Costes-Bellonte Achievement.

CERTAIN people, as usual of “armchair pilot” type, saw fit to describe Costes’ great flight from Paris to New York as “another useless TransAtlantic attempt.” This was before its successful cmelusion, of. course, and now that “The Question Mark” has accomplished that which they sought to disparage these critics have remained silent—as was to be expected.

It is true that since Lindbergh’s flight, there have been many ill-planned and foolhardy attempts to emulate him, but Costes’ was of an entirely different order. For years he had planned it, and worked out every detail beforehand, just as he did with all his other great long distance trips—and he would never have attempted this latest of his flights just as a stunt.

It is rather curious that so distinguished a pilot is not better known on this side of the Channel ; apart from his many post-War achievements—his trip from Paris to Assuan in 1926, the Paris-Jask a little later, his voyage across the world with Brix, to mention but a fewDieudonne Costes has figured in the world of aviation since 1912 when he took his pilot’s ticket—No. 1046—of the Aero Club of France.

During the War he served in the French air service with distinction, being mentioned in dispatches 11 times. After the War he acted as a pilot with the Air Union.

Like his companion, Maurice Bellonte is also an old hand, and actually started his aeronautical career at the age of 14, when he was engaged with the Anzani Engine concern. Later he went to Hispano-Suiza and Potez. During the War he served with the 213th Squadron and remained in the service till 1919. In 1922 he entered the Air Union and worked on all that Company’s routes—Paris-London, Paris-Brussels, Lyons, and Paris-Marseilles. He is not only a licenced ground engineer, but also fully qualified navigator as well as being a pilot.

Engine Starters.

It seems likely that the next step forward in connection with light aeroplanes is the general adoption of mechanical engine starters. Certainly, the common method of swinging the prop is hardly in keeping with modern ideas, and although present-day aero motors can be got going by hand without undue difficulty or risk, most people— myself included—rather hate “swinging,” and avoid it if possible.

J. A. Prestwich & Co., Ltd., the motor-cycle and cyclecar engine makers some considerable time ago were experimenting with a form of injection starter for light plane engines, and I now learn that they have placed it on the market. It is known as the Heywood-J.A.P.

starter, and comprises in main essentials, a small aircooled compressor and a storage tank. The former is geared to the engine, and when running, pumps air in the tank to a pressure of 400 lbs. per square inch. The unit has a distributor gear, and by an ingenious system of ports, compressed air with petrol vapour is admitted to the cylinders on the power-stroke.

It has already been tried out on various types of engines both on the bench, and when installed in machines, and it has proved to be entirely satisfactory. Moreover, it adds only 25 lbs. to the weight of a machine.

A Newcomer.

I have just had further news of a new British light ‘plane which is to be placed on the market shortly by the Civilian Aircraft Co., Ltd., of Burton-on-Trent.

This machine is a cabin monoplane of orthodox design and it is to be powered with either an A.B.C. ” Hornet ” or a “Genet Major.” The covering throughout is of three-ply and the designer has given very special attention to pilot’s view, comfort and ease of maintenance. The wing span is 35ft. 6ins, and it has an estimated top speed of 102 m.p.h., a cruising speed of 85 m.p.h. and a landing speed of 36 m.p.h. An unusual feature is the adoption of a wheel instead of a tail skid, with Bendix brakes fitted as standard. The provisional price is £650.

Night -Flying .

Long ago (I think it was 1913), there was a nocturnal flying display at Hendon aerodrome. If I remember rightly, it proved a big draw, and many people went there to see those early machines take off, circle and land in the glare of flares and searchlights. One machine, a Henry Farman was copiously decked out with electric bulbs along its span, tail-booms and enpennage, and thus illuminated it flew around, a novel and impressive sight.

Memories of this early event were revived recently when Airwork, Ltd., organised a somewhat similar meeting at Heston. The main idea was not to give a demonstration, however, but to give private-owner pilots an opportunity of getting experience in night flying under proper conditions. Flares, boundary lights and a flood light were used in abundance on the ‘drome, and instruction was given by Captain V. H. Baker, A.P.C., and Messrs. Mahoney, Parks, and Newman. The two Moths used were fitted with navigation lights and signals were transmitted from the Heston control tower by means of Aldis lamps. The course was carried on for one week, and in spite of foul weather conditions it received plenty of support from Heston habitues.