Sunday, August 12, 2018

Postblogging Technology, June 1948, I: If We Don't Believe in the European Recovery, Maybe It Won't Happen

"Peck a hole to see if a redwood's really red"? It's almost like there's a subtext

R_. C_.,

Dear Father:

You will have my postcard announcing my promotion to Lieutenant, which I sent because I am bummed out about Glenn and Ed. The last time I talked to Ed, he was all test pilot bluster until he had three drinks in him, at which point he used some language about the YB-49 and Jack Northrop that was not complimentary at all. Preliminary talk is that they'll pin this one on the pilot. I'm told that he wasn't as easy to like as Glenn, and Northrop isn't about to let reality invade the private room he shares with his flying wings.

Maybe, just maybe, the Air Force will grow the nether appendages needed to cancel the damn plane. Then if it goes infectious,  the Navy gets rid of Fido, too. It's a dream.

I would say more, but as I'm writing, word's come down about Berlin and Ronnie and I are making plans to meet, in case it's the last time we can get together this summer. The CO says there's a good chance I'm going over at some point.

Your Loving Son,

Flight, 3 June 1948


Too handsome for flight safety
"The Pioneers" The unprecedented £100,000 award to Frank Whittle shows that the British government supports "bennie-popping freaks," says James. Also, aviation research. Other pioneers who made some money are Kingsford Smith and the Wright Brothers, Flight recalls. So there.

"Size in Transport" Arthur Gouge's lecture on size in air transport shows that flying boats really are the wave of the future, because runways are expensive. There's also a strange bit about the recent Chicago talks that could be represented as arguing that British types might not meet ICAO requirements as from 1951. On closer examination, it looks like that just means the Tudor, and that the British want an extension to 1954, I think. I think. Flight is talking around the controversy, which makes it hard to sort out. 

"The Fury Trainer" There is a two-seat Hawker Sea Fury for advanced type training, now. Shorter news includes a small jet propulsion turbine built by the West Engineering Company of Los Angeles for target aircraft. It is based on turbocharger mechanics. It has not been widely reported that a P-47 beat 500mph in August of 1944, but Flight brings it up now that Commonwealth Aircraft is making a big to do of its C. A. 15, based on the Mustang, with a Griffon 65, recently beating the same mark. Napier has a "multi-point automatic temperature recorder" consisting of seven galvanometers and an adapted F. 24 camera, with an automatic controller that "enables thirty-five temperature points, either resistance elements or thermocouples, to be patrolled in any order within a period of less than 10 seconds." 500 exposures covering 3500 readings are possible. Another, "conventional" automatic-controlled observer records pressure, height and airspeed to go along with the temperature "patrol." The whole rig, if you were wondering, is for fitting on a Naiad to track its performance in the air. I've gone into a lot of detail, mainly so I can say "patrol" in my next report on landing a Gooney Bird in a California fog.

Here and There

The National Air Races will include the Bendix Race across the North American continent. I hope it includes a low-altitude flypast of the stands at Cleveland, because what's the fun of going to the National Air Races and not getting killed in the stands? The Handley Page Hastings tour of Australia and New Zealand has gone off without a hitch. The planned tour of Egypt will not go off, because  hitches are expected. Crosley Motors is working on a small aircraft engine, which will be a four cylinder V giving 26.5bhp at 5400rpm; there will be an aircraft to go with it, because who doesn't? TCA has arranged through Canada Immigration for chartered emigration flights from London to Montreal or Toronto at a reduced fare of £72. The Ministry of Supply continues to boil out surplus bombs, which I mention because I had no idea they were boiled out. A flight of B-36s recently completed a 36 hour dummy run of 8000 miles at 220mph, dumping a load of dummy bombs halfway through to demonstrated the ability of the USAF's 97 six-engined bombers to drop bombs on a place 4000 miles away from Spokane, Washington. Any place, really. A recent shipment of rope for fishing nets, made by Wrights' Ropes, and flown out to Libya for the tunny fishing season, is the largest consignment of rope ever flown. Equally excitingly, planes sprayed a large amount of DDT on a large portion of land over in the Vale of Evesham to do for a Colorado beetle infestation. The directors of Miles Aircraft have filed suit against Mr. Buckley, a public accountant, for a letter he wrote shareholders.  

Civil Aviation News

The ICAO general assembly in Geneva will talk about talking, and about regulations for airworthiness in the future. L. Hall Hibbard, on the way to Geneva, gave a press conference in which he reported that the Constellation's all up weight has been improved by 3000lbs by a recent upgrade kit that mainly provides modifications for the inner wing and undercarriage, and that tests of the Wright Turbocompound, already known for Truculent Turtle's world record, have shown promising fuel economies. He continues to hope that the Constitution will find commercial operators. 
"Newest aerial dreadnought." "Sky giant." Oh, Forties, never change.

Several other important people have made statements about what might happen at Geneva, but it would be against the Geneva Convention to report them. BOAC's Kensington Air Station will handle 100,000 passengers during the coming summer months on their way to Northholt or London Airports. A BOAC Plymouth flying boat on its way from Hongkong to Iwakuni was intercepted by American P-80 jet fighters and escorted to Okinawa, although it did not have to alight there. The writeup describes all of the radio and navigational equipment at Iwakuni that might have been used to confirm that the Plymouth was not a Communist bomber. The USAF explained that the Plymouth was 300 miles off course and hadn't radioed a revised flight plan. Consolidated has increased the price of the  Convair 240 by about £100,000. Sky-Couch Company has introduced the first non-stop transcontinental service with no refuelling stop (with a Skymaster), although since it flies from Newark to Long Beach, I'm not 100% sure how much more convenient it is than a TWA Constellation. Keflavik continues to handle several thousand passengers a year, and will have a new terminal hotel capable of accommodating 80 people by September. KLM is increasing both Atlantic passenger and freight services.

I thought Keflavik was near somewhere, but, no, it's not.

Roy Pearl, "Air Cruise: A Review of the Route and Service Most Recently Opened by the BOAC" More on flying boats to South Africa. It seems vaguely exciting that they have to land on the Zambezi River near Victoria Falls on the way, and that a road has had to be "hacked out of the bush" to the nearest hotel, about four miles away. They also land at the industrial reservoir at the Vaal, which is, if anything, even more ridiculous. Pearl also has some veiled comments about the purported comfort of the Solent. In particular, even though it doesn't fly high enough to require oxygen, elderly passengers are better off with it, and it is a bit noisy in the cabins for sleeping. From the sounds of things, success with the Springbok will just encourage more companies to go ahead with landplane services. 

By RuthAS - Own work, CC BY 3.0,
Maurice Smith, "Scandia Discussed: A Swedish DC-3 Replacement with Outstanding Performance" Smith likes this plane, and is too polite to ask what the point of yet another twin-engine feeder liner is. He isn't too polite to take a jab at Scandia's cheapness in not automating more of the takeoff process. "Having selected fine pitch, rich mixture, low supercharger gear, neutral trim, flaps up, etc., etc. . . " He is less reserved about the alarming machinery sounds which can cause visible panic in passengers' faces, in Smith's experience.
(SAAB seems to have provided test passengers, who may or may not be reacting to the sound of the nosewheel coming up.) 

"Size in Transport: A Review of Development, with Particular Respect to Size and its Lessons to Air Transport: Precis of Arthur Gouge's 1948 Wilbur Wright Lecture"

Gouge, who moved on from Shorts to Saunders Roe in 1943, is a huge flying boat man. His elaborate argument that Atlantic airliners are going to hit 250--400 passengers has been summarised elsewhere. It's left to Flight to focus on the argument that nothing hits the sweet spot better than a flying boat.
Which is the point where I drop off the bandwagon. I guess the actual argument is that, yes, runways are going to get bigger, and that assisted landing is the wave of the future, and that therefore we can expect to see even more companies making tiny, wiggly electronics in aircraft cabins. Uncle George will be over the moon. I'm going to plump for buying fire extinguisher company shares.

