Saturday, May 27, 2017

Postblogging Technology, April 1947, I: Britain's Through

The Oriental Club,

Dear Father:

Thank you so very much for the parcel of books. I am now quite reconciled to another five weeks of bed rest, she lied unconvincingly. The Wang Yang-ming, in particular, is gorgeous, and I cannot believe that you found it on sale in London. (Although Liz-Liz has her eye on it, so I must be vigilant in "preserving antiquity" against a three year-old's ever grubby fingers. ) 

As regards business, you will have heard that the New York price of silver is up on London demand. This is because most of the silver being moved in London for non-industrial purposes is ostensibly going to India, and that little Belgian stunt shows just how much money can be made that way, so I suppose that I should strike through the "ostensibly." Or not. Perhaps it is just feminine caution, but I don't think that we should be calculating on the price differential to hold. I am sure that we are not the only ones to have seized on silver as a way of moving money out of England and into the hard money countries.

It turns out that arrangements for showing your expert around were quite easy to make, as "Miss V.C." is eager to spend the summer on the coast, and thinks that she can fit a tour of ancestral locations into a search for good pulp-milling sites readily enough. I told her that Nootka is not likely to be a good location on account of water supply, but she points out that there are fast rivers running into all of the bays and inlets around the island that fit your ideal description. 

This will place most of the younger generation on the old sealing triangle, with your son on Hawaii and Tommy Wong on detached duty on a radio survey mission for a potential radar network across Canada,   

To round off this survey of your nearest and dearest, I am pleased to report that we are now using the iron lung only two or three times a week, less pleased to report that James has been persuaded to take a tour of Fontana next week while he is the south to meet with the principals of AiResearch and to seek out a doll that your grand-daughter absolutely must have. Uncle Henry will be there with a "very important client," and he has been uncharacteristically restrained about the identity of this mysterious benefactor of his business. I hope that we are not in the way of getting another "opportunity" to invest in West Coast steel!


Rescue workers preparing to enter 5 Shaft, Centralia, Illinois, 25 March 1947

Flight, 3 April 1947


“Atlantic Aircraft” Lord Balfour of Inchyre asked in the Lords about reports that BOAC was going to buy the Constellations that Lockheed couldn’t sell. The rumour is based on talks between Lockheed and Bristol about putting Centaurus engines on them; the paper thinks that that is a good idea, but that it is impossible because it would draw on the dollar loan. James says that this is a “The lady is washing her hair tonight” lines, because while the Centaurus is being used on some commercial aircraft, they’re not Atlantic runs, and that BOAC cannot be eager to maintain these engines in New York or Montreal or wherever. Which brings us to flying boats, since there are some Shetlands lying around in “bits and pieces” at Rochester that could be put into service. The paper airily says that passengers prefer flying boats, which they may well, until it is time to disembark; and prefer them so much that they would put up with an Atlantic crossing at a cruising speed of 185mph, which they would absolutely not. Also, they have Centaurus engines, so quite the two-for-the-price-of-one, there!

Flying boats tend to be huge inside, but because the size is due to the boat hull, the living quarters start halfway up, making for a great deal of underutilised space. 

“Helicopter Limitations” Dr. J. A. J. Bennett gave a talk to the Philadelphia Forum of the American HelicopterSociety, in which he explained, once again, why people aren’t going to be flying home from work in their own personal helicopters any time soon.

“The Silent Navy” The paper is disappointed that there were not more details about the Fleet Air Arm in the Naval Estimates.

W. Green, “Swedish Wings: An Account of the Wartime Activities of the Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget” The original draft uses the Swedish name for the Swedish aircraft making company It’s very pretentious, not even taking into account all the accent marks there are in actual Swedish that the paper can’t reproduce. The Swedes are very pleased that they built a single-engined bomber, the SAAB-17, a twin engined bomber, the SAAB-18, and went so far as to design and build a fighter prototype, the SAAB-21. There were also two alternative fighter proposals, the -23 and -24, an airliner, the -90, and a three-seat civil type. I’m not as clear about what was done about engines. The Swedes were license-building a Pratt and Whitney engine, put the Pegasus into some prototypes, and ended with a Piaggio. What I am not clear about is whether the latter two engines were license-built as well, although there’s really no reason why not.

Here and There

Decca has set up an American subsidiary and is hoping to build a master and three slave stations to serve the area between Buffalo and Washington, approximately. Rateau is testing itsS. R. A. -1 jet engine, the paper sent a likely lad to take a spin on the latest Short Solent, a Bristol Freighter is off to Australia and New Zealand, Sandringhams are going to Norway more, there is to be a two-seater Meteor trainer, and veteran aircraft designer G. H. Handasyde is 75.

“The Brabazon I: Part II –Structure of Tail Surfaces and Mainplaine Described: Pressurisation Problems Solved” What James calls the greatest English engineering achievement since the SS Great Britain is described in some detail. (He was using his sarcastic voice, but I was in a contrary mood –bed rest will do that to you—and didn’t ask him what was wrong with SS Great Britain.) From the sounds of things, if it does actually fail, it will not be for being too heavy to take off, as has been the more usual problem with very big airliners and bombers.

“Helicopter Design: Limitations Imposed by Basic Problems Still Awaiting Solution: Torque, Vibration and Stability” Three helicopter boffins from British European were somehow able to wrangle invites to America to give talks, and did their best to enliven the “Philadelphia Forum of the American Helicopter Society” by telling them that their foolish dreams were castles in the air. I hope that they took cash in advance! They ended by agreeing that gyrodynes are the way to go.

H. F. King, MBE, “Supersonic Approach: Exploratory Models and Missiles of Four Nations: Physiological Problems” It is almost impossible to get useful results from laboratory explorations of transonic flight, though four transonic and supersonic wind tunnels are under construction. So England, France, America and a fourth country (Germany?) are (were?) flying models and such. Currently, researchers are worried about providing for pilots who have to bail out at high speeds; slowing the aircraft down in a timely way; flying very high in order to test flying very fast; and the dangers of swept-back wings; the Germans had many ideas, some of which seem likely to be worthwhile, but did  hardly any testing. The Americans are further ahead, helped out by the fact that they didn’t see the need for elaborate escape arrangements on the XS-1. Unfortunately, they haven’t really got its rocket engine working. The turbo-pump to compress the alcohol and oxygen doesn’t compress yet, and they are using compressed nitrogen to charge the fuel combustion chambers, instead. Only when the turbopumps are working will they get their promised 6000lb thrust and theoretical 1000mph speed, perhaps this summer. They are also firing off various rockets. The French, meanwhile, are doing . . things with the Leduc ramjet, while Arsenal and S.O. have built experimental aircraft around German turbines and rockets.

American Newsletter

“Timetables and Prestige: Promising Impossibilities: Red Tape at Air Ports: Politics and the Aircraft Industry” Kibitizer thinks that timetables are just hurting the aviation industry, since it is difficult enough to make the departure time for a transatlantic flight, and all but impossible to make the arrival time. “Obviously” no-one cares what exact time on Friday they need to report at the departures gate, or what time Saturday they will arrive in London, when the competition is steamships. Not unrelated are efforts by Customs, Public Health and Immigration to “cut through the mass of red tape that surrounds the arrival of not only passengers, but aircraft as well.” Also, Republicans are the business party, Democrats are the labour party, but in spite of being for business, Republicans might cut the USAAF budget and make Pan-Am the “chosen instrument,” and that would be bad for business. Also, the Republicans might try to roll back labour gains of the last fourteen years and cause labour strife, which would be bad for business while being good for business.
I don't think that the Pan-Am chosen instrument story is serious. As we'll see in a moment, it is being floated with some other rumours that make me think that it is intended to push Congress to approve rate hikes. Also, this is a very interesting take on "Come Fly With Us" that the young folks today like.

