Friday, September 24, 2021

Postblogging Technology, June 1951, I: Ramping Up For Production


Dear Father:

Yes, yes, rest, no strain, blessed condition, all of that. Well! First of all, I am having some issues in certain departments which I find The Economist very helpful for, and let that suffice! Second, or more reasonably first, I arrived on the Avenue of Harmony to find my subscriptions finally released from Palo Alto quarantine and on their meandering way to me. Unfortunately, the collection is incomplete, because during the year-and-a-half that they were being held strictly out of human reach due to the contagious disease with which I was no infecting them via magical remote contagion powers, and no-one at all at Palo Alto City Hall was taking the interesting magazines out of the pile, it happened that all the boring technical journals came to begin to be returned to sender, and the circulation departments at Engineering, Aviation Week and Flight (and Time, for some reason) have stopped delivery. The stern old wardens who guard these departments are on the lookout for misappropriated subscriptions, and there must be an exchange of correspondence before delivery is resumed. In fine, I still have current copies of Aviation Week and Time before me (and a run of The Engineer from the missionary college that stopped last year), but don't expect to see the others  for a month or two. 

It's an improvement on the previous state of affairs, and a part from allusive, scatalogical jokes about The Economist, I find I miss it. A bit. 

Your Loving Daughter, 

The Economist, 2 June 1951


"A Higher Pound?"

The Economist looks back at the "world wide rumour" of last autumn that the pound might be revalued upward, because the pound has been so surprisingly strong since the devaluation. Various official people are now saying that it should be, but it is all because of the rising price of commodities due to rearmament and will end in tears, as the budget specifically pays for rearmament out of higher prices (or, inflation) and higher taxes on those prices, and revaluation will cut those prices and drive up inflation, but in a bad way instead of a good way.

"Three Forces in France" It is very discouraging and sad that we can't currently say that France is doomed, but fortunately those Gaullists and Communists are quite radical and if they get their way as a result of doing well in the upcoming general election, France will be doomed again.  Hopefully the electoral reform that is meant to prevent them from winning (democracy!) will lead to the "third force" of those who aren't Communists or Gaullists triumphing! With the stakes thus established, we are invited along for two pages of speculation about who might win the election. 

"The Poor Countries"

Everybody agrees that capital investment would help the poor countries and prevent Communism from spreading, but Truman's Point Four programme doesn't seem to be getting very far. Aside from the lack of capital to actually invest, it would appear that it is mainly due to the fact that swarthy foreigners breed too much and will vote to take all the capital and blow it on beer and lottery tickets if they are allowed "democracy." But just to be clear, here, local elites are also reactionary and bad. It is a difficult problem worthy of a lot more talking. 

"The Graduate Teacher" There are too many children and not enough teachers, especially of math and sciences, and it is going to get worse. Please fix without paying female teachers more. Paying the men more is fine, and while preferably only in the grammar schools, it would be nice to pay all teachers more, when you get right down to it. 

The Economist of 1851 is thrilled by the opening of the London Exhibition and especially by the fact that there weren't troops everywhere protecting the Queen from her people, which it thinks will amaze and awe those easily-impressed foreigners who might have got the impression from their newspapers that Britain isn't a perfect example of Heaven's enlightened order on Earth. On a related note, it must be horrible to be a foreigner! 

Notes of the Week

Persia's 'Exhausted Patience'" and "The Baghdad Negotiations" The Economist hopes that the negotiations for increased royalties on Iraqi oil can demonstrate to the Persians that their little temper tantrum is not getting them results. It also hopes that the Iraqi parliament can get the new agreement through before it recesses for the summer. Meanwhile, Westminster is also sluggish, which I think means here that the paper can't wait to have at  the Finance Bill.

"Planning Defence" The report of the Select Committee on Estimates is previewed before a full treatment later on. The Economist saves this space for making fun of the Select Committee for feeling that it has to tell us that television production is cutting in on Service electronics needs and that the steep scrap shortage suggests a need for revising steel prices. All of this,  we are told, should have been taken account of by the planners "long ago," and presented now to Parliament all wrapped up in a tidy little bow. Also, lorry drivers are on strike against the Road Haulage Executive. The Economist doesn't like the Road Haulage Executive, but it dislikes striking lorry drivers even more.

"Tibet Capitulates" Tibet has accepted a Chinese protectorate because it cannot defend itself without "military assistance that Indian was unwilling to give." The Economist goes on to blither about how the situation between China and Tibet is similar to that between England and Ireland (which thought one might hold in reserve for the next time it does Irish affairs!), and that Tibet has been "independent for the greater part of its history, including the last 38 years," and points out that Communist China has no problem conquering week and inoffensive nations, especially if they are not Communist. The Economist goes on to admit that, yes, Tibet was a bit backward, what with having a "feudal-ecclesiastical type" government, but no doubt progress would have come to it, as it has for "Afghanistan or Abyssinia" had it been given time. The paper goes on to explain the feud between the Panchen Lama and Dalai Lama and note that the Chinese are backing the Panchen Lama, that the Chinese will rule indirectly, except over the army, which is to be integrated into the PLA, bringing Chinese troops to the borders of Indian, Bhutan, Nepal and Kashmir, where "spectacular developments" are "to be expected in the near future," and it will serve India right. As if that isn't sinister enough, it is off to China to check in with the Red Terror, which is going very terribly. 

"The Saar Menaces the Schuman Plan" The German parliament might not ratify the Schuman Plan because it is upset about the Saar. The Economist is happy with the results of the first round of the Italian local  elections, except for the progress made by the neo-Fascists of the MSI. And a border adjustment between Poland and the Soviet Union gives Poland an oil field back in return for a strip of farmland around Lublin. It also means that Soviet trains won't have to cross a few miles of Polish territory to service a former Soviet "corridor," which is one less border to police. 

It's too bad The Economist is so boring because otherwise we could talk about the fabulous Fabiola now. Christian Democrats losing some municipalities is almost like being martyred in the arena! 

"Malan versus Malan" Rioting and street fighting between "ex-Servicement pledged to defend South Africa's constitution" and led by Group Captain Malan, and police, caused "dozens of casualties" and put quite a period on the Prime Minister's bill to make South Africa's constitution amendable by a simple majority of parliament so that he could proceed to take Coloured voting rights away and maybe later take away English's status as an official language on his way to a South African Republic.

"Old People in Work" The Social Survey looked at the employment of people aged 55 to 74 last week. Fewer old people are working. The Economist wants to see as many old people working as possible without actually taking their pensions away, so it comes out gingerly for a pension supplement for those who do work.  Well! That could certainly go in an unpleasant direction if inflation keeps up, but i'm sure The Economist never thought of that!  Also, blah blah local government blah.

"The Tshekedi Affair" As we will all recall, the paramount chief of Bechuanaland, Seretse Khama, is being detained in Britain because his nephew married a White woman and the South Africans can't bear it, but that version of the story is faintly embarrassing, so it is  important to establish that there is "more to the banishment" then meets the eye. Specifically, the real victim here is Seretse's uncle, Tshekedi Khama," who has also been banished, albeit to the next reservation over. One or the other of them needs to go back, and thanks to all that stuff that isn't meeting eyes, it should be the one who didn't marry a White woman. 

Shorter Notes notes how disappointingly non-tense and volatile the situation at Westminster is, with boring reports being acted upon without high scandal. Boring! The Economist goes to work and finds some stuff about hospitals to be excited about. 


