Saturday, December 8, 2018

Postblogging Technology, October 1948, I: Best Laid Plans


Dear Father:

Well, here she is, your future daughter-in-law (she said very, very firmly, though all the fires and floods of Hell and a frantic mother bar the way), back in hall for one more year at good old Stanford Junior College, and, yes, it's not called that, and, no, you may not ruin my fun. All the girls are back, and we have a novelty, a genuine English girl, enrolled because her Father is doing something for Mr. Giannini at the bank, and she can't be a continent away from her Mother, no matter that her brother is living high off the hog at Oxford on American dollars. 

We sympathise with each  other, and I am going crazy trying to catch her way of speaking without just imitating her. Classwise, it is all about the senior thesis; and at work, I am having to come down to being a waitress again. Though there's something to be said for working for work, instead of (mostly) learning how to do work, fascinating as fashion buying is. 

Except, that is, when I am called at the last minute to work the morning shift after a night shift, and lose a night's sleep for the sake of work, and end up having to rush my very important letter to my future father in law. (She says, firmly.)

James was in town for something to do with Warren for Vice President (and that Dewey fellow, too), I think is the official name of it, add capitals to suit. We had lunch, and agreed that Grace be none the wiser for it. I got caught up on Santa Clara, and Reggie and I await the Great Thaw. Perhaps after the wedding. Which will be June after next(!!!) 

Yours Sincerely,


The Economist, 2nd October 1948


"Berlin before Uno" Soviet Ambassador Andrei Vyshinsky has launched a "peace offensive" over Berlin in Uno, with various proposals for atomic control and cards on the table" over the military balance. The Economist has recovered from its earlier vapours over the untenable blockade and now fears that the Communists will find a Communistic trick to derail the Airlift. (Or so you will know if you've read the 21 October article about the Airlift, which I may talk about at the end, in a downright Communistic violation of the usual rules around here.)

"Revised Defence" The Economist is worried about manpower. The Army needs the largest expansion and has the strongest argument that it can use the additional men and women. The Air Force is the most strategically important service, and a way must be found to get it more technical help. The Navy has no problems filling out its reserves, and a case can be made for cutting its manpower, on the grounds that it won't take National Servicemen. The Army, if it is going to expand, needs good training, since Continental experience shows that without training, even extending the service obligation is just a waste of manpower. "An engineering apprentice can serve his country better in Birmingham than doing cookhouse chores in barracks." As for recruiting more mature men and women, there are no easy answers. Better married accommodations and better training for future civil employment are all very well, but the fact remains that the services are underpaid, and their pay schemes must be raised. But not too much! And the Chiefs of Staff shouldn't just go out and expand their manpower willy-nilly! That wouldn't be economical.  All in all, I'm pretty surprised at just how far The Economist goes in being economical about recruiting and manpower targets rather than about the price of jets, tanks and aircraft carriers. "A man in the service is a double loss to the country." Because he's not working, and he's being paid to not work.

"Western Germany on its Feet" It is beginning to look as though the German currency reform has worked! Someone fetch me my smelling salts! Only coal is behind targets, but that is because hoards of coal are being disgorged at such a rate that there is a glut of coal in Germany today. Semi-starvation is over, Bavaria is downright prosperous, and the price of butter and meat is down 90% on the black market. "Opinion in America and Britain" has long regarded western Germany as a slum that was about to turn to communism, so the extent of recovery is hard to credit. The third person tense is often used when it is necessary to acknowledge a mistake which has been made without admitting that it has been made by a person currently writing in the third person.  Non-admission behind us, The Economist grasps the nettle and moves on into a new world in which everything will still go wrong, but now for different reasons. Specifically, the Allied Bank Commission is sure to lose control over the volume of money and credit due to double book-keeping and faked deficits to evade taxes and, above all, the promised capital levy. However, for a change, this doom and gloom is buried deep in the first page of a three pager, perhaps because it is a half-hearted effort when it is so much more fun to contemplate a "combination between America and Germany" confronting France and Britain over this and that (but mainly over the fact that the latter are too socialist, while Germany is joining the American camp of anti-socialism, which is the correct camp), and destroying western European unity.

"Often material aid"!
"More Ministries?" Perhaps Britain does not have enough government ministries, now that the Cabinet is to be organised in  a new wage according to ambitious plans to reform the way that one cabinet minister deals with another. On the bright side of three page articles like this, I can imagine a day when not another aviation hero ever hast to die of an accidental overdose of sleeping pills again --and it will be good for the pulp mills, too!

Notes of the Week

"Defence of the West"

You will recall that James has been predicting a formal American-led defensive alliance of the western European powers based on what he's heard through the Services and the California Republican Party. Hardly hot gen when Senator Vandenberg is leaking it all over the papers! It has now reached the point of a defence committee. We've already heard about appointments to it. Viscount Montgomery is to be the first chairman, which gets him out of CIGS, and out of Atlee's remaining hair, they say. He's also for the chop the moment the Americans come in, just like in '44. I wonder who the Americans will appoint? Their generals mostly seem a bit "free market" for European tastes. And speaking of which, I wonder who the new CIGS will be? James says it damn well better be an engineer or gunner, perhaps Robertson, as we've had our Sandhurst man for this generation.

"Cold War at Uno" The current session of the Uno is expected to be dominated by the Russians and Americans fighting, and the Americans summarily outvoting the Russians. Except on Palestine and the Italian colonies, over which no major disagreements exist, bad news for the teeming masses of Italians longing to emigrate to the friendly shores of Somaliland.

"Foot and Mouth" Emmanuel Shinwell, recently translated from Fuel to the War Office, continues to upset The Economist. In his "Explanation of the Army Estimates," he gave a reasonably good performance, although the paper is upset about his comments that defence would not trump economy, for some reason that his me scratching my head, because it is usually what The Economist says. Then comes the real Shinwellism, when he goes off to make a speech at Salford and tells everyone that rearmament won't derail the production drive and that no-one has to fear being called up, which apparently reveals rearmament to be a great bluff and "convinces waverers that Britain is a broken reed." Another bit, "Two Files Before Bevin" says that the special session turns out to be a good thing after all, albeit for the wrong reason. The wrong reason was that the pushing the Parliament Bill through was bad. The good reason is that Parliament could huff and puff over Western Union and rearmament,. Although the Conservatives would have done it better, The Economist sulks.

Italians continue to be excitable. (Communists losing ground to Social Democrats.)

"Abdullah versus the Hotheads" Egypt, Syria and the Arab League are sponsoring a Palestinian government in Gaza, which is aimed, not at Israel, but at Abdullah. They object to the incorporation of the rump of unoccupied Palestine into Trans-Jordan, which will need a new name, since the rump is on the hither side of the Jordan river. It seems that Abdullah's conciliation of Israel is not popular, especially when some Egyptians want to continue the war, even if it means the annihilation of the expeditionary army crammed into the Gaza area. Syria, meanwhile, opposes Trans-Jordan not just for political reasons, but also because if there is no accommodation with Israel, the Trans-Jordanians will continue to have to use Beirut as their port of trade, instead of Haifa.

"Siam Comes Into Its Own" It is time to forget that Siam was in the Axis, and move on to selling them capital goods, which can be paid for by a resumed rice export, worth, after all, £200  million in 1939. It has also been very helpful with the Malayan Emergency. War? What war? No-one mention the war!
"Start on the Blitzed Cities;" and "Food Subsidies Again" The Government has finally given the cities permission to start rebuilding their centres, which is good; and has copped to paying  £474 million a year on food subsidies, which is bad. "Housing Targets and Costs" Reports that Mr. Bevan said in a recent speech that by the end of October, 300,000 families will have been rehoused. Given that this is probably 3 million people, that's . . . not bad, The Economist allows, and the costs of the subsidised rents are reasonable, especially considering lifts, hot water, and all mod cons. But it is underestimated, construction productivity is too low, and all mod cons are just too much luxury for these modern times of austerity and sacrifice. No roundup of bad actors would be complete without mentioning that The Economist detects something sinister going on at the Ministry of Fuel, and that it it shakes its head, more in sorrow than in anger, at school teachers voting down a measure that would have stripped them of  half a week of paid vacation as part of a comprehensive measure establishing parity between county and London school district calendar years. 

"Africa in London" and "The Cape Franchise" cover the African conference that had officials and experts flying to London from all over Africa to talk about things, and relieve the psychological strain that has arisen over the absurd way in which various Africans have come to believe that London doesn't have their best interests in mind at all time. In regards to South Africa, the Nationalist Government has no sooner got administration settled down, that it resumes unhelpful actions that "revive . . old fears about its true intentions." Since its declared true intention is to reinforce white supremacy in South Africa by all possible means, I don't know how the bill to strip Indians of their right to vote in Cape Province --without, of course, restoring their right to own property--, and the promise to extend the disenfranchisement to coloured and native voters, could possibly be a surprise. Just in the way of a delightfully egg-white meringue on top, the Constitutional requirement for a two-thirds majority might be circumvented by a Whites-only referendum, which the paper delicately allows might well pass. This then might lead to a sinister development, in The Economist's phrasing --a further unconstitutional measure excluding British immigrants with "un-South African views." 