“Turtle Data: Additional Notes on the Design and Performance of the long-distance Record Holder” The Lockheed P2V does not, contrary to reports, have a new wing section. It’s just a modified NACA 2400, but the modification, aileron droop, gives full-span flap equivalent performance, allowing the P2V to take off in 300 yards at its designed all up weight of 45,000lbs, although it used a 6000ft runway and needed 4,720ft to take off even with four JATOs, flying low enough over Australia that the takeoff had to be timed for still, pre-dawn weather. 300 gallon wingtip tanks were used instead of the designed 600 gallon, since the full-sized ones would have made the structure critical on the ground, and the nacelles are clean enough that the aircraft was able to climb at 475ft/minute with the gills closed, even at 85,500lbs takeoff weight. Air distance was 11,665 statute miles, average speed 211mph, fuel load 8,396 gallons, wing loading 85.5 lb/sq inch, average fuel consumption 1.41 air miles per gallon.
This recital of statistics brought to you by the Lund Foundation to Demystify VLR

I was going to talk about the difference between
making metals and making pieces, but how
many times have I gone on about that here? 
In shorter news, Aluminium Wire and Cable Company, Ltd, a joint stock company owned by Hawker-Siddeley, British Aluminium and Tube Investments, Ltd., has bought a factory at Port Tennant, Swansea, from the Ministry of Supply for a new aluminium factory.

Civil Aviation News

“American Aircraft, British Engines” The paper gives a little more coverage to the story about Centaurus engines going into the Constellation. The Centaurus is a bit more powerful than the Wright Cyclone at takeoff and through full power altitude, but has better altitude performance and fuel economy. In shorter news, there is something about flying clubs, a Greek national airline that currently exists as a kind of subsidiary of Trans-World may soon take on a more “flag carrier” role, and even though Stansted was opened as London’s freight airport in December, it is not actually operating as such because it doesn’t have a Customs detachment. The Government says that it cannot justify assigning Customs officers there until there is need, and the freight airlines do not want to use it until they can clear their cargos, which makes it a “chicken and egg” situation. Apparently English people say “hen and egg.” Lord Knollys is retiring as chairman of BOAC. Captain Dudley Travers, of BOAC, is retiring after 30 years of air force, taxi, and airline flying, having been with BOAC since 1926, or since I was 6 years old(!) “Some concessions have been made” with regards to Navigation Licenses for older flyers. The Consolidated Vultee 240 made its first flight last month.


“Wooton Struck” writes to praise the paper, and especially artist Frank Wooten. J. E. Odle sends in your unit’s badge as an example for those interested in a PRU photographer’s badge.  Peter J. Crofts is convinced that Northolt Airport is overstaffed.
Frank Wolton is not a famous man, even if his art is. 

The Economist, 5 April 1947


“Members and Electors” The paper takes two pages to say that Labour might lose the next election, because you need to say that Labour is awful in a long-drawn out way that shows that you’re above the fray.

“Asia and the Truman Doctrine” America has all the money, which makes it “the world’s banker,” and Asia needs lots of money, because it is undeveloped and primitive, except, to some extent, Japan. Capital has not flowed to Asia in sufficient quantity to promote development, and what has flowed has come from imperialist powers, because they get to own Asia. This should change, but cannot change on a profit and loss calculation. The Truman Doctrine, under which the American government invests in Greece and Turkey, should be extended to Asia. It might be political lending, with political aims, but it will still promote development. 

“April School Days” As from 13 April, all English school children will have to stay in school for an extra year. I seem to recall that the paper used to be in favour, but now there are all sorts of reasons (lack of facilities, inexperienced new teachers, changed from “not enough teachers”) why it is a noble-except idea that should be put off for a year.
If The Economist didn't tell me differently, I'd be beginning to suspect that it wasn't actually "Liberal." 1947--67 is a little longer than "crayons to perfume," but close enough.

Notes of the Week

“Turning Point in Moscow” The Russians now seem to realise that there will be no German surplus out of which to pay reparations before the mid-60s. Also, it seems increasingly likely that the western sectors of Germany will be united and allowed free movement and released from production limits. IN related but separate news, the Allies are still squabbling over Austria, and the paper is getting a bit impatient with the way that “the Anglo-Saxons are being squeezed” “from the Baltic to the Aegean” by demands for aid with the alternative of “economic catastrophe.”

Scots, Cypriots, Spanish Latins and German coal miners are excitable. Palestinians are about as excitable as ever, due to no-one being willing to put a new plan forward, and Jewish terrorism continuing. The paper points out that nay future Jewish state will suffer for having congenital “saboteurs” in its midst. Channel Islanders are to get a new Constitution, which is the opposite of exciting. English parliamentarians are excited about the National Service Bill. Worthy recent position papers about economic planning, targets and goals that are very, very worthy, indeed. The paper thinks that the cut in interest paid on National Service Certificates is not likely to have much effect, because they are mainly a savings instrument, and people save to smooth out spending, more than for the returns. (People are only right to get excited about low rates on gilt-edges.) United Nations delegates on the Security Council enjoy birthdays, further bulletins as events warrant.

“Freeze-out of Houses” Due to the snow, then the rain and flooding, and the fuel crisis, home completion has ranged from 8500 permanent, 4800 temporary in in January down to 3800 permanent, 2400 temporary in February and is presumed to have continued at lower rates into March and April due to production of concrete falling from 550,000 to 192,000, and of bricks from 379 to 247 million over the same period.

“University Scholarships” State scholarships will now be on quota, so that Oxford, Cambridge and London cannot continue “creaming off the intellectual talent of the country.”

“Part-time Nursing” The Government is looking to solve the problem of the nursing shortage by extending a part-time nursing scheme that is working in a place with the unpronounceable name of “Gloucestershire.”

In shorter news, the last three of the five West Africans sentenced to hang for ritual murder have had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment, as sufficient terror has now been applied. The Registrar-General’s quarterly return shows 221,891 live births in the last quarter of 1946, or 20,5 per thousand of population, the highest for a December quarter since 1941, with a mortality rate of 43 per 1000, 2 per 1000 below the previous low. The net reproduction rate for the year was 1102, the first time it has reached replacement level since 1922. (I assume that the higher war rates are balanced off against higher death rates.) The paper’s “This is just a passing fancy” attitude begins to slip. The 1951 Exhibition will have “Britain Can Make It” as a theme.


Nicholas Kaldor, of Houghton Street, thinks that there is too much egalitarianism, and that the need for economic planning goes beyond the limits of the free market to balance of trade issues. R. F. Harrod, of Christ Church, Oxford, thinks that open coal fires are very nice, and that Mr. F. B. Cope’s proposal for an urgent programme to replace open fires with stoves is therefore all wrong. P. B. Moon explains that the Security Council is promoting “de-natured” uranium for the same reason that the Excise promotes methylated alcohol. That is, hopeless alcoholics will blow themselves up in atomic explosions and leave the rest of us alone? Richard Deckwitz, of Hamburg, thinks that Jan Smuts’ arguments in favour of South African race policy sound just like Nazis on Jews. Beatrice King, of Aldbourne Road, London, appeals for old copies of English newspapers for German libraries, and Gerard Tallack, of Gravesend, for a tax on advertising, because there is too much of it.

From the Economist of 1847

“Shall the State Educate the People?” No, because the English are bad cooks. (This isn’t the gist of the argument, but it is what the old paper leads with. The main argument is that a slippery slope leads from public education to full communism, so you can see why it leads with cooking.) 


The paper did not like Peter Drucker’s book, Big Business, which it found superficial. Professor C. S. [sic] Northrop, of Yale, has written The Meeting of East and West, which is about how Easterners and Westerners have different views on things, insofar as the professor understands Easterners, which isn’t very well. Nonetheless, the paper likes it because it is typically American. 
Professor Northrop was a crank, whose career passed without much incident. But by a wild coincidence of pure meritocracy, this fine figure of political academia went from being professor at Yale to President of the University of Minnesota, where he was legendary for  encouraging Arthur Upson to revise "Hail Minnesota" in 1910.

Josef Schechtman and Geoffrey Cumberiege have a study out on European Population Transfers, 1939—45, which is unfortunately based on German newspaper reports, and very flimsy. J. P. Mayer has published Sociology of Films with the earnest English left wing publishing house, Faber and Faber. (Who says I haven't learned anything about the artsy life from doing these letters?) His point is that science shows that films have a bad influence, but since it is hard to get scientific statistics on the subject, he has to carry out his scientific analysis on what he has, which consists far too much of his own impressions. K. B. Smellie has written a book on A History of Local Government that will be inflicted on everyone who has ever made fun of his name. L. G. H. Horton-Smith, having heard that the boy that he used to make fun of, was coming out with a book on the history of local government, decided to one-up the lad with The Furnished Houses (Rent Control) Act, 1946.
Not only is "Smellie" a real name, there's a stock photograph.