R. F. Harrod writes in from Oxford to explain that the pound should be revalued upwards, as Britain can't possibly make all the stuff it needs to pay for all the imports it needs for exports to meet balance of payments and rearmaments. A. R. Prest, at Cambridge, and Charles Kennedy, at Oxford, both think that increasing interest rates on bonds is not the way to control inflation, which is better scotched by a controlled increase in prices, allowing expenditure on rearmament, etc without further inflationary pressure. I think. I'm not sure I would follow this conversation even if I hadn't come in at the middle!  Nicholas Kandor unleashes all of his sarcasm to mock The Economist's "liberal prescription" for inflation, in the form of budget cuts, pointing out that Belgium and the United States embraced these solutions to inflation and achieved 10% unemployment and a slackening of output on the way to eventual recovery, whereas Britain, France and Germany simply used controls and thereby maintained output and full employment while containing inflation. The Economist is deeply hurt that Kandor thinks that it is somehow pro-unemployment just because it keeps calling for higher unemployment. Which, of course, is the only way to have low unemployment in the long run. Poul Halsted doesn't understand why Danish eggs cost more in Britain than in Denmark. The Economist explains that eggs break in transit. 


Jean Fourastie's Machinisme et Bien-Etre is an imporant book that is in French so it is time for The Economist to show off that it can read French. (Moi would never do such a thing!) Philip Oyler's Feeding Ourselves is a good book to compare it to. Both are interested in the "relation between the techniques of production and the quality of human life." Fourastie thinks that economies should grow and develop and it is natural that productivity will increase in each "sector" in turn, from agriculture to manufacturing to the "tertiary sector," which means that the whole western world is moving towards a "tertiary" economy. Mr. Oyler, on the  other hand, wants more farming so that Britain can be self sufficient, for "international trade is doomed, and urban civilisation, too." Or so it is in Britain, anyway. The Economist thinks that he is silly, but if they say so, he will come and punch them in the nose, so they end the review with one of those long paragraphs that proably says that in a deniable sort of way. It might have been nice to have explained Mr. Oyler's little twilight of the Gods!

Donald Powell's Six Convicts has had some favourable reviews in the United States, I think, but The Economist hated it with a passion. Hated the convicts, hated the picture of the prison, hated the women in it . . That last leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth. Anna George de Mille's Henry George, Citizen of the World gives The Economist a chance to denounce something else it hates, the single tax on land value without being mean to Henry George, which it likes. It does this mainly by making fun of Mrs. de Mille for writing a sympathetic biography of her father. Glanville William's The Reform of the Law is a "critical study by a Left-wing writer" of the outmoded kind. (No need to explain why.) You see, most of the contributors to this volume were politicians in the Thirties, and they didn't accomplish anything then, and so, well, there you go. E. H. Phelps' A Course in Applied Economics is a good book for someone who "has not kept abreast of modern economics." Charles Malcolm's The British Linen Bank, 1746--1946 is privately printed, so no worries about making money from all the people interested in this institution that existed for two centuries to promote linen manufacture and somehow became a bank competing with the Bank of Scotland and was taken over by Barclay's in 1919, so if you picked this up expecting to hear about linen, well, silly you! Don Iddon's America was definitely reviewed in Time last month, so I'll leave off by saying that the magazine doesn't like it. 

American Survey

"Point Nought Four" Instead of boring old capital for poor countries, American aid is taking the form of more than six billion dollars of guns, or, as Charles Wilson put it, "Guns and the whole cow," and that is probably more guns than the world can absorb, but so what, and maybe there'll be some scraps, $250million or so, for the current version of Point Four, the Colombo Plan.

"Balance of Military Power"  The June issue of The Atlantic had an anonymous article (the best kind, like that "Mr. X" article in Foreign Affairs a few years back) that explains how, from 1945 to 1949, there was a rough parity of power between America and the Soviet Union, because while America had all the A-bombs, Russia had some tanks, and they were conveniently parked in Eurasia where they were needed. But now the Russians have the A-bomb and tanks, and America (and its allies) needs tanks too. and probably even more than the 700 to a thousand atom bombs in its inventory, compared with Russia's 200 or so. Actually using them against the opposing heartlands will require bombers, and the B-36 is the only known bomber with an intercontinental range, but the Russians are probably building their own in secret, because how hard can it be to lash up a B-36? Besides, Tu-4 B29skis  have the range to make a one-way trip to America, and everyone knows that Commies are fanatics who have no problem with suicide missions. (Besides, the crews probably just plan to bail out and walk back to Russia. The Economist seems to say, in all seriousness. 

Also, the US, as we have heard and heard, can actually attack the Russian heartland with B-29s, B-50s and B-478s from "the bases now available." Which is okay because the Russians will probably fire guided missiles at those bases, and, oops, too bad about East Anglia! The Atlantic also thinks that the Russians will need about three times as many atom bombs to blow up all the American factories as the Americans will need to blow up the Russian ones, and the Americans can probably destroy Russian industrial transportation, whereas the United States could probably survive a Russian attack.

American Notes

A Two-Faced Economy" On the one hand, declining sales of durable goods; on the other, increasing unfilled orders for durable goods. TVs and refrigerators are piling up in showrooms while the order books grow with contacts for machinery for new plants and "defence requirements." Why is consumer sending down? The scare buying last year has pulled spending back into 1950. Credit restrictions are biting. Demand might finally be satisfied. Inflation is down. Congress, fortunately, will listen to business, ignore the need for controls, and get inflation moving again soon. 

"Israel's Billion" Israel's Prime Minister had a triumphant American visit as he celebrated the $500 million savings bond campaign. A fifteen-year bond at 3.5% is very attractive terms, and with the United Israel Appeal already raising $700 million in the last thirteen years, the will to give is there. The Economist digs deep into its wells of anti-Semitism to find signs that this is all bad for Israel and America and American Jewry. Also, we check in with the price wars at the department stores and CBS' twin wins at the Supreme Court, where the Court quashed its rivals attempts to stop the CBS colour system, and also CBS finally bought a television station in Chicago. The networks are losing money on their networks, mainly due to the cost of laying down and operating microwave relays and cables, and making it up from station revenue. So having a station in the country's second largest urban market is important. Also, all the television networks are winning because the constant increase in the number of televisions means that they can charge more for advertising. 

Just to make a play for the Time and Newsweek racket around here, we finish by checking in with Joe Adonis, Oksana Kasenkina, and the 170,000 college students who took the draft deferment test to see if they were too smart for Korea. (Right now. Still Korea later!) American housewives make their first quarterly payment to Social Security against their pensions this month, and the Pittsburgh Consolidated Coal Company is in the final stages of its experiment in transporting coal in a slurry in pipelines. It's funy that this bit doesn't have the same, lugubrious, "what if it costs too much" stinger that the story about nickel-tin coatings had --will have, actually, it's next week. Sorry about getting things out of order!

the World Overseas

"How Much Does Persian Opinion Matter?" Asks "Our Special Correspondent Recently in Persia" Surprisingly enough, the answer is that it does. The British aren't going to get anywhere unless they get Persian opinion on their side, and it is going to be harder than some people think. 

"Europe's Prospects for 1951" Europeans used to be worried about the trade balance, but have moved on to worrying about inflation. This is good, because production is up so much that it's not really a crisis any more, and what's life without a crisis? With any luck, this will turn into a balance of payments crisis and we will be back where we  started by the fall, perhaps with some overproduction thrown in. 

"Poverty in Andalusia" Andalusia is the southwestern part of Spain, and it is apparently poor, and people are protesting and striking against Franco there. Speaking of tinpot dictators of southern Europe of unacceptable ideological pedigree that is somehow just fine in this Twilight Struggle Against the Menace of Communism, Marshal Tito is h aving a Five Year Plan or something else I can't be bothered to read about. 