"Radar Revealed: Exhibition of the Work of the TRE at Malvern" Speaking of tiny, wiggle electronics! Flight went to the open house, which was opened by the Minister of Supply. It was very excited by a display that showed how Air Interception Radar was combined with a projected sighting graticule, gyro-horizon line and target light, all projected on the windscreen in front of the pilot, who then only has to steer after the plane, line it up, and push the trigger button. (Easier said than done on your average Grumman beer-barrel-on-skates, but at least an Avenger is easy to land back on!) TRE also showed off the latest "pacific" development of GEE Mk III, the "Gee H Survey." As you've so often told me how all that bombing navigation work got its start with radio locators for air survey equipment that make sure you know where the picture came from, I don' t have to tell you that a modified GEE beacon is just the thing. TRE also had a nice bit about how the drag of antenna quickly becomes prohibitive at high speeds, with 25lb nominal drag of aerial at 100ft/sec requiring 130hp to overcome at 200mph, and 1670hp at 500mph! Solutions include encasing the aerial in plastic, making the plane itself the aerial, and cutting notches in the aircraft skin. That sounds futuristic, and the maths are Satanic, which'll keep the longhairs busy.


Patrick Ireland reports that there are several German ultralight airplanes that people might like, and that he, himself, has the British rights for some right nice bits of the old German. A. Johnstone thinks that the RAFVR shouldn't be stuck with Tiger Moths, and has new reasons for it, specifically that it is not very good in bad weather. O. Roche, "airport commandant" at Jersey Airport on the Channel Islands, replies to criticisms having to do with
the airport not letting aircraft without W/Ts know in advance that they couldn't land at Jersey if the weather was bad. Too bad, so sad that  you can't run your Auster into a Dakota that's trying to land through overcast. If you don't know that Jersey can't handle you in bad weather, it's not for lack of Notices to Airmen.

The Economist, 5 June 1948

Truly, the modern coarsening of American public
discourse is without precedent. 

"First Lap for the West" It has been a year since Secretary Marshall's June 1947 Harvard address. Then, "the nations of Western Europe were ruined, divided and rapidly losing hope, while the United States still groped for a policy." Today, Communism is on the defensive, defeated in elections in France and Italy, frozen out of the Sixteen Nations recovery plan, and rebuffed by the five-power Western European defensive alliance. The Six-Power agreement will restore the German economy, with France brought on side by an Anglo-American guarantee. Unfortunately, the Russian response, the "peace offensive," has had an enormous impact in France, and, one way or another, Britain has also upset the American press (75% Palestine, 20% socialism, 5% peace offensive), and so the press is mad at Britain in the press, and The Economist would like to sulk, but it can't, because Secretary Marshall made another speech, which it has to cover, or seem ungrateful for all that money.

"Too Much Equality" The Economist doesn't like the socialists, with all their equality-for-this and equality-for-that. Also, the Coal Board did something dumb, and freezing all industries at their raw material shares as of 1938 is a good example of too much equality, since it prevents change in industry, which is a good thing.

"Danger Signals in South Africa?" Maybe, just maybe, the surprising defeat of Smut's United Party by the National Party is some kind of signal of dangers to come. I'd say so. After all, a car hood slamming into you at 60 miles an hour is a danger signal that you're going to be dead in a half-millisecond. Everyone agrees that the vote was because the United Party endorsed the Hofmeyer Plan, which was too nice to the Natives by half, and also because it supported emigration, which was too nice to the English. Thus, while Smut won a clear majority of the vote, the Boer-dominated rural constituencies returned a 4-seat Nationalist majority. The Economist piously hopes for a coalition government that will prevent a breakdown in relations between the two White races, then very quickly surveys National's plans to reduce the Bantu, Indians and half-caste to "a helot status inferior even to their present state," before ending  up, via South Africa's vexed relations with London now that it is virtually a hard-currency area, on the question of British policy towards Natives in the rest of Africa. "[M]any responsible and liberal-minded South Africans think that the political development of the native races has been too fat and may lead to dangerous repercussions." So there you go! Hating "Indians, Bantus and half-castes" unites the White races. South Africa will be fine; it's just the rest of the world that has a problem.

Oh, and coloured folk.

Speaking of new political departures with no precedent whatsoever, Malan was a Dutch Reformed minister before he went into politics. 

Notes of the Week

  "Uncertainties Over Defence" I know that I've already used the phrase "American guarantee," because that's what it is, but the French would like an actual guarantee before they sign off on the Six Powers plan to restore Germany's economy.

"France's Continuing Crisis" Latins are excitable. Or the MRP is vulnerable on church schools, the Socialists can't sack 150,000 redundant civil servants. Either the two Centre parties fix this, or de Gaulle, civil war, general social collapse. So, another week at The Economist.

"Truce in Palestine" The new truce in Palestine seems to be holding, but needs to lead to some kind of settlement. The Economist favors tearing up the old partition plan, which turned out to be nothing but the blueprint for a Jewish conquest of the whole of Palestine, in favour of a new, continuous partition line on some identifiable ceasefire line, and hopefully some kind of agreement over Haifa, as Arab Palestine needs a port, and Jewish Haifa needs Arab labour. Also, Jewish socialists, Russian communists, something something. It's bad.

Ad interlude, because The Economist is being The Economist.

"Cabinet Changes" The Economist manages not to actually chew the rug and foam as it notes Dalton's return to the Cabinet, but does note that he will alienate the middle class voter. It is upset that Pakenham is replacing Lord Nathan, because while Pakenham didn't actually do anything over in Europe, he was credibly nice to those Germans and Austrians about forgetting dead issues of the remote past, like World War II. A short note suggests that the Government will re-pass the Criminal Justice Bill thrown out by the Lords, making capital punishment illegal, and that this would be a mistake, because the polls show the public likes the death penalty, and the Lords are supposed to be the voice of public opinion(!?) I do not understand.

"Grants or Loans?" The Americans are deciding who gets Marshall grants, and who gets Marshall loans, as Congress wants $1 billion out of $5.3 billion to be loans. The Economist thinks that with some juggling, the $1 billion can be spent on capital goods, and it will be alright on the day.

Three bits of news from east of the Iron Curtain or adjacent: General Markos has morse-coded in a radio broadcast of conditions for peace in Greece that might either reflect a weakening of his position or some Cominterm ploy. In Czechoslovakia and Jugoslavia, the Communists are consolidating power, albeit under the rubric of "Sovietisation" in Czechoslovakia, and something like Lenin's New Economic Policy in Jugoslavia. Not at all Soviet, but featuring a new and more ideological government, the Commonwealth Conference will meet soon and deal with the South African Nationalists and the postwar reality in India and Pakistan.

There's also some fuss about the failure of a referendum on reforming the Australian constitution to allow the Federal Government to permanently regulate prices and rents, over the Town and Country Bill now going into effect in Britain that may or may not be a "brake on enterprise," and further movement towards the full National Health system in Britain as the BMA agrees to let doctors sign up for it. Sort of related to this is a new plan for "tidying up" the Black Country, which is a "conurbation" of 269 square miles around Birmingham that is so awful and mismanaged that . . . it needs to be managed. The Economist likes the plan, which is a strike against it, but who knows? I don't even know what a Black County is!
It's Mordor, supposedly

The Black Country Living Museum
All I know is that I had to use a full line to spell out that word coinage, and I'm definitely going to use it in conversation the next time a big city comes up. Also some more, the Law Society has published its 22nd yearly report of the Poor Persons Committee, and has a special point to make in regards to matrimonial law, which is that while there is financial aid for the poor who might need to divorce, and the rich don't need any help, no-one with employment qualifies for the aid, which basically means that most of the actual British poor of 1948 can't afford to get divorced.
Also, since this makes The Economist seem nice, it harrumphs that while the recent revaluation of the "national minimum" income is all very well, the idea of paying a rent subsidy to those who meet the test can't do without an income test, as otherwise there will be all sorts of freeloaders.

"Exercise Britannia" Montgomery has decided that next year's Staff College Exercise will be civil defence. This will apparently involve all Whitehall departments contributing papers on how they will civilly defend if civil is attacked. It is already agreed that the Army will take the lead in rescue and recovery operations when the civil is attacked; it remains to be decided whether the Ministry of Defence will take over civilness from the Home Office, which is normally civil, in the event that civil is attacked. This seems to make sense to The Economist, which is upset with Montgomery for saying that such decisions could wait until next year, when the papers are in. I'm not sure why. The Economist would have to think its readers were pretty dumb not to get that "civil defence" is code for a Russian atomic attack, and the Russians don't have the atom bomb yet. Next year, maybe they will. And Britain will have a "doctrine" for civil defence. Hurrah!
Remember the atom-proof town in Colorado?

