Monday, May 29, 2023

Postblogging Technology, February 1953, I: The Dyke Breaks

 R_. C_.,

Dear Father:

As February winds its way to the end, a long overdue installment in these letters. If I have any excuse at all, it is that the end (at long last)  of my school days, and other momentous events, are galloping ever closer, and an intimation has been given in certain quarters that next year will be in London!

As if that were not enough, much of the month has been spent around here in high emotion as the news, mainly of Holland but also of the east of England, comes in. Amidst all the fund raising and the tears, I get the feeling that something more might be going on. Iknow that it is slightly incredible to think that a flood might accomplish what WWII did not, but there seems to be a swell of sentiment in favour of letting a few refugees into the country! (Along with an unkind suggestion in other quarters that the Dutch are among the rare few white enough to qualify.)

Your Loving Daughter,


Aviation Week, 2 February 1953

News Digest reports that Fairchild has received a contract to build a miniature submarine for the Navy, which raises some questions, so Aviation Week points out that the contract is going to the division that specialises in low-noise engines, and which  has worked on hydrogen peroxide propulsion in the past. New York Airways is buying some more helicopters (S-55s) so that it can hand deliver letters from the airport for lots of Post Office money. A B-47 recently completed 47 missions, showing that they're not complete junk any more. General Twining says that the Soviets are expected to build some larger bombers soon. Prewitt Aircraft's adhesively-bonded steel helicopter blades are being tested by the Navy. TWA is buying something called "Curtiss Wright electronic flight duplicators" for its pilot training centres at LaGuardia, Kansas City, Detroit, LA and San Francisco. 

Posted at by User: Triton (Donald McKelvy); credit Archives at Grumman Memorial Park Calverton, Long Island, New York or The Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City, Long Island via Warbird Information Exchange forum.

Katherine Johnsen's Washington Roundup reports that Charles Wilson is in a difficult political position. He was nominated by the Eisenhower Administration to reward GM for its support, and pushed by GM because it supports the Eisenhower Administration's international position and is cool to Taft-style isolation. That leaves Taft cool to him, making the nomination fight more difficult. The Democrats, on the other hand, would like to see Wilson go through, given that he will be a weak link in the 1954 campaign to recover the House and Senate. Meanwhile, Republican senators find him, Johnsen gingerly begins, "inexperienced . . . [in his] key job . . .testifying before the Senate." Then she goes on to give example after example of Wilson being not so much inexperienced as unqualified, arrogant, and patronising. 

Industry Observer reports Fairchild is putting its min-turbine in the C-119A as an emergency power and thrust generator. It is not a new idea, but it will be on top of the fuselage rather than under the wing, and will be retractable. The Air Force is going to recall some of its leased C-46s and C-54s to ease the unspecified problems that it is currently experiencing with MATS which are no fault of its own but rather due to all that increased activity due to that airlift that's going on. The CAA is mandating that Boeing 377s not operate their Hamilton Standard propellers below 1750rpm, except 1400rpm in cruise due to cracks. UAL will have a nationwide VHF ground-to-air communication network by the spring, and other airlines are interested in doing the same. The Navy is working to break its communication systems down into modular  units for various good reasons. Convair's new Cincinnati Milling Machine high-speed miller is the bee's knees. Bell has a twin-turbine (Alison T-38s) big helicopter design to follow on the XHSL-1. The Navy doesn't like the new, mobile, one-man GCA unit because it takes twice as many maintenance hours as the old three-man unit. 

Aviation Week reports that Eastern and United are going head to head over air coach service, while the aircraft and aircraft parts backlog has reached $15 billion. 

"Comet Lands Short of Runway in Africa"  BOAC Comet G-Ally has landed short of of the runway at Entebbe, Uganda on 21 January, killing an African runway worker. Parts for the damaged undercarriage are being flown out from Britain. 

"Defence Team Holdings Revealed" A long article amounting to a bit more than just the Defence and Army, Air Force and Navy Under-Secretaries' stock portfolios. Wilson will have to divest of 40,000 GM shares worth $2.5 million, although his wife can keep 10,000. Some future payments in money and stock have been clarified or modified, and he has resigned from a number of other directorships, although he is keeping those shares because those firms do not do business with the Defence Department. Roger Keys, the Under-Secretary, will similarly resign various directorships and divest of GM but not other shares, but comes under additional scrutiny because he began his career at Glenn L. Martin and is a distant relative of same. Harold Talbot, the Under-Secretary for Air, was scrutinised for his involvement in a WWI-era scandal delineated by am old Charles Evans Hughes report finding, as usual, malfeasance and double dealing at Wright-Patterson involving Dayton-area firms with connections going back to the Wright brothers. Investigations petered out during the Harding Administration, so Talbott gets a pass. The new Navy Secretary is a Texas attorney with no relevant stock holdings, while the Army Secretary's holdings, mainly in airlines, are modest but will be divested, anyway.