"Five Points from Poland's Census" Only five? Pikers! Poland's population is up by a million since the last census, to 25 million, although considering how much its borders have changed that isn't surprising. The government says that after all the movement of people is taken into account, the actual increase was 2 million new Polish babies, which The Economist does not believe for a second. Poland is still the second largest country in the Soviet bloc, however. It still has housing problems, with two persons to a room including kitchens and 3.35 million private farms of on average only 10 acres each. The government thinks that the solution is collectivisation, with industry absorbing the surplus labour, but doesn't know how to do it without a popular revolution. Livestock numbers are recovering nicely.

The Business World

"Films and the Duty" Since we're involved, admittedly mainly as a way of moving silver, I guess I should pay attention, but this is gruelling stuff. The key point is that audiences are down, which may be due to the additional costs from the levy. This also reduces the expected tax take on the levy. Film production is also down, with one third of sound states not booked after the end of summer. This will be balanced when the levy pays out. The Economist modestly proposes scrapping the whole thing as a solution. "New Basis for Wool" follows, which used to be very interesting to us, and is not any more. 

Business Notes

"Some Voices on Exchange Policy" This is yet another discussion of what Britain should do instead of revaluing the pound upwards and removing exchange controls, as the IMF suggests. 

"Report on Rearmament" This is the report previewed in Notes of the Week, and gets into the question of American machine tools in a bit more detail. The Committee is interested in a suggestion from the industry that a census of machine tools might turn up some underemployed tools that would reduce the needed American imports, which, since they are paid for, might be less important than making up for delays in delivery; and is very critical of the decision two years ago to shut down a high-speed automatic manufacturing process for vacuum tubes two years ago. It is not clear why, although slow progress is one reason; "security reasons" might be another. The Committee asks that the automatic plant be built, as quickly as possible. There is debate over whether letting defence compete for labour through higher wages, causing inflation, would be worse than bringing back labour direction. The Committee is also appalled that the draft call-up is taking apprentices just as they become fully skilled.  We then check in with American control policy on raw materials, the British anxiety being that Americans might stop exporting raw materials they produce, such as sulphur and molybdenum if they  have a domestic shortage. Also, a new scheme for delivering domestic coal means that it will be more expensive, although it will introduce grading and reduce complaints about quality.

Britain is also competing with the United States for Iberian tungsten, the price of copper is up, and so is gypsum rock, which has now been placed under price controls, as the Ministry of Works is feuding with the British Plaster Board group over the proper price of this material, the production of which the firm pioneered.  The price controls will add 13 shillings to the price of a 1400 pound house, but it's the principle of the thing.

Then it is time for a discussion of bank stocks, followed by the financing of commodities and "Inflation in the Sterling Commonwealth," where rising prices for commodity exports are driving internal inflation. On the other hand, the West African Marketing Boards have been squirrelling the money away against the inevitable slump ever since the war, and now have a positively embarrassing amount of money in the investment funds --53 million pounds in the Gold Coast Cocoa Board fund alone-- that they have wisely withheld from peasant farmers who might blow it all on food and rent. And of course if it is spent now, what if the slump finally comes? What then?

In conclusion, since goods are not "coming forward" to mop uup all that money, and since Government controls aren't holding prices down, there will probably be a horrible crash, followed by a slump, followed by irresponsible public works programmes, followed by a sterling imbalance. The British Government must take action now! (Probably horribly painful action in order to forestall this horribly painful action later, if I know The Economist.

Aviation Week, 4 June 1951

News Digest reports that a C-97 hit 330mph on a recent four hour flight from Texas to Florida, pretty good for a plane that's normally only driven by little old ladies to Korean supply drop missions every Sunday. Bendix is setting up an electronics school for its own technicians and posted airmen. Remington Rand will build automatic gun chargers for bombers and fighters at its Elmira, NY plant. Robinson Airlines wants to run helicopters between Broome County Airport and Manhattan until DC-3s are available. Fat chance, say insiders. The recent Douglas C-124 Globemaster crash was caused by a mid-air prop reversral. The Canadians have placed  $9 million in defence orders in the last two weeks, while Canadian Pacific says that it will have Comets in service by next year and the RCAF base at Upavon, near Ottawa, is getting a five mile runway for fighters. Hawker has been allocated a new factory at Squire's Gate, Blackpool, 1.5 million square feet.

Sidelights reports that the fight between scheduled and nonscheduled airlines is getting poisonous, with leaks and planted stories everywhere. Who would have thought that Cosmopolitan would stoop tp printing material supplied by a major advertiser. Who do they think they are, a McGraw-Hill rag? The Air Mobilisation Survey has counted 59,000 US non-airline planes in an active, flyable condition. Industry observers are worried that Uncle Henry is going to ditch autos for planes and give them some really hot competition. I wouldn't worry too  much about Uncle Henry settling down, guys. General Vandenberg might retire from the Air Force and take a Vice-Presidency at US Steel. 
Industry Observer reports that Kollsman Instruments is expanding into telemetetering, that the armed services are studying the use of magnetic binary amplifiers to replace vacuum tubes in digital computers, which will speed them up and reduce servicing. De Havilland's Dove sales campaign in America has been so successful that the company has stopped appointing new distributors, as they've already sold all the planes available. McCulloch has completed static ground tests of its new helicopter, Texas Engineering will build "major components" of the Douglas A2D, Hiller's new helicopter autopilot works, Marine Corps helicopters will need 1.5 pilots per machine for active service. 

Katherine Johnson reports in Washington Roundup that Congress is currently trying out a 150-Wing air force, with Knowland, Morse, Maybank and Wherry likely to back Henry Cabot Lodge. Knowland, Morse and Lodge are particularly upset at the Administration's "half-hearted" buildup, and would like to see a $90 billion defence budget instead of a paltry $60. Senator Wherry, on the other hand, suggests that the country can't spend more than $60 billion on defence and wants the money to come out of the Army budget. On the other hand, Mahon, Mahoney and Vinson in the House are not convinced of the need for 150 wings. The Air Force, meanwhile, is forecasting that the ongoing Russian industrial dispersal will soak up more bombs than they can deliver at the current rate. The Marine Corps also continues to push for expansion, arguing that the country really needs four Marine divisions and 4 Marine expeditionary air wings, just in case WWII happens again. On the other hand, the Army, which is in charge of just the unlikely prospect of the Red Army somehow reaching Europe and having enough tank divisions to overrun it, is seeing its vision of an Army Air Corps being nickle-and-dimed, although part of that has to do with the Army hoping to use atomic artillery to replace tactical air support. Overton Brooks of the House Armed Services Committee reports that "there are perfected atomic artillery shells available for use in Korea --when and if that top policy decision is made." Which seemed so outlandish (and frightening --I'm next to China!) that I asked Uncle George to make some calls, and, no, sir, they are not. Also plant expansions and the latest story about guided missiles is that the Navy is spending more on more missiles, to the tune of $71 million. Congress has told the Air Force that it has been bad and will have to wait for the 1952 budget for its next allowance for guided missiles. 

William Kroger, "Industry Gears to Speed Subcontracting"  The article manages to be even more boring and uninformative than the headline. 