"Awards to Inventors" The award of £100,000 to Frank Whittle for inventing the turbojet is "an example of unusual imaginativeness and generosity on the part of the State," especially compared with Marlborough getting Blenheim, Wellington Strathfieldsaye, the Nelson family the Trafalgar Estate, and Haig, £100,000. (Really? I had no idea!) It's especially advanced and progressive, because now the Socialists now have to hate  him, because he is rich.

 The American Survey

"The Definition of Treason"

As you've no doubt heard and heard, Congress is debating the Mundt-Nixon Bill for making Communism illegal. You know how I feel about that, and I know you disagree, so I'll pass right over it except to note that The Economist points out how rare treason trials have been in the United States, for very good reason. Though The Economist doesn't close by deciding that the Bill is a bad idea just because previous treason trials have proven to be mistakes. Communism might be just too much. 
I lifted this from the wiki article on the Mundt-
Nixon bill, but you might not go there.

"Primaries and the Election" The primaries have been full of surprises. GOP voters rejected MacArthur in Wisconsin in spite of the endorsement of the McCormick and Hearst papers, and Taft in Nebraska in spite of the state machine. Stassen, on the other hand, went from strength to strength until checked in Ohio and defeated in Oregon. Dewey, flouting tradition, refused to stand aside, either after defeat in 1944 or after early primary reverses. Now, 900 of 1094 delegates are pledged, with Dewey in the lead at 146. He claims far more than that, but so do his rivals, and it is not clear that anyone can win the nomination in the early votes, unlike President Truman, who will win the Democratic nomination with ease. This will be first election in which the GOP is not running against FDR. The joke is that they are going to run against Stalin, instead; or Henry Wallace, as his closest substitute. Dewey is on the liberal side of the party, Stassen was formerly there, and the GOP's record consists of Vandenberg's internationalism and Taft's social policy, so that will be a trick. 

"Tarifs in Politics" Having succumbed to a spasm of internationalism, the GOP is trying to get back to its rightful position, sitting on the porch and fondling a shotgun whenever a neighbour pauses on the walk. "That's right, keep walking." Vandenberg has already had to water down the GATT agreement to get it through Congress, and is now deploying his "rescue squad" to save the trade pacts from last minute amendments that will kill them. On the other hand, the one thing both sides of the aisles can agree on is that they don't want to cross the farmers, so it looks like the Aiken Bill for farm subsidies is going to go through. These stand aside from all the sessions-end worthy bills for more social security, higher minimum wage, more Federal aid to education, more facilities for the TVA, statehood for Alaska, a long range housing programme, and civil rights for Negroes. Those are all just election fodder. Truman will run on the welfare provisions the Republicans failed to pass, while the Republicans will try to tie civil rights to the President and crack the South. Homer Ferguson, meanwhile, by tying the margarine bill to civil rights, might just save the South and Wisconsin. Poor cotton (-oil) growers; poor coloured people. 


J. Kenney, of the Graduate College of Princeton University, writes to explain why Sterling devaluation is a good idea. (It makes imports more expensive, exports cheaper, and promotes industry on both ends.) R. W. Moon points out that the supply of savings in Britain can only be correctly calculated by removing depreciation because . . war damage, probably? I'm lost. Philip Sporn of the American Gas and Electric Service Corporation points out that if coal is priced by ton rather than BTU value, you get inferior coal. W. E. Venn[? Wouldn't be the first time I got the initials wrong] explains how there could be an excess of textiles in Britain compared with the total value of ration stamps (textiles that can't be bought with the existing stamps, leading to a black market). Imported textiles are not accurately assessed by yardage rather than value. 


H. V. Hodson's Twentieth Century Empire is too abstract and vague for its own good as a study of how the Commonwealth is a modern Empire. P. Sargant's Investment, Location and Size of Plant is an empirical investigation that shows that Walter Scott Elliott's The Location of Industry, which is about the special development areas, is hopelessly naive. Barclay's A Bank in Battledress is a real page turner. 

From The Economist of 1848

Public relief works in Ireland during the Potato Famine were awful and evil and awful. Why doesn't anyone care about the real sufferers, the taxpayers?

The World Overseas

"Italians Face the Future" Latins are excitable.

"Poland's Trade with the West" Communists have trouble earning dollars, too.

"Oligarchy on Guard" Bermuda has a number of problems, including the existing oligarchy resisting taxes to pay for social welfare, and colour segregation in employment. The idea that this can be solved, as currently proposed, by giving the current Colonial Legislature, which is elected by plural voting by landholders,overwhelmingly a propertied oligarchy of whites, is just wrong headed.

The Business World

"Soft Pedal for the Deficit" Britain's trade deficit is widening due to the surplus with the soft-currency countries declining faster than the deficit with hard-currency countries. This seems to be due to increasing imports from the soft currency countries and may be linked to exports in gold to those countries, presumably to be redeemed for hard currency (American) goods. The government is not making this very clear, however, because it is increasingly afraid of honest discussion of the trade deficit. The Earl said that Britain would go off convertibility immediately, and devalue sterling shortly afterwards. I don't understand international trade, so I'll take that as my point of departure for understanding what is going on, which is that the government is getting ready to devalue, The Economist knows this, knows that it can't say it, and isn't above scoring political points against the Socialists by pretending that there isn't a plan.

 "The Film Agreement"

The idea behind the Film Agreement is that British cinemagoers would rather not go to the cinema at all than not see American films, which means that the British industry can't replace the American, because it can't get the revenues to make films to replace them if there is no box office. American films must continue to come in, and the Americans are willing to cap the amount of revenue they take out of Britain, receiving indirect compensation in the form of a revenue share of British films shown in America. 

So far, for us, all good, because we now have that share in that studio in London. Let's find some kind of film that Americans like (that hopefully don't involve portraying my great-grandfather as some subhuman Asiatic criminal mastermind), and get on with it! The Economist, however, is convinced that there are vast loopholes in the Agreement that will end by exporting Britain's precious lifeblood to Hollywood in the form of dollar shares of ticket revenues earned by British films (and music, books, plays) in the other soft currency countries. The costs are, however, manageable. It is now up to the Board of Trade to bolster the British industry to the point where it is not in the same boat when the Agreement ends; but if the British industry gets money, and the Americans use their sterling receipts to financially "infiltrate" the industry, Hollywood will get the money.

I didn't know that the Rank Organisation turned into a disruptive IT innovator innovating disruptively.

Business Notes Covers a great many investment stories, several linked to South Africa borrowing investment money to cover its current gold boom. Australia is also borrowing, but with less tut-tutting. Oil profits are up, which is a problem for Anglo-Iranian (which also owns VOC and Anglo-Burmah), because of its dividend cap.
American ingenuity!

"An Error By the Coal Board" Last year, under the pressure of the coal shortage, the Board produced a hasty estimate of a need for 13 1/2 million feet of belt conveyor. With British capacity at 4 million feet per year, 2 million feet were ordered in America. But by the end of the year, British capacity had risen to 10 million feet, leaving the Coal Board in charge of 2 million surplus feet of American conveyor belt, at an unspecified cost. The Economist fairly puts blame for the failure to predict British industry's expansion potential where it belongs. The Coal Board should have known better than to trust certain scandal-mongering papers that claimed that British industry was too ineptly run and socialistically remunerated to achieve full technical efficiency.

GKN is offering a share buyback ahead of nationalisation.  SCAP has specified that since Japanese textiles are being made from American cotton, Japanese exports will be paid for with dollars, which means that British trade with Japan has to treat it as a hard currency country. The hoped-for wage stop still hasn't happened, although the rate of wage increases has declined. The price of tin is up.

Aviation Week, 7 June 1948

The leader covers the new research battle-for-survival against communism, which pits $500 million dollars and borrowed German science against problems like transonic airflow, which cannot be defeated by cut-and-try methods.

In digest news, US Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith has rejected protests against low flying US military and naval aircraft in the western Pacific. That's us! It's for recognition purposes in coastal patrol . . . Does recognising radar frequencies count? 