A new scheme for prop reversal indicators is out from the Guggenheim, and the Air Force (more specifically Dolittle and Lieutenant General Laurence C. Craigie) is supporting the Aro, Incorporated's contract to operate the Arnold Engineering Development Centre against Congress' desire to specifically ban the company effective 31 March. Dolittle is in the reserves now, while Craigie is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development. Aro is a nonprofit set up by several Air Force contactors who must have been keeping their noses clean, because I have never heard of them. The original contract was a brainstorm of Stuart Symington's. Various financial indications are advanced to show that Aro is not making book on its contract.

"Engine Failures Hit BOAC Stratocruiser" Well, at least it's not Northwestern again. BOAC grounded its ten ship 377 fleet last week to tear down the Wasp Major engines and root out the cause of repeated engine "difficulties." Engines were seizing on the ground and in the air, showing inadequate piston lubrication, and tear downs have revealed problems generally due to inadequate lubrication, including one that caused metal shavings that showed up in another inspection. The grounding has probably ended hopes of BOAC showing a profit this quarter, and seem to be due to gasoline diluting lubricant oil after evaporating during certain operating rpms and conditions. 

Production has "NAA Reveals Titanium Experience" North American reports on its early experiences working with titanium, which now makes up 600lbs of the F-86's weight. A limited amount of metal means a limited amount of experimental work, and no definite numbers, but NAA can report that pressing works better than impact methods and that no welding method has been found. Convair is showing movies to its workers to boost output. Training movies, I suppose?

"First Details of Boeing GAPA Project" The Ground-to-Air-Pilotless-Aircraft is a supersonic, rocket and ramjet-propelled aircraft with control surfaces, presumably meaning that it can turn and bank. 

"IAS Papers Reflect Complexity" It is hard to summarise the papers given at the IAS Meeting in New York last week because they cover so many topics because air power is complicated. The summary proceeds with groupable papers and sessions because other wise we'd be here all night talking about sail planes and space. There were three papers on turbine blade stall, four on structures, and three on analysing the results of flight test data (including one on structural considerations of tail load).

Avionics has a description of the Federal Telecommunications Laboratory (an ITT affiliate) "Microstrip," a way of reducing the weight and volume of circuits. Filter Centre reports that the F-84F will get the new Westinghouse E-9 autopilot. Westinghouse is also in the news for buying several Boeing analogue computers to help design aircraft voltage regulators. Douglas is looking at a mounting rack to improve electronic component cooling. Arinc has issued a specification for crystals to meet a military specification for new radios. Aerovox has bought Acme, a wave filter manufacturer. Sperry is substituting mag-amps for vacuum tubes in its A-12 autopilot to see how it goes. The Honeywell E-11 autopilot, to go into the Douglas B-66, has a noteworthy gyro, available caged and uncaged. 

The library receipt wasn't intentional, but this is pretty important stuff, so the full reference information might be useful

Safety has a series of articles about ALPA's approach to ensuring safety, most of which is procedural, although right at the bottom of the section there is an official Airline Pilots Association blast at the way that allowed aircraft all up weights keep creeping upwards without anyone consulting them. 

Equipment has a bizarre piece from George L. Christian on Claire Chennault's floating base for his Civil Air Transport line. It is a 2000t barge built on an LST hull and it is somewhere in the Formosa or Philippine waters supporting the completely legitimate, legal, and not at all WWIII-risking activities of the CAT. The LST "will allow the airline to move back into China as quickly as it retreated from the communists." It even has a photography lab and a parachute packing facility, because the airline needs to make microfilms and expects its civil air transports to suddenly fall out of the sky for undisclosed reasons such as an accidental mid-air collision with 30mm rounds coming out of a MiG-15's guns. A full description of CAT's operations follows. 

NWA is increasing the DC-4's load by stripping out the glider tow attachments, while Air Associates wants us to know about the landing flap actuator it is making for the FJ-2. the Navy version of the Sabre. For some reason this is ahead of New Aviation Products, which has relief valves for the F-86 fuel tanks from J. C. Carter, Company, a fuel tank level control from Revere Corporation of America, and a new GE rubber that is hardier at extreme temperatures. Polyethylene molded connectors with aluminum outer cases, just in from Britain, are as good as anything British. Red Ring gear shaving machines are more versatile, allowing more cutting strokes per loading. Planet Product's hydrostatic check stand for leak tests is the best ever. Guardian Electric's sealed solenoids have a high ampere rating. 
The McGraw-Hill Line Editorial continues to make the argument that if you line up the numbers right and squint, Americans aren't more prosperous than they were ten years ago, because of taxes and inflation, and it is near impossible for American prosperity to continue to grow at the expected rate.  

