HISTORY, especially aviation history is always rather enthralling, and I am all attention when a pioneer of flying becomes reminiscent. Recently I was told some interesting facts about the early days with seaplanes. When, round about 1911, various aeronautical people conceived the possibility of replacing the landing gear of an aeroplane with floats, quite a controversy arose at the suggestion, and it was widely asserted that the idea was unsound. Considerable concern was felt that the resistance of the water to the floats would be so great as to throw the machine over onto its nose as soon as it touched, and before any practical tests were made, some elaborate arrangement was drawn out whereby a ballast tank installed in the tail of a machine would be filled with water from a pipe projecting forward ; the idea being, of course, that as the seaplane alighted water would be impelled up the pipe, into the tank and so load the tail and keep it down !
Early seaplanes were fitted with puny and crude floats which make a striking contrast to those wonderful ” boots ” of present day Schneider Trophy machines. I am told that the floats on the new Supermarine are only one foot shorter than the fuselage (measured from propeller boss to the edge of the rudder), and that they are a mass of ingenious features made necessary owing to the complicated factors involved.
Besides carrying the machine on the water, these floats must create the minimum of air resistance, carry the fuel and radiators, be able to withstand severe impact shocks and be highly efficient hydrodynamically. Months of research work was carried out on them by the Supermarine people who co-operated with the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington, before the final design was evolved.
The Scarborough Meeting.
Flying meetings like all other out-of-doors affairs have been marred during the past few weeks by our atrocious weather. It was so with the Scarborough Aero Club’s event on 15th August, their second venture of the kind. It was arranged that about thirty visiting machines should attend—mostly from the South, but so bad were the conditions that only a beggarly halfdozen ‘planes arrived. Nevertheless the programme went through—with certain items curtailed—and the spectators, numbering about 1,000, did not go empty and unentertained away. Mr. Clayton was there with the ” Bluebird ” with which the Hon. Mrs. Victor Bruce did her world flight, and he carried out a highly-polished aerobatic show, while a novelty was provided by Herr Magersuppe, the glider exponent, with a demonstration of towed gliding, the motive power being an ” Avian ” belonging to the Rollason Aviation Co. Then Flight
Sergeant Farlie did a ‘chute jump from about 2,000 feet and landed in ‘a road nearby. Prizes were awarded to those visiting pilots who arrived nearest to a ” sealed” time, and these were won by Mr. Chris Clarkson (” Moth “), Mr. Clayton (” Bluebird “) and Miss Page (Robinson ” Redwing.”)
Still More Fine Flights. ” “
These ” record-breaking ” long distance flights with light ‘planes—English light ‘planes, go on and on, but I’ll wager that it will be a long time before anyone beats J. A. Mollison’s great trip. Only the toughest of the tough could have done what he did—flying by day and by night that route from Australia to Croydon, with practically no rest in 8 days 21 hours. His first ” hop ” is in itself an astonishing achievement—Wyndham to Batavia, which measures 1,730 miles ! The endurance of this young pilot was amazing ; but, as he says himself, he was very lucky—as for instance when he made his night-landing at Batavia, without landing lights, and later when he put down on Pevensey beach, and all but turned up on his nose. One of his minor misfortunes occurred when his goggles blew overboard when crossing India, and he finished his journey without them. A great ffight, and incidentally, yet another feather in the cap of D.H.’s, for Mollison used a Gipsy-Moth.
The Monospar on Test.
The little twin-engined Monospar monoplane, which was described in MOTOR SPORT last month, has been undergoing extremely searching tests lately in order to prove the large margin of safety which is provided by its unique design. It will be remembered that the Monospar system incorporates a single spar which is braced against torsion by an arrangement of struts and ties. FlightLieut. Schofield has been flying the ‘plane with the wing covering made intentionally slack and “floppy “—so much so that an A.I.D. Inspector stated that it was totally unserviceable for flying. This was done in order to discover whether under stress of high speeds there was any distortion or twisting of the wing. But only a slight loss of lift was apparent. In this condition the machine was dived at 170 m.p.h. and even then no ” flutter” or undue movement of the wing or aileron was noticeable, and the response to all controls was immediate and positive.
The Monospar has already been tested at the Martlesham R.A.F. station, and any machine that gets through there successfully can be considered O.K., so that these further trials by the General Aircraft Co., who are responsible for this new craft, show that they mean to prove to the hilt the safety and soundness of their prod uction.