The front page of the news covers the effects of the new plane orders. Deliveries will be delayed by all sorts of production and labour bottlenecks, particularly rehiring skilled labour. But on the bright side, the Wright Flyer is back in the Western Hemisphere. Also in the draft rearmament bill is a giant research centre and lots of new rockets and missiles. Air mail pay is generally up, and Congress had authorised a new Air Force general radar net. The Air Force is leasing another 17 C-46s, and Delos Rentzel has been sworn in as CAA chief. Martin gets a new attack plane order[?], the British are buying more Stratocruisers, and the Potomac Electric Company's new smokestacks are going ahead even though they will interfere with landings at Washington National Airport. 

O. W. Loudenslager, "Why Cross-Landing Gear?" Are you tired of hearing about castering landing gear from shills at Goodyear? If you aren't here is a heaping portion of more. If, like me, you're waiting for some evidence that it works outside of a hothouse, moving right along!

Speaking of, there are bits about the latest transonic research rocket, yet another helicopter with swivelling rotors, and a long paper on why dorsal fins aid stability, which seems like a nostalgic look back at the kind of paper that people read in 1935, but is actually a NACA note and quite scientific.

Aviation World News reports that there will be aviation aid for Greece, and that the SBAC Show at Farnborough will be open to the public. 

Fees at Idlewild are up, flights out of Buenos Aires are being held up by something or other, and the interiors of Russian air transports are very capacious, say the Russians. 
Airmail is now available to India, and parcel package delivery to India.


"Supersonic Flight News --A Dilemma" The Air Force says that it kept the news of the first supersonic flight secret for so long because the Russians don't know crucial details about how it is achieved. Aviation Week thinks that it is because the rumours and mystery piqued public interest and kept the Air Force in the news better than a single news released would have done. That's why it went ahead and revealed the secret, and why it is gloating now that a judge has said that its reporter can't be prosecuted. 

Flight, 10 June 1948


"Safer Flying" Everyone is getting worked up about this. So, first, it's worth reminding everyone that while there are plenty of navigational aids out there, that's actually the problem. All airports have to be equipped to handle incoming aircraft with specific aids, and that means standardisation, and that means that ICAO has to make up its mind and enforce standards, and that is very, very hard.

"The Fire Risk" There's nothing more horrible than a tarmac fire burning trapped crew and passengers to death while you watch. Crashproof tanks are a lot harder to make than they sound in theory. That leaves safety fuels, which require fuel-injectors, and which may or may not be less economical than regular fuels. "It will be for operators to decide whether or not any further development should be undertaken."

Frances Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford,
c. Allen Warren, 1974
A short note acknowledges the replacement of Lord Nathan by Lord Pakenham at the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Maurice Smith, "'Junior' In the Air: Fairey's Ultra-Light Design Handled in Rough Weather: Performance on 35hp"  This is the Avions Fairey design from Belgium, engined with an Aeronca JAP. At 430lb, every ounce is a luxury, and the brakes have to be operated one at a time, which Smith finds exciting enough to make a big to-do about. Other parts are equally "ingeniously" simple, as is flying it, on account of the unreliability of the ASI indicator, which means that you just focus on flying it by feel and not crashing, which is loads of fun. Smith thinks it is the perfect plane for pylon racing. I think he's being serious?

"Farnborough Forecast: New Helicopters and Turbine-Powered Transports on Show" Not much is known about what's going to be at SBAC this September. All the big service planes, of course, and the Balliol and Athena in turboprop guise at last, and the AOP prototypes, and the Supermarine Seagull, just so that everyone can see how variable-incidence wings work with their own eyes. The Ambassador will be there, of course, and, more excitingly, the Viscount, and the Apollo, if ready in time. Avro will bring a Tudor down, as they've got a few kicking around spare, and Handley Page will bring a Hermes, which they will soon be having, kicking around spare. (Says Uncle George.) The Viking and Solent will make an appearance, and all the helicopters that actually exist.

"Belgian Helicopter Display" The Westland-Sikorsky put on a fine display of not crashing, in spite of, passenger Colin Cooper points out, being within a few feet of the waves at various points as the pilot looked for the horizon, on a rough two-hour flight from Antwerp to London.

Here and There

The Nene-Vickers is shown being fitted out. Rumours say that an agreement to buy Canadair-Fours for BOAC is imminent. The US Weather Bureau is showing off a mercury arc projector with photo-cell pick-up, for measuring the height of clouds. Count Folke Bernadotte, the newly-appointed UN peace mediator in the Palestine conflict, will have a personal Dakota in UN markings for his flights to the various capitals of the Middle East. Flight reports that sister Illife paper Motor Cycle is flying photographs back from the Isle of Man TT races, in the most breathlessly exciting news since KLM added a new service, and someone flew a racehorse somewhere. Flight picks up the news of the YB-49 crash at Muroc. The Allison 400-C-4 gas turbine is the first granted CAA approval for transport operations. Trans-Canada's Montreal-Toronto-Winnipeg-Calgary-Vancouver North Star service starts 1 June. W. S. Shackleton has arranged for the delivery of six light aircraft to overseas destinations in the last few weeks, flown by emigrating pilots, as this is cheaper than disassembling them and shipping them overseas. The USAF has leased 74 C-46 freighters to various airlines. Last week saw the 100th anniversary of the birth of Otto Lilienthal.

Civil Aviation News

There is as yet no information about the (formerly Miles) Marathon crash at Boscombe Down, in which Brian Bastable and Beryl Edmunds were killed.It was a routine development trial flight, and it is not known if it is the one to be equipped with Mambas. Aeradio, Ltd, will soon publish a series of manuals detailing air control radio frequencies around the world, with subscription updates. The GPO is extending its "live" mail helicopter pickup trials. Further details of American Airlines' $20 million loss in 1947 are now available. De Havilland will continue to produce spares for the Rapide until 1951, and for the Tiger Moth until 1949. The Chief Inspector's report on the Tudor II crash that killed Roy Chadwick has found that the crash was caused by the reversal of the aileron controls by incorrect reassembly of the chains and cables, notwithstanding the repairs being passed by two safety inspectors. There is no record of the modifications because the AID inspectors didn't think it qualified for passing on.
Not a cover-up at all!
The Languedoc 161 is now flying Air France routes throughout Europe, except to Basle and Manchester. This will change by the autumn, when runway extensions at Ringway are complete. London Airport is ground testing its new high-intensity contact lights on one runway.

"Land/Air Warfare: No. 5 Special Course at Old Sarum" This year's course had numerous hot ships, rockets, some paratroopers, a glider snatch, delayed-action parachutes landing two Jeeps, and a Hoverfly, hoverflying. Fairey's White Waltham airfield is the probable location for this year's RAeS Garden Party. Martin is testing its new XPSM-1 flying boat, which has a new hull to improve performance on the step.
Reggie will have a squadron of these under him in Vietnam.

"Fours into London: The Four-Engined Aircraft That Dominate Air Approaches to London" If you haven't heard of the DC-4, Constellation, York, Tudor, Languedoc 161, SM95s, North Stars and Lancastrians this is just the small number of words around pictures for you! Not to leave anyone out, the next article is also pictorial, featuring colour photos of the fighting aircraft of many nations. No, you can't have my copy.

"Night Fighters" It has now been nearly six years since the first Mosquito night fighters were in the air. Time flies! The Mosquito NF 38, now in service, is a considerable improvement on the Mk. II, which didn't even have AI. Flight is upset that the Mosquito, with its Merlin 113/114, has such a small margin over contemporary medium bombers, and reminds everyone about the emergency over installing nitrous oxide to catch FW190s and Me410s, and "hopes that such a situation will not recur." Flight points out limited use of the Meteor as a night fighter, proposals for the Vampire and Firefly, and talk in America of an "all-weather" fighter based on the Curtiss XP-87. I guess my old Avenger was an "all weather" fighter circa 1945. If so, the problem remains the same. By the time it is "all weather," it has stopped being a "fighter."