Shorter Notes mentions that Sweden is continuing its "no alliances" policy; that Queen Juliana's throne speech said that Dutch food subsidies will have to be reduced in line with Belgian, and that increases in Dutch defence spending are to conform to the sacrifices of the other Western Union members; and that there was disappointingly little debate over railway safety measures after Arthur Champion got up and gave a speech from the point of view of someone who had actually worked as a signalman, perhaps because a proposed six millions for new safety equipment was too much money, although it doesn't say so. Spending too much of the taxpayer's money is bad economics, unless it is on defence, or is filched from nursery school teachers' vacation allowance. 


The Industrial Future of Great Britain is a collection of fourteen illuminating essays by illuminated figures that paints a picture of "qualified and cautious optimism." "Malaparte" The former total-war-in-the-East correspondent for Corriere della Serra, has a book, La Volga nait en Europe, out containing his wartime dispatches, "censored and uncensored" from the Italian Army of the East. This seems in terrible taste, and not least because of chapter headings reading "Running Away," and, "Still Running Away--" I'm sorry! I'm sorry! But you were thinking it, too! The bad taste is washed away by the fact that he used to be an anti-Fascist before the war before he went east to report on how awful the occupied Russian territories were. It turns out that in the new edition, they weren't as awful as all of that, and that Communism can win wars. And, specifically, the next one, which will be in Europe, where Communism was borne, just like the Volga. My maps say . . But if you can ignore the fact that Communism was "invented" by Marx and Engels in order to declare it "Asian," you can ignore maps, too. H. G. Nicholas introduces The American Union, William Wallace, a director at Rowntrees, announces Enterprise First, and the United Nations Association introduces Western Union. 


Frank Helling writes to explain that the Planning Act is in difficulties, because of all the new regulations and burdens on building, which will naturally lead builders to "scamp" on construction. A. G. P. Elliott announces the discovery that rising wages won't produce more work, since they have a "disutility effect." No incentives will do. I'm not sure where this leads, although I do know that Uncle George was quick to conclude that for three straight years, The Economist has done nothing but paint a picture in which there is no alternative to compulsion, but we only have ourselves to blame if we are led to compulsion by the unfortunate necessity . . . John Martin writes that war, or the threat of war, will always be in the Communist arsenal, not least because the burden of rearmament might cause an "uprising" in their enemies. But that doesn't mean that we can give up on rearmament, because in the meantime there might be an "explosion" somewhere. 

From The Economist of 1848

A peace conference in Brussels inspires the paper with great disdain, since for thirty years there has been peace in Europe, thanks first to the Holy Alliance, and more laterally to British mediation. War between the Great Powers is now "occasion of great discouragement" due to revolutions and such, and thus there will be no great wars unless first there is a "general subversion of authority." It is not spelled out that "considerable numbers of gentlemen" gathering to discuss peace will  lead to "general subversion," in a era of "general hostility between peoples and governments," but it is where one is tempted to go next. 

American Survey

"Red, White and Blue Herrings" After discussing campaign trains at length, since the British reader will never have heard of anything so exotic and fantastical, the staff gingerly discusses the possibility that some of the stories out of America this season might be election-time red herrings. (Specifically, the HUAC investigations. Governor Warren gets applause when he says that Dewey will have no problem getting Communists out of government, since he will never let them in.) But that would be going too far in the direction of a theme when The Economist can denounce Wallace for not having a train, and campaigning by air instead; and Mr. Truman for being gauche and out of touch for launching a "give 'em hell" campaign against Wall Street fat cats, which is just de trop. Roosevelt would never do such a thing!

American Notes

"Dewey and the Atom" Governor Dewey told a New Mexican audience that the atom must be freed from the dead hand of government and turned over to private enterprise, which even The Economist thinks is silly when GE is building the first atomic power plant at Schenectady.

"How Not to Build a Party?" It is time to remind everyone that Henry Wallace is awful. I don't disagree, but writing that his party is being built incorrectly because it has the support of the poor, the young, Jews and Negroes, the big cities and the coasts, is a bit much.  

Two Notes review rearmament, at the moment restricted by a desire to not add to the country's inflationary burden, and the Republican commitment to defence economy, which will probably be thrown overboard after they win, but which must be taken a bit seriously. 

Shorter Notes covers American public opinion supporting American membership in the Alliance, the revolution in "coated seeds," which are seeds given a chemical coating that can be planted individually, reducing costs of transplantation and thinning. The United Mineworkers' pension fund made its first payments last week. There will be no cotton quota next year, in spite of the record crop of 6 million bales. The CAB's authorisation of a 10% increase in air ticket prices has been followed by a spurt of advertising and discount tickets. Since the pulp mills planned in Southeastern Alaska will draw their lumber from national forests, and the Indians have a claim, the money will be held in trust for them by the Government until the claims are settled. 

The World Overseas

"Belgium and European Recovery" The gist of it is that Belgium is fighting with the European Recovery Administration, which thinks that Belgium should cut back on its current export surplus with the rest of the European Union and redirect labour and capital away from consumer goods to steel and iron. 

"The Arab Refugees" Given recent stories in the Vancouver press (I'm not procrastinating on school work! I just read the headlines) I don't think I have to go into The Economist's coverage of the Palestinian refugees' plight in any detail, although, The Economist being The Economist,it moves quickly away from people in tents and babies without milk, so that "abortion seems the kindest way out" to the extraordinary misconceptions of the refugees who, outrageously and unfairly, blame Britain, and not their leaders or even the Israelis, for their fate.  This leads to a further inquiry into how much of the exodus is due to the British removing their protection, and Arab threats against any who remained, and how much due to active Israeli pressure later. "It is everyone's fault," The Economist concludes.

"Nationalised Industry in France" Is bad, Our Paris Correspondent concludes. To be fair, it is too soon to tell, but it's bad. 

The Business World

"Planning Europe's Power" Unlike other industries, electric power generation has been expanding in Europe steadily since the end of the First World War. Right now, demand is increasing by 15% per year, supply by 10%. German brown coal and water power offer the most promise for making this up, but they require capital, investment, and, of course, above all, planning. The run-of-the-river power generation to be achieved by the Rhine canalisation between Basel and Strasbourg is very exciting, since it will give 4.25 million kWh, while the twenty-two stations on the Rhone, once complete, will give 12 billion. 65.5 billion are hoped for from Alpine works in Austria, Italy and Switzerland. Brown coal will require much new generating plant at a time when existing works are starved of equipment, but much can be done by simply improving existing plant. New cooling towers at Goldenberg are an example, an achievement given the shortage of timber. Further improvements will require rolled steel, dynamo sheets, transformer sheets, tubes and stainless steel, all things that the German steel industry could supply, if they allowed to do so. 

"Use of Manpower" Britain's labour supply is under siege! Recent trends have been for the work force to expand. Demobilisation and falling unemployment raised the work force to more than 19 million in 1946. The population is gradually declining; women are leaving the workforce. Current projections suggest that as few as 31% will be working next year. The Armed Forces need to be expanded. Therefore, as usual, The Economist calls for labour to be used more efficiently, and takes time out to point out how the need to move labour into agriculture, coal and textiles and away from fripperies such as distribution underlines the importance of the disinflation campaign, and how disappointing that campaign has been so far. 

Business Notes

Notes lead off with international finance stuff. The Chancellor is in North America, talking European stability in Washington and trade in Ottawa. The IMF is very disappointed with the way that countries are handling exchange, and the World Bank has not been able to do as much as it wanted to finance world trade. 

In Britain, the term of the directors of the Steel Board has come to an end. The Directors have volunteered to serve on long enough to wrap up their business, after which it is not clear what will happen, given that the Directors are opposed to nationalisation. The fist year of the film quota has come into effect, with exhibitors and producers squabbling. The former want more movies, the latter are restricted both by facilities --existing sound stages allow as many as 120 films, first and second features included, on 650 million square feet, up from 550 million square feet befor the war-- and by finances, with only 62 first features and 12 seconds being produced this year, compared with 58 and ? last year. 

The ERA has released 45 billion francs to France to pay for its current crisis. South Africa is considering a "gold cover" to counter the fall in its gold reserve and are hoping for a loan from the United States if they cannot check imports. The failure of Richard Crittall and Company, the heating and ventilation engineering concern, is embarrassing to everyone, as losses were allowed to continue until 95% of shareholder value was lost, even though full information about the problems was available months ago. Add Italy to the deadbeats, as it has delayed paying its sterling bonds and also reduced redemptions to Italians living abroad, because the Constitution is making it  hard for the Italians to pass a supplementary budget. 