Douglas and TWA agree that the Comet isn't so hot because it doesn't make money, and when the Douglas jetliner arrives, it will be faster and also make money. El Al is buying a fleet of airliners. 

What's New is reading the Ex-Cell-O general catalogue for hints and tips on manufacturing steel tubing and pipes. "Welcome to the McCook Plant" is a helpful guide to the aluminum sheet mill and its products. Flight Plan, a 36 page booklet by United, details air navigation in technical language. 

Robert H. Wood's Editorial is happy to report Robert Finletter's parting words of encouragemen in his final press conference as Under-Secretary of the Air Force, in which he urged journalists to keep on digging. He congratulates the services for cancelling the 500 aircraft fly-by originally scheduled for the Inauguration for safety reasons and not because it looked awfully Nazi-like. Airlines and railoads are both to be congratulated for a banner year in safety. 

The Economist,  7 February 1953


"Chiang Off The Leash" The President's decision to withdraw the Seventh Fleet will allow the Kouomintang to return to the Chinese mainland. On the one hand, that might lead to the resumption of the Chinese civil war, followed by the Third World War, which would be bad. On the other, maybe the Chinese will be less inclined to fight in Korea or support the Viet Minh. And, above all, we need to focus on the real villains and heroes here. The villain is Aneurin Bevan, for suggesting that this was terrible and irresponsible and that Britain would never support a return to Chinese civil war, which is very anti-American. And the heroes are Eisenhower and Dulles, because they are being so  much more moderate than their critics on the American right, in that they're not actually bombing continental China. Overall, it probably won't amount to much. After all, what's the worse that could happen? British naval escorts shooting at Koumintang warships  trying to enforce their blockade? Communist freighters being captured by Koumintang pirates? Hardly even worth getting out of bed for!

"Climax in Central Africa" It looks like the Central African Federation is going to go through if it passes a referendum amongst the white settlers of Southern Rhodesia. Protections for Africans have been weakened to improve its chances, which looks bad. On the other hand, two British governments think that only federation will protect native Africans and white Souithern Rhodesians from South African influence, which is good for both. On the other hand again, if the native Africans don't like it, what was the point of trying? Put that way, I am willing to give The Economist just a tiny bit of benefit of the doubt.

"The Soviet Arctic" The Soviets would like to develop their Arctic, but it is cold and far away and there's not much up there, so they probably won't, except for the Northern Sea Route, which might be good for fighting WWIII.  Another place that is remote and only good for furs and a small number of locals who live on fish, with maybe some gold, tin and nickel is the House of Lords in Britain.  Okay, I will admit that none of that is true. What is true is that the next Leader is about the Tories not seeming to want to do anything about the 1949 Parliament Act, so it will stick around, and I care about that almost as much as I do about road and rail connections to the heads of navigation of Siberian rivers to allow a little bit more gold and nickel to come out of the far north. 

Notes of the Week

Mr. Dulles is in Paris, where the French are getting anti-American vapours just because he said some bad things about the French specifically in Life and because he seems to want to start WWIII over Formosa, which is bad. On the other hand, the French are also fighting a crazy war in Indochina, so they have that to form a bond over. Moscow hasn't commented on the Dulles tour yet, perhaps because they don't want to fight WWIII, perhaps because they're getting ready for a big purge, and the mood over there is weird and strange, with the latest being a fight between Pravda and Radio Moscow about Radio Moscow being too posh these days. Parliament has been a very strange place over Formosa, because the Tories and Labour are agreed that the American policy is insane, so the main fight is over whether Bevan or one of the Labour front benchers gets to ask the most questions about how terrible the whole Straits thing is. Everyone agrees that the Commonwealth is nice. The Liberal party in Britain wants some kind of electoral reform so that they can get 20% of the seats to go with the 20% of British voters who can't bear to vote for either Labour or Tory and so vote for the Liberals because they're harmless. Is it only me who wonders if they would change, or the Liberals would change, if they stopped being harmless? 

"Europe's Northern Fronts" So Moscow is upset about Nato airbase building in northern Norway, and aren't giving the Norwegians any credit for refusing to accept a Nato garrison in peacetime. Meanwhile the Norwegians are withdrawing the brigade they formerly maintained in Schleswig, and the Danes are thinking about increasing their force there by a battalion to strengthen their southern flanks, only the Germans think that the Danes are eyeing Schleswig again; and the Danish Social Democrats think that the other main objective of the plan, which is to open up barracks space to allow the extension of national service to eighteen months, is actually meant to increase the strength of the Danish army at  home, and not the country's southern defences in Germany. So much about the affairs of northern Europe I didn't know!