American Survey

“Farm Surpluses” (From a Correspondent in Iowa) Americans are worried about farm surpluses again. Farmers want price supports, but that leads to concerns about hunger. The same small-town conservatism that lobbies for price supports, opposes food aid for the poor; nevertheless, the school programme seems to be here to stay. Hopes for new industrial uses for agricultural goods continues. Perhaps nylon couldbe made of corn cobs? Unfortunately, the tide seems to be going the other way, with products like rayon and nylon taking markets away from cotton, wool and leather, and the market is uncertain due to technological change.  

“Anti-Trust Activity” The recent completion of long Commerce Department anti-trust actions against Pullman and the A and P (although the paper is far too snooty to name the stores instead of referring to “the nation’s largest grocery chain”) show that ant-trust actions will continue under the new Congress, because even though the GOP is business-friendly, everyone can see that there is too much concentration in American business.
Any time that HTML could learn to parse ampersands, that would be great.

American Notes

The big news is that the President is backing and filling over his Plan, which is either about developing Greece, or arming Greece and Turkey against imminent Communist aggression, depending on whether he needs to blow hot for Senator Pepper, or cold for those who would like him to carry an A-bomb around the town –propping it up on the next stool over at the lunch counter, putting it in a little crib on the negotiating table where Comrade Molotov can see it--. Also, he is blowing hot and cold over prices. The talk is that he might go with deflation through debt redemption and “defrosting” short term money rates.
There's a picture of Spaatz standing beside a Spad in a raccoon pelt coat. Atomics for everyone! But especially Commies. 

“The Controls Behind the Loans” Congress is moving slowly on the Greek and Turkish loans, but also decontrolling prices, especially of agricultural goods and railway rates. These controls are needed if America is going to meet its obligations to the world food pool, but Senator Taft and his faction are eager to see the end of this interference in domestic markets, and do not care about world food pools.

“Return of the Tourist” The burning of the SS John Ericsson means that it is time to think about how tourism might help the English balance of payments if enough liners can only be found. With only 20% of pre-war liners, 155,000 can cross the Atlantic east by liner, and 200,000 by air, but the backed-up demand for western passage means that only a fraction of them can return, which is why the US government is only issuing a few thousand tourist visas, and the lines have agreed not to set standard fares this summer. In other words, you need friends to grease your path (I am having something extra put in the mail for Mr. Acland at Cunard right now. I gather he likes the ballet?).  

The World Overseas

“Ghosts of Vichy” The French are agreed that the Annamese can have independence as one of the free peoples freely associated in the French Union,” the only questions between left and right in the cabinet being how much you can freely beat free peoples with a truncheon if they don’t bring in enough rubber, cotton and rice. The extreme right, as represented by Aurore and Epoque, are strongly in favour of more beatings, which is taken to imply their support of freely beating all free peoples.  The paper thinks that the next few months will be critical, as determining whether there will be free beatings for all, or whether, on the contrary, Socialists and Communists will ally to freely beat the beaters, perhaps leading to a free Annam with no (French) beatings. My tongue is only so far in cheek because I’ve read this article so many times before –I’ve even spared you the obligatory de Gaulle sightings.

Jewish Camps in Cyprus” Ten thousand Jewish refugees, detained on their way to Palestine, are now being held in Cyprus. The camps are run by the English, they are not nice, the Cypriots do not want the English there, and the Jews don’t want to be there, either. The English found it appropriate to sneak the first batch of refugees onshore, it being thought that the less rioting, the less Americans would be offended. Whether American opinion or the over a million pounds already spent on the project is more important to the continuing health of the project will be decided in July of this year, if the Government does not back down on free conversion; or at the drop-dead moment when the dollars run out, if they do.  

“Spitsbergen” Spitsbergen is a horrible little island to the north of Norway, where there is coal, and, according to a globe, a compelling Russian interest in a naval base. The Russians have been pressing the Norwegians for a revision of a treaty of joint occupation that would allow them to build a base, and the Norwegians are now publicising the negotiations.

Why does The Economist have relevant file art for Spitsbergen and not, say, Southeast Asia?

“Garrison Prosperity in Palestine” The English garrison in Palestine spent £2,841,000 in 1939, more than twenty-five millions in 1945, and, probably thirty in 1946. This is a very nice return on the national rebellion, and the paper proposes that after the rebellion is successful and the English are driven out, they will be invited back to build military bases so that all that English money spent on vegetables, citrus fruit, dairy products, textiles, chemicals, light engineering and diamonds(?) can continue to flow. The paper supposes that that will not really happen, and that independence will lead to housing boom, due to all the immigrants to be housed, only a shortage of workers will lead to increasing wages, and, etc. etc., a “great depression.” Which is fine, because everything, everywhere is (always, we know now, thanks to the "1846" feature) is leading to a great depression.

The Business World

“When the Dollars Run Out” Speaking of. . The paper supposes that the English balance of payments will be balanced in four or five years, and that the dollar loans will run out some time in 1949. This is, of course, at variance with the Earl’s expectation that the crisis will occur next year, but I am not seeing the reason for the difference very clearly, as the paper thinks that its job is to fight excessive optimism, derived from the rapidly declining overall adverse balance of trade, which is overweighted to the sterling area.  I think it is because the paper is hoping for a fall in the price of imported agricultural and other goods?

“Base Metal Boom” The ongoing manufacturing boom has led to increased demand for base metals. The Ministry of Supply cannot get enough lead, copper, tin and cadmium. Prices are up, supply is not responding quickly, in part due to labour problems or shortages in Australia, Chile and Rhodesia and slowing rehabilitation in Malaya and the Dutch East indies.

Business Notes

“Coal for Business” After some blather about stocks, the paper moves on to coal and the five-day week. It notes that a five-day work week might lead to an increase in the number of shifts, since, right now, face workers are putting in 4 ½ a week, on average. Labour recruiting is also going well, and it is beginning to look as though the 200-million-ton target is in sight. The problem is that it won’t be enough, and since the Government is committed to laying in a 10-million-ton stockpile in the summer, there maybe coal rationing for industry in the summer, as well as winter. There is even some talk of importing American coal.

“The Fiscal Year” The final returns for the last fiscal year show that it went surprisingly well, with a deficit of £569 million compared with the original estimate of £726 million, and revised estimate of £940 million, although the paper goes on to explain that, including “below line” figures such as the repayment of war credits brings the true deficit over a billion pounds. That said, it really is below expectations, and the reason for that is buoyant revenues, and the paper thinks that this calls for an anti-inflationary budget. The paper then rounds up news about ICI, IFCC, BCFC and English Electric that explains this buoyancy. The middle two are financial intermediaries, not terribly important to us, but ICI has been paying large bonusses on its stocks, and English Electric has had a “disappointing” year because it has only been able to add 300 to its staff, where it needed thousands more workers (and more materials) to take advantage of all the opportunities open to it. Sir George Nelson, of EEC, thinks that “the national effort needs to be compressed,” as England’s productive capacity has been “oversold.”
Besides the big iron, the postwar English Electric product that Wikipedia chooses to highlight is the company's new igniscope, developed for the REME during the war, and sold "in the thousands" to garages after the war. This is not an igniscope, nor is it by English Electric, but it is that kind of old-timey analogue engine diagnostic rig. By NJR ZA - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

“American Ships for Britain” The government has agreed to sell England 137 of the 271 American ships currently on bareboat charger to the Ministry of Transport at a cost of £18 million in dollars. Private shipowners will be allowed to buy 106 Liberties and just one of the short-sea types, with 30 of the remaining smaller types being kept by the Government to bring sleepers and pit props from the Baltic. The other ships will be returned to the Americans and laid up, as much because British owners don’t want them as for any other reason. All eyes now are on the 40 Victory ships the Americans will lay up if an English offer is not accepted.

Actual Germans actually launching the DM
1948. It must be hard to be so pessimistic
all the time.
In shorter news, German yarn will be imported into England to make up for deficiencies in spinning here. The February number of the Federal Reserve Bulletin explains the central banking authority the Americans have set up in their occupation zone in Germany. The paper squints, finds reason to be pessimistic –the statute is “so impressive” that they won’t be able to do anybusiness at all in the chaos of Germany today. Also, Latin bankers are excitable, and buying from London is pushing up silver prices in New York. A recent Belgian arbitrage moved 11 million ounces of silver from New York to India, which still only meets a fifth of India’s estimated annual need, but which made the Belgians a handsome profit, perhaps at some loss of English dollar holdings at settlement.

