The A.A. and Aviation. SINCEthe Automobile Association has extended its activities into the realm of aviation it has shown itself to be a body which is as helpful to the flying man as it has been to the road user, and the equivalent of those services which motorists have grown to regard
as a matter of course are now available for the air pilot. Visitors arriving by ‘plane at a flying meeting, for example, are now ably attended to and assisted by the beretted and overalled members of the A.A. “Air Squad ” ; the air traveller to the Continent has but to apply to the Touring Department of the Association and
he will be supplied promptly with maps, documents, weather reports and all necessary information to aid him on his trip. And a host of other services are at his disposal. Now the A.A. has issued a booklet for the use of potential pilots, entitled ” Lea.rniag to Fly.” This little publication contains particu!ars of over forty of the principal schools and fly .ng clubs in England, Scotland and Ireland where dying tuition can be obtained, and each organisation is dealt with very fully. Thus, one can find at a gla ace the name of the secretary or pilot in charge of a p sticular school, the entrance fee, sub
scription and flying rates, the types and number of machines in use, and details of road access. There is also a section devoted to the ways and means of obtaining the” A ‘ or” B “licence, with notes on the Air Ministry -,-Nuitements and so forth. Altogether an encouraging and useful booklet, and of particular interest to the man who is contemplating taking up the sport of flying. But undoubtedly, thE most up-to-date development on the part of the A.A., is the scheme for establishing wireless stations at all the
principal aerodromes from which weather reports will be broadcast regularly. The first one of these has been set up at Heston, and it has naturally created great interest. The station is run under the direction of Mr. T. Herbert.
Single-Seaters. In spite of the fact that it has been often asserted that there is little or no market for the small single-seater. machine, the little Comper “Swift” is making good headway in the light aircraft world. Following its very good showing in the last King’s Cup Race, the ” Swift ” is now to be seen regularly at all aviation events of note, and its very neat lines and extraordinarily good performance always cause favourable comment. The ” Swift ” was designed by Flight-Lieutenant N. Comper, who besides serving as a flying officer in the R.A.F. for a number of years, has been associated with aircraft design and construction since the War-days, when for some time he was with the Aircraft Manufacturing Co. at Hendon. He first became prominent as a designer when the light aeroplane contests were held at Lympne
in 1923 and subsequent years ; in these trials several machines designed by Comper appeared. • These were built by members of the R.A.F. at Cranwell when FlightLieutenant Comper was on the staff there. And very well-built and nicely finished jobs they were. These early Comper craft were powered with the 32 h.p. flattwin Bristol ” Cherub ” engine ; the “Swift,” of course, has the 75 h.p. Pobjoy power-unit, which is made by the Comper Company’s associated concern, Pobjoy Airmotors, Ltd., of Hooton, Cheshire.
Registration Facts and Statistics.
That very interesting book, A Register of Civilian Aircraft, which is the work of Mr. W. 0. Manning and Mr. R. L. Preston, has appeared in a revised and up-todate form once more, and the latest statistics show that slowly but surely the number of privately-owned aeroplanes is going up. It was not so very long ago that the total was well under 200; now it stands at 383. And the total number of civilian machines at present registered in England is 958, with 497 firms and individuals owning them.
Apart from these figures, the book is worth studying for the list of machines and the names of owners, and it is rather diverting to consult the pages in order to identify the ownership of a passing ‘plane.
Another fact which is revealed is the large number of concerns who are engaged in joy-riding enterprises, a point which rather proves the inaccuracy of the supposition that the ” Five-bob-a-flip ” business is fast becoming played out.
A Trade Tour by Air.
Last month three Blackburn machines set off from Brough aerodrome, Yorks, on a high-speed and extended air tour in order to demonstrate their qualities and capabilities at all the principal centres and capitals in Europe. The craft vary in type considerably, being the ” Bluebird ” (with Gipsy II engine), the Lincock light single-seater fighter and the Segrave monoplane. The ” Lincock ” i; unq-iestionably one of the best looking aeroplanes ever bui t, and its performance is as impressive as its appearance. Powered with a ” Lynx ” Major it has a top speed at ground level of 162 m.p.h., and a service ceiling of 22,000 feet. Its low power-loading and small span-24 feet—gives a tremendous manouevribility, and there is no doubt that foreign observers will be considerably impressed with her speed, climb, and agility. The Segrave is the new improved version of the Segrave” Meteor,” which was built in the first place to the specification of the late Sir Henry Segrave.
This Blackburn enterprise is being undertaken under the leadership of Mr. Robert Blackburn, the concern’s Managing Director.