"Response to Disaster" People are raising money for British and Dutch victims of the North Sea flooding. Since fund raising for the Lynmouth disaster actually ended up with more money in the fund than needed, it has been suggested that a general "Disaster Reserve" be set up, but The Economist thinks that would probably discourage giving, and be a bad idea. Something else should be done. Someone should think of it! Also, Parliament doesn't know what to do about agriculture because the debate about agriculture was hijacked by the debate over Formosa. The Economist is worried that the Government is underestimating demand for imported feedstuffs once British farmers have to pay the world price. Might the result be increasing imports and declining area under tillage in Britain? Ireland is having politics, with Fianna Fail bringing in a modified version of the Mother and Child Scheme that will bring public health care for some and moral depravity for all, to hear the bishops tell it

"Chinese Down to Earth" The Chinese are taking the first steps towards a planned economy, introducing planning in Manchuria only. In Japan, the Yoshida government is being accused of being too pro-American on the left, and being too internationally-minded on the right. Neither side of Japanese politics wants expensive rearmament, and such is Mr. Dulles that he is widely suspected of engineering a secret agreement for Japanese rearmament. All the crazy legislation coming out of South Africa right now is because the country is getting ready for an election, with the Nationalists expected to really shake things up if they are re-elected, especially since events in Kenya and central Africa have moved more white voters into the Nationalist camp. 

"Revised Plan for Technology" The Government rejected the Labour plan for a Royal College of Technology (something like the College of Physicians, rather than the Institute) in June. Instead, it is going to double the Imperial College of Science and Technology, which is like the Institute, except without making it a university. The Economist is not impressed.  The English are also now arguing about Sunday closing again, while Turkey, Jugoslavia and Greece are negotiating some kind of entente directed at Russia. Jugoslavia doesn't particularly want to be allied to Italy if that means Italian troops in the Balkans. 

Poland is having an anti-clerical episode, and a report is in on the human cost of the London fogs to go with the report on deaths due to the North Sea flooding. During the week of the week of 13 December 1952, deaths in Greater London rose to 4703, compared with 1852 in the same week of 1951. A similar excess death rate of 243 per  million of population was observed in the great fog of December 1873, compared with an excess of 426 during the peak of the cholera epidemic of 1866 and of 785 during the influenza epidemic of 1918. The excess deaths were almost entirely due to heart or respiratory complaints and were accompanied by a fourfold increase in admissions to acute care beds. 

From The Economist of 1853 comes "Preservation of Peace," which finds that forty years of peace have been so nice that probably Europe should go on with that. As often with the magazine then and now, this is probably some kind of comment about "events in Manchester" this week that the reader is supposed to know about from the dailies.  It might have something to do with Richard Cobden. Oh, you're thinking now. Richard Cobden! Of course!


Various correspondents have various opinions about voting reform. S. Garvin of London defends India's neutrality and Kanarese ambitions to a separate state. Not everything is Communist agitation he says, before allowing that India should stop sticking its nose in the colonial policies. Who are the Indians to think that white supremacy is bad? Renato Giordana writes from Luxembourg to describe progress being made on the United States of Europe. D. E. Protecdicos explains the Greek government's thinking on the proposed merger of the National Bank and the Bank of Athens. P. A. Lane and B. L Smyth point to the recent shortage of dockers at Hull to illustrate the fact that something like the current arrangment of paying on-call dockers is necessary to cover seasonal increases in demand. They agree that the payments are bad for the economy, and suggest that the Government should take them over. D. T. Healey of the Department of Applied Economics, Cambridge, hs concerns about the number of marketing boards that British farmers have now and how they might interact with opening the country to imports. 


George Kirk has Survey of International Affairs, 1939--1946: The Middle East in the War. It is very little English. A. Raistrick's Dynasty of the Iron Founders: The Darbys of Carbondale has a great header: "Iron in the Dale." Four Abraham Darbys dominated the industry in the West Country by virtue of discovering that coke could be used for smelting iron instead of charcoal. They made a series of fortunes off French wars in spite of being good Quakers and left lots of family papers and art used in this useful and beautiful book. "A Student of Affairs" asks How Did the Satellites Happen? It's a good explanation but isn't nearly thorough enough about the internecine struggles amongst the local Communist Party leaderships afterwards. R. S. Sayer's Banking in the Commonwealth is not the book that The Economist would have written. Harold Hall's Some Observations on Executive Retirement worries The Economist, as it did Fortune, because too many executives are retiring too early, and their much younger wives don't like it! "Balaam's" Chalk in My Hair is about how teaching and teachers are awful. Look at yourself in the mirror, says The Economist. Eugene Schueller's L'Impot sur l'Energie is a proposal for a single tax on energy use, mainly to fight French tax evasion. The Fourth Annual Report of the OEEC explains Europe: The Way Forward. 