Flight, 10 April 1947


“Aids to Air Safety” Lord Nathan made a statement in the Lords in which he offered all comfort to FIDO enthusiasts such as Lord Cherwell short of promising to use it. As for all the radio and radar stuff, it’s all a bit up in the air, but there is to be a committee, chaired by Watson-Watt. Lord Nathan is also to appoint a scientific advisor, and the paper warns that he needs someone who knows what he is doing.

“Naval Helicopters” The New York Herald Tribune reports that the US Navy is to replace destroyers with helicopters as “plane guards,” which the paper thinks is “somewhat staggering.” It seems to have worked well in a recent exercise in the Caribbean, and the day is unquestionably coming, and perhaps it is here.

“The Price We Pay” Civil Aviation will cost the public well over £24 million next year, which is staggering, and includes more than 7.5 million in subsidies for airlines and 3 millions for Heathrow, out of a projected total of £26 million when all is said and done.

C. B. Bailey-Watson, “Airspeed (A.S.57) Ambassador: Refinement of Design Down to Smallest Detail: Integral Tanks” Orthodox form, advanced design, etc., etc. Amazingly enough, the designers have chosen a low-drag wing and aimed for economy, all that is missing is a comment about the unexpectedly luxurious cabin, and the later insert about how the integral fuel tanks were replaced with insert cells, with an oblique reference to that horrible fire of last year. (I shall be very cross with you if there is a tragedy and you remind me of this comment!)

Here and There

“Crimson Airport” Canada built airports in its far north for the “Crimson Route” ferry to England, and now the RCAF is to retain some of them. In other Canadian news, Viscount Alexander is going in for a pilot’s license, and Mrs. MacGill Soulsby, wife of Mr. E. J. Soulsby, the “first woman in the world to receive a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering,” is to be one of the Canadian representatives on the PICAO committee. I wonder if that could have been me, if you had been able to persuade Father that I be allowed to attend the Institute? “Too scandalous,” “Your Great-Uncle’s regrettable reputation,” “unwelcome publicity . . .” Hmph. In shorter news, there is yet another Bristol Freighter touring the Americas, two-thirds of England has now been photographed from the air, the airship isn’t dead, because someone in America is testing one, Russian air transport is growing by leaps and bounds, some long range radar stations will be built in Canada’s far north this summer, supporting stations in Alaska that help with “air and marine navigation." They will be staffed by Americans until Canadians are ready to help them. W. S. Shackleton is expanding, and taking on the proprietor’s son as head of the “newly formed marine department.” It is claimed that electric power is the coming thing in airport transport vehicles.

John W. R. Taylor, “PhantomDevelopment: The Story of the Birth and Evolution of the First Jet Fighter for the U.S. Navy” The McDonnell Phantom started “a few weeks after Pearl Harbour,” when the Americans learned about jet propulsion, and decided to put Westinghouse on the case, making an axial engine, since the English hadn’t any on offer, and it seemed as though that would be a better bet than centrifugal ones in the long run. In 1943, they put McDonnell on the case of building an aircraft to wrap around the engine, on count of having several aircraft companies that weren’t making aircraft.  (And they talk about American “efficiency”!) An all up weight of 6600lbs and a wing area of 230sq ft was expected, with twin engines, each giving between 275 and 340lbs thrust. Unfortunately, the airframe turned out too heavy, it is not clearly said for what, but the article goes on to say that the Navy asked for six, eight and ten-engined versions on the same wing area, with 11” or 13 1/2” diameter engines, before reverting to the twin-engined format with 19” engines, which turned out better than a naval fighter with ten(!) engines. In the next phase of developments, it was found that the fuselage was too small to carry the necessary fuel, which resulted in a redesign of the wings that made them too heavy until the engines were finally brought inboard and stowed away in wing fillets. NACA then did wind tunnel tests to prove that the fillets did not affect air intake at high Mach numbers –I am not sure how they did this, given the difficulties with getting good experimental results at these Mach numbers, but I am sure that rapid, wartime testing overseen by a second-rate design house worked out fine, because the Phantom is a stunning success, only 100mph slower than a Meteor.

McDonnell FH Phantom

“Short Nimbus Sailplane: Exclusive Flight Air-to-Air Photographs” The technical staff at Short Brothers have built a glider. In shorter news, the Navy will be conducting bombing trials over the Easter holiday, and Air Marshal Robb has given a talk at Fighter Command headquarters in which he reported that all but one day interceptor squadron is now equipped with Meteors, and that the Meteor IV will be in squadron service this year.

“Per Ardua at Halton: Soviet Delegation at No. 1 School of Technical Training: jet and Helicopter Flying Under Difficulties” Air Marshal Sorley, Lord Tedder, and P. J. Noel-Baker showed a large Soviet delegation (including “a poet, doctors, professors, a cotton worker and a locomotive engineer from Sumi Oblast” around the school, which they all found fascinating. After all, it has turned out 18,500 aircraft apprentices through the end of 1945, and has a fine fife-and-drum band, complete with a goat mascot. Afterwards, there were flying displays with the usual lot of Lincolns and the like, and including a brief appearance by a Meteor IV and Sikorsky Hoverfly.

"Is it always this cold in England?"

Radial Review: A Stock-taking of the Newest Bristol Hercules and Centaurus Engines: Important Installations” James remains stuck in his opinion that the sleeve-valve radial has no commercial future, but they are on the Viking and Freighter, will go into the Handley Page Hermes IV, and are being tested on a Tudor II airframe.

Basil R. Clarke, “Radio Equipment in the Solents: Comfort and Convenience in the Operator’s Compartment: Full Range of Aids to Navigation” This is presumably what the paper’s photographer was doing in Rochester. Hmm: Articles about Bristol radials, Short flying boats, McDonnell fighters and the Airspeed Ambassador. I guess that the moral is, sell Airspeed stocks short? As for details, the Solent has MF, HF, VHF radios, a direction finder, a radio altimeter, an intercommunication system, and an ASV radar. A Rebecca-Eureka homing radar aid was originally intended for the place occupied by the ASV Mark IV. The radio altimeter is the new American AYF frequency-modulated type, which is more accurate.

“Dual at 585mph: Meteor Trainer Details: Mark IV Fighter Demonstration” The new dual-control Meteor trainer is based on the Meteor IV, with a slightly longer fuselage, allowing pilot and trainer to sit in tandem. The load factor is 9gs, and it is the first Meteor IV variant to be shown in such detail.

American Newsletter

“Politics and Payment: Wild Press Statements: new Types from the West Coast: G-suits for Air Battles” Congress is investigating air accidents, from which no good can come, since politicians will just sensationalise everything. A good example of the no-good-coming is the rush to install GCA and ILS at major airports, to be followed by FIDO. This is not to suggest that “Kibitizer” thinks that this is bad, but just that he is not very good at making the transition from the standard journalistic “Take my Congress. Please!” to talking about details. He then goes on to point out that pilots want accident investigation taken away from the CAA, which sounds as though a bit more sensationalising might be a good idea. On the other hand, Americans are down-at-mouth over the English piling-on the Dakota, as they think that the problem is the weight limits allowed by some European operators. Various West Coast types such as the Cloudster, Pioneer, and new Boeing liaison type might appear, as well s the North American XB-45, said to be held up by lack of engines. G-suits will help jet fighter pilots push their aircraft to their Mach limits in violent manoeuvres. Also, “Kibitzer” liked The Best Years of Our Lives because it is a nice slice of Americana and has some flying.

In shorter news, the paper’s own W/C M. A. Smith, son of G. Geoffrey, has married Vivienne Margaret Nugent-James. The reception was at the RAC Country Club. INTAVA, the joint operation of Standard Oil (New Jersey) and Socony-Vacuum, will terminate operations by the end of 1948. Air Vice Marshal Addison gave a nice talk about “the war in the aether” to the Institute of Civil Engineers[!] this March. It was about radio countermeasure. But why the ICE and not the IEE?
I hope the library hasn't lost the Proceedings of the ICE.

Civil Aviation News

“Neglect No Means” The paper covers the Lords debate at greater length. The Ministry is looking into FIDO, and has ILS and SCS 51 installed at two English airports, with SBA at 11, soon to be increased to 40. There were eight M/F beacons installed, and six Eureka beacons at airfields, with four more to follow soon. There are radio ranges at Prestwick, Northolt and Bovington, and two to three more contemplated. Three “G” chains are in   operation, covering England and wales, and LORAN and CONSOL are being installed.