There is a fuss, on the one hand, between hauliers and the Operating Centre under the new Transportation Act, and commercial vehicle manufacturers. There is enormous demand for vehicles, with the capital investment cuts only effecting the largest sizes. I didn't know that the cuts hit trucks, but it did! The industry is earning £9 million a month. 84,000 vehicles were produced in the first six months, and pressure to export has been very painful given the extent of domestic demand. Only fourteen percent were exported before the war, but now the demand is to hit 50%. Commonwealth countries, particularly Australia, are the best market, but the United States is surprisingly attractive. It is impossible to compete with highway "lorries," but delivery vans are doing well. Innovations on show at the recent exhibition include numerous tipping devices. And, oh, by the way, what with all the innovation and pressure to export to diverse markets, of course the Services are complaining about lack of standardisation.

"Americans and Middle East Oil" Middle East oil can bring peace to the world, Standard Oil thinks. Somehow, I'm not sure how. I'm just giving this note its own mention because Standard wants to build refineries in Europe so that Eastern Hemisphere oil can replace Western, and thinks that Middle East oil cannot alleviate the oil shortage without more tankers.

"Centrifugal Spinning" Prince-Smith and Stells is showing off a method of spinning, developed since 1939, originally for rayon, which can now be extended to dry fibres, including cotton and flax, or, indeed, any dry fibre. It gets pretty complicated, pretty quickly, but the original intention of "recovering" fibres in a spinning chamber was soon extended to more machines for doing roving, spinning, and twisting; with "semi-automatic doffing." The worsted industry is the first target, but the new system,although to be "delayed for some time yet" by the cost of new plant, is promising. 

A ring spinning machine. It turns out that this technology is too boring and industry specific to have much of a history. 

Flight, 7 October 1948


"Leadership" Lord Tedder gave a speech to the Headmaster's Conference that wasn't printed verbatim in the daily newspapers because they have to use their paper for something important. Flight thinks that is terrible, because the speech was a wonderful speech about Leadership.

"Economics of Flying" Mr. Masefield points out that it is typical that British air transport costs £70 million and takes in £28 million, which means that British civil aviation gets a subsidy of 2 1/2d on the pound of income tax. The situation is typical around the world, and underlines the fact that 70% of airline operating costs are overhead. Something has to be done, and I would tell you what, except there's a separate header below that repeats it.

"Bottleneck" Flight identifies two problems. The first is air traffic control, with stacking and other delays. The second is the problem of transport from airport to anywhere you actually want to be. I don't mind sitting in a train --even a shivering cold English train-- for a few hours after surviving a flight across the Atlantic, but, as Flight points out, the recent "helicopter-Meteor" demonstrates that downtown Paris and London could be 45 minutes apart. Not counting the four hour weather delay! Masefield thinks that the ultimate solution is fully automatic landings. Flight isn't sure about that. Pilots won't be happy about being replaced by robots, even before the robots shoot them with their ray guns and establish the robot utopia. (I'll say this about V. and Miss K. I might get tired of being the sounding board for their science fiction efforts, but at least they have no time for robots and ray guns. Unless it involves selling to radio, which case V. will give you ten robots before breakfast.)

Maurice Smith, "Annular Tempest 6 In the Air: Flying Behind a Napier Sabre with Annular Radiator and Ducted Spinner" Napier has done up a Tempest with a ducted spinner to field test the installation in the Naiad. While it was at it, it took the opportunity to replace the "aggressive" chin radiator used in the service Tempest I with an annular one. Other changes in this unique aircraft is dropping the spring tabs, as mainly an annoyance in trial flying, and some fiddling with the engine controls and the gears, since the drive to the ducted fan was dropped along with the fan itself. Smith found the modified Tempest to have terrible (literally, as he was frightened to taxi it) visibility, and rough operation. Napier representatives pointed out that it is very hard to distribute fuel to 48 valves, and Smith accepts this, then points out that the Sabre VII was actually quite smooth in the air. On the other hand, the landing was quite nice.

Casual Commentary with Robert Carling, "Thoughts After the SBAC Show: Why Not Invite a Guest to Speak?: A Hard Time for Pilots: Chances Must be Taken" Carling enjoyed the show and was impressed that two large planes were available for the show after making their first flights less than a week before; but he thought that there was too much self-congratulation and that some foreigner should have responded to the Loyal Toast to the British aviation industry. Also, he thinks that sometimes pilots should ignore safety regulations and take risks. Or perhaps that safety regulations should have an "only if you feel like it" clause. I'm not sure, because what he is saying is that there is too much safety, and also not enough safety, and it doesn't really make any sense.

Here and There

A Stratocruiser recently exceeded 400mph in a test dive. The Airspeed Ambassador that performed a single-engined takeoff at Farnborough had an all up weight of 37,000lbs, making it the heaviest single-engine takeoff ever. Probably. There is no official record. It was a lot. Charles Tennyson, the grandson of Lord Tennyson, has retired from the board of Dunlop Rubber. The Republic F-84 Thunderjet has been grounded pending investigation of four recent crashes. Aviation man Major Hoffman has been made overseas sales representative for British-made Philco products, which is an interesting way for Philco to make money exporting to soft currency countries. Surely there are cheaper places for Philco to manufacture in! Rolls-Royce's new turbojet is the Tay. Pratt and Whitney says that all of the turbine engines it makes in the future will be named "Turbo-Wasps," because "Wasp" is the best Pratt and Whitney engine name. The Australians have commissioned a domestically-designed fire suppression system from National Motor Springs, of Sydney.

Civil Aviation News

The charter fleet being used in the Berlin Airlift has been doubled from 14 to 28 aircraft, with another 13 coming from BEA. The total weight airlifted into Berlin reached 16 million pounds on 15 September. Indo-Pak Airlines is buying 4 Skymasters. The transfer of BOAC maintenance from Dorval to Britain continues. The latest wrinkles are that BOAC will be contracting Liberator maintenance to Scottish Aviation in Prestwick, and that some Constellations will be maintained in Shannon with equipment that originally came with Irish Air's Constellation purchase. American airlines are sharing the cost of a new trans-Atlantic teletype service between New York and Berlin. It is hoped that Short Solents will resume their South African service in October.

  Now that SBAC has ended, we can get back to Mr. King in Berlin. Good thing we didn't have World War III during the Farnborough Air Show, as it would have interefered with coverage. King was taken around to Gatow tower, and introduced to the Senior RAF Controller, whose stiff arm was due to a mosquito bite, King was told, and not "controller's elbow." GATOW has a VHF approach control and airfield control set, a Eureka beacon, Babs, a MF beacon, HF/DF and VHF/DF. All RT traffic between Control and aircraft is recorded, while all GCA, director and talk-down frequencies are monitored. All VHF equipment is duplicated, with sets switched out every twelve hours. A Tower Watch consists of three air traffic controllers. A French warrant officer is available for tower duty to handle French DC-3s, while American flights using Gatow are handed over to American controllers when they cross the 20 mile checkpoint, and to British controllers when they report over the Frohnau beacon. In the course of a five minute conversation, King and photographer saw three takeoffs and one landing, with 155 landings and takeoffs logged from 2AM to the beginning of the conversation at 10 AM. The peak for GCA-controlled night landings was 33. Some 74,000 square yards of hard stand has been laid at Gatow since the beginning of the Airlift, composed of rubble from Berlin streets mixed with tar at 5% and laid by hand by German workers, many of whom live in the Russian sector, and many of whom are women, working twelve hours a day. They are also building a link trap, this with an autobahn mixer and paver, at the rate of several hundreds of yards a day. King then stopped by the Malcolm Club canteen, where a ineup of British, American, South African and French crews were waiting for a mug of tea and a "wad." Then the Flight team borrowed a seat on a Trans-World Air Charter Viking I, which had just brought in 7000lbs of sugar on its first lift, heading out on the only seats left in the fuselage, just as well since the "nauseating bumps and general discomfort" made the one hour flight excruciating. On the less pleasant side, the view allowed King to watch the Viking's geodetic wing flexing, which might explain how a Viking comes to be flying for an outfit as dodgy as "Trans World Air Charter" already. At RAF Wunstorf, King found more "repurposed" airliners, Silver City Bristol 170 Wayfarers representing the side until some real Freighters are available. Also there were some Yorks and Haltons, although not the Flight Refuelling Lancastrian King intended to take back to Gatow. Instead, he hitched a ride in a flour-carrying Halton that touched down at 56,000lbs, whose captain told a tale of being buzzed by nine Russian fighters the other day.

