FLYING CLUBS FOR THE MASSES
Sir,—Great Britain, aware of her position in World leadership, led the way in world disarmament, jeopardising her very existence in the cause of humanity. Several nations, still unready for the practice of this ideal, reward us not with respect but with contempt, and, .emboldened by our weakness, ignore our .counsel.
The sacrifice on our part has been in vain, and years must elapse before the ,minds of all men are turned from war. If for no other reason than the ultimate achievement of World Peace, Britain must maintain her power.
During the Great War, the largest number of enemy machines which bombed this country in any one raid was not more than 30. The progress which has been made in the mass production of aircraft during the last 20 years will -enable an air-minded enemy to attack our home towns in such vast numbers that it behoves us to take precautionary measures. We are perilously weak, and the warning has been sounded. The Prime Minister has already promised the development of our air force to a level at least ‘equal to that of any power within strik
ing distance. Is this enough?
Our vast technical and engineering resources can provide the machines for an .air force second to none. It remains to avail ourselves of that tremendous asset we possess in the youth of our country. There are many thousands of young men who turn to motor-cycling to satisfy their love of speed and sense of power, who rejoice in any sport providing an element of risk and demanding perfect and instant judgment, and complete co-ordination of nerve and eye.
The annual T.T. races in the Isle of Man watched by thousands of spectators and showing numerous examples of the highest skill and courage amongst the competitors, proves the point. How much greater to youth is the lure of the air than the call of the road? Almost every town has’ its motor-cycling club—every town must have its flying club. The only barrier is that of expense—the way is open to the wealthy few—it must be cleared for the ” motorbike lad.” The B.B.C. by its broadcasts from Croydon is endeavouring to instil ” air-mindedness ” into the citizens of the future. Immediate steps should he taken by the Government to promote and foster facilities for civilian flying throughout the country by :— 1. Providing a machine for each club. (a) There must be large numbers
of obsolescent Machines scrapped by the R.A.F. every year which are still perfectly airworthy and could be used for this purpose, andfor (b) The Flying Flea which has recently been demonstrated so successfully and appears likely, by reason of its low initial outlay and small flying cost, to become ” the motor-bike of the air.”
2. Granting a bonus to each club for every member who qualifies for a pilot’s certificate.
3. Providing petrol tax-free, or making a petrol grant.
By providing the R.A.F. with recruits already trained in flying, great economy would result.
In a short period, 50,000 trained civilian airmen, backed by our vast industrial resources, would quickly silence the warlike threats of ambitious or disgruntled states and would prove of untold value in the event of a national emergency. Moreover, such an organisation would hasten the development of civilian flying on international air routes, thereby uniting the nations Of the world by the annihilation of distance which at present divides them.
ha short, the establishment of civilian flying clubs throughout the country with a subscription within the reach of our working-class young people, would be cf inestimable advantage from every point of view. I am, Yours, etc.,
Lso H. WRIGHT. Caldy, Wirral.