In shorter news, the resignation of Lord Knollys leads to musical chairs at BOAC and BEA., BOAC has a mobile testing house for maintaining engines, especially the Hercules 100, which is on the Viking fleet. F. N. Hillier, of BOAC, gave a talk to the Institute of Export in Liverpool, where he forcefully expressed the opinion that air travel is good for business, and plans for 13 North Atlantic weather ships are going ahead. The ships will have homing beacons to improve mid-ocean rescue. Canada will have eleven far-northern weather stations operational by next year, one only six hundred miles from the North Pole. (James-James asks if they can see Santa.) Pan American will be increasing its scheduled North Atlantic operations this summer again. The current ten flights New York-London per week will increase to fourteen by June, there will be a weekly Boston-London flight, services on the New York -Lisbon route will double on 15 April, La Guardia-Brussels will go up to three a week in June. Last year, 27,000 passengers crossed the Atlantic either way on Pan-American, the busiest month being June, with 4,246 passengers on 116 flights.


“Ex-Adjutant” reports that the Ministry seems to have lost all the war-time personal log books. L. I. W. Liquorish, the publicity manager for Alvis, reminds everyone that “universal power plants” were not a wartime innovation, since Alvis was showing one off at the 1936 Paris Aero Show, for one. Henry J. Manners[?] thinks that infra-red illumination of runways may be the way to go. 

The Economist, 12 April 1947


“Failure of a Mission?” The Moscow Conference has failed to settle the German question.

“The Road to Paris” France is in an uproar. There are Rightists, Communists and Socialists. General de Gaulle has said some things, and done some things. The next few months will be critical.
It all seems a bit like classic farce, but that's because it's the English press covering France. And because it's the Fourth Republic.

“Food Policy and Subsidies” Rationing must go on forever due to the balance of payments and the fact that the English want to eat a disgraceful amount of food, and “protective” food, at that. However, they can’t, and food price subsidies, or, on the other hand, price controls, are terrible. Therefore, everyone will starve, because the Government is awful.  And that’s all there is to it, because the rest of the front matter is taken up with an extended, hilarious joke about a historian of the future looking back on the establishment of the international Tobacco Standard.

Notes of the Week

“From Eighteen to Twelve” The squabbling over the National Services Bill has led to a reduction in proposed English national service from eighteen months to twelve. The paper explains why this means that the Government is awful, but is even-handed enough to point out that the Conservatives were also awful about it. James says that eighteen or twelve months, it is all one to the Engineering Branch, which does not want any conscripts.

“Coal Output and Miners’ Hours” The government is awful for not making the miners work six day weeks. It is the fault of nationalisation, so the Government is extra awful.

“Back to the Atom” Uno delegates like to talk about uranium mining. Further bulletins as events warrant. In other international talk-shop news, “horse-trading” has begun at Geneva. This is the international conference about tariffs and trades, so they are not trading actual horses, but, rather, tariff rates. It turns out that everyone is in favour of free trade, but everyone else is not. Following on this are notes about Sir Stafford Cripp’s publicity office, the government’s aid bill for farmers, public meetings to debate the Planning Bill, and the paper pointing out that the world’s Displaced Person problem could be resolved by our taking the number of immigrants America has theoretically agreed to take. (America hasn’t used spaces for 914,000 persons over the last three years.) This, of course, in aid of England complaining about the much smaller number that it is taking, and the coming end of the Unrra, which may or may not be replaced by an international refugee organisation.

“Missing Prisoners” Russia is holding 700,000 Japanese prisoners still, and claims to have less than 900,000 German. The Italian government has stated that some 80% of Italian prisoners of war taken in Russia have perished, and Germans and Japanese now fear that the causes of these statistics are now engulfing their POWS, and that few will live to return. It is suggested that perhaps something should be done about this. Also missing is the King of Spain, who has declined to return to that country on General Franco’s terms, and any resistance to Aung San’s Anti-Fascist People’s Independence League in the Burmese elections. AFPIL is expected to be an economically right-wing government of independent Burma.
This is in 1946, admittedly; but the Russians are being their own worst enemies here.

“Reparations from Japan” Our government has directed General MacArthur to made 30% of Japanese industrial equipment available as reparations for China, the Philippines, Dutch, English and Americans. Everyone else on the Far Eastern Commission opposed this idiotic idea; and General MacArthur has also set his face against it because the precarious economic situation in the country. However, America cannot give foreign aid except through Congress, and the President does not want to go to Congress for aid to China, and he can dispose of Japanese booty for the benefit of the Koumintang, so there you are.

“Free Speech in the Civil Service” The latest figures show the civil service up 8000 to 772,000 in England, leading to pressure to revise old restrictions on their political activity; the paper thinks that it should be left to departments to decide what is, and is not, acceptable political speech, after the fact. It cannot possibly be that naïve, can it? Also in the news is a break down of all Government aid to research, a real improvement on the old days, when only the Air Force did it, and you could not even detect Fleet Air Arm research. It turns out that there will be £60 millions spent in the Ministry of Supply on research, and nineteen millions in all other ministries --£12 million by the universities.


T. Barna, of Houghton Street, Aldwych, thinks that the government is not publishing enough statistics. William Foster, of Southwick Place, London, thinks that income taxes and death duties are far too high, and are suppressing all investment, and that socialism is terrible. J. E. Allan, of Cambridge, has ideas about reforming pay as you go taxation. George G. Olshausen, of 790 Bay Street, San Francisco, writes that England could stop worrying about its labour shortage if it were only as mechanised and automated as America. The fact that buying power exceeds available goods is a further argument for automation, not deflation.  Speaking of, F. J. Atkinson, of 107 Underhill Road, points out that the paper is being self-contradictory when it argues for lower taxes, a balanced budget, and against cheap money, since this will increase the Government’s debt burden. He hopes that deflation is not the paper’s idea of realistic financial policy. Chas Bates, of Flanders Mansions, Bedford Park, points out that it is illogical to think that workingmen cannot afford to buy their own products (which are for export), when they can, and do buy the imports they fetch in.  D. A. Higgs, Engineering Sales manager of Hymatic Engineering Company, is upset with correspondent H. A. Fieldhouse for suggesting that American manufactures are invariably better and more nearly designed than English. Helmar Stranck, of 4 Hohenstaufernstr., Berlin, points out that if Canada and Australia need more labour, and English emigration cannot supply it, perhaps Germans should be allowed to emigrate there.

From The Economist of 1847

No title this time. The old paper is upset that England is expected to pay eight million pounds to buy food for Ireland this year, besides more food to cover that sent to Ireland from other parts of the United Kingdom. This is because there is no prospect of increasing exports paying for it all, and this must soon lead to hard times due to “the railway undertakings,” for some reason.


Ronald Russell’s publisher chooses the week that the Geneva talks open to issue his book on Imperial Preference. The paper thinks that it is a silly book. K.M. Panikker has the Basis of an Indo-British Treaty, in which he imagines a security treaty between England and India, and the rapid industrialisation of India. Lloyd J. Hughlett is only the editor of Industrialisation of Latin America, because he has cheated and assembled a book out of seventeen short articles written by numerous experts on different industries and countries, so, really, this should be seventeen reviews, shouldn’t it? Kenneth Ingram’s Years of Crisis: An Outline of InternationalHistory, 1919—1945 is a terrible book because he is a socialist, and says cruel things about the propertied classes of England, who, in fact, are good patriots and take the paper. Shorter notes cover off a book on Argentina by Norman Mackenzie, issued by Gollancz (it turns out that Peron is a Nazi), and on economic research and Keynesian thinking, by Arthur F. Burns. He concludes that “Keynesian thinking” is too simplistic to explain the facts revealed by economic research.
This isn't the house that UBC built for Norman Mackenzie, but it is Iona College, formerly the home of the Vancouver School of Theology, and now the offices of the University of British Columbia Department of Economics. I've been dying to wedge that factoid in here, somehow.

American Survey

“Coal Hazards and Politics” The paper is not about mere news, so this is its response to the Centralia disaster. They are only the latest, as 974 miners died in 1946; only lumbering is more dangerous in accidents per man hour. The resulting UMW-called “mourning period” has cost 8 million tons so far, and now that Secretary Krug has ordered 518 mines closed until they are certified safe, an additional 600,000 tons a day are being lost.  The paper seems to think that this is grandstanding on Lewis’ part, and that his support for Governor Dewey (and the fact that Republican-appointed inspectors in Illinois were apparently bought off) means that Congress will be reluctant to intervene. So, in short, the real consequence of 111 men slowly asphyxiating in the dark is that it is a ticklish business politically getting the miners back to work in unsafe mines.