"Britain's First Four-Jet Bomber in Production"

Last January, Attlee announced that the Vickers 660, the first of the British four-engine jet bombers, with four Avons, had gone into production off the drawing board. Six months later, we have some more details. For example, it is reported to be faster than the 600mph Canberra, with a 55,000ft ceiling. More importantly, we have pictures! Scaling suggests a diameter of 11ft, length of 95. The wing is sweptback and kinked, and the engines are embedded in the wings. The tail is sweptback and there are boundary layer fences midspan. All antenna are suppressed into the plane, and the main wheels are single tandem and retract intothe wing, while the nose wheels are double. The 660 will be joined by similar planes from Avro and Handley Page.  

"AF Shuffle" The latest general officer assignments from the Pentagon; "New Production Plan for C-119, C-123" The latest Air Force announcement is a bit of a head-scratcher, although good for Uncle Henry if he can deliver. Willow Run will switch to the C-123 after a brief C-119 run. Fairchild will produce the C-119 at the old Douglas Chicago plant as Willow Run phases out the C-119. Uncle Henry's purchase of Chase Aiurcraft is a bit of a problem because the Air Force doesn't want Kaiser producing the C-123 at two subsidiaries at the same time because of contract issues. Chase will cease production of the C-123 at Trenton and shift to research engineering as C-123 production ramps up at Willow Run. Chase will lose its bid for the former Bechtol-McCone-Parsons modification plant at Birmingham, Alabama for said contract-related reasons, and the Air Force will exercise its recapture rights for the plant. Air Materiel Command will underwrite an expansion of Fairchild's Hagerstown facility so that it can keep C-119 deliveries up as Willow Run runs them down. Uncle Henry is expected to deliver 170 C-119s, the bulk of those needed to maintain deliveries until the old Douglas plant is in full production.

"American Helicopter Wins Jet Award"  That's the Army contract for a lightweight jet helicopter for liaison use. It will be similar to their XA-6, and be jeep-portable! 

"AF. Navy to Phase Out Piston Engine Planes" The writing has been on the wall for this for a while, but it is basically closing the books on the R-4360 and R-3350 (in the "next five to ten years"), which were coming along like they would never die. 

"Vandenberg: Red Jets Are Better" Hoyt Vandenberg acknowledges that the MiG-15 is one hot ship, with an engine that is "superior to any jet engine that we have today," and may be an upgrade of the basic engine, the Rolls-Royce Tay, with an emergency rating in excess of 8000lbs compared with a maximum of 6,250 for service American and British engines. This gives them a speed, climb and altitude advantage, but the F-86 has a better gunsight and a slight range advantage. Vandenberg also says that the current air force is a "shoestring" affair and that America would lose an air war against major opposition due to lack of production, which makes earlier comments about the number of MiG-15s appearing in Asia and Europe worrying, since it proves that the Russians can mass produce jet fighters. 

"Pack Simplifies Cargo Handling" Transit Van Corporation of Redwood City, California, wants us to know that its concept of a box that you can put things in, and which fits inside a cargo hold, will revolutionise the air transport business.  McGraw-Hill gets paid to run these stories. 

Aeronautical Engineering has the third part of David Anderton's "The Atom-Power for Flight," where we finally get to the flying fission plant. How does it work? It uses decaying radioactive material to heat up air until it is really, really hot, which makes it expand and shoot out the back, possibly turning some turbines on the way. The advantage is --no fuel! The disadvantage is that they are heavy and bulky. The advantage and disadvantage cancel out and suggest a plane that can fly very fast for a very long time. The "bulky" part is harder to fix since it is inherent in any steam plant. But what if you got rid of the steam and used the air as a working fluid, instead? This is easy to do in a ramjet, but ramjets  need high pressure air, and heating air in a free volume leads to a loss of pressure. Ramjets also don't work at low speeds. Also, getting rid of the moderator/working fluid seems a bit spicy for aviation work. If you're not worried about what flying electrons, protons and gamma rays will do to your crew, you should at least worry about flight instruments! You end up with a turbojet or turboprop on efficiency grounds and a closed-cycle heat exchange plant where fluid is contained in the reactor and heats another volume of working fluid that runs the turbines. The reactor is probably central, and after hair-raising experiences with extension shafts, the actual engines are wing-mounted and receive steam or heated air from the reactor via ducts. Or  you can use an exotic "fast reactor" in the wings, with plutonium directly contained in zirconium cans and allowed to hit its full heat of a thousand degrees or so, with no moderator to stop whizzing neutrons. Liquid sodium-potassium alloy is used as the heat-exchange medium, Neutrons have no charge, so they don't  affect instruments or show up on enemy radar, so that's part fine. All you need are radiation-proof crew. 

"Comet Readied for R-R Avon Engines" The Avon-Comet is the ultimate development of the airliner and might have the range for the London-New York run. Also, the Air Force's new engine testing centre is "nearing completion."

NACA Reports
has some aerodynamics (loads on a flexible swept wing at subsonic speeds) and some mechanical engineering (heat and power extraction in turbojets)

Production checks in with Northrop's cost-cutting methods. 

Equipment has an advertorial from Hytrol, punched up by Thomas Self, which explains how their "Breaking Skid Betters Braking." It is basically an explanation of their anti-skid braking system, which is an automatic monitoring system that cuts out braking when skids start. and a control box that "decides" when that is.  It is on the B-47, Avro Jetliner and Stratoliner, and the pilots who have used it are very happy with it, although it has the usual feedback problems giving lurching and pitching under hard emergency braking. 

New Aviation Products has 3M's newest scaler for integral fuel tank cleaning, and, if I am not misreading it, dial needles for dashboard compasses from Aviation Accessories, Incorporated. Testa Manufacturing Company's "periscope" for viewing the insides of aircraft engine cylinders is positively interesting and important after all of that, even though it is just a tube microscope (but not magnification) with a flashlight. Gamewell Corporation has a potentiometer that fits on an altimeter to make an "altimeter computer" to reduce error in altitude measurements from an altimeter by reading them more precisely.

"ANDB Revises 1952 Projects List" Since their budget got gut, the Air Navigation Develoment Board has to do less, but  it isn't all bad, because its new research programme is more balanced and devoted to all-weather flying. Specifically, the "common system" for air navigation has been put off for some years so that the Board can focus on flying at the 100ft ceiling and 1/4 mile visibility threshold. 

"Work Pushed on High-Frequency VOR Airways Net" This seems to be a story about how the airlines with VOR routes will soon  have new chartbooks from the US Survey, as opposed to anything about actual equipment. 

Airlines made less money last month. 

What's New really liked March of Time's Flight Plan for Freedom, which is the kind of movie it can "recommend without hesitation." That doesn't mean that we shouldn't hesitate, considering that the other recommendations for this week is a foot-by-foot-and-a-half wall charge of welding, brazing, soldering, cutting and tinny alloys from All-State Distributors and All-State Welding, a thirty minute documentary on materials handling and Hansen Manufacturing's quick-connect couplings catalog.


J. Raymond Brummett of BACA Airlines writes in with a very long letter about how "single engine" airlines are not getting the respect they deserve, while the friendly fellows at Chicago and Southern Airlines have an "interchange map" they can sell you. All the other correspondents love Aviation Week to bits and can't wait to replace the needles on their dials. 

The Economist, 9 June 1951


"For What We Have Achieved" The Economist looks back on two months of MacArthur inquiry and four years of "containment" and finds that since containment was pretty successful, the whole MacArthur thing was just politics. But then it notices that that sounds optimistic and positive, so it spends a paragraph apologising for that because of China. Then it notices that that sounds like it is apologising for all of that MacArthur nonsense, so it says something  nice about Truman. With a pocket full load of disapproval it cannot wait to spend, that's not very satisfying, so it is off to Burma, where the government is talking about elections, for some full-throated tut-tutting at the country's disgraceful slowness in getting oil, rice, rubber and tin exports moving again, although one cannot spend too much time disapproving of the government when there are "Moscow Communists" around to blame and the opposition is suspiciously socialistic. Then it is off to explore the world of publishing, where authors think they deserve more money, as opposed to booksellers or publishers now that the postwar publishing boom is ebbing. But because the boom is ebbing, what is meant is that their "reward" should be cut less. That is, cutting author's royalties is what is on the table, on the perfectly reasonable grounds that you can't walk down the street without bumping into a bestselling author, and that makes the kind of run-of-the-mill author who writes the cheap thrillers with lurid covers that subsidise the bestselling authors more dispensable. 