Back at Gatow, King transferred to an Air Contractors, Ltd., Dakota just in with a load of carrots and flour, for a run up to Lubeck, with a pause to allow "two pale and aging women" to sweep out the hold of G-A1WE, which was completing its 73rd lift of the Airlift under Captain R. B. Miles. Cruising speed was set at 5500ft, as the former 1000ft altitude was too crowded, but the plane had encountered icing on the flight to Berlin, and hoped for a reduction in ceiling.

King stayed overnight at Lubeck, then nosed around the airfield the next day. Kearsley Airways, which, having missed its flights the previous day, proposed to make four runs with its Dakota that day. King attended at the "Dak Detail," run out of a Nissen hut, where a notice board informed the pilots that operating heights had been reduced to 4500ft because of icing, and that Yak patrols were expected up to 2500m. A Halifax on its way back from Denmark, where it supported an 8 Meteor detachment, flew through Lubeck, the pilot joking that just landing there he risked having the Army descend on his plane and stuff it with flour sacks for Berlin. That afternoon, King and team were lifted back to Gatow by Captain T. Freer of Westminster Airways, with prop ice bouncing off the fuselage in the air, and Yaks encountered. Captain Freer is concerned that winter will tell heavily on Lubeck, with hangar accommodations inadequate to the scale of operations. A formation of Pe-2s was also seen, black smoke trailing from one engine. At Gatow, the crew met the same York I they'd seen each time, and no wonder since Captain Store was making four trips a day, 20,600lbs of flour aboard each time. From Gatow on a Viking I, it was back to London via Hamburg, depressing tracts of darkness and destruction at Flensburg, seen in the "gloomy rain of approaching night" giving way to the luminous grandeur of London after dark as the cabin crew turned out the lights, allowing King and team to soak up civilisation.

In shorter news, the final report on the disappearance of Star Tiger is in. Forty-six pages plus appendices fail to clear up the mystery, although the Court of Inquiry criticises the radio operator at Bermuda for not declaring an emergency for 95 minutes, and, implicitly, BSAA for implementing various improvements recommended by the Court before they were recommended, indicating that "the Corporation was aware that certain aspects of the operation of the route were open to improvement." Also, Butlin's Air Rally season is over.

"Canadian Tailless: Details and Performance of the NRC Glider" "NRC" is the National Research Council of Canada, which built a tailless glider to test being tailless. No one died.

"Precis of Some Economic Factors in Civil Aviation: The Annual British Commonwealth and Empire Lecture by Peter G. Masefield Before the Royal Aeronautical Society" Commercial flying is still heavily subsidised, a cost that the nation is  bearing because, in the future, commercial aviation will be as important as the merchant marine is today. The rapid rise in air traffic promises profitability if overhead can be brought under control and ground organisation improved. The one factor standing in the way is safety. Using the deaths per passenger mile, which, if I recall correctly, is a bit controversial, air travel is more than ten times as dangerous as busses and eight times as dangerous as trains, although it is safer than taxis (and how!). And cars, of course. Do planes try to kill you, like certain Lincolns I know? Probably. Tudor IVs do, for sure.

To achieve profitability, airlines must minimise overhead by being punctual, and reliable. Managers must also be able to forecast payloads without regards to the effects of weather. Operating costs are determined by the weather an aircraft can fly in, the distance it can fly between landings, the time it takes, and the airfields it can land in, as well as more obvious factors such as payload and fuel costs. Masefield goes on to calculate the operating costs of the planes on British airlines, but doesn't draw conclusions about which ones are best.

"Compounded Power Units: Wright Turbo-Cyclone to be Put Into Production" The United States Navy has placed an order for the Wright Turbo-Cyclone, guaranteeing that it will go into production. Unlike previous turbo-blowers, which only supercharged the air, or air-fuel charge, this system feeds power back the driveshaft, which sounds tricky to me! Wright has fiddled with systems in which the exhaust is piped directly from the ports to the turbo, which minimises blowback and cooling problems, or to an exhaust chamber, which renders the power boost continuous but produces blowback and heating. Allison tried the latter in an experimental installation, while Wright has gone with the former.

CC BY-SA 3.0,
P. F. Martinuzzi[.], "Gas Turbines in the United States: Impressions of a Tour of American Gas Turbine Plants and Laboratories" Progress Analysed" American designers focussed on axial compressors from the start, which seems to have dealt a blow to their progress, because the designs they came up were too heavy and inefficient. The developing firms are also not seeking outside input, and are ignoring available data. The workers are very young, and, while brilliant, are a bit inexperienced. The big producers right now are GE and Westinghouse, while the Northrop-Hendy and Boeing mini-turbine get some attention. Martinuzzi repeats rumours that the recent loss of the eight-jet Northrop flying wing[?] was caused by a turbine explosion, and suggests that other accidents might have the same cause. He points out that American designers are focussing on high compression rations and temperatures, often to "ludicrous extremes," with one recent turbine having a compression ratio of 33-to-1. Like some other British writers, he implies that the GE-licensed Nene is probably going to be the first really successful American jet engine. There is much less work on industrial and marine turbines, although Allis Chalmers is working on one. There is so much demand for conventional plant that there are just no resources for development. The Houdry gas turbines in Houdry-process cracking refineries, which are "not strictly gas turbines," are the only ones in industrial use in America, although there is considerable work on coal-dust fired turbines for locomotives. If these fail, it will probably arrest development of oil-fired gas turbines as well.
Ramsay MacDonald, in the 1931 election, but,
in fairness, Ronnie was three at the time, so
who knows where she picked up the factoid.

"London-Paris: 46 minutes 29 Seconds" You can get from London to Paris very fast if you fly in the back seat of a Meteor Trainer and there are helicopters waiting for you at both ends, which I imagine a very energetic politician could do. Didn't Winston Churchill cause a scandal when he was flown around in an RAF fighter during the 1932 election?

In shorter news, Flight is excited about the Britain-United States-Canada decision to standardise screw rthreads, and sad to report the death of Arthur Whitten-Brown, of 1919 trans-Atlantic flight fame.


In answer to talk about the need for larger airplanes, S. M. Udale writes to say that it is possible to get too big, as with Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. Transportation companies do have to watch out for "giantism." M. A. Pedder, of Airspeed, writes that there are many potential layouts for the Ambassador. D. K. N. Evans is disgusted with the disorganisation and confusion shown him when he recently flew into Northolt in his personal plane. Tiger Tom thinks that the Tiger Moth is a splendid private plane because you can take off from 55 yards, which is convenient for those who have a backyard the size of a football field. J. Grant Duncan thinks that airports have a lot to learn from the Berlin Airlift, and that this should be taken into account as we discuss plans for enlarging airports to meet "capacity."

The Economist,  9 October 1848


"What is the Commonwealth?" I don't know. I give up. Tell me, The Economist! Or, on second thought, don't, because I'm sure I'll be horrified.

"'Push, Prod and Encourage" Dewey is a lock to win the election, so here is his foreign policy. It will be to use ERA and the Western Union to push, prod and encourage the nations of western Europe to become the United States of Europe. The Economist thinks that this is a very good idea, and a great improvement on Marshall's slackness; which means that it is a bad idea, because it will get Europe's back up, which means that it is a good idea, since the American electorate loves it when Presidential candidates talk tough, which means that it is a bad idea, since he is a lock to win the election anyway, and he will lose "all-important support" in Europe. Therefore, he should only push, prod, etc., towards the Western Union defence pact, while letting the economies of western Europe "gradually grow together," which will take time. And also possibly the end of "uncompetitive industries" in various countries, by which it seems to mean entire national industries, and not, say, synthetic rubber in Belgium.

"Agricultural Policy" There has been a record potato crop and a good sugar beet one, and the rest of the harvest is also good. So that's this year. The question is whether, in years to come, price guarantees will continue to encourage farmers to expand production. The Government can talk all it wants about supporting agriculture; farmers suspect that the promise will go by the wayside the moment that taxpayers are hurt. Therefore, they might just sit on their bum-bums. This is at least a departure for The Economist, which used to wish that farmers would sit on their bum-bums. The change of heart seems to have been provoked by the trade balance. It hasn't stopped campaigning for an end to food subsidies, pointing out, quite reasonably, that high subsidies mean rationing, as otherwise there would not be enough nice things (eggs, and, suddenly, potatoes) for everyone. And, then, having put some printed space between the moving pen and the need for more farming, it comes around to the obvious need for the end of price guarantees in the medium-distant future. It can happen, The Economist says, either by rational, planned withdrawal, or when the market forces it. To your bum-bums, farmers!

"One Year of the Cominform" It's C-o-m-i-f-o-r-m, not C-h-l-o-r-o-p-h-o-r-m, although I can see why you would make that mistake. Our paper of record points out that a year of relentless advance on all fronts has left international communism well behind last year's front lines: Marshall Plan, Greece, western German recovery, etc. Hmm. Still, a menace is a menace is a menace, and there was still hope of internationally communistic menacing in the Far East. (That is probably for the benefit of those who haven't given up on the Koumintang. I would say that the real threat is in Southeast Asia, especially if the kindly British response in Malaya provokes a backlash amongst native Malayans, unlikely as the prospect of southerners sticking up for Chinese may be.)