"Favonius," "All Jet-Fighter Air Force"   Congress is putting the finishing touches on the 79 group air force for Presidential approval or veto. Although Congress previously overruled the President's 55 Group plan, a veto is unlikely. Service aviation will get 3.2 billion, with the Air Force getting 2.3 billion, the Navy 900 million, which are procurement numbers. My pay isn't coming out of that 900 million! A total of 5000 planes will be procured: the article lists the types, with no great surprises, and moves on to ask whether the F-80 or F-84 is the hottest Air Force ship before concluding that they're all hot ships, even if the F-86 will be hotter due to its expensive, heavy and questionably stable swept-back wings, and that the USAF is well-equipped with fighters, the problems lying elsewhere, and notably with bombers, although the XF-85 "parasite" fighter is good for that, as it will help the B-36s fight there way through to a town that is 5000 miles from the nearest US air base. Any town, really. Speaking of which, the "all weather" fighters like the F-87 are likely to be polar sentries, operating from all the new Alaskan airfields we're building. And if you were waiting for some kind of official announcement of an "all jet-fighter force," wait on. It's "Favonius's" impression.

"Synthetic Stratospherics: Development Equipment at Weybridge for High Altitude Research" If it is June already, it must be time for another article about the high-altitude test chambers, and if not the one at RAE, then Weybridge. It is still being built by Barnes Wallis (and I know what you think of him), and it is still good for 70,000ft, and still involves all sorts of pumps, heaters, refrigerators, humidifiers and whatnot.

"Article 41: An Explanation of the Clause in the Chicago Convention Which the Ministry of Civil Aviation is Seeking to Have Deleted" Basically, the Article might allow some planes to have extended service periods in civil aviation in spite of not meeting new safety requirements due to their "prototype" exemption period being brought forward by counting their modifications as new prototypes. It'll take too long to get rid of the Dakotas in various European airlines to make way for Ambassadors. That's the cynical reading, anyway.
Dude. Your work wife is pissed at you. Fix this before something happens that you will regret. (There have been a lot of these work wife ads lately. I think the C-suite crop of '45 is beginning to realise that it  is in over its head.)

An obituary of Air Marshal Sir John Higgins appears. Born 1875, he attended Charterhouse and then  RMA Woolwich, was commissioned into the artillery, fought in South Africa, was promoted captain. He tried to join the RFC when it was formed, went in in October of 1914. He was AOC Iraq in 1924--6 and Air Member for Supply and Research from 1926 to 1930, when it looks like he missed the promotion to ACM and had to retire, as the British do things. No problem in this man's navy! He then joined the board of Armstrong Whitworth and did honourable things with the Boy Scouts, I suppose. (Wife but no family, I'm sorry, very cynical mood today. Losing Glenn and Ed to a  flying wing tail-over will do that to you. Though I bet the report is going to blame the pilot, because the man had no friends.)


 "Charter Type" points out that most twin-engined charter types have two-man cockpits, and cramped ones at that, with the pilot doing the radio work. Between the cramping, weight restrictions and the fact that the pilot has enough to do already, no wonder there's practically no radio at all! --But you've heard my rant before--. He thinks that all those old piles of junk should be required to have MF, HF, W/T, VHF, or a director loop, and SBA or SCS 51.  "Ex. Acc. 6" is concerned that W. A. Hannam's recent article about air safety and after-crash fires greatly overstates the advantages of crash-proof tanks when there are so many leak points. DGH points out that most fires can be avoided if the crash is simply made at a lower speed. He then goes on to digress about fuel cut-off valves before pointing out that since 1940--2, British planes have been diverging from American in the size of control surfaces. American planes have larger control surfaces, and are more "advanced" from that point of view, leading to shorter takeoffs and perhaps also automatic feathering is an American advance we don't have. "C-OP-A Michael Angelo" thinks that better exit signs would help evacuate passengers in a crash, before the fire traps them. G. D. Solz has two concerns. First, he thinks that pitot heads aren't up to snuff. He tells a story about a recent twin-engine that had to fly through a cumulo-nimbus for an extended period and lost all air speed indication, altimeters, and everything fed off the pitot, presumably due to icing. It doesn't take very long, he points out, for off-attitude flying to topple the autopilot gyros, and then what happens? Nothing good on a big modern airliner! Then he randomly endorses safety fuel. G. H. Dowty, of Dowty Undercarriages, of course, writes to support "Comparator," who thinks American undercarriages are bad, against Mr. Conway, who wrote to criticise him and defend Lockheed.

More letters on air safety have had to be held over.

The Economist, 12 June 1948


"At Home and Abroad" The Economist thinks that the domestic economy is doing very well since the disinflationary policy was put into effect. Besides teaching the British people the true value of money (Hint: it's a lot!), it ensures that dollar-earning industries get plenty of willing labour. However, the economy of the Rest of the World is deteriorating. This is shown by the global dollar shortage, which must be due to a general problem, and not British policy. In other words, don't stop disinflating just because we can't earn dollars! Although the dollar shortage may soon reach the point where the British can't eat, or can't re-export for dollars, something will come along. Hmm. Isn't devaluation inflationary, in that it raises the price of imports?

"France and Germany" France and Germany used to hate each other, but must stop hating each other because of communism. France must ignore the communists and de Gaulle and approve the integration of Germany into a new western European community.

"Above the Law" The House of Commons has voted for a "trial" abolition of the death penalty. The Lords have said "No." The Minister has responded by telling the King to pardon all death sentences that come across his desk, which is a legitimate use of his powers, but represents a new departure for the terrible Labour government of letting ministers use their prerogatives to do all sorts of things that might be interpreted as above the law. In conclusion, socialism is terrible, except when it is pursuing disinflation.

"Latin-American Scene" The Economist hasn't been told that this section goes at the back, with colourful stories and pictures of greasy men in sombreros pointing pistoleros at each other-o. (That joke reads better in English, I swear!) And since the story is about the failure of a Pan-American Bank proposals to go with the new OAS, it has a long bit about Peron throwing his weight around, including in Antarctica, so it could have been colourful. There's even a throwaway about Bolivia's desire for a port in northern Chile. Fight! Fight!

Notes of the Week

The leadoff is about the parliamentary reform bill, which is a bit of a constitutional crisis, might hold up steel nationalisation, and is involved with the Death Penalty Bill, which has now been reintroduced as a compromise bill under which only really terrible people are executed. Death penalty opponents in the House have been silenced by the fact that it is all leading to more constitutional crisis, and who wants that?

"Handing Over in Germany" The occupation authorities are handing control of raw materials over to German industry, which The Economist thinks is a good idea, because it will lead to the Germans running their own economic affairs, and a bad thing, since the German industries will promptly reform cartels, which are bad things. Also, President Benes has resigned because he doesn't like communism any more.

"Tory Trumpet Calls" Being in opposition has allowed some Conservatives to have exciting new ideas. R. A. Butler wants to get back to Disraeli, with diversity, decentralisation, the little man and a property-owning democracy, versus "big business." David Eccles wants the Conservatives to do some planning, too. Will this be enough to give Waldron Smithers a fit and win over the disgruntled vote? Maybe. Probably not. Most Conservatives are just fine with Big Business.

There are also bits about whether or not Britain needs more police to solve more crimes, and doubts about Dominion attendance at the Dominion Conference due to elections.

"Truce in Palestine" The Economist is pleased by this possible "red letter in the black record of international relations," which is vindication that Britain was right all along, and the Americans wrong. The problem is that it depends on the mediator's ability to control immigration. The agreement says he can, but the Jewish authorities may not be able to go along. The agreement also ensures that the Arab League can't send more troops to Palestine (which they are probably pleased to hear), but saddles them with an enormous refugee problem, since the Palestinians who fled the territory on the far side of the ceasefire line can't very well go back.

"The Fifty Millions" The current Monthly Digest of Statistics estimates that the population of the United Kingdom reached 50,051,000 on 31 December 1947. Further, the largest part of the population is in the prime of its working life. In 25 years, when the largest generation is of seniors, "the trouble will be really serious." There's also a bit about how much money doctors can make under the NHS, with no mention of 25 years from now, when there will be all those seniors to treat.

Bits on the post-colonial era: Egypt still wants Sudan, Sudan still doesn't really want Egypt. Egyptians are busier with the future of the Mediterranean economy and with Palestine, and so are happy to just posture over Sudan, which will probably become independent. The Newfoundland pro-American annexation movement is silly and won't get what it wants, and the "fanatical anti-Moslem" elements in India are provoking trouble with Hyderabad (the question being who is more behind the border raids, the Hyderabadan Razakars or Hindu nationalists in Madras) that will probably lead to more communal rioting and trouble with Pakistan.