The other major matter before the paper is Mr. Ford’s death. The paper clearly did not know the man even as well as I did, and my acquaintance was limited to escorting Uncle Henry to a few soirees at which I mainly formed a terrible impression of his cronies. Anyway, the paper thinks that his passing marks the end of an era of personal domination of large American corporations in favour of the “machine manager” and the “managerial revolution.”
Yeah, not so much, as it turns out. Though it is interesting that one of the things that is scaring the GOP off Eisenhower is the feat that there will be a bloc veteran vote against him. The postwar era really was a different time.

American Notes

“The Telephone Strike” The combination of the telephone strike and Mr. Lewis’ crudely transparent manoeuvre in presuming to mourn the Centralia accident have naturally led Congress to take a second look at Senator Taft’s version of the new labour bill. So, it is all the fault of operators for aiming for a $12-a-week increase on an average salary of $43; which is a lot, I know, but a big increase on a small base, and I hope you do not roll your eyes at the page when I remind you that they are mostly women. Anyway, curse those Centralia miners for dying and telephone operators for being born of the wrong sex, and thereby leading to harsh anti-labour legislation! In other strike news, Governor Dewey continues to fight possiblet eachers’ strikes by finding more money for teachers [probably not stable urrl], instead of searching for reds under beds, as some would prefer.

In less relevant notes, Congress has agreed to not be too outraged over the compromise that sends the Truman Bill past the UN, and the University of Chicago/Encyclopedia Britannica report on A Free and Responsible Press is out. It concludes that the American press is dangerously short of talking about talking about the low tone of things these days; and that this might be fixed by changes in taxation, libel laws and anti-trust legislation. Congress will get right on that!

“Pulp and Paper” Meanwhile, in the real world, newsprint is so short that papers are having trouble printing. And by “short,” one means that even though production of pulp is up from 11 million tons in 1929 to 19 million in 1946, the increase in the number of daily papers has more than absorbed all that paper.
Base metals, not pulp (because I didn't get that image), but the same point: the price is rising because demand exceeds supply. Fancy that!

The World Overseas

“Reparations and the Russian People” The average Russian is expecting a wealth in war booty from Germany some time soon. Politics, etc. Speaking of politics, Sweden’s new socialist government, and particularly its Finance Minister, Ernst Wigfors, is awful, in a mealy-mouthed, this-or-that sort-of way.

The Business World

“Transport Amended” This is the bill to nationalise the railways, which has been amended to satisfy its critics.  More amending will follow, and the paper has ideas, which no-one needs to be bored with.
The Fortune article has lots of nice
photos. The problem is fitting them in.
“India’s Economic Transition” Postwar India will have to deal with substantial wartime inflation, which cannot be addressed by a devaluation of the rupee, which some are demanding, because it is rooted in a shortage of things to buy. India has done something towards addressing this shortage, but much remains to be done. Fortunately, India has a highly favourable invisible exports situation, thanks to its sterling balance, which will buy a great many English imports. Some have pointed to Argentina liquidating its sterling balance by taking over the railways, but this is not practical in India, as there is no one investment big enough to absorb the enormous balance. If it turns out that invisible exports are not enough to cover imports, and this is likely, then perhaps the IMF will step in, but, in the end, the export surplus will not fund industrialisation on the scale needed. Capital will have to come from reserves.

Business Notes
The paper leads off with complaints about the Government. Dalton’s cheap money is too cheap, and Sir Stafford Cripps’ stop on agricultural machinery exports (to allow the farms more machines to complete seeding in time) is just grandstanding.

It also manages to get outside of England while talking about awful governments, since Canada has just recontrolled Canadian US dollar holdings. In case you were wondering, it is the fault of Canadian workers, for making too much money. (Although Americans are not helping by failing to loan enough money in soft-currency areas to make dollars available.) About production and American dollars, there has been an Anglo-Spanish money pact, and that the English are still looking to import yarn. It is hard to be anti-Fascist when you need to make sure that no dollars are being squeezed out of the country by Spanish oranges and the like, and the rise of Germany’s unlikely wool industry continues.

“Coals from America” In 1939, America exported 11 million tons of coal, and Europe took 27,000 tons. In 1946, it exported 46 million, and Europe took 17 million. By the third quarter of next year, it aims to ship 3 million tons a month to Europe, and England has been looking into this, offering to provide the ships to meet the 3-million-ton target, in exchange for being cut in for some of it. This will not happen due to a shortage of wagons, but England is likely to get 400,000 tons a month via the European Coal Organisation adjustments. For a change, the paper urges optimism, because assuming it will get the full 400,000 next winter means that industry can be kept on the blast in the summer.
There follows a variety of financial news, of which the most interesting is the current trend to rising corporate profits. In case the Chancellor has his eye on them in the upcoming budget, the paper hastens to add that dividends have not risen in line with profits.

In the real world of things that people make and use, it turns out that British aluminium making is not very competitive on a world scale, and that the profits of the industry depend on working the product efficiently, that wages are up in building and trades, that the tea ration may have to be tightened due to a dockers’ strike in Calcutta and because the price is rising as Ceylon and India exploit their position s monopoly sellers. (The paper chides them for not realising that they want to promote tea consumption by holding prices down, instead.) In America, the synthetic rubber industry is as saved as it is going to be, and Americans will be allowed to start importing rubber privately on 1 April. American textile consumption is up dramatically. Cotton is even more dominant than it used to be, despite a doubling(!) of wool use, all of it, sadly, two-thirds of it foreign.

Aviation, April 1947

The paper continues its sad decline, as Ernest Stout’s series on how flying boats and floatplanes float, is ended, while a newer and presumably cheaper writer is arranged for the helicopter series. If there is not a third world war soon, this paper will be as boring as Radio News! I have given these series short shrift for months, and that won’t change in this number. Helicopters are complicated, and floating (the right way up) is harder than it looks.
If you're wondering what happened to Radio News, UBC library lost the entire 1947 run.

Aviation Editorial

“Procurement Legislation Must Be Prompt” Congress must pass new procurement legislation before the war emergency legislation expires, or the whole industry will expire, and America will lose war-winning weapons like the B-17, which would have been lost, along with Boeing, had there not been . . . Actually, the parallel is not very close, but it does allow Leslie Neville to make a stunningly ignorant comment about how Britain “neglected” the heavy, long range bomber until “the war was well advanced.”
He's probably thinking of the early-30s trope about the RAF not ordering any four-engined bombers. 

“Applying ‘Copter-Quickened Economies” Helicopters might do their work too quickly to justify a company buying them, in which case they should possibly be leased.

What’s New in Products and Practices

This feature continues to make Radio News look good. As far as I can tell, Aviation is selling its issues to aircraft mechanics these days, although a limited-input welder sounds marginally industrial.  And General Electric’s “Automatic Flight Recorder” for recording the details of crashes, sounds interesting. It has selsyns to repeat flap and aileron movements to pens that trace a record of the flight inside a box that is robust enough to survive in salt water for several days, and which is in the tail section, so hopefully safe from the worst of crash and fire damage.

Aviation News
The story of Pan-Am as flag carrier just will not die. This version of the story pretends that Army, Navy and State resistance is “cooling,” although I think that that is less important than floating a rumour that Pan-Am and TWA, and possibly also American, are talking about merging, which would give America a flag carrier in practice, if not legislation. Since I cannot believe that the story is serious, I guess the main point is to let Congress know that the airlines really are in trouble financially. Having perhaps not been subtle enough, that is the next story. All airlines are in the red, except for Eastern.

The next story says that the “row” between ILS and GCA is cooling. The services are in trouble for exaggerating the scale of their success with GCA, the CAA is in trouble for not pushing radar hard enough, and ILS remains the paper’s favourite. A push for better airfield lighting is leading to a regular battle of the lumens (Did you know that there was an official unit of measurement for light illumination? I didn’t. The maths all seem straightforward until you arrive at colour, at which point things get fascinating.. . ) American Gas Accumulator, Sylvania, Bartow and Westinghouse have all entered the airfield illumination field. Bartow, which has the business now, is conducting tests at the Arcata Landing Aids Experiment Station this fall, while Westinghouse is talking up its super-high intensity lights, which are still in development. The President has recommended a $4 million allocation, which Congress may increase.