Notes of the Week

"Berlin: No Change" Everyone is talking about talking about Berlin. Being "cold war" talking about talking, it's a bit more pointed than some talking about talking, but I know talking about talking when I see it.

"Vyshinsky and the Atom" "Precious days which might have been spent in working out a settlement for Palestine have been wasted . . . in repeating the familiar debate about the control of atomic energy." The new Soviet proposal does away with the previous requirement to abolish the bomb. the Economist is suspicious of the concession because Communists are awful. You would think that even The Economist isn't so dumb as to not suspect that the concession is because the Russians are confident that they will soon have the bomb. Or not. The Economist goes on to blither-blather about restarting the Lilienthal Plan for international control and inspection by opening their own facilities, first, followed by "east west" international control of atomic energy.

"Miners Below the Mark" The coal industry will miss its 200 million ton target by 3 million tons of deep-mined coal, made up by an extra 1 million of inferior open-cast. While 200 million used to be an absolute minimum, there turns out to be several million tons of surplus in stockpile from last winter which will hit 1948 production and export targets. So the real worry is next year, when the target lifts to 210 million tons.  And because there have been large investments of machinery, it is clear that miners are lazy, and have to be told to work harder in very loud and shrill tones. I'd say the real worry for coal is that Britain burned so much less of it. They have been trying to economise, after all. Everyone has!

I'll give it credit for looks, but, really, guys: Sleeve valves.
Engineers always think they know better.
"Air Transport Economics" The Economist sent a journalist to Mr. Masefield's talk. Perhaps he sat next to the girl from Flight  and they made romantic plans for an air-cruise in a flying boat, which would reach Capetown for Christmas (of 1949), via every lake in central Africa which can support a peanut plantation. But enough of such silly romantics! The Economist was paying attention, and its notes say: More reliable engines and aircraft; better air traffic control, higher business efficiency; closer attention to fitting planes to routes. At this point, The Economist must have drifted off in reveries of skipping over logs on Lake Victoria at 70 knots, because wherever it went, it returned with the idea that the Ambassador and Brabazon have "outstanding" operational efficiency.

"De Gaulle's Recipe for France" The Eighteenth Brumaire of Henri Quatre Bouillabaisse MacMahon is scheduled for March of 1951 this year. The Economist points out that banning communism and imprisoning strikers is only half the story. He has to get the taxpayers paying taxes. Which impossibly contradictory set of goals doesn't deter The Economist from putting in another story about de Gaulle's "programme," if only to put safe space between the part where it talks about the current "debacle" in France and the rapid advance of European industrial production. Incidentally, if anyone has failed to read between the lines, down at the bottom of Notes, but before the chortling victory lap over the cut in Dutch food subsidies, The Economist explicitly argues that there is "No Future for [German Industrial] Dismantling." It points out, that, for example, removing 3000 tons of lathes, shaping and milling machines from their foundations in the August Thyssen works and collecting them in surviving shops, when they have not been inspected, nor the works assigned to an Allied nation for transfer, is taking "enthusiasm" too far. Even if the works are reerected elsewhere, it will take up to eighteen months to dismantle, and eighteen months to put them back up again, at  a time when their production is needed right now.

I don't know. Maybe giving the demonstrators a job where they could work for money would keep them off the streets? Spitballing, here.
"London's Gravel" Skipping a thrilling note about the progress of the Local Government Boundary Commission, it is on to the Advisory Committee on Sand and Gravel, which is increasingly concerned about the loss to "agriculture and amenity" caused by all the gravel works that meet London's demand of 10 million cubic yards(!!!) annually, at which point all supplies outside of the Vale of St. Albans will be exhausted, which is why it is time to discuss shifting the work over to the Vale to give the rest of Middlesex a break. The Economist doesn't have an opinion, but approves of the process. Following is a grim bit about the "Tightening of the Middle Class Belt," which is devoted to the idea that the professional and business classes are slipping down the economic scale due to something. I hope there's room for lots of Notes before we get round to disinflation again!

"Hopes and Fears in China" The Republicans have decided that they can't give up on the Koumintang lest they lose the church lady vote, which gives the Koumintang until the spring dry season to get their gold out of the country.  At least, on the assumption that the Communists even can advance faster. The fall of Shantung this week suggests that they might reach Nanking in the spring on their own schedule, not the GOP's.

"Educating the Manual Worker" Is a terrible idea. Well, it's not so much "terrible," as a fine and laudable thing with terrible consequences. The Economist seems to have read Brave New World over the weekend, and is aching to try out its new vocabulary for the low-brows. the "Epsilon double-minus" is utterly incapable of anything but pinball, and so should not be troubled with education in "the humanities." Along tracks that move in the same country, if not quite the same line, the annual controversy over salaries of public servants such as professors, doctors, consultants and nurses is on.

Shorter Notes has some dyspepsia to share over the Territorial Army recruiting drive, and the continuing American fuss over exporting Nenes to Russia. It also links the international agreement on screw thread rationalisation to the Cripps visit. Yay, something was accomplished! There's some blah blah about the British Communist Party, which seems to be waiting to see if it is banned, already, and about the Commonwealth, which is waiting to see if it is going to be anything more than an annual staff picnic. This puts some good news in safe isolation: Tourism was up 34%. So as not to close on a happy thought, the note goes on to point out that this was probably a one-off due to the Olympics, and that hotel wages are  too . . . low? I can't be reading this right.

Letters to the Editor

Geoffrey Tyson, of Calcutta, writes to defend the Indian government  for invading Hyderabad, and suggests that the invasion did not "hasten" Jinnah's death, as he had more than enough stress on him in the last months of the year, besides a rapidly advancing cancer. J. B. Steadman has read through the article on the uses of manpower and determined that the civil service is using too many hands, and that the work week should be increased by three hours. "Workers are tired of pampering and being lectured at." E. L. Spears writes to defend the Arabs against some of The Economist's allegations.

From The Economist of 1848 I am sure that there was nothing in the whole issue more interesting than an extract from Nicholas Mitchell's epic volume in verse, Ruins of Many Lands. "Calm sinks the sun o'er Edom's blight hills!"Ronnie declaims! I read enough of these in my Chinese lessons, but the Chinese do it wrong. They don't use enough words.

American Survey

"Balance at Full Employment?" Salesmen are thronging to sell you stuff as America fails to see an oil shortage, the steel shortage vanishes, "for rent" signs appear, and, in general, demand comes into line with supply. Some think that this is a temporary break in inflation, while others fear depression, after a long boom. "These divergent views have one thing in common: that the American economy is soon to suffer." . . . . "The view that misery is inevitable has virtually ruled out any exploration of the possibility that the country could have a considerable period of fluctuations within an area of prosperity and reasonably full employment." Scientific and technological progress and the steady expansion of resources may falsify predictions of disaster. Or this may be like the "new era" talk of 1929.

 "Federal Aid to Education" The "first crop of war babies" has presented itself at America's 170,00 public schools. This will continue. Before the war, 2.5 million babies were born every year. Last year, it was 3.9 million. The elementary school population will be 45% larger in 1957 than it is today. The states have raised their education budgets, often by the largest percentages in the poorest states. They do not think that they can continue, which makes a strong case for federal aid. This is envisaged in the "Educational Finance Act of 1947," which passed the Senate last year. The Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, and others of the usual suspects are vehemently opposed, as are a sundry lot who claim to object to Federal involvement on the most high-minded of constitutional grounds. (Also, segregation and separation of church and state are issues.) It is clear that something has to be done: There is a shortage of between 150,000 and 170,000 teachers, and the annual attrition of 70,000 is not being made up by an intake of less than 20,000. One in eight teachers have an emergency certification. Sixteen percent of teachers are being paid less than $1200!

American Notes

"Even the liberal New York Times"!
It turns out that there's an election on! The New York Times, in a three column-encyclical (That's Latin for "Typical The Economist Leader), has endorsed Dewey, in spite of its proud, traditional Democratic position, which it maintains in spite of endorsing Willkie in 1940, and Roosevelt in '44 solely on foreign policy grounds. That doesn't seem "solidly" Democratic to me, at all! Anyway, everyone agrees that Dewey's the one to beat, fine foreign policy and all. Another note covers the Justice Department's recent anti-trust actions over eggs and aluminum, before moving on to HUAC's report on its in camera hearings on spies in the Manhattan Project, which completely fails to live up to the Canadian investigation. There was no Gouzenko, no indictments. The chairman is going before a Grand Jury to defend his allegation that the indictments previously written up for twelve Communists contained deliberate "loopholes." President Trumans' allegation that it was all a "red herring" is justified. Although so is the AEC's decision to instruct GE and the University of Chicago to cut off bargaining with the United Electrical Workers and United Public Workers, which have refused to sign an anti-communist pledge, and "follow the party line."