"Distribution of Milk" Milk went off ration for three weeks due to exceptionally high output, and is now back on. The Economist wishes there were statistics about the "undistorted" consumption during the rationless period, but there aren't, because there were still distortions due to priority sales. It thinks that statistics might show that the high subsidised price is deterring consumption and impairing public health, and recommends that we read a White Paper on how milk sales should be regulated in the future.

Mr. Bevin gave a silly speech about steel nationalisation, and Lord Addison gave the latest figures for Empire emigration in the Lords: Canada, 75,000; Australia, 23,000; New Zealand, 11,000; South Africa, 37,000.

American Survey

"Forgotten Man" Truman's campaign for reelection can now begin. The Economist thinks that he is dumb but common-sensical, and that his policy initiatives (pro-civil rights, pro-labour, pro-Zionism, pro-receiving DP immigration) are heartfelt, rather than calculated. On the other hand, with the benefit of time, we can see that his Cabinet is pretty good and, that any President at odds with Congress is going to come across an amateur. So, with a chance to campaign, his popularity will rebound, and we may soon be looking back on his Administration with nostalgia.

American Notes

"Mr. Taber's Warning" Somehow, the 25% cut in the ERP pushed through the House by Mr. Taber's committee is the Administration's fault for backing economy. Even though it will be restored by the Senate and is opposed by all the leading GOP nominees, it shows . . . something. Perhaps that the shock of the Czech coup has worn off, or that GOP congressmen think that since the ERP guarantees that American press earnings in Europe can be repatriated, that the press' support for it is self-interested, and, anyway, the GOP doesn't like the pro-ERP press to begin with. (Hence the latest Congressional investigation into on-air announcers at Voice of America.)  More importantly, provisions for subsidising the export of dry milk and fulminations against buying Finnish timber (wrong side of the Iron Curtain) show that, just possibly, more log-rolling is called for. Also, there is a disturbing tendency for large labour disputes to be resolved by injunctions rather than settlements.
Colour picture for colour.

Shorter notes notes that the Senate is going to lend the UN $65 million to build their headquarters somewhere in New York, so much for all that agitation about its presence being a threat to assorted New York and Connecticut communities. Whilst riding high, Vandenberg is also pushing his regional defence pacts. Congress has also approved the Reed-Bulwinkle Billl, and the Census bureau says that there will be 94,815,000 persons of voting age in the United States by next November.


P. C. Armstrong, of Canada, writes to remind everyone that Malthus was wrong in 1800 because he failed to foresee the increase in the world's food supply brought about by the settlement of America, and is going to be proven right in the next century, because America is now fully settled. Paul Elek thinks that Britain is paying the Arab Legion, supporting the Arab League, and boycotting arms supplies to the Zionists, showing that it is behind the Arabs in the Palestinian war, which will show up badly when the armistice ends. Mahmud Ali, of Travistock Place, W. C., writes to point out that Hyderabad is right, India wrong, and the Kashmir settlement evidence of just how wrong. A. John Whiteside[?] writes to ask whether there is any middle way between full employment and inflation until the currency breaks; or high interest rates "or other contractive devices" to create depression and unemployment until the trade unions are broken.

From The Economist of 1848

Foreign interventions are the worst waste of public money of all. The size of the Navy is driven by all of that intervening, and if there is any more intervening, surely the party that is all for getting England's nose in the continent will be driven from office in the next election. Did The Economist actually have any reporters working for it in 1848, or was it just one guy sitting in an office having opinions?


Montgomery Hyde's Amazing Story of John Law doesn't actually go by that title, and is the biography of an Eighteenth Century Scottish financier who made it big in France before his "system" failed. There's some kind of lesson about inflation being bad. A. L. Rowse's End of an Epoch is a collection of essays that the historian wrote about contemporary politics and foreign affairs, although most of the review's attention is on what Rowse says about those essays now in an introduction or something. Chamberlain not up to the job, 1940--5 a stirring chapter in our island history, new prospects beckon. W. W. Rostow's The British Economy in the Nineteenth Century is actually four linked essays about episodes that the methods of economics can make sense of, rather than a history of the whole century using economic methods, which would be impossible. Ronnie has some fulminations about why economists should think twice about doing this sort of thing until they can write a continuous economic history of the whole century, but I'm not sure I agree. You have to start somewhere, right? And speaking of the limits of statistical data, four short notes about books that cover a marketing survey of the United Kingdom, the difficulties of measuring production in the United States in the last century, the annual Europa Press yearbook of the Middle East, and S. J. Langyet's Insurance Companies' Accounts: An Economic Interpretation and Analysis show just how hard it all is.

The World Overseas

"The East Bids for Germany" The Russians are responding to the West by building up their puppet government in the Russian zone as an alternative to the new federal authority in Trizonia. It's communistic, with more state control of trade and industry. Better than cartels, or not? Probably not. On the other hand, it might give German Poland back, which would please all the refugees in the West.

"From Cyprus to Israel" The refugee camps in Cyprus are under tight discipline from within the wire, and Tel Aviv has the power to keep them quiet if it chooses, but they are seething with anger and resentment against the armistice and Bernadotte, since he seems determined to use the power he has been granted to actually control immigration.

"Voters' Verdict in Australia" The vote against permanent price and rent controls is the most exciting event in the history of Australia. Clearly!

The Business World

"What are Profits?" The Economist shows that the vast increase in reported corporate profits since the end of the Excess Profits Tax is a mere illusion.

"Wages in Cotton Weaving" Someone is experimenting with paying cotton industry employees by something like piece rate. The Economist loves it, the unions are on the fence because it's not that much like piece rate, and it will probably fail in the end because it is too much like piece rates. Says The Economist over three pages. 

Business Notes

Taxes, finances, wages, taxes, South Africa's gold reserves and the "hot" money flowing into the country in response, the talks on India and Pakistan's sterling balance and how it might be resolved. (The British are keen to get clear of the surplus by selling the Indian Army's defunct real estate and facilities to the Indian government. They already own it all!) Also, the Jute Working Party Report has ideas about saving the Scottish jute-weaving industry, which consists of 44 firms in 66 factories, mostly Nineteenth Century, heavy stone, many-storeyed constructions in Dundee with little scope for improvement and rather high unemployment. The Working Party has ideas for recapturing the heavy sacking trade that has migrated to Calcutta. Good luck competing when you ship your product around the world, I say. Cotton producers are looking to Egypt to set the pace on long-staple prices. Coal production is down from targets, and although this is a bad time to be looking for "steady upward improvements," it may be that the numbers are trending down, exports are in danger, and the end is near.

A power-loom factory. Source.

"Silver Currency for China" The Economist's interpretation of the Koumingtang's recent return to silver is that China was driven off the silver standard by the Silver Purchase Act, which I know some people still deny until they're blue in the face. China went on paper, and suffered a massive inflation, which The Economist seems to think happened because the Chinese are yellow of skin and slanted of eye, and not because of, say, massively inflationary American "aid." The Chinese are ostensibly going on silver at 4 silver dollars to the USD, but lack anything like the requisite amount of silver, and so, in effect, are going on a silver-backed paper standard. It may save the economy, but is more likely to lead to massive silver hoarding and a worsening of the situation. And if by "hoarding," one means, "Next boat to Singapore," one will be right! A long bit on Malayan rubber winds along through the most utterly banal summary. (American demand for natural rubber determines the number of dollars paid for it! And it depends on the price of synthetic rubber, which might or might not be subsidised!) Then it drops the kicker, which is that Malaya will only produce rubber for dollars if it is not engulfed in a Communist insurgency, which is what the current labour strife on the plantations really is. Therefore, Britain should get ready to crush communism to save rubber.  Argentina, meanwhile, is getting sticky over remittances, even though it is not Communist.

"Turn-around for Ships" Ship turnaround is in the order of 3 days for a berth. This has always been a problem for the timber traffic due its short timeframe, but has more recently spread to grain. The Ministry of Food has declared overtime the rule for grain ships, but to this point, double shifts have not been adopted: The all party working group on shipping thinks it should be. Much of the problem actually has to do with damage and maintenance. Half the warehouses and transit sheds in Liverpool were destroyed in the war, one third in London, and 60% in Southampton and Hull, which also lost a dock. It also turns out that dockers are lazy and their unions insist on restrictive practices.