American Survey

"Eisenhower's Middle Way" Aside from starting WWIII in the Formosa Straits, the Administration's policy is very moderate, for example it is putting off "sound fiscal prudence" until the country is sound enough to take it. 

American Notes

From the files of the Knickerbocker Club
"Clouds Over the Honeymoon" It turns out that the President prefers the bedroom window open at night, while Representative Reed wants to start the Great Tax Giveaway of 195X right now! (Which at least makes Taft riding right over the Secretary of Labour seem sensible and moderate in comparison.) Also, Congress has removed the super-majority requirement for voting down government reorganisation plans coming out of the Hoover Commission that the Truman Administration enjoyed, and Senators McCarthy and Jenner have both signalled that they are going to be investigating disloyalty even harder now. Meanwhile, the Communist leaders convicted under the Smith Act have received no more than three year terms, so hurray for mercy! This leads into news that Dulles is requiring "positive loyalty" from State Department officials, that Ambassador Lodge is going to be a lot firmer about American Communists at the UN, and Secretary Dulles is waiving loyalty checks for American ambassadors like Winthrop Aldrich, because, come on, his name is Winthrop!

A revised Consumer Price Index is expected this week which will better measure inflation. Selective Service pressure on labour supply is easing, but it is going to be hard to raise a million head for the service this year given the declining number of youth. President Truman wanted more regular recruits and was willing to raise service pay to get them; Anna Rosenberg wants more women and post-Korean War fathers; General Hershey wants an end to exemptions and deferments for farmers and fathers. The National Manpower Council thinks the system is working well, but is concerned about educational deferments leading into fatherhood deferments, although not as much as critics like Dr. Conant, who thinks that it is a scandal that poor boys are fighting the country's wars. The Council thinks that relaxing physical requirements and a "minor tightening of deferments" will be enough to make up the deficit. 

"Pistols at New York Heads" The International Longshoreman's Association has long "held a pistol" to the country, or New York's, head. Now that there is a Communist-influenced West Coast longshoreman's union, something has to be done about this and that, mainly organised crime on the docks. The AFL says that the ILA has three months to kick out the gangsters.

The World Overseas

"Canada's Floating Dollar" A free-floating dollar exchange rate has worked out very well for Canada so far, although the strongly positive balance of trade for  the first half 1952 will probably be found to have evened out as commodity prices fell. Also, Germany is cutting taxes in spite of a budget deficit and rising expenditures, as it sees no inflation threat, the cuts will stimulate industry, and might will the Bavarian state elections. The Persian-Russian agreement regulating the southern Caspian sturgeon fishery is expiring, and the Russians are being surprisingly difficult considering they have an opportunity to show up the British and Americans. 

"Foreign Forces in Korea" UN "foreign" forces in Korea include 7 American and at best 3 other divisions, and the Americans think that other countries should contribute more. As usual, the British point out that the Commonwealth is responsible for about half of that and don't forget the four divisions in Malaya or the four in Germany, and the French say, don't forget about Indo-China. In conclusion, the Dutch and the Belgians are terrible. Although the Dutch have decided that they won't need any American aid in 1953--4, so good on those thrifty, hard-working and flooded Netherlanders! The Economist then spends a page each explaining why Spain's future is so rosy and the future of iron and steel in Lorraine. 

"Australia Enjoys Its Import Cuts" Remember last year when there were a flurry of stories about how terrible the economic situation in Australia was? That was because the Australians had to introduce severe import restrictions to save its current accounts balance. Ten months along, the country has somehow managed not to fall apart. But soon, for sure! 

The Business World

  "Corpse in the Capital Market" There's just not enough private investment in Britain these days due to their not being enough of the kind of rich people who light cigars with five pound notes and put their feet up on their banker's desk. Maybe the middle class will take over if they can be persuaded to save all their money. Also, the Export Credits Guarantee Department took a serious blow last year, as revealed in the supplementary estimates just published. The Economist admits that it is the first time in years that these losses can actually be broken out of government accounts, what with one thing and another (the war, mainly), but it is sure to presage some kind of disaster. 

Business Notes

"Freer Payments or More Trade?" Should Britain work on reducing import restrictions or currency restrictions first? People differ. Also, an effort to invest more in the Commonwealth.