The World Overseas

"State and Workers in Hungary" Hungary is a communist dictatorship, also shabby, and no worker's paradise at all. The same story is repeated for Bulgaria, bit below. Well, not quite the same story, as we have to make allowances for Bulgaria's experiments with a Labour Army, called for in the Communist Manifesto, and its suffering over the breach with Jugoslavia. A long piece on the overnight revaluation of the New Zealand pound to parity with the pound sterling defends the decision as necessary to control inflation[?], I think. I don't know, my attention faded a bit when I got to wool. While I've made the strictest resolution to leave the sheep jokes to Grace, who claims that she will return to this series the  moment Vickie is off to college, and hopefully Miss J. with her. (Although I rather like Miss J., and she is moving out of the house at after Christmas, as two-thirds of her work is for outside patients now.)

No, I don't know when The Economist will give up on "Jugoslavia," in favour of "Yugoslavia," especially with Flight backsliding from "turboprop" lately. I'm still wondering what happened to The Economists' long ago promise to stop fighting the American "billion." I'm just glad that some forgotten literati decided that "Yugoslavia" needed different characters from "Jugoslavia," or I wouldn't be able to make this joke. Joke? You ask? Where?

The Business World

"Factors in European Steel" I thought that for steel you just needed carbon and iron ore, not "factors." I didn't know half this stuff. The main "factors" are scrap, still short, as America probably won't be able to make its target of 2 million tons of scrap a year; and new facilities, which need, like bigger fish and bigger fish to bite them, more steel to build. The hope that dismantled and re-mantled German plant would magically solve this problem is now to be set aside. Also, ore is likely to be short.

 "High Shipbuilding Costs" The chairman of the Oriental recently said that the time was coming when British shipowners might balk at the prices charged by British shipbuilders. This has thrown the paper into a tizzy, since, as it points out, ships are not only big business, but absorb the production of everything from engine builders to tablecloth makers. Are prices too high? Perhaps! Are workers lazy? Probably! Are delays excessive? Could be! It is quite possible that trends to high and rising tonnage orders and deliveries are obscuring an incipient decline by statistical legerdemain.

Business Notes

It takes a good page and a half to move on from stocks and bonds to talk about something engineering-related, specifically the surcharge to be added to the electric bill in the winter months, which the British Electric Authority doesn't like, because it will annoy people without really affecting demand, and probably not reduce load shedding at all, because load shedding is only deterred by consumers dropping out of the circuit entirely.

Two notes cover the current distressed state of the Odeon Theatre, which affects the whole of Rank's General Cinema Finance Corporation. Our friends are well out of that! I gather that they are even making money selling film stock in Hong Kong. And here and we thought it was just going to be a way of moving silver. I suppose the moral is that Chinese like movies in their own languages --even Cantonese?

Notes next cover the prospect of slightly easier controls on shipping. The one year provisional arrangement agreed on in September 1947 is ending, and there is a prospect of "blanket" licenses for dry cargo shipping, although not tankers. This is to be hoped for, because more cross-shipping will increase British invisible earnings. Speaking of free lunches, the "booty scrap" arrangement in which the sixteen governments were despoiling Germany of its scrap steel is coming to an end for this year, without American scrap to replace it. The thought is that America might not get its 125,000 tons allocated next year, if this keeps up. Speaking of things that can't keep up, the world price of crude oil might go as high as $3/barrel if the inflationary increase isn't checked somehow.

Nuffield and Austin have reached an agreement to exchange information with a view towards standardisation. Wool prices are falling in spite of supplies also falling. I'm overusing "perhaps" because I'm not sure why. The Economist blames the Labour minister responsible, if only to put a new villain (one Harold Wilson) before the world, but it seems (See? Not "perhaps!") to be an issue of grades of wool. Also, the Coal Board is trying to buy the nine independent coke oven companies, which seems like a logical extension of nationalisation, but was not provided for under the original legislation. Stocks in Monckton Holdings, British Benzol and Coal Distillation, and Benzol and By-Products are going up in consequence. The half-year revenue figures suggest that the Chancellor is not going to make his target for a £330 million surplus this year. 

Lastly, if you are interested in what The Economist has to say about the Airlift in the very latest issue I hold in my hands --the advantage of doing this when Fortune finally appears at my door-- it is that the blockade is a great success, that it will be sustained through winter fogs and blizzards. This is because the increasing efficiency of flight and ground crews has brought the daily delivery up to 4300 tons, enough for stockpiling,  "the extensive use of radar and navigational aids," the opening of the Tegel airfield in October, and increasing flexibility in shifting deliveries to days with good weather.  The Airlift just grew; no long term plans were laid until the failure of the Four Power talks in August. The airlift just tried to make 3000 tons of food a day. Now, it is moving industrial and consumer goods as well as food, is handling Berlin's exports, and has a long term plan of over 4000 tons a day. At first, virtually the whole of Transport Command was thrown into the work, but now, given the limitations of loading and unloading, a smaller and more efficient fleet is in service. Up to 480 planes a day fly in, with the average somewhere around 455. Yorks and Skymasters are the only really efficient transports (leaving out the indefatigable Flight Refuelling tankers and oddities like the flying boats), although Transport Command is wearing out its Yorks and so has to retain Dakotas. Transport Command's contribution has fallen from about half to a third of the effort, although it is a bit higher if bulk, rather than weight, is considered. 

Flight, 14 October 1948


"Preparations for Preparedness" This isn't Flight "taking a pee" on The Economist, as Sarah says, more or less. (She's ruder, because different words are rude in England. Bloody! Bullocks! Tee-hee!) Mr. Churchill says that the "frontier of Asia" is on the Elbe, which of course means that the frontier of Germany is in Kent, and the Channel coast is in Shropshire, if I recall my geography. This means that we need more guns. Because Asia has moved, you see. Even though it even gave us a forwarding address, it is still very rude, and we should definitely be ready to drop atom bombs we haven't got on them, says Mr. Churchill. All the other parties say that, too. Flight is very pleased that Air Marshal Robb, who formerly was in charge of carrying Tedder's bumbershoot, is to be C-in-C, Air Forces,Western Command, which is the combined air forces of the Brussels powers.

"British Jets Abroad" This isn't about jet exports. It is about the Americans still being upset about shipping some Nenes to Russia, and being currently upset that Britain is selling Vampires to Sweden when "more closely allied countries" are going short. Some people are also saying that it was a mistake to set up a factory to build Meteors under license in Holland, since the Russians will just drive up some tanks and take right over, to which Flight replies, "It's only Meteors, so good on you, mates."

"Paramedical Aid" The RAF put on a show of nurses parachuting into battle to paramedically para-administer para-first aid. They have very silly hats. 
Very silly, but I forgot to get an original of them last night, so here's the "Matron-in-Chief" instead.
Here and There

Frank Whittle is to get the Kelvin Medal. The Australian Parliament was told that the RAAF costs Australians 23s a head, which isn't very much considering that the US spends £32 per head. General de Lattre de Tassigny is to be C-in-C, Land Froces of Western Europe. NACA says that get engines developing 25,000lbs thrust are "now being contemplated." The Navy put on a demonstration of flying Corsairs, Bearcats and Skyraiders from Moffett Field to Hawaii by relaying through two aircraft carriers stationed along the route, which the Navy thinks is a practical way of speeding up ferrying and getting around weather. The Hunting Group is having another London meeting of all their national divisions, which I think involves everyone flying to London, which is good for aviation, which is good for Hunting. The Messerschmitt factory is now making prefabricated homes, the USAAF is moving the 331st Troop Carrier Wing to Europe to provide maintenance on the Airlift. Smiths has the license to produce Aldis lamps in Britain. 

Schipol is the largest and busiest civil airport in Europe in 1948. This is what that looks like. 

Civil Aviation News 

Air France is building five radio stations in Africa to supplement the five it has now. They will send 54 engineers and technicians to Africa to run the new stations. Lord Pakenham took the opportunity of a visit to Wales to tell locals that air service between North and South Wales isn't yet a paying proposition. Australia has a new safety scheme, private pilot license requirements are being revised again, and the British airlines are reorganising their training now that Airways Training is closed down. Lord Douglas is going on the BOAC board, and London's new high intensity approach lighting is now working. It consists of two lines of omni-directional, low intensity, red lights extending 4000ft from the end of the runway, converging at 2 degrees, high intensity red lights beamed in the direciton of approach, alongside each low-intensity light, four low intensity lights 1500 yards from the end of the runway as a marking bar, and a mix of high intensity sodium and low intensity red lights outside the marked lane. Malayan Airways has lost $156,000 in its first year of operations, which is deemed reasonable given the Emergency, although the princely states seem to be fighting with Singapore over it. The Martin 2-0-2 has been grounded due to the 29 August crash. BSAA has received five Tudor Vs and will put them into cargo service on the Airlift as soon as conversion is complete. Various new services fly new places, or more frequently, or as sleepers. London Airport is getting new temporary buildings. BEA's decision to close Speke and move maintenance to Renfrew is being explained to the work staff via their "trade union machinery." Argentina is buying some Sandringhams and converting some DC-6s to 44 seat transports.