Aviation Week, 14 June 1948

The news digest reports that Congress is adjourning without considering pay subsidies and air mail rates, which will be taken up in the next session. Forrestal and Symington are fighting over money for airplanes and air research. On friend of the air force, Carl Hinshaw, will be back, while two are leaving at the end of this session, Clarence Lea and Richard Harless. The airlines are upset at CAB's order that DC-6s, Stratocruisers and some DC-4s will have to carry flight engineers, because it will crowd cockpits, and might also cost money due to the umion wages they would demand. One suggested solution is a special demarcation for flight engineers, which will reduce their pay.

Robert McLarren, "XF-86 Flies Faster Than Sound" The XF-86 has . . . It's the swept-wing design, as we've heard, and has the GE-Allison GE J-35.

"Secrets of Russian Jets Revealed" Smuggled information shows that the Russians have a supersonic fighter prototype and swept-wing designs. This information, including a photograph, did not reach McGraw-Hill through its Moscow bureau, but through a "circuitous route." The photo does not appear, just drawings.


William D. Strohmeier, of Strohmeier Associates writes to point out that his company's Safe Flight Indicator was maligned in a recent article, and is, in fact, perfect for giving stall warnings at low alititudes in erratic air. Paul E. Stanley, Assistant Professor, Purdue University, thinks that personal aviation pilots need more safety training. Aeromatic's John D. Wager writes to clarify his original claim that Aeromatic invented welded airscrews, when it was actually Rotol. He points out that Aeromatic invented an improved process, which is pretty much the same thing as inventing the whole thing.

Engineering and Production reports, or, rather, Scholar Bangs reports, that Solar Aircraft and Airresearch have both tried sound muffling.  North American has leased the Convair plant at Englewood.

"New Blades for Better Helicopters" Aviation Week reports on the profiles of two new NACA rotors for helicopters.
This is how we used to fit a curve, young' uns. A good example
of why the industry needs computers so much.

A paper out of Lockheed discusses a study of fuel freezing in injectors, and suggests alcohol injections.

The section ends with a brief bit about notching mechanisms.

And this week's highlights from New Aviation Products are a mechanical differentiator and a compact solenoid.


"Navy Blocks Supersonic Stories" The Air Force has a new approach to the whole censoring-supersonic flight angle. It was the Navy's fault! Also, Congress isn't too thrilled with the "GI flight training programme," which the VA regards as an "avocational or recreational" programme in thin disguise. There will be no GI loans or public funding for it if the VA is given control, so write your Congressman today!


"State of Business" "When you gaze into your navel, your navel will gaze back at you," Ronnie announces, before explaining that she is misquoting some German philosopher, and not a French postcard, va-va-voom. She's also summarising the article pretty well. Fortune points out that the state of business is actually incredibly good, with construction at $15 billion last year, up $2 billion from the previous year, and investment in plant was at $17.7 billion, compared with $5.2 billion in 1939. In the next year, there is new spending including between $3 and $4 billion for defence, $6.1 billion for ECA, Turkey and Greece and China, and an estimated $5.2 billion freed up from lower income, estate and gift taxes. The impact of the latter may be overestimated, since one-fifth of the tax savings go to families making $10,000 or  more, who will presumably save most of it. The defence and ECA spending is also oversold, and anyway the last is likely to narrow the import/export gap, which is already declining. A major rearmament plan would require a substantial cut in domestic consumption, to be achieved by heavy taxation and hard credit, for neither of which there is much public appetite.

So we can have the Air Force and Navy buying lots of electronics, or we can have consumers buying them; or we can have both, and inflation.

"Shortages and Stability" The United States has produced its way out of many of the shortages that troubled it in the first two years after the war, and there is even price cutting in some sectors. For all the heartburn about the rise in cost of living, it should be remembered that it has been accompanied by a steady rise in productivity, and an economy that is reasonably well-balanced between inflation and unemployment. Even a 34% increase in the price index has the advantage that it has cut the i inflationary savings of the war years by the same measure.  Automobiles are the main exception, with production increases not keeping up with normal attrition, as at least reasonable people with money to spare retire old Lincolns to the well-deserved retirement as rusting heaps of scrap metal for which they are already practicing. There, is, however, the prospect of a return to shortages due to the arms buildup and the ECA. Shortages appeared in the early stages of the WWII rearmament not because it was cutting into domestic supply in general, but because it was unequally distributed in certain industries such as steel. The new spending is likely to be similarly unequally distributed, and may lead to shortages, although not in food, as Europe is reporting its best harvest in years. (I'm sorry we missed the recent issue of Newsweek in which Hazlitt confidently predicted a food-related armageddon in Europe due to socialism.)

"Recovery after Two Wars"

Speaking of, a separate leader covers the recent United Nations Economic Commission report on the European economic recovery, which shows that it has been amazingly rapid and strong, far more so than after WWI. The only dark cloud is the trade imbalance, which was $400 million in 1938, balanced by a favourable trade with the rest of the world, and $5.1 billion in 1947, with a further deficit with the rest of the world of $2.1 billion. $2.7 billion of this was in lost investment, shipping, services and other invisible income; and $1.2 billion due to the real increase in imports, $3.6 billion from American inflation, which turned a big deficit into a huge one.

The best explanation I can think of is that Fortune and The Economist are covering different planets.  
Remember the whale meat hors d'oeuvres platter?
  John L. Lewis gets a leader that concludes that he is "not a one-man cartel" keeping the price of coal up with opportune strikes. Good that's cleared up. Fortune is pleased with Senators Hope and Aiken's "permanent" farm bill, because it would lower parity prices. Balancing its joy is the extraordinary spectacle of Representative Knutson's threat to remove quotas on cotton imports if the Southern caucus votes for oleomargarine tax repeal, because "vindictive log rolling" is bad. Although I thought free trade was good? I'm so confused!

The Fortune Survey

Although Wallace's 6% comes from Republicans as well as Democrats, it is mainly from Democrats, which is why Warren and Taft are the only Republican nominees Truman can beat. Dewey leads Truman by 12%! Wallace voters tend to be young, to live in cities, and to be in the North East and Far West, which I do not find surprising at all. After foreign affairs briefly took the lead, the overwhelmingly most important issue in voters' minds is the cost of living, although defence follows close behind. The income tax rate ranks surprisingly low. People are more concerned about Russia than about Europe, and can scarcely be shown to have an opinion about Palestine. Wallace voters will probably go to Truman if Wallace withdraws, but perhaps won't go far as far as the polling station.

Fortune's Wheel

Fortune was very pleased with Future's profile of the magazine. (You may remember that Future is the British Fortune imitation being printed in the Netherlands and Czechoslovakia to get around paper quotas.) Except for one thing, which is that its portfolio of Fortune covers includes one gushing over the Dymaxion House, which was "retracted" last issue by the article that points out that there were never, and will never be, actual Dymaxion houses. Paul Hoffman writes from Italy to say that he interprets Fortune's call for ERA  money to be allocated "businessman to businessman" as a plan for the government to give him money so that he can dole it out to Italian business partners once they have demonstrated that they have learned how to be businessmen, this being a problem in Italy due to nationalism rotting their brains. No-one had a useful opinion about "The Money Problem," which ran in April, although several people had useless ones. On the other hand, Thomas Cabot's letter on John Kenneth Galbraith's "The Dollar Crisis in New England" seems to take it to pieces.

In contrast to previous entries, this panel appears to have been created specifically for Puck's advertising campaign. 
For some reason, Fortune's first article is about Congress. Given that many countries are not democratic, one might wonder whether democracy works. Fortune concludes that it does. Foreign policy is suitably bipartisan, and the GOP majority in Congress reliably reflects the concerns of Republican voters.

"Flurry in Cotton Textiles" There are signs that demand for cotton textiles is increasing, although they are less clear than that Wall Street is pricing cotton stocks more highly, perhaps because of strong growth in output per machine. This partially reflects better machines, partially longer working hours. Increased production has kept up with increasing population, and since high prices are keeping inefficient mills in operation, it is likely that falling prices will shake out the industry nicely.