"The Flood Bill" The flooding has had a huge cost, knocking three major power plants out of action, damaging the three big new oil refineries along the Thames, and Unlever's margarine factory at Purfleet and flooding the docks at the Kemsley paper mill and ruining stocks of finished paper in the warehouses. It is still unclear how much damage was done to the power grid or the railways. Reclaiming the 250,000 acres of flooded farmland may take years. Seawalls will need to be repaired. On the bright side, the supply of gypsum for remediation of soil from salt damage seems to be adequate. 

Revenues up; deposits down; industrial production "on the mend;" a Vickers jet transport based on the Valiant under development as a military trooper with Rolls-Royce Conway engines, "a radical advance in jet engine design . . . [that] stands a good chance of giving the aircraft the range and economy of performance associated with the slower turboprop engine . . . ." "The part that the Ministry of Supply will play in the development of the new airliner does not appear to have been settled." Typically, the Ministry covers the cost of development and then recovers its outlay from commercial profits, although the fact that this design is beginning as a military transport makes this more complicated. The Comet is the only successful aircraft of the postwar years not developed in this way, and both Avro and Handley Page are looking to develop their bombers into air transports, which is likely to be an expensive and protracted business, especially the new fuselages.

Sweets are off the ration, South African mining companies are making new profits on uranium, the end of the drought in Australia means more butter and cheese. The "end of rationing may no longer be a pipe dream."

Aviation Week, 9 February 1953

News Digest
reports that US Far East Air Force commander, General O. P. Weyland, figures that the Communists have 7000 combat aircraft in the Far East, greatly outnumbering American aircraft. Reynolds Metals is expanding its McCook, Illinois plant to produce tapered aluminum sheet for the Navy. The Flight Safety Foundation is forming a Division of Aircraft Service and Equipment. Ryan has a new two-stage parachute for recovering its Q-2  target drones and the AEC has postponed the deadline for proposals to develop the prototype (ground installation) aircraft atomic reactor engine. 

Industry Observer reports that Army Ordnance has made the first tests of a ground-launched antiaircraft missile system against air targets, firing Douglas Nikes at B-17 target drones and getting a better-than-fifty-percent hit rate. The first North American F-86H fighter bomber has been delivered to Edwards AFB (as it is now called.) Lord Hives is in America selling the Rolls-Royce Conway, expected to be used on the de Havilland Comet 4. It is? He expects the Conway to be in production by 1958 with a thrust of 11,500lbs and consumption of 0.7lb of fuel per pound of thrust per hour. The Martin P5M1 has gone through an accelerated flight trial period. Lockheed, Douglas and Boeing are pressing engine manufacturers to produce a thrust-reversal system for their jet engines as soon as possible. The Navy is working on Moving Target Indication for ground surveillance radar scopes so that aircraft can identify moving  targets like tanks on the ground. The Bell XHSL is too small to carry cargo in addition to its anti-submarine role, which is why the Navy is pressing for an enlarged version. Hiller wants us to know that it has moved beyond the Hornet prototype to develop a whole portfolio of jet-propelled helicopters with all sorts of interesting features. Meanwhile the Army wants helicopter manufacturers to worry less about aerodynamics and more about cargo capacity. 

Katherine Johnsen's Washington Roundup has a summary of Eisenhower's comments on defence during the Inaugural address, which were all about efficiency, economy, and reorganisation; the continuing but falling lag in service spending on aircraft compared with authorisations; a brief set of capsule biographies of the "money men" of the Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defence; and the new members of the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees responsible for the CAA and CAB. An economy drive is expected. 

Aviation Week reports that "F3Ds Outfly Red Night Fighters in Korea" The Marines think that they have downed six Red night fighters, including some MiG-15s. Night flying B-29s are reporting being attacked by jet fighters, presumably vectored on target by ground radars, so it is possible. Meanwhile, it is reported that 1172 American aircraft have been lost to enemy action in the thirty months of the Korean conflict, plus an additional 562 Navy aircraft operational losses in Korean waters. The USAF does not announce operational losses. Unofficial estimates put total Korean War aircraft losses at around 2400. 

"Comet Problem" It looks like the CAA is tempted to drag its feet over the Comet's airworthiness certification long enough to endanger the TWA sale. 

Nat McKitterick reports for McGraw-Hill World News Service that "Britain Announces New Jet Liner," which is Aviation Week's report on the Vickers 1000, being ordered for Transport Command, with a civil version of the plane, the VC-7, in the design stage. This is the airliner based on the Valiant 2, with Conway engines. A capacity of 150 passengers and a range of more than 2000 miles is implied by the Air Minister's comments introducing the new design. It will be 146ft long, with a wingspan of 140ft and a height of 38ft. 