Okay, my head is whirling like it hasn't been since the last time I read this magazine: Book costs up, sales down; author royalties down from 20% to 17.5%, yes or no? And if that wasn't thrilling enough, it is off to Ireland to wait for the results of the General Election with Our Dublin Correspondent. Our Dublin Correspondent has never met a modest proposal he didn't like (that's a literary joke), but sadly none are on the table (another literary joke) so all he can do is burble on about farm subsidies or such. 

Notes of the Week

"Mission to Teheran" One of the benefits to not getting The Economist in so long is that we've all been spared whatever The Economist's opinions about Iran have been, but every golden age must end. So, Anglo-Iranian is sending a team to Teheran to deal with the situation in Khuzistan, which is that the Iranians are simple (although corrupt) children who cannot possibly run anything as complicated as an oil company. The Economist is afraid that it will be impossible to explain this in Teheran, no matter how condescending the mission is. Meanwhile Moscow is interfering via the Iranian Communist Party, which is terrible and also hypocritical because everyone knows that the Russians have just been waiting to step in for the last 150 years.  Also, The Economist talks about talking about talking about the Four Ministers meeting that, at some point in the future will feature the foreign ministers of the Four Powers (or, practically, the Russians and the other guys) will talk. I hope they talk about The Economist!

Debate on the Finance Bill was not actually derailed last week, but one MP said something outrageous and we can all have a laugh and agree that it should have been because it was so funny. On a more tragic note, the Atlee government still won't let Seretse Khama go back to Bechuanaland because he married a White woman and that's wrong, except you can't say that out loud or in print or someone will think that you're some kind of unreconstructed bigot and then you'd feel guilty for telling Irish and Jewish jokes. Good thing The Economist practices talking around the point so much. That kind of talent can come in handy! Speaking of, Jim Griffiths was just in Kenya trying to sort out a dispute over the Legislative Council and the "transfer of powers." To summarise, some people in Kenya would like to be independent. Other people in Kenya think that White representation on the Legislative Council should be increased to be equal to the "other four races put together." Guess which is which? Meanwhile in Germany seven members of assorted German extermination camps and murder squads have finally exhausted their appeals and gone to the gallows, their supporters still arguing that they were "heroes of anti-communism."  The Economist points out that most heroes don't gas toddlers. Then, to show even-handedness, it is off to Poland, where the Party has had enough of some of its own functionaries' high-handed treatment of the peasantry, and has fired six of them. So not quite symmetrical, but if some kind of irony were wanted, we get it as The Economist adds that the independent peasantry should be crushed by respectable means, such as high taxes. Because, you see, they have high taxes in Britain, which  has a Labour government. Can you feel that nudge to the ribs?

The Economist agrees that the British should dig in on the African hill and continue to run the whole continent since the Natives aren't competent to run it and the Europeans who are already there can't be trusted with the power for fear of South African-style white rule spreading; on the other hand, it can clearly see that the United States (and United Nations) should get out of Korea on a pre-war status quo basis as fast as it can and still "save face." Although it wouldn't be this paper without a bit of self-torture, and we take time out to claim that voting for seating the Koumintang on the Security Council is somehow good for peace. Then it is back to London, but in a "Foreign Affairsr" capacity, because it is time to talk about General Bradley's visit to thread the needle on the NATO command in the Mediterranean, which the British think should go to the British. Which it won't, so the question is finding a compromise that keeps the British, and by "British" I mean Geoff Crowther, happy. Also, the Russian insistence on participating in the Japanese peace treaty is clearly out of the question and that means, according to John  Foster Dulles, that the treaty hardly needs any restriction on Japanese rearmament or Japanese trade, because when have those ever been a problem before?

The Economist agrees that London taxi fares need to go up but decides that any increase will spell disaster for the industry. (Milk is also going up, but The Economist doesn't drink milk, so that's fine. It does take taxis, so this is not fine.) It also thinks that nationalising was good for the railways, notwithstanding what some "extreme liberal" economists think, with their "free enterprise this," and their "free enterprise that."  Only nationalisation would allow the railways to rationalise tdheir services, allowing them to make money and hire staff during the current labour shortage. Since that  hasn't been done under nationalisation so far because of unions and other vested interests, nationalisation has been "the worst of both worlds."

Then, breaking news about doctors and two hospitals in London. I'm pretty sure it involves someone bureaucratic doing something bad by regular people, but even the thought of such injustice can't make me read it!

It could be worse, The Economist of 1851 chimes in, pointing out that if we were reading issues from a century past we would be afflicted with long pointless paragraphs of long, pointless sentences about how some un-named leading figures of society are standing in the way of progress with their unspecified religious opinions or possibly actions.  I guess the real reflection is that this is the most interesting bit of that issue. 

Letters to the Editor

Harry Johnson of King's College disagrees with last week's editorial that condemned the idea of revaluing the pound upwards against the dollar. The Vice-President of the National Farmers Union writes to disagree with "Inquest on Agriculture" to the effect that farmers deserve all the money they have got in the past, and much more besides, what with one thing and another. F. H. Carson writes from "Victoria, Australia" (that's a state, and not a city, I think) that the real problem with those Indian famines is that the Indian population is increasing, and the sooner all the Indians die, the sooner all these famines will end. In his defence, Mr. Carson doesn't show much sign of having thoughthis "More Indians equals bad" logic through, so you can't accuse him of consciously wanting to "defend against communism" in India. Harry Allcock has put a lot of thought into how the British coinage might be decimalised. Warned that decimalisation was likely to get the lead letter, Anthony Mann valiantly wades in with a letter about how much a "billion" should be in Britain. "A Lebanese" writes to say that a Lebanese newspaper editor recently republished The Economist's critical article about the country's un-named "dictator," who might be the prime minister or the president according to what my almanac says about the country, and has been thrown in prison for eight months and fined what, to be fair, is probably a lot of money in Lebanese pounds. Lynn Beckles writes from Ruskin College to point out that the idea that the unrest in Grenada was somehow not caused by "general economic factors" is just asinine. The price of imports has gone up, the standard of living has gone down, workers responded by joining a union, which agitated for higher wages. It's not exactly the higher geometry to figure this one out. Viscount Templewood 's Shadow of the Gallows is a "dispassionate" and reasoned book against capital punishment that will persuade anyone who reads it except all the people who are for the death penalty, who won't be moved by anything. Therefore all the arguing is in vain except in those countries, states and provinces which have abolished it, where it is wasn't. Robert Kann's history of the Habsburg Empire would be very interesting except that it is very badly written and boring, so the reviewer explains what is in it, or else what should have been in it. In conclusion, it was a bad thing that we should be nostalgic for. S. M. Lippset explains The Saskatchewan Experience for the University of California Press. They noticed Saskatchewan in California. All twenty-five Saskatchewanites (Gesundheit!) will be over the moon. The experience, of course, is that they  have had a socialist government without collapsing into ruin, which goes to show. "Miss M. S. Rix" has Investment Arithmetic, which is a very worthy book. Very worthy, indeed.


Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree, which is a real  name, and G. R. Lavers have English Life and Leisure, which seems to be about how  drinking and gambling are bad, but not that bad, and that also people go movies and plays, and that might be fine? It's not nearly as good as Seebohm Rowntree's studies of labour in York (where he conclusively proved that poverty was due to low wages), although it seems as though Mr. Seebohm Rowe is old as the hills, and his best work might be behind him. Ian Colvin's Chief of Intelligence is a life of Admiral Canaris, the chief of the German military intelligence during the war, which makes the mistake of seeing him as competent, and thus has to explain his obvious incompetence in terms of his being a British agent and a secret enemy of the Nazis. Not a very helpful book to review the day before the Daily Express story about the missing diplomats! Geoffrey Dennis has a four volume history of the late war with an introduction about how it started now out, the point of which is that it is hard to summarise such a complicated situation, but there is a throughline about Britain being unprepared, ignorant of the enemy, and with weak alliances, and that since none of that is true in 1951, we should all pat ourselves on the back, it being too much to say that we should stop worrying. We should never stop worrying! Viscount Templewood 's Shadow of the Gallows is a "dispassionate" and reasoned book against capital punishment that will persuade anyone who reads it except all the people who are for the death penalty, who won't be moved by anything. Therefore all the arguing is in vain except in those countries, states and provinces which have abolished it, where it is wasn't. Robert Kann's history of the Habsburg Empire would be very interesting except that it is very badly written and boring, so the reviewer explains what is in it, or else what should have been in it. In conclusion, it was a bad thing that we should be nostalgic for. S. M. Lippset explains The Saskatchewan Experience for the University of California Press. They noticed Saskatchewan in California. All twenty-five Saskatchewanites (Gesundheit!) will be over the moon. The experience, of course, is that they  have had a socialist government without collapsing into ruin, which goes to show. "Miss M. S. Rix" has Investment Arithmetic, which is a very worthy book. Very worthy, indeed.

American Survey

"Washington in Two Minds" The Economist went to two press events this week. In one, the IMF said that the world had made a lot of progress since 1945, and with the American rearmament programme ensuring that the United States would be importing lots of stuff for the foreseeable future, it was time for the world, and especially Britain, to give up on economic controls and let the free market be. At the other, General Marshall said that controls weren't nearly strong enough in America, that inflation was a pressing and insidious danger, and even threatened rearmament by shrinking the $35 billion(!!!) allocated by Congress to the point where it wasn't enough for all the guns. On the third hand, the isolationists think that controls will turn America into another dictatorship and that allies and trade just sap America's manly strength. 

"Recordings in Revolution" Okay, so this is why I wade through all the nonsense around here. Did you know that in 1941, an American could listen to a total of 136,000 minutes of classical music on 11,900 12" and 4,800 10" discs, almost all 78rpm? And that by 1951 there was an additional 127,000 minutes on the long-play discs  first introduced in 1948. LPs are not just more convenient, they have also turned out to be a source of profit for the industry, contrary to gloomy predictions. The Economist goes on to explain the modern High Fidelity recording and notes that high fidelity equipment records onto tape, mentions Bing Crosby, and concludes by noting that between high fidelity, the low cost of tape recorders, it is likely that tape recordings will replace records once royalties are sorted out. 127,000 minutes! Although this boom in classical recording  might be cut off by the ease with which people can record superior FM broadcasts on home tape recorders. Bad for the industry, good for our family!

American Notes

"Acheson on Trial" The Economist is more acerbic than Time (big surprise!) on the outcome of the Chiefs of Staff testimony in the MacArthur hearings, concluding that Bradley and Collins had destroyed MacArthur's reputation for military infallibility, while General Vandenberg demolished the case for bombing the Manchurian "sanctuary." The lesson to be drawn from this is, apparently, that if you burn your hands on the Chiefs of Staff, you should double down on the Secretary of State. The Economist agrees with the estimable Senators Connally and Douglas that Acheson is too "wounded" to continue to function as Secretary of State and should be thrown to the wolves so that the Democrats can win in '52. I have to say that it is quite a "wound," when being a favourite target of the the Republicans a lot means that you can't do your job  because the Republicans love to criticise you. THEY. WILL. JUST. PICK. A. NEW. TARGET. That's how bullying works! I managed to get over my vapours at the thought of Paul Douglas falling for this, but Connally should know better. 

"Communists Convicted" In the latest phase of our ongoing American nightmare, the Supreme Court has upheld the Smith Act conviction of the leadership of the American Communist Party, on the grounds that Judge Holmes said that freedom of speech could be abridged if  there was a "clear and present danger," and Communists saying that capitalism inevitably leads to a proletarian revolution, and Judge Learned Hand, which is a real name, thinks that's dangerous. The Economist's American bureau hugs itself with the thought that at least having judges jail people for telling us what's in Das Kapital is less dangerous than having Congressional subcommittees doing it.  

 "Congress Goes to Work" Congress is congratulating itself for finally getting past the single Congressman who was holding up food aid for India for the last three months and for passing an extension of the tariffs bill and conscription. The Economist isn't happy that Congress would not budge on universal military training and still allows the President brought discretion over tariffs so that he can continue to wage trade war, notably this week against Russian minks. Communist minks won't compete with domestic ones any more! The ongoing UMT argument is a bit more important since the UMT vision is for a nation in arms to replace a large standing army after the Korean conflict is over. The Defence Department is looking at a large reserve as a substitute, but the paper is down-at-mouth over the prospect of Congress funding it. 

"Materials Feel the Pinch" Please just stop it! Base metals are still in short supply and steel allocations will be controlled as from July 1st. The more interesting story is probably the hold-up in steel plant production, which is driven by the steel industry's belief that there is quite enough steel capacity in America already, a belief that gains some credence by the rapid buildup of consumer goods inventory in the United States right now, which suggests that industry might want to cut back production anyway.

The Economist endorses Rudolph Halley for class president. News!

The World Overseas

"Trade Union Struggle for Asia and Africa" A very worthy article about the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, which will fight for trade unionism in the lesser parts of the world in a non-Communist way, which is important, because Communism is bad. 

"Who Shall Own the Ruhr?" If you  have perhaps not being paying attention, the Allied Control Group has been in charge of the Ruhr basin steel and coal industries, which, before the war, were 
organised into vast vertical trusts that the Germans think were just fine, and which everyone else thinks were bad, and either restrained trade, led to Nazism, or both. The Allied Control Commission now has a plan to unravel the trusts, but says that it will retain control over the Ruhr even once it is done. Bonn is upset. Dr. Adenauer, the chancellor and head of the right wing government there, because he doesn't want to defend the sequestration of private property in German courts, while the socialist opposition likes the current situation of practical public ownership and the rights that the trade unions have gained under it. It seems a bit unfair of The Economist to take the conservatives (Christian and Free Democrats) at their word while seeing Schumacher's Social Democrats' position through a political prism, but perhaps I'm overstating its measured words.

"Labour in the Middle Eastern Oilfields, I" (by Our Special Correspondent Lately in the Middle East) For the Iranian fields at least, the labour issue has been brought to the fore by the Iranian Communist Party, which I am obliged to refer to as "Moscow-directed" and by the way that The Economist is approaching the nationalisation question, which is to cast doubt on Iranians' ability to manage both the oil industry and the Khuzistan labour force. All the oil industries in the Gulf face the same main problem, which is keeping their "irreplaceable Western technicians" happy when they live in the Persian Gulf. At the moment, Anglo-Iranian is 28% British, 62% Persian, 10% from the subcontinent, and 10% unspecified. Ango-Iranian provides company housing for 18,000 of 65, 000 employees, which some people say is not enough given how long they've had to build new housing, and that the stock that does exist is poor quality. The Economist wants us to know that those people are just some crybaby Iranians and who cares about their stupid opinions when it has an ILO report that offered qualified approval a few years back. It also offers health care for employees and their families, plus a nice pension scheme and free protective clothing, and it has the best labour management in Persia. High praise coming from the ILO!