"Nabisco: The Dough is Rising: A New Management And its Big, New Plans For the World's Biggest Baker"

"More crackers for less money" has many angles, including a technological one. Better ovens use continuous flow, and keeping the dough moving requires batch mixing, and so batch mixers. And the technology has a financial side. New equipment will be more profitable if sales increase. On two-shift working, the new board's equipment plan, when complete, will produce 60% more cracker by weight than 1947 levels. Nabisco must grow, but it is unlikely to grow at the expense of the rest of the industry (its sales share has been constant for many years), or with increasing prosperity, as the amount of crackers people eat peaks at the middle of the "sawtooth" of income distribution. The new board is  not impressed with Fortune asking whether the new capital investment plan is justified.
Real straw cheese crackers are enormously better than Ritzs, but they're not made on high tech assembly lines!
"Report from Singapore" Malaya, Fortune starts out, is probably safe from Communism as long as the American rubber market holds. But with the price of rice up three times, "labour is three times as expensive as it was." Hmm. No. I don't think it works that way. Anyway, Malaya is "superficially" prosperous. There are cars, and exclusive swimming pools, but the hotels are cramped and awful, and the food is terrible. "After a century of British rule even the Chinese have been ruined as cooks."

""Oppressors . . . ""
The rest is exactly as insufferable as you'd expect of a reporter who went to Singapore and ate all his meals at his hotel.

Materials Handling: The New Word in Industry" Materials handing involves cranes, conveyors and forklifts. The first fork truck was built "between 1919 and 1927" --this time, Fortune isn't risking writing that someone invented the fork truck and then being told off in the letters column-- but really came into vogue with the war. The cargo pallet, on the other hand, was definitely invented by "the Egyptians, to carry bricks." An Atlantic and Pacific warehouse that used to spend $44 to unload a boxcar of coffee sacks, now spends $7 to do it with a fork truck. An International Harvesters factory build a machine to build pallets to ship engines. Compared to loose handling, this saves $38,000 for 27,000 engines shipped and paid back the $9000 investment in thirty-two working days. Fork trucks also save space, by stacking up to 18ft,compared with 8ft for men. Shipping on pallets also saves on breakage. Even more remarkable is the "missing link" machine that loads pallets.
Even more remarkable is the "missing link" machine that loads pallets.

In the future, better materials handling will allow smaller inventories, providing a cushion against depression, and it encourages new factories, which is good. Labour may resent all the jobs it is eliminating now, but, in the long run, it will create more jobs, and better ones.

Nabisco's New York bakery doesn't even have a have a loading dock. Moral: Don't get so caught up in gadgets that you overlook infrastructure.

There follows an article on fly fishing for Atlantic salmon, the king of fish. Truly, the businessman is the noblest of Romans.

"Happy Days at Grummans" Grummans continues to show profits in spite of shriveling sales,with only Northrop and Fairchild rivaling its financial success. The Navy is confident that Grumman will continue to deliver beer barrels on rolling skates, because it has been delivering for nineteen years under the same management team, which presumably knows what it is doing. It is delivering 36 fighters a month with a workforce of 3600, down from a high of 25,500, probably a bit dwarfed by their wartime digs, but also by the curve of fighter price increase which keeps the company profitable.
Wait'll you see where the curve goes off to the right!
  Among other things, it has saved by being willing to fire engineers, having cut its staff to 500, compared with Glenn L. Martins' 2000. It has even been willing to edit the past, as the Mallard production run is now a modest little experiment, over and done with. Incidentally, the 300 acres it bought around its airfield is now surrounded by housing developments, which means nothing compared to its love of the navy, as witness this quote from Admiral McCain, who thinks that Grumman fighters are keen.

. . . because any instrument-flying flunk-out can jockey a fighter for the Navy if he's dumb enough to land on a carrier twice voluntarily. (Hey! Don't look at me. I have 300 carrier landings in my logbook, and, yes, I will do one again; but it's not "voluntary" if it is key to my promotion to . . . Lieutenant-Commander. Yay me!)

Shorts and Faces

First off must be a "Face," since it is definitely not a "Short." Joseph M. Dodge is a swell guy, although "employees are advised to shun 'excess entertainment, backslapping, undue cordiality."

"Bacon and Bogart, too" Shorts and Faces reports that Hollywood thinks that Eric Johnston got taken in the Film Agreement. The original British idea being that the $75 million per annum extracted by Hollywood could be going for bacon, Atlee went "hog wild" with his 75% tax on profits on American movies shown in Britain, leading Johnston to go . . . Bogart? . . . with his embargo. Makes sense, at least until the analogy snapped like the tax and the embargo under the combined effect of British cinema goers ignoring British movies for the exactly one month between the drying up of the queue of American movies in stockpile in Britain, and the Agreement. Now it is Americans' turn to be concerned, because American producer/distributors will make up their stranded revenues by promoting British films in the United States.

"Feasts, Wine and Furniture" Shorts and Faces notices the trend towards wrought iron furniture, of which about a third is produced in John B. Salterini. Mr. Salterini throws a nice lunch.

"The Aluminum Squeeze" Who would have believed there could be a peacetime aluminum shortage back in '45? But, it turns out that six of the big RFC reduction plants are idle because they cannot hit 14 cents a pound for pig. They were built in places where there was electricity, but now all that electricity is in demand by higher-paying consumers. Even Alcoa has been hit by low rainfall. Things will get easier thanks to tariff reductions with Canada, although Canada, too, is short of power at present. Also, there are ever more uses for aluminum, such as roofing and skis, with more to be discovered at 14 cents a pound.

There's a spring drought on in Canada? I guess? Was 1948 a low-latitude jet stream year? Also, it is raining in Vancouver right now. At last. 

Books and Ideas

 Fortune loves Chester Bernard's latest, The Functions of the Executive, because he is very smart and a "behaviourist," which I thought was a kind of psychological theorist, but turns out to be an old New Jersey Bell man who has opinions that cannot be extracted from context without losing their meaning.

"Farmer Benner and the Cycle" Fortune finds it funny that in 1875, Samuel Benner, the "Ohio farmer" published Benners' Prophecies of Future Ups and Downs in Prices, because he was right about as often as modern market forecasts, and much more forthright.

"A Scholar Checks the Plumbing" Fotune's review of Giedion's Mechahisation Takes Command follows The Economist's. It shows "great industry and somewhat ponderous scholarship." People hardly used to invent things in medieval times. Then, in America, they invented stuff all over the place. This was good. Then it was bad. The end, says the robot, taking the pen from my hand before I can write anything that will raise my heart rate and take precious days off my future life of leisure. (Or else.) Also, more public bathing would be good.
Sometimes I forget my underwear, and have to wear my bike shorts under my slacks at work. They're hot and uncomfortable.

Stuart Chase's A Generation of Industrial Peace was published by Standard Oil of New Jersey lays out the secret, which is obdurate union-busting to the bitter end. He who wants peace must fight eternal war! Short bits cover a book about "Pete Petroleum," motivating power of all modern industry, the usefulness of local labour market research, comptrollers, the control of atomic energy, the possibilities of a DC-3 sized turbojet transport, which might monopolise feeder routes, the rise of scientific innovation in the glass industry just yesterday, a life of Samuel Colt. a look at the way that the housing shortage has led to a real estate boom, yet another notice of the portable Veblen, Professor Montgomery[*] of Stockholm University's proof that Gunnar Myrdal is responsible for Sweden's postwar economic problems, and the merger of Masses and Mainstream to create a unified Communist voice to give the American public the party line.

A short closing article summarises the long Nabisco profile, because Fortune's market research has established the businessmen have short attention



  2. Also,

  3. And:

  4. I can't say that the yarn results are surprising. The Norse influence thing is overreaching at best. It's nice to have early dates for the stockfish trade, although it points us towards the Lofotens rather than off into the Atlantic mists --but that's where stockfish was going to take us.

    Lastly, the walrus thing is interesting. Walrus ranchers are not the initial settlers of Greenland. The question remains, however, whether Greenland was settled at all! Ethnogenesis just makes so much more sense than thousands of Icelanders picking up stakes and moving to the southwest coast of Greenland.

    For that scenario to hold up, though, one needs a new motivator for early Icelandic-Greenlandic contact to inspire ethnogenesis.