“Unification Picture” At least as far as the air goes, it is not so much a unification bill as an Air Force Bill. The Navy will keep its planes, and its ships, and also its land bases, and its own transport aircraft; so we shall have a sea air force, a land air force, and a land army, “and much of the land army will fly.” In effect, we will have unification, but only at the price of having three services instead of two. I shake my head. Though there might be some standardisation between the services!

“Just Push the Button” On the bright side, the air force-to-be may not need any men, since the AAF now has a robot flying its All Weather Airline, having completed 133 of 135 scheduled trips.

In other research news, United Aircraft/Pratt and Whitney has broken ground on a multi-million-dollar gas turbine and rocket engine laboratory, and someone is experimenting with a helicopter that turns into an aeroplane in the air.


The paper is impressed with the Theseus and the Rolls Royce Eagle, and notes that Don Bennett has promised to buy no American planes, since the Lancastrian is the fastest of airliners, and there are plenty of surplus stocks. The French are continuing to test fly the SE-1200, 140 ton flying boat, currently equipped with two 8000hp Arsenal engines, but to get Rolls-Royce Clydes at first opportunity. Irish Airways has hired John Kelly-Rogers away from BOAC to organise its Constellation service this summer. General Chennault may go to Chungking soon to “aid in reorganisation of civil aviation,” while CNAC flew 110 million passenger-miles this year. .
Fly across the Atlantic in a flying boat suspended between two 8000hp engines? Yes, please!

Scholer Bangs, “Design Details of the Northrop XB-35” Scholer is not one to waste words, as he barely has any. There are enough photographs to hold the covers apart, and this article consists entirely of pictures and fairly wordy captions.
There is literally no text in this article except for the captions. Is Scholer Bangs the least famous he can possibly be, given his job and name? Discuss.

“French and British Turbines Show New Features”

Editorial can read Flight! The interesting features in question are the split airflow of the Rateau SRA Axial flow turbojet, which produces 2200lbs static sea level thrust, but, importantly, does so while sending much of the air that enters it through a low-pressure diversion around the working parts of the engine. Warmed by combustion waste heat, it contributes to propulsion without costing energy, and so fuel, to compress. While the resulting engine is heavier than others in its thrust class, French engineers think that it will more than make up for this with its improved fuel efficiency. They think that an even higher air intake, with higher temperatures and higher pressures, may be possible, giving a 7700lb thrust engine with a specific fuel consumption of 0.75, which, I think, is the first time that I have heard a figure of merit discussed in the literature. I assume that it is quite low. The interesting English engine is the de Havilland Ghost, which follows on the Goblin. It is even wider, increasing diameter by 3” to 53”, but has some plumbing improvements that fall well short of split airflow in terms of interest.
License-built Swedish Ghost. No-one can decide what to call the "diversion," or "dilution," or "splitting" of air flow in the Rateau turbine, but no-one thinks to call it a "turbofan," and therefore they didn't invent it. 20170519_230739533_iOS.jpg

John H. Cantlin, C O Two Fire Equipment Company, “Smoke-Spotting ‘Eyes’ Give Plane-Fire Alert” The CAA now requires smoke detectors in both passenger cabins and cargo holds. Our company’s detector might be impractically large for aircraft installation, but it is light, and we’re proud of its infrared detection technology, which Cantlin will explain in some detail. It needs a blower to force air through the detector? I can see why this kind of thing is useful on steamships, where it must down on false alarms something awful, but on planes?
It's like editorial was thrown a crumpled fifty and told to get an issue out. 

George P. Sutton, Aerophysics Laboratory, North American Aviation, “Gaging Rocket Engines Forces and Flows” Sutton describes a testing rig for measuring rocket propulsion force, especially ones that vary with high frequencies, and propellant flows.

Madden W. Bradley, Strength Test Engineer, “Improved Static Testing Helped Prove DC-6” The Douglas method of loading structural members of the DC-6 for static testing is described at length. Hydraulic loading, from the city water system, was used extensively.

Francis C. Byrnes, “Radio ‘Fix’ Device Enables Pinpoint Avigation” The Duggar Radio Fixer is a proprietary indicator (invented by Colonel L. G. Duggar) that combines the inputs of a flux gate compass and two standard radio compasses into a course indicator that even the author admits doesn't actually indicate.

Francis Mass, Ernest F. Frock and Robert A., Grosselfinger, of the Naval Air Material Centre, National Bureau of Standards, and Laval Steam Turbine Company, worked on liquid oxygen injectioninto engines to improve power without causing predetonation. It cannot be usedbelow full rated power, but does increase engine output without increasing fuelconsumption at higher altitudes.

H. J. Woods, Project Engineer, AiResearch Mfg., Co. “Air Conditioning Turbine-Propelled Aircraft, Part II” This series, too, comes to an end with this issue. Turbine engines do not have convenient supplies of exhaust to operate auxiliary turbines, and often lack auxiliary powershafts as well. Bleed air can be used, but the company has reservations about current standards of bleed air flows, and finds that, anyway, ram intakes are often badly located. It is better to look at the engine just as a source of horsepower, either mechanically and electrically, and using a powered air conditioner of either a regenerative or simple type. If a turbine run by the bleed air is wanted, care must be taken not to reduce the pressure of the airflow too much, and to be sure that there is proper circulation, so that aircrew don’t find their heads roasting and their feet frostbitten.

For Better Design

“Surface Discharge Plug Featured in Low Tension Ignition Research” Beru thinks that the low-tension route is the way to go.

“Propeller Electric De-Icing System For Wide-Range Operating Conditions” Hamilton Standard builds a hollow, steel airscrew, so it is natural to put a heating wire through the inside of the prop bladed. It covers 75% of the blade and 25% of the leading edge in the latest installation, and has recently been installed on the Martin 202.

Line Editorial

“Our Teachers: They Need the Help of Business Now” Governor Dewey’s legislative initiative to allow local authorities more power to allocate funds to education has been in the news of late. It is his response to the rising tide of teachers’ strikes. You can guess what the other one is, which is to blame it all on communists. James H. McGraw, Jr., takes the interesting perspective that business does not want to alienate teachers and turn them all into communists. At least all the ones that are left, considering the rapid turnover that is leading to urgent teacher and librarian shortages. That just will not end well for business! McGraw-Hill likes business, but its business is selling textbooks, so it likes teachers, too, and it assures its non-teacher readers that teachers are not communists, that they have as little time for unionism as your average, red-blooded (not Red) American. Russia is spending twice as much as we, per capita, on education, and America needs to do the same, because this is a crisis! An emergency crisis! That has nothing to do with textbook sales!

My high school physics teacher, also a Zacharias, kept the old Physical Sciences Study Committee textbooks in the high school basement, so that we could look at and touch the holy relics of Sputnik-beating.  

“High Performance Plane Planned by Delanne” Maurice Delanne, who has a classy French accent, dropped by our offices to show off models of his planned plane, and explained why it is wonderful, and the paper lunch. Explaining this article.

“North American Develops New Trainer” Remember last year at this time, when there would be a new plane in every issue, probably several? All the people who used to work for the paper do! This year, it is just the North American XSNJ-6.
Except that it's not a new plane, just an AT-6 Texan with a clear rear canopy.

W. L. Whittier, Chief, Service Section Engineering, Douglas Aircraft Co., “Designed-In Maintenance Ease Keynoted in Douglas AD-1” Like the claim that a given transport aircraft is a conventional, yet economical and innovative design with a surprisingly large cabin is the claim that a new military aircraft is easy to maintain. That said, Douglas has had a war and more of practice to get good at “designing-in maintenance ease.”

Frank Rockett, Electronics Editor, Aviation “How’s and Why’s of Aircraft Electronic Tubes” Did you know that when you heat the cathode of an electronic tube, it emits electrons? This is, in all seriousness, a four page elementary introduction to vacuum tubes. The closest it comes to relevance is in noting that aircraft tubes must be very rugged, which is tricky, since you don’t want them to be too heavy. Googly Eyes! I make them!

L. Raymond Hoadley, “Argentina Seen as Prime Export Market” With all these new-come authors phoning in blithe articles it took five minutes to right, you would think that Hoadley would want to show them how it is done, and here he comes! Argentina is a large country with a lot of money, and probably wants airplanes. It has a large, blocked sterling balance, so you might think that it would buy English planes, but there are ways to get around that, and maybe they will. There’s a million people in Buenos Aires! The Andes are very high mountains! In conclusion, I think I’ll have a drink.