Maurice F. Allward, "Tie-Rod Transmission: An Ingenious Drive System Used on the Landgraf Helicopter" The Landgraf H-2 has two rotors, and a tension rod drive to them. It is very efficient, especially at low speed, and the first time something like it has been done in aviation. A short piece announces the exciting discovery of polytetraflouroethylene by Imperial Chemical Industries, which is a plastic with unusual temperature tolerances and good insulating properties between 38 and 260 degrees C. Edo Corporation has developed packing containers for shipping jet turbines safely. Ask for Edo brand boxes by name. 

"Bright and Breezy: The Navy's Crack Aerobatic Squadron in the New World" The navy has sent 806 Squadron to North America to thrill the rubes with Sea Vampires, Sea Hornets and Sea Furies, on board Magnificent. 
Sea Furies were very bellicose planes. 

"Yaks and Daks" Since Dakotas and Yakovlevs are running into each other all the time in the Airlift, here is a feature about the Red Air Force's deployment of Yaks (and LaGGs) in Berlin: No jets, yet.  

"Some Economic Factors in Civil Aviation: Breakdown of Operating Costs: Matching Aircraft to Routes: Future Power Plants" In this section, Masefield gives the operating costs of British civil types, ranging from the hourly £4 3s 6d and £13 3d landing and takeoff cost of the Raide thorugh the Ambassadors 42 and 98, up to the £190 and £531 of the Brabazon. The Brabazon will only make money on the Atlantic, while the Rapide can make money flying to the Isle of Wight. Block speeds are important, too. It is interesting that they go to 190 for the Dakota to 250 for the Brabazon, at a head wind of I forget. For future  power plants, jet turbines cannot be commercially viable as long as stacking continues, and will have to be quite big, to fit all of the fuel. The "propeller turbine" looks promising, while helicopters are very expensive and will have to charge high rates. 

Not the final version, which is a bit more helicopter-like,
but still very funny. 
"The Hoppi-copter" Horace Pentecost is 
bringing the Hoppi-Copter to England so that we can all have a bit of fun with the world's smallest helicopter. Since we heard about this in Aviation long ago, I don't see any particular need to go into detail. 

B. J. Hurren, "Story of an Old, Old Story: A Modern Theme Recalls Some Early Deck Trials" Fortune this month has a bit about business ethics that ends with a mention of the US government's current, "Hire the Handicapped: It's Just Good Business" campaign. And here is an article from B. J. Hurren, right on cue. It is about flying off trials down through the years. I won't bother to summarise, and not just because, since it is Hurren, the details are bound to be wrong. 

Gloster Aircraft had a meeting, in which they celebrated the fact that the Air Ministry is going to keep on buying Meteors forever, so go ahead and buy a new house! Sweden says that its Vampires are not grounded, that they are as safe as can be expected. 


"Smith, No. 4"is upset that one of the flying training schools is being closed. J. C. Neilan writes to support the  Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators against the Accident Investigation Branch over that Viking crash last winter in which the plane flew into some trees while trying to make a timed landing with an altimeter that turned out to have been faulty and also possibly miscalibrated. He thinks the fault lies with the Control Service and thinks that allowing only 500ft between levels in stacking is unwise. .

Business Roundup

Fortune is done with Leading Articles, and now thinks that the way to start the paper is with a Periscope-style roundup of business news. I don't know if I can summarise a summary, but let me try. First, business is off all around. The end of the vacation season saw even resort receipts off from last year, and meanwhile there are airlines and the failure of the gas-coal-and-oil shortage to materialise, and all the other stuff. I'm only mentioning this again, after it being the refrain in The Economist, because the fall in farm gate prices has Fortune taking aim at the neo-Malthusians just a month after their AAS glory. If mankind (womankind has something to say about this, too!) always increases faster than food, why is the farm boom ending? Why is it time to worry about farm subsidies? Why is iron and steel down? Why is Uncle Henry fighting with everyone and sundry? Why is steel scrap (actual scrap) in such short supply? Oh, wait, that's not a business cycle-softening problem. That's a running out of scrap problem. Also, from the West Coast vantage, it is interesting to see Fortune arguing that "never before [had] water transportation mattered so much." I don't know. That's the main reason why Uncle George thought Fontana could never work. He still insists it won't, by the way. 

Since the cycle does seem to be softening, the next place to alight in the roundup is cancelled investments. Stanolind Gas and Oil is cancelling its synthetic gasoline plant in the Hugoton natural gas field in Kansas, a devastating blow to Garden City, Kansas, as estimated construction costs rose to almost $100 million. Demand for tools is off, too. Fortunately for big electric, public utility expansion plans are extended through 1951, and there is no rollback of their $6 billion in orders. Capital formation remains at a high rate, although housing starts have fallen steadily since April, panicking speculative builders. The bankers think that the Federal Reserve should abandon its cheap money policy, which is the root cause of inflation, while insurers think that as long as bonds are free and easy, the Federal Reserve has no real control over the money supply. The stock market is down, purportedly because of news from Berlin, proving that war doesn't always drive up the stock market.

Or that stock market commentators have no idea what they're talking about. Uncle Henry (like that segue?) is talking to Sears about offering a car through their catalogue. Continuing with cranks in business, no directors resigned at Montgomery Ward this month. Jim Brooks has a gigantic tall tale to tell about how he got the Kuwait oil concession involving plumbing for a harem (manly snigger), Masonic ties, and even British skulduggery, ingeniously defeated. 

In spite of talk of curtailed investment, Shell's $8 million synthetic glycerine plant is just one of a quarter billion dollars worth of new plant going up along the Houston Ship Canal. Spring Mills has opened the largest cotton bleachery at Lancaster, South Carolina, which uses a continuous process for converting gray goods into finished in one day. 

GM reports a 45% increase in fuel economy by raising compression ratios to 10 to 1 compared with 6.5 to 1, while Cambridge (Massachusetts) Gas and Oil has a new and more efficient method of gas production from coke and oil that reduces cost by 80% per cubic foot. Sperry Gyroscope has a $155,000 "engine analyser" that greatly reduces the time needed to tune the 155 spark plug Wright 3350 Turbo-Compound.

The Fortune Survey

The last pre-election survey shows Dewey beating Truman by almost the same margin with which Roosevelt beat Alf Landon. The public backs Taft-Hartley, opposed price controls, favours housing assistance but only weakly, has not reached a consensus on discrimination, but approves of the special session.

Fortune's Wheel

 Now that we have waded through the Business Roundup, Fortune promises further changes. Law and Labour sections are coming this month, and a narrowing of focus from "industrial civilisation" to "business" is coming in subsequent months. Aw. The cover, we are told, is by Edmund Lewandoski and portrays a beet harvester. Fortune assures us that it talked to plenty of businessmen before changing formats, and tells us that this month's article on Dewey's platform will be followed by many gloating, triumphant dispatches from the frontline of the Great Restoration. An article on the dollar shortage is promised, in response to a request from Rudolf S. Hecht, of the Board of Mississippi Shipping Company, of New Orleans. Both the article on agricultural machinery and the one on business ethics were requested by actual businessmen. 

The smile says that he can fell normalcy returning. 
"Mr. Dewey's Economics" I'm going to pretend that Dewey is not going to win, and that this therefore a waste of paper. I will write a special letter next month as my penance. 

"What Meat Shortage?" There is no meat shortage now. Americans eat 143lbs of it a year! This is admittedly down from a 300lb high in the Age of Jackson, and not far below the Argentine today, while American servicemen were allocated 365lbs, but it is a lot, and only another 30lbs will suffice to bring it up to the Department of Agriculture target. So while there is no shortage, we are eating less meat than we would like, but that is different. There will be less of a no meat shortage next year, although there will still be a not-a-meat-shortage next year, mainly because of population growth. Production may hit the target by 1951, if we can persuade the meat industry that their customers will still be solvent in the 1950s.

"The Business Birth Rate" An extended discussion of the rate of new business formation shows that the economy is still healthy in that respect, and that the failure rate, which is always high in the first years, is normal. It is the ridiculously low rate of business failures in the last few years that is abnormal. 