"Malaya's Divided Loyalties" It is apparently impossible for the British to transfer power in Malaya to a "Malay communal organisation," but perfectly okay for them to transfer power to a "Malay nationalist organisation," which is quite different. So inasmuch as Dato Onn bin Jafar has changed the slogan of the United Malay National Organisation from "Malays Forever!" to "Freedom," he and they are deemed the perfect power sharing organisation. Having accommodated as much of Chinese demands as are at all possible by giving second-class citizenship to some Chinese and not others, the British can get on with crushing the Communist insurgency by putting all the bad Chinese in camps  and then transfer power, confident that rubber and tin will continue to flow, and that Five Freedoms stuff, also, too. 

"Progress of Italian Land Reform" The De Gasperi government is required by the constitution to push ahead with land reform, but is getting criticism from all sides. The criticism from the Communists is wrong and bad, while that from the "good landlords" is sound and correct. In conclusion, Italy is inevitably doomed, just like Germany and France used to be inevitably doomed back before they weren't any more. 

The Business World

"The New Coal Board" Also on the doom front, coal production in Britain is barely up from last year due to the work force continuing to shrink and avoid mandatory bonus overtime almost wiping out gains from increased productivity, while domestic consumption is increasing rapidly. While we were away, the government authorised the import of a million tons of American coal to make up the gap, which was, I guess, pretty embarrassing. Also, the Coal Board had to dip into its financial reserves because some of the coal that was sold at home was aimed for premium prices abroad. We get a good look at the books, which is why we read this magazine, and some crystal ball gazing out to the Sixties, when "fuel stringencies" will ease due to rationalisation, modernisation and productivity improvements. One thing that isn't going to improve is the manpower situation, where it is unlikely that the industry will be able to make up for the continuing attrition of older workers. 

I also can't help but notice that the aspect of the story that the magazine led with was the fact that the Government hasn't filled some vacancies at the Coal Board. You have to wade through a full column whining about how they need three more members before the story gets around to the boring details of actual coal mining. 

"The Paradox of Rubber" The paradox of rubber is that when the Americans expand synthetic rubber production and ration civilian consumption (and embargoes Chinese imports), the price of natural rubber falls. but because there is a shortage of rubber, production rises, and the planters delay replanting, which means that future production falls. All of this is pretty platitudinous, but if you can wade through a page and a half about it, you come to the actual point of the story, which is a proposed tax levy on the big estates, which is aimed to control Malayan inflation. The Economist digs up an expert who works for the United Sua Beton Rubber Estates who demonstrates that the levy won't have that effect and will be terrible in general.

"Shell's Strength Displayed" Shell had a pretty good year.  

Business Notes

The Finance Bill is in committee right now, and we get a blow by blow. Britain is going to spend $112 million in American money to  buy American machine tools for defence production, so as not to disturb home and export production, which has spoken for all British machine tool production. Parliament is arguing about imposing steel allocations for the same reason, and The Economist checks in with the first annual meeting of the Steel Corporation. As you've no doubt noticed, the Canadian dollar has weakened to $3 against the pound on the London-Montreal rate. It is explained that this is due to profit-taking by American investors, the point of which is explained in detail I choose not to follow, and which you have no doubt heard about until you are sick of it. A review of the Entertainment duty has the Government sticking to its guns against calls for a reduction. There are prospects of a larger cotton crop next year, especially because the Egyptians have announced supports for exports, which will probably be good for British importers, but blow up in the face of the Egyptians, because they are swarthy foreigners who don't know what they're doing. Sir Ben Lockspeiser of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research gave a nice talk about how the prospects for plastics in industry are bright and since production is outrunning feedstocks, petroleum is becoming a more important raw material for plastic production, and British producers are rushing to complete plant to produce new plastics such as styrene and polythene. Some $7.7 million in Marshall aid money is to be spent in the colonies, mainly Africa, under provisions in the original ECA that extended the aid there under various conditions such that it is mainly to be spent on things like wharves in Borneo, and railways in Guinea that will increase  exports to the United States. Some of the money will be spent on a survey to find the best rail route from Northern Rhodesia to the sea. Lever brothers had a good year, and The Economist is fit to be tied at the most recent delay in the Airspeed Ambassador's airworthiness certificate, which has led to BEA cancelling some routes in the upcoming summer and reverting to showing a projected deficit on the year. Just to be even-handed about it all, there have also been delays in the DC-3 upgrades at Prestwick, but the Air Registration Board's petifogging about shifts in the Ambassador's centre of gravity has The Economist fit to be tied. 

"Softwood Supplies and the Russian Negotiations" We get a thumbnail sketch history of softwood supplies. Britain made a low offer on Scandinavian softwood last year and only got a third of what it was asking for reasons that, as usual, the writer assumes we know, but are completely obscure to me except for a vague reference about how Britain isn't "predominant" in the market any more. Could other countries be buying? Probably! So instead the British had to buy in British Columbia (hurrah!), which it could do last year thanks to more abundant dollar supplies. This year it is looking for alternatives, and the Russians are interested in selling, providing that British ships can be in Archangelsk soonest to carry off the Kara Sea lumber. The British aren't likely to be able to scrape up the ships due to the difficulty in manning ships for the White Sea, which is too bad, because Kara Sea lumber is higher quality than Scandinavian. It remains to be seen if the Russians will bend, and the moral of the story is that British softwood supplies are no longer restricted by absolute limites on the supply, but by things, like shipping and dock space. 

For some reason The Economist notices that the Tin Research Institute has found a way of reducing the amount of nickel in nickel-tin coatings, which would be good for the current nickel shortage, and then points out that it will all depend on how expensive the process is. Gee, thanks for that. 

That's it for this issue, but I am going to cheat and check in with the 18 June number, which has quite a long article on the role of the Royal Ordnance Factories in rearmament. It's all bang-bang boy stuff, but you might find it interesting. ROF Fazackerley, near Liverpool, comes up, since I think it has been suggested that it might switch over from rifles to candy, but hasn't yet? The Secretary of State says that this isn't a case of "preparing for the last war," as the troops still need rifles. As The Economist points out, the new .280 self-loading rifle needs a new size of ammunition  (it's right there in the name), and "if, as cannot be publicly announced yet," it is intended to replace the current rifle, it will need to be produced in very large quantities, which is the reason why Fazackerley is being retooled and not turned over to the candymakers. So that's interesting! In the years after the war, the government tried to keep the ROFs in being as a kind of production reserve to throw in behind manufacturing efforts that were faltering. That didn't really work out, and now that we have rearmarmament again, that's what they're going to be for! 22 of 44 wartime ROFs were kept in service after the war and two others on care and maintenance. One, "which might have competed for labour with the new atomic plant," was closed. Of the remaining 23, 14 are engineering factories, four are filling factories, three are for explosives. Another half-dozen small arms factories, built for dispersal, I think ("blue areas") had "little commercial value" and are being used for storage. The postwar ROFs have a workforce of 40,000, and lost a  million-and-a-half making knick-knacks for industry while demand for munitions was slack.