Alexander McSurely reports that "Plane Fastener Fight Nears End." The military looks set to accept the Camloc quick release fastener standardised by the National Aircraft Standards Association after a marathon meeting of Army and Navy at Wright Patterson. McSurely goes on to explain how this turned into a fourteen year controversy. Mainly, Camloc's competitors bought off the services. 

Aeronautical Engineering has an article by William Littlewood about air transport trends, and a box explainer introducing Littlewood as the vice-president of American Airlines, and Aviation Week's answer to a thirteen page shortage of editorial. To briefly summarise: "Aircraft are getting better, and if you like, here are some graphs of historic trends of figures of merit where you can extend the line to predict the future." 

This week we look at papers given at the IAS meeting in New York on aerodynamics, flight propulsion, and aircraft design. The engine article is on compressor stall, while both aerodynamic papers are related to skin drag.  

"No-one wants your junk, Carl."
Avionics has Philip Klass reporting on "Big Brain to Solve Aviation Problems: Oarac Memory Can Hold up to 10,000 "words:" First Task: Solving of 1011 Equation Problem" After all that title, this is a GE-built electronic digital computer. "Words" are 10 digit numbers (in the binary number system) along with an operator symbol. The problem is to find the indices of absorption and refraction of low-frequency radio waves in an ionising medium in the presence of an external magnetic field. It is expected that it will take about 200 hours to solve it, compared with 20 years for an operator at a desk computing machine.  Oarac is slower than its competitors, but GE thinks it gets its own back by being more reliable, and it gets rid of permanent programs, because it can store programs in its memory or on magnetic tape. Internal design is simplified by the use of "standard circuits," allowing the use of only 1400 vacuum tubes and 7000 germanium diodes. Tubes run at 90% rated voltage to reduce the failure rate. Ourac is another computer using magnetic tape to communicate with the outside world, and its internal  memory is a cast aluminum drum coated with ferritic material and driven at 3400rpm. Four magnetic heads "read" and "write" the "words." GE is also said to be building machines that will automatically produce electronic assemblies for similar digital control units.

Tektronix has a nice new oscilloscope, and a description of it will fill an inconvenient gap at the bottom of p. 66 and the top of p. 67, along with a description of the actual world's smallest capacitor, a molded paper piece smaller than a paperclip from Sprague Electronics and the MPT pulse transformer from PCA Electronics. And now we can finally start Filter Centre, which must have been turned in a column short this week. It reports that McDonnell hopes to use some telemeter equipment from Telecomputer in its helicopter division, and that Westinghouse is putting its components into a standard aluminum base to save assembly time. It also has, just for a change (maybe that Spraque advertorial embarrassed someone) the largest aircraft three phase alternator, weighing 123lbs and putting out 400Hz 60kV current while spinning at 6000rpm. What a beast!

Equipment has George L. Christian reporting on a new expandable cantilever-roof hangar with a clear floor  from Thompson-Starrett of New York and designed by Paul Rongved and Cyril P. Erwin of Erwin-Newman Corporation. It is expensive, but it is a really good hangar and you should buy it. 

New Aviation Products (Yes, I know) has a flush latch from Hartwell Aviation Supply down on Venice Beach. It is an aluminum extrusion, so much smoother than a punch press product. Romec's has a new light plane fuel pump. David Brown of Huddersfield, England, wants America to know about the world's largest gear hobbing machine. 

Letters has S. J. Davy of the Computer Engineering Department of Arma Corporation writing at length about the "pictorial computer" discussed by Captain Robson in his recent column. He explains that the point of a pictorial computer display is to project voice-over-radio bearings onto a standard chart and calculate the plane's course. Radar cannot do that. It is not radar's job. Radar fixes and bearings are not reliable enough yet and radar bearings would still need to feed  a pictorial computer. Radar is a good thing to have in an airplane. It is not a replacement for a pictorial computer. Milt Kusa, an F-86D flight test project engineer at North American, writes about "fighters and altitude." He suggests that F-86s are not, in fact, compromised at high altitude by their high wing loading, and the design features that lead to this are apparently good in air-to-air combat. W. F. Milliken, Jr.[?], the manager of the Flight Research Department of Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, has concerns about the accuracy of the reporting in a recent article about their stall recovery device. Aviation Week defends its reporting. William Raser of New York thinks Grover Loening is right about there not being enough support for inventors in this country.  


The Economist, 14 February 1953


"Tory Reform for Housing" The Tories have built more houses than Labour which is very embarrassing for Labour but is also bad for Britain because it distracts effort from exports. There is some question about getting maintenance done, and also about the balance of public and private housing. Secretary Dulles' plans for starting WWIII are meeting with a cool reception in Europe. The Economist hopes for a middle ground where the Administration only tries to start WWIII a tiny little bit, and Europe helps. Or something. Honestly I have no patience for three pages trying to find the bright side of John Foster Dulles. 