"The Kaiser-Eaton Feud" Fortune goes into the dispute between Uncle Henry and Cyrus Eaton over just who is to blame for that stock flotation failure. I don't know about you, but I've heard more than enough of this from the horse's mouth. I suppose that, in fairness, I should read the article just to get Uncle Henry's point of view, since I always believe the exact opposite of what comes out of him, and so consider myself well up on the Eaton position

R. C. Leffingwell of J. C. Morgan, writes, "How to Control Inflation" Leffingwell thinks that inflation could be stopped if the Federal Reserve just increased the interest rate high enough to raise the price of money. That is what was done in 1920, and this short term pain led to the prosperity of the 1920s. And what camer after that, Mr. Leffingwell can't rightly recall. He has more to say, but he is confident that inflation could be brought under control in jig time (not to be confused with a comic strip sending coded messages to short sellers) if the government just had the will power to led the economy and the world go hang. There are also various schemes for reining in bank lending by controlling their reserves, although some think that the Federal Reserve already has too much power. Wage and price controls could control inflation, but no-one wants that. Some think that a gold currency is the answer to economic stability --only gold did not prevent inflation in the Twenties or deflation in the Thirties. Public works should be reduced, because those who think of public works as a balance to economic expansion and contraction are naive and wrong for some reason so obvious it does not need explaining. Tariffs must come down. The civil service must be cut; the budget must be balanced. Full employment must be  maintained.

"Farm Horsepower" 

American farms have seen a downright ridiculous increase in the number of tractors and other machines in the last eight years. (Doubled to three million, Fortune eventually gets around to telling us, allowing the same 360 million acres to feed forty million more people than in 1920.) California is in the lead,  hurrah, and Farm Machinery Corporation, just down the road from Santa Clara, is a success story of the first water. I have trouble imagining San Jose leading the world in anything, but in beet harvesters, it does. 

We're reminded that chemists and geneticists have done their part, too, and that there are still ten million horses and mules on the land. Progress has been slowed by the small profit margin from selling to farmers, which is not the kind of thing that supports great research laboratories and engineering staffs. Higher profits mean that new companies are entering the scene, with Sperry buying out New Holland and new plants in California to specialise in heavy tillage machinery. Conversely, maintenance is becoming an increasingly large part of the farm business. 

"The Chrysler Operation" A profile of the Chrysler Corporation. The spotlight is on it, after Ford upgraded from a sub-par product to the new postwar line. Does Chrysler have a similar trick up its sleeve? Maybe, maybe not.

"The Scientists" Fortune profiles the science business, starting with the AEC's Robert Oppenheimer, atomics, and the "general psychical crisis of Western Civilisation." There are 140,000 people engaged in scientific research, development and teaching in the United States. Twenty-five thousand hold degrees in the physical, biological and agricultural sciences. Forty thousand bachelors degrees and 7000 doctoral are awarded each year. And even more scientists are needed as the sciences become more specialised. It is a pretty hard grind to increase these numbers. It takes seven years from secondary school graduation to train a new doctoral graduate, and only 3000 of 650,000 will get that far. The shortage will continue through 1950, and perhaps longer, and in the meantime has inflated scientific wages. Industry is paying double, triple, what it paid in the 1930s! Top grade scientists start at $5000, and the pay increases rapidly to up to $10,000! Others are paid only slightly less.

Pay, however, is not the only compensation. Scientist should be glad to hear that they are an intellectual, nay, a moral elite, who, in the old days, back when all the scientists were in a "triangle" between London, France and Berlin, drove the Reformation, which was a Good Thing. (Pope on line two, sir!) This eliteness means that science is Very Important, which is why it is so sad that Washington has dropped the ball since the war by not appointing a National Science Advisor. HUAC's attempt to brand Dr. Condon, of the Bureau of Standards no less, as a communist, was just about the last straw for scientists. The Federation of Atomic Scientists, which has introduced voluntary loyalty clearance programmes, similar to ones adopted in many laboratories with defence contracts,  has found that almost all dismissals are over nothing more than guilt by association. None were allowed to hear the evidence or confront the witnesses against them. This is why Oakridge has lost 60% of its physicists and 70% of its chemists.  Physicists are shifting to cosmic ray research, which is more fundamentally important and hasn't FBI agents crawling all over it.  who will keep It makes it hard for the country to keep scientists are the kind of elite who morally lead the nation and confront psychical crises.all while costing less than ten grand per annum. 

Also, there should be a little something for the social sciences, since scientists like to take a few humanities courses in their undergraduate, to relax, you know, and maybe meet some girls. 

Okay. I have now reached a theory about why there are not more scientists. And, to be fair, Fortune eventually arrives at that point at the end of the article. Industry thinks that $10,000/year is just swell. Scientists point out that when France paid scientists like high school teachers, it got high school science. 

"Arrival in Cincinnati" Thomas Emery's Sons, owners of the Terrace Plaza, have a really, really nice new hotel in Cincinnati. You should see the rooms! So posh! Also, they do good business in the field of renting rooms. 

"$7 single, $10 double."
William A. Orton, "Business and Ethics" This is not what we're here, for and I've already quoted the "Hire the Handicapped --It's just good business" kicker from the conclusion.

"New Outlook in Brazing" Yes, it is an entire article about brazing, which, we've already heard,. in the horrible old Scientific American which has now been reformed, I'm told, is the coming new thing in joining bits with solidified liquid metal. 

Books and Ideas

Give this to the new format. At least the back matter is in the back, now! 

Leading off is John Kenneth Galbraith's combined review of B. F. Skinner, Walden Two, and Percival and Paul Goodman's Communitas, under the title, "Utopia Bulletin." You can't escape Skinner's paean to behavioural psychology this month. The Goodman book is a bit more obscure. Galbraith thinks that utopian literature has been on the downswing since Marx and Engels ruined it for the non-Communists, not counting all the utopias that don't count. Or Brave New World. But Walden Two is definitely a  utopia. As you know, it is a description of a collective farm colony of a thousand "allegedly happy people" living according to the principles as see above. Behavioural engineering ensures that everyone fulfills their role, no "test tube babies" required. Communitas describes not one, but three utopias. The first is a "satiric but illogical extension of Keynesian capitalism at peace," in which "demand is government underwritten" and everyone is encouraged to spend their income as fast as possible. Everything is for sale everywhere, and every year there is an annual "inventory"of destruction of consumer goods. Plans II and III are "not satirical at all" and replace consumerism with various boring ideas involving people living on farms and doing part time farm work before going into the city, or the Government providing the "one seventh" of modern American consumption that is needed for basic subsistence by putting everyone to work for one day of the week, and letting the nation go wild with the rest of its time and energy.  

Joseph Kinsey Howard's What Happened in Butte is a new kind of utopia that puts the mining town behind the Anaconda mine on some kind of permanent basis of prosperity in spite of the rise and fall of the price of copper. I've no idea how, you'd have to read the book. Frederick Mills' the Structure of Postwar Prices argues that the postwar inflation will come to a halt on its own, eventually. Louis Domeratzky's Outlook for International Trade thinks that the volume of international trade will fall as nationalisation and industrialisation spread around the globe. Ellis Woolley's What's Your Management IQ? is a collection of 100 questions to determine same. Doris Soibelman reviews The Therapeutic and Industrial Uses of Music: A Review of the Literature, for those interested. 


  1. Miss Helen Wilson Cargill Is Displeased.

    On other issues, that table of industrial production. What were those Norwegians up to? About thirty per cent more of it, it looks like? The steel table also shows a huge surge in French output, which might either just be counting the Saar in, or else could be something more interesting about French steelmaking getting access to German coal, a problem Keynes talks about in the Economic Consequences and a foundational issue for the European project.

    Any idea why on earth BOAC had its home maintenance base in Canada in the first place? I can see why they'd have down-route support there, but it seems really weird to put the engineering wage bill in a dollar zone country five timezones from the operational hub. (Or was there some advantage in paying for things right out of dollar revenue without ever bringing it into the UK...I saw you.)

    1. On the one hand, Grace's Guide is making me pay for access to pdfs of The Engineer now, and some weird impulse is making me hoard the access I have. More importantly, UBC has surrendered and let me take volumes of Engineering home. So I don't have "French Engineering Notes" before me. I'm pretty sure that we're not seeing the dividends of the European coal pool yet --it's probably just the generalised French economic recovery that we intermittently notice when we're not being frightened of Communists, De Gaulle, or both.

      Norway, also, too. The native industrial sector is so small that just getting that hydroelectric plant the Commandos blew up might do it. Or maybe they landed some whale blubber and are making margarine.

      I also really, really regret not getting an original shot of the hard hats the army was making their para-nurses wear, because I just have no words. I know I could clip the picture out of the online archives, but that would be cheating.

      Miss Cargill died at 72, and is buried beside her parents. I choose to believe that she is quite Content, but it is a Secret.