Now that rearmament is back, the small arms specialist ROFs will take on the .280, while the Leeds plant built to produce tanks at the end of the last war will be busy, along with Dalmuir, and the ROFs will need to expand employment to 60,000 out of a total of 500,000 required for rearmament. The ROFs will probably be expensive to run, but there are reasons for that, as the engineering ROFs do a lot of engineering work, with Woolwich employing one skilled man in four. 


Aviation Week, 11 June 1951

News Digest reports that Helicopters land on roofs now. Charles Blair is officially the first person to fly across the North Pole in a single-engined plane after taking a P-51 from Alaska to Norway. US firms paid British engine makers a bit more than two mill for licenses to produce British jet engines in 1951, up slightly from 1950. Curtiss-Wright's extruded prop blades have been ordered by KLM for installation in their Super-Constellations. United DC-6Bs are still grounded over a pay dispute with the pilots. A DH Comet flew somewhere really fast this week. The Avro CF-100 (Orendas) will fly really soon now. The Leduc RL lightplane will attempt a new altitude record for lightplanes real soon now. 

Sidelights reports that Senator Fullbright had Northwestern specifically in mind when he said that the situation at the CAB is currently "very unhealthy," specifically in the case of the CAB-approved RFC loan guarantee to Northwest that allowed it to go on the aircraft buying spree that gave us the 2-0-2. Northwest and National may be merging, and the Nonskeds and scheduled airlines are, it says here, fighting. No way! 

Industry Observer reports that the fact that General Vandenberg knows so much about the MiG-15 is a tipoff that the US has one, or at least bits of one. The Army is still upset that it can't order big planes, and if Washington doesn't lift its weight limit it will shoot atomic shells at everybody. At night! The F-86 squadrons in Korea have a new trick for scrambling their planes involving using the exhaust blast from one jet to start another one. Are you upset that you havent' read about the experimental crop duster that Industry Observer's college buddy is building down at that Texas college?" Well, here's the latest. It's being tested by someone, somewhere. Lockheed says that its blue-sky theorising shows that its 600mph L-193 jet transport that doesn't exist yet would be only 16% more "bumpy" in rough air than the Constellation, whereas that other turboprop, you know, that one, will be 37% more bumpy, so don't fly in it, wait for the L-193 instead. Sources at the Navy say that plane production isn't being held up by an engine shortage any more. It's being held up by an avionics shortage.

Katherine Johnson reports in Washington Roundup that  General Vandenberg doesn't think that current air production is enough for the planned 95 Wing air force, and anyway he wants 150. On the other hand, General Collins thinks that the US armed forces are well on their way to having the strength to prevail in modern war, while Admiral Sherman thinks everything is fine we need more ground forces. His optimism, however, is an "overnight development," since just the other week he was talking about how the Navy air power was hardly bigger than at Pearl Harbour, and some admirals say that the navy is far short of the money it needs to procure another 2800 planes and hit the 7,335 plane target by the end of 1951. 

The lead story this week is an advertorial from Slick Airways, "Profitable Cargo at 11 Cents a Ton Mile?" We seem to be a bit low on good stories, because there's yet more about passenger helicopters service. (Someone is studying them in case rality has changed since the last issue.)

Some bumpf about Navy guided missiles. The Convair Terrier and Douglas Sparrow have been ordeed into production. 

"Probe US Market for HP Marathon" Speaking of throwing your money away on a study, Handley Page has been writing potential US distributors to see if they'd like to buy a generic light transport since de Havilland has been so successful with the Dove. You're not de Havilland, guys. 

"XC-120 Goes to Eglin for Tests" This is the plane with the cargo packet under the fuselage. Apparently it has been saved by the medical guys, who are looking at the packet as a forward-deployable medical facility. 

"AF Bares Secrets of MiG Engine" Unnamed Air Force Intelligence officers, studying unspecified data, believe that the MiG engine is capable of producing "25% more power than it has to date," but the Air Force denies having captured one. Someone else says that the Russian engine, which originated as a licensed version of the Rolls-Royce Nene, has been redesigned to give a 10--15% improvement in thrust, from 5500 to 6000lbs, whereas the American equivalent, the Pratt and Whitney J-42 Turbo-Wasp, also a Nene development, gives 5000lb regular thrust, 5750 with water injection. But the Air Force has no J-42s, only the J-48, a version of the Rolls-Royce Tay, an improvement on the Nene giving 6250lb thrust, 8000lb emergency thrust with afterburners. Perforation rings spread around the combustion cams seem to be key to the improved Russian performance, along with improved structural design. Russian production methods are "virtually equal" to American.

"Horner: Don't Belittle Soviets" The day after Vandenberg's comments, H. M. Horner of United Aircraft, the manufacturers of the J-42 and J-48, had a testy press conference in which he pointed out that it was a mistake to underestimate the Russians. 

"What Vandenberg Told Senators" Since a precis of his testimony wasn't enough, here's the transcript! 

David Anderton's "The Atom: Power for Flight," has reached part Four; "The Plane: Flying Boat First" I guess this is where the "Nuclear Spruce Goose" rumours were coming from.  Flying Boats big, take off from water. Perfect for atom power! Oh, wait, no, we freelance technical writers are paid by the word. I'd better go on for a bit. Anderton proceeds to imagine what the atom-plane would look like. Really big. Really, really big. And radioactive, too. Honestly, he goes on for five pages. If it can't go into Aviation Week, maybe Analog Science Fiction is available?

"Auxiliary Power for Guided Missiles" He can't get in a full final column because we  need to squeeze in an advertorial from AiResearch about their partial-admission axial flow turbine and reduction gear box, which runs a 12,000rpm induction generator and a gear-type hydraulic pump, all to provide power for same. It's only 11" long and 6" in diameter!

"Canada's First Certificated Copter" I think we've heard about these guys before, but that's beside the point as no-one, anywhere, is going to seriously believe that this machine will ever fly in regular production. 

NACA Reports covers aerodynamics ("correspondence flows" for wings in "Linearised potential fields at subsonic and supersonic speeds," which is a new analytical approach based on a mathematical formalism not previously applied) 

Production has a long bit from William Kroger about how to win subcontracts at various companies. 

"Device Suppresses Fuel Tank Explosions" Aviation Week checks in with the Royal Aircraft Establishment to find out about the Graviner Explosion Suppression System, which basically sprinkles fire suppressant over the surface of the tank if a pressure increase is detected, the key thing here being the speed and accuracy of the detector. Simmonds Aerocessories is interested in marketing it in America, which is probably why it is getting so much press. 

"Tires Keep in Step with Jet Planes" T. G. Graham, vice-president of B. F. Goodrich, dashed off a note to the press about how Goodrich is keeping up with those jet planes with their  high speeds. McGraw-Hill World News sends along a report about KLM's new cabin air conditioner, which is simple to install and very nice. 

New Aviation Products Superdraulic Corporation has a compact, manually-operated hydraulic control providing smoother operation, greater rigidity under load, and less backlash than existing controls. Vapor Heating's new electronic regulator for cockpit temperatures in jet and piston planes weighs 4 1/2lbs and is responsive to temperature changes on the order of one degree Fahrenheit. National Aeronautical Corporation of Ambler, Pennsylvania, has a compact omnihomer, which gives homing beacon function on VHF from 122.1 to 122.9 kHz.

Of the various airline news stories, including the merger of two feeder airlines in New York that gets a half page, the only thing that seems worth mentioning is that the Convair 340 has won a hundred orders. Maybe the day of the DC-3 is done! 

No letters or editorials, as most of the issue by page count was devoted to the transcript of General Vandenberg's testimony. 

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