions. He said it was almost like a ” dog-fight ” of the war days !
Stag Lane is probably one of the busiest aerodromes near the metropolis and this question of flying traffic has become so serious that the De Havilland Co. have made arrangements for the purchase of another aerodrome where their work of testing and instructing will be carried on and so a thinning out process will be possible.
The Handley Page Co. also are giving up their aerodrome adjoining their works at Cricklewood and are laying out a very find ‘drome at Radlett, Huts, some 8 miles distant. As soon as they have left their old quarters, according to a report, the buildeis will be busy making a new housing estate on the vacated ground, and thus will pass out an historic spot from whence in years gone by many famous machines first took the air.
A Fine Flight.
When Mr. F. C. Chichester set out from Croydon in December of last year with the intention of flying to Australia, there were many who, remembering the failures and mishaps of other ambitious amateurs in attempting long distance flights, were exceedingly sceptical as to whether he would reach his goal. Now that he has succeeded, he is deserving of all the praise which has been accorded him, for undoubtedly his was a very fine flight, especially as he is in every sense of the word an amateur. He commenced his actual solo flying only last year, and with an abundance of confidence and initiative, but with little experience, he has carried out a flight which would do credit to any professional pilot. For his actual flying time on his long and lonely journey amounted to but 17 days. On one section of his route, after he had left Port Darwin, he was forced to fly for hours through heavy rain and over a widely flooded area, where a forced landing would have been exceedingly difficult, and in the earlier stages of this trip, as was to be expected, he was faced with a galaxy of unpleasant climatic conditions. His
machine, was of course, the ubiquitous Moth. Mr.. Chichester’s achievement stands as yet another proof of the ease of handling and reliability of this famous. machine while it also reflects great credit on the Brooklands School of Flying where he received his instruction. and ultimately took his ticket in only August last.
The New Moth.
The new Moth III which has now reached regular production stage, is quite the most interesting privateowner’s plane I have seen for a long time. Of the highwing, cabin monoplane type it has a very ” un-English ” appearance and only the familiar shape of the partially balanced rudder and fin, which since the days of the famous “4,” has been a feature of all D.H. types, betrays the new model as being of that ilk. The lines of the machine are extremely clean and graceful and I am told that during initial test flights its performance was found to be well up to expectations. The engine is a “Gypsy,” modified somewhat to enable it to be mounted upside down. The placing of the engine in this position, besides giving an unobscured view ahead for the pilot, also contributes greatly to the general good looks of the Moth III.
The Schneider Rules.
The announcement made recently by the Royal Aero Club that the Federation Aeronautique Internationale has agreed to the modification of the rules recommended by the former body in regard to the Schneider Trophy event for 1931 brings to mind the fact that the contest has grown into something far removed from that which the donor planned seventeen years ago. The late M. Jacques Schneider was anxious to see the seagoing flying machine develop and in 1913 gave his trophy as an encouragement to this end, and while he attached importance to speed in the air it is obvious from the original rules that he was just as much concerned with the behaviour and navigability of the craft on the water. Since about 1923 however the competing planes have become speed machines pure and simple and that part of the competition which was carried out on the water has come to be regarded as of minor importance. Indeed, it is quite common to find that the general public regard the Schneider contest as a race and not as a competition, and the fact that the competing machines are seaplanes is accounted for owing to the tremendous
speed making it impossible for land planes. The amended rules as set out by the Royal Aero Club include the abolition of the 6 hours mooring test and as the contest has now become the criterion of speed, it is safe to say that these alterations are bound. to meet with general approval.