Fortune, April 1947

Leading Articles
“Dangers to Press Freedom” The paper covers the report of the Commission a Free and Responsible Press, which I summarised, a few pages ago, as a contribution to talking about talking about how the tone is getting low these days. (James adds, “And making a case for hanging Charles Moberly Bells for treason!”) The Commission might answer that I haven’t bothered to read the seven(!) books that came out of their research, but Fortune has, and Fortune thinks the same thing.

The Fortune Survey

“Survey Pitfalls” The paper is a pioneer in using expensive public opinion surveys to turn out cheap articles. This one is devoted to showing that, by phrasing the questions correctly, you can get highly misleading results. There’s politics here –American enthusiasm for the United Nations, Stassen, and anyone-but-Wallace are examples of things which can be underestimated by the right set of questions, but the point is good.

Fortune Letters

Fortune has a letters column! And H. L. Mencken is in it! (The tone of radio is too low these days.) Also in it is Chester Bowles, who defends his record on forecasting changes in the cost of living, and a lawyer named Herbert Wechsler, who defends the Nuremberg Trials at some length. Professor Wechsler, at least to my reading, takes the paper out to the woodshed and back, but the paper is not convinced.
Pro-tip: If you're ever thinking about arguing international law with Herbert Wechsler, don't. 

“The Republicans” It’s half past April, and well past time that every decent paper was filled to the brim with speculation about who will be the GOP’s candidate in ’48. (The paper throws General Eisenhower’s name into the mix, interestingly, pointing out that while he is steering away from a party label, come on, he's from Kansas.) When that gets boring, it goes on to list all the important Republicans it can think of, which names I won't repeat because I only have so much time in the day to match characters to letters. (Hickenlooper??) I will point out that Alf Landon is in the article, but the Engineer isn’t. Ha! It's enough to make a lunch date just to mention the article.
"So-Krates! Dude!"

“Britain’s Railways” The paper summarises the Transport Bill. With the doom and gloom of The Economist fresh in my mind, it is good to be reminded that the four big railways of England never came close to the kind of disaster that America’s railways flirted with in the Thirties. They have nice hotels, with big but cold rooms, and quiet trains. However, they’re quite slow, due to an increasingly severe sleeper shortage. They’re also surprisingly efficient, when their short routes and high density (which means that each train serves a very small area) are considered. The point of all this praise is that a nationalised single railway company might find it harder than expected to improve on private practice. It’s a little oversold, suggesting, for example, that diesels are not going to push coal-fired steam out of English service without even mentioning watering. (Or coal gasification, but I’ll leave that madness to the next article.)

It turns out that it's easier just blowing the top of the mountain off. 

“The Fuel Revolution: Coal-By-The-Lump, With All Its Miseries, Now Stands on The Verge Of A Great Conversion For Use As Gas And Oil; An Event As Important To Consumers As The Electric Generator, Or The First Model T” This article had James lamenting that he’d lost so many of his papers during his journeys around the world. Fortunately, Uncle George’s office in Oakland turned out to have a complete run of the Transactions of the naval architects, and so he was able to treat me to some crank’s fever dream of a coal-fired battleship of modern design circa 1937. I can’t remember if it was that one or another article from the same file that imagined powdered coal used as a liquid fuel, as in the turbine locomotive in this article, but it certainly was of a piece with that. This isn’t to say that Karl Konnerth (of U.S. Steel’s H. C. Fricke and Company)’s mechanical-mole coal digger isn’t practical, or that the ever-increasing efficiencies of coal hydrogenation imagined for the future, won’t come to pass. I just can’t get past the point where we’re heating up coal –a lot—to turn it into a different kind of carbon. The chemical energy released is the same whether you burn coal or oil; we’re just talking about hurrying Nature through the transition from coal to oil, and somehow making money from it. It is going to depend on how much coal there is, vis-à-vis oil, and the fact is that there’s a lot of oil in the ground in shale and sand that we can’t get at mainly because of cost.
So that's how technology progresses/ With lots of sidetracks. 

If you are wondering about what mysterious enemy might motivate articles like this, look no further than the Big and Little Inch. There is now talk of repurposing them as natural gas pipelines, which would bring the gas that Texan fields now flare off all the way to the East, and knock off downhome coal gasification. The industry advocates that the paper interviews think that this makes no sense, is impractical, compared with in-ground gasification (they grow mushrooms down there, too!), and, generally, should be stopped right now before the other guy gets hurt.

“Food Machinery: A Study in Growth” A nice profile of San Jose’s own Food Machinery Corporation.  The neighbours down the road got their start with spray pumps, and their fame from producing 11,000 LV(T)s for the Navy in the last war. They also do canning equipment, sprayers, and now farm chemicals, too. Including DDT! I’m relieved to hear that they make that in Niagara, New York, and not San Jose. 

Actually, it has been on a bit of a buying spree lately. In the main line of business, it has developed several high-speed orange juicers, just in time for the frozen concentrate business, if it takes off. It has sales of $50 million a year, expects a plateau at $665 million, and is in the market for up to $10 million in credit to finish its growth plans. It is probably difficulty with that which has led to this publicity push. By the time you get to the end of the article, the reader is treated to the Company’s Seven Principles of Business, which does not sound to me like Fortune journalism so much as something dictated to the reporter.  

“The Guaranteed Wage” A bit about industry-wide wage negotiations, which might be a good idea in some industries, though not others.

“Confucius: The Great Philosopher of the Age of Bronze is Still the Prime Obstacle to his Country’s Reform and Change” Since your father neglected your classical education so, you probably haven’t your teeth on edge quite as much as I do at reading the title. It does not get any better. Confucius is the author of all the bad mental habits that have held the Chinese back, only he isn’t, because he is not nearly so important to the Chinese mind as people say. Also, Confucius was really a research scholar, so the Chinese should transfer their love of Confucius to the modern scholar. I’d like to sit this man down with the Poor Clares and let them talk the classics over with him –and perhaps Sister Benedicta’s razor strap!
It's a terribly superficial article, but the effort put into finding the art was extraordinary. It also accidentally makes the point that the Southern Song and Ming Neo-Confucians were probably the most rigorous intellectual historians in Chinese history. 

Shorts and Faces

“Now if Only We Could Get a Tariff” America has tariffs on Christmas trees, agar-agar, and ping-pong balls. This is silly. Therefore, there should be free trade.

“Wow at WNEW” The paper wants to go to Milton Biow and Arde Bulova’s parties, and maybe see all the WNEW radio personalities, although it won’t do to appear to eager, as that would be low class.
“Contacts for Sale” There are people in New York who can get you in to see people even without printing short articles about them in the back of their paper. They include Norman Davis and Albert G. Boesel, and many other people who, you would think, the paper wouldn’t want to go to parties at; but what do I know?

“Waiting on the Main Line” The Main Line is where rich Philadelphians live, and they expect a coming-out party to be catered by John W.  Holland Co., says the paper.

“Britain’s Crisis”   “The Battle of the Power Stations last February caused many persons to declare that Britain was through.” I heard that –of course, everyone heard it. The end had come. Yet it is a curious end, when England has never produced more autos, electrical appliances, clocks, staple fiber, aluminum, and many other things, too. Electricity may be short, but the country uses far more of than in 1938, and coal is short because utilities, coking ovens and manufacturing is using 17% more. The problem is not so much that coal production is down, although it is, as that power generation and heating demands more than the country can supply.

(The article isn’t very clear on what’s making up the difference, but I imagine that it is all the hydroelectric schemes of the last decade and the increasing efficiency of generating equipment.) And while the mines are not out of their doldrums yet, the biggest reason for the coal shortage of last winter was weather, not lazy miners, and the country needs more new electrical generation equipment more than more coal, although it needs that. So if industry is surging forward, what’s the problem? Lord Keynes reckoned on a £750 million adverse balance of trade, but in a year, that has narrowed to £450 million on the strength of booming industrial exports, buoyed by rationing and substitution to reduce imports, and a steady reduction of overseas military commitments –although imports were also held back by an inability of the world to supply them. However, the paper is quite murky about the dollar situation, which is what had the Earl worried in the first place. It also points out that England could help alleviate its labour shortage by bringing in “thousands” of immigrants, and isn’t, because the trade unions would feel that their wages were threatened. 
Let's look at beautiful ads to distract ourselves from the fact that Everyone is Doomed.

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