AND NOW FOR THE SCHNEIDER TROPHY
IN less than a Lfortnight’s Nine, if all goes . well, the attention of the whole world of Sport will be focussed on the Solent, for on Saturday, 12th September, the SchneiderTrophy Contest is scheduled to be held there. Because of the tremendously high speeds, the weather conditions will be the main factor in deciding whether the race will take place according to plan, or not, for with the sea planes travelling at something approaching seven miles a minute, good visibility is essential. As in previous years, there have been not a few doubts, delays, and disappointments beforehand not only in regard to Britain’s participation in the Contest, but in connection with foreign entries. Some time ago it was believed that three countries would compete against us for the Trophy —America, France and Italy ; but it seems possible at the time of writing, that only the Italians will race with us, for the U.S. entry has not materialised, and there are strong rumours that the French have abandoned their intention of coming to Calshot owing to their machines proving =satisfactory in their tests, since they attained a speed of only 328 m.p.h. It should be added that, so
far, no official intimation has been received of this withdrawal, however, and considering that their high speed flight has been in training for several months past, at Etang de -Berre, and that they have been hard at work with a number of promising machines of different types, one cannot help treating this rumour with hopeful reserve. As for our friendly rivals, the Italians, they have been pursuing a “hushhush” policy over
their ‘planes ; unofficial statements have reached this country, however, that their speed will not worry the British team, but there has been an equally persistent report also in which 418 m.p.h. is mentioned. Meanwhile our own team, while being fortunate in taking delivery of the S.6.B.’s in good time, and having the Gloster biplane, the Gloster 6, and the S.5. with which to practice, have experienced few days when flying was possible. And then they have suffered a blow in the fatal accident of Lieut. G. L. Brinton, R.N., on his first flight in the S.6., N.247. But Squadron-Leader A. H. Orlebar and his pilots are optimistic and are now getting down to it. Like the Italians, our High Speed Flight are retaining a discreet silence about the perform
ance figures of the new Vickers-Supermarine S.6.B. This machine is based largely on the 1929 design and is powered with a Rolls-Royce” R “engine. Outwardly, she is very similar to her immediate predecessor, being a low-wing Raf wire-braced monoplane. The wing span is the same, but she is longer in the fuselage and is somewhat heavier. By some means, which are not revealed, the engine has been boosted up to give off a considerably greater power than was developed in 1929 —and that was 1,900 h.p.—and the increased torque has necessitated an alteration in the distribution of the petrol tanks in the floats. These tanks are actually integral with the floats themselves. As is the case in the 5.6. the oil is carried in the fin, but in addition, another tank for lubricant is fitted in the fuselage fairing behind the pilot’s head ; the oil is cooled as it flows through radiators which run the whole length of the fuselage sides. The water circulation system is wonderfully ingenious and incorporates surface radiators which are carried on the floats and the water also passes through cooling ducts in the double-skin of the wings.
Throughout, the S.6.B. is built of metal, the wing covering being of Duralumin ; the rudder, ailerons, and elevators are statically-balanced in order to cut out “flutter.” The S.6.B. is the design of Mr. R. J. Mitchell, the Supermarine chief designer, who is responsible, of course, for the earlier Supermarine Schneider machines.
The personnel of the British team under the leadership of Squadron-Leader Orlebar, consists of Flight-Lieuts. E. J. L. Hope, A.F.C., F. W. Long, G. H. Stainforth, J. N. Boothman, W. F. Dry and Flying Officer L. S. Snaith. All served during the War. Squadron-Leader Orlebar is 35 years of age, and he was originally a secondlieutenant in the Bedfordshire Regiment in 1915. In 1916 he transferred to the R.F.C. and served with Squadrons 19, 73 and 43 in France, and later With two Home
Defence squadrons in England. He was twice wounded. Flying Officer Snaith is the youngest member of the team, and as he is now only 29, one might assume that he was too young for service during 1914-1918. In point of fact, however, he enlisted in the ” boy’s ” category of the R.F.C. in 1917 and he has been in the flying service ever since. Flight-Lieut. Long joined the R.F.C. in 1917 and served with No. 65 squadron in France. He was appointed to the High Speed Flight in May of this year. Flight-Lieut. Stainforth is 32 and during the War was in the Buffs, as a regular officer. After he retired from the Army in 1922 he joined the R.A.F. It will be remembered that he was to have flown the Gloster 6 in the 1929 Schneider Contest, but the craft was not prepared in time. Flight-Lieut. Boothman has been in the Service since 1921, and during the War, when he was only 16 years old he was a driver in the French Red Cross, in the Balkans, for which service he received the Croix de Guerre.
A New Course.
Turning to the regulations governing this year’s Contest, one finds certain innovations. For instance, there will be no interval between the preliminary trials— taxying and other tests—and the actual flying, so that the machines will take off, climb to 150 feet, then alight and proceed to the starting line. The course will be a triangular one with turning points at Rye Middle, St. Helens Point. and West Wittering. This provides a course of 31.07 miles, and it will have to be flown anticlockwise seven times. From the spectator’s outlook the inclusion of a turning point on land is an excellent change, and there should be no chance of the pilots failing to see the pylon as it will be near the entrance to Chichester Harbour. The Contest has been timed to start at 12.30 p.m., and each competitor will be started by a signal gun, and there will be an interval of 15 minutes between the starting of each machine.