"Allies on the Dikes" The whole world has rallied to help the Dutch in their flooding. Even The Economist's cold  heart is almost warm enough to avoid  making a political point. (The Americans helped, too! See how nice they are?) The Dutch, on the other hand, are a bit shaken in their confidence in the Waterstaat, or Ministry of Works, especially because the flooding struck rural areas in the south of the country, in the islands of south Holland and Zeeland. The worry now is soil remediation from all the salt damage. 

"Saturday Night at the Palais" The joint was swinging! Ballroom dance swinging! Which is a thing they are doing these days in Britain. The Economist, which knows no joy, wonders why but explains the (of course) economic implications. A lot of hall rentals and dance schools. Jive dancing is not particularly lucrative, and that is why it died in Britain, and square dancing will go the same way, it says here. 

The Economist of 1853 has "The Interment of Protection," an editorial celebrating the latest setback of all the backward "noblemen, gentlemen, and intriguers" of the National Association for Protection, which has formally dissolved itself.

Notes of the Week

The French premier is in Britain arguing mainly that if Germany is going to rearm, the Allies have to guarantee that they will stay in Europe as long as it takes France to get everything in order in Indochina and at home. Fifty years, maybe? The Economist has no truck with such nonsense. Look! The Germans have even arrested some Neo-Nazis!  The Economist hopes that the British and German investigations will go beyond the actual members to find those "who are pulling their strings and supplying funds" in the Soviet zone, in Egypt, in Spain and in Latin America. Parliament was quiet last week due to members being out for flu or to visit flood-stricken areas, but that will change when Parliament debates the bill ramming through the Central African Federation against native (and non-native, to exclude only the whites of Southern Rhodesia, who are already talking about amending the constitution to allow more white supremacy) resistance, Shinwell's push to have national service reduced to two years, and the recent rise in unemployment. The Economist is against price supports or controls or import limits or whatever the heck the Tories are giving farmers to appease them for freeing up import restrictions. There's a to-do in Parliament about Britain offering some specialised training courses for German soldiers for their new national army. The European Coal and Steel Community is under way, and it is a good thing, except that it is likely to absorb some of the scrap metal that the British industry needs. The Queensland-British Food Corporation's Sorghum scheme was like the Groundnuts Scheme, only I've never heard of it, and ended up the same way, in a "sorry tale of Socialist mismanagement and reckless disregard for costs." It is now to be wound up at a total cost to British taxpayers of £540,000. 

"Kenya Takes the Strain" OPERATION GROUNDBAIT is "the fourth in a series aimed at clearing the Aberdares of Mau Mau gangs." I didn't know there were Mau Maus in Scotland! Oh, no, I have read it wrong. It is referring to a part of the Kenyan Central Highlands that the settlers have decided to start calling "the Aberdares." "Special areas" of the Aberdares are being cleared of all Africans, while African labour on British farms is being issued special identifications. The white settlers look forward to self-government under the new order, in which representation by communities means that native Africans will be permanently outvoted by a board consisting of "one Hindu Asian, one Muslim Asian, three Europeans, one Arab, and one African." Kenya is "taking the strain" in the sense that land values have stopped rising, but aren't actually falling, and there is no reduction in the wait list of British farmers interested in buying. "If anything, men of greater substance are coming forward this year than last," and "there is no detectable slackening in the secondary industries." A drought is a bit of a problem, though. 

It is suggested that Turkey and Nato do something about the Montreux Convention because it allows Russian warships out of the Black Sea, Moscow's various current diplomatic ploys are all just window dressing, and the United States is giving Okinawa back to Japan, raising questions about the Kurile Islands and South Sakhalin, which Russia seems bound to keep, and, after all, the Russians did keep their end of the Yalta bargain by which they received the islands, by entering the war with Japan. The Tories are cutting funds for adult education, which is bad, but not as bad as it could be, because the cuts aren't that big. There's a bit of an argument in Parliament about the stately houses of Great Britain all falling down for lack of maintenance, and how the Government should pay for repairing as much of them as the Government ends up repairing. 


Lord Bledisloe writes from Algeciras in Spain that harrumph harrumph British agricultural policy is promoting shitflessness and laziness. "Limpopo" explains that even though Britain is doing white supremacy in just one giant federation in central Africa, non-White people in the rest of the world will be upset, too. L. H. Palmer politely disagrees with the idea that "the presence of foreign advisors is neither as humiliating or as debilitating to a poor government as other kinds of aid." From what he has seen in Indonesia, foreign advisors are not very helpful. H. G. L. Strange writes from Winnipeg to defend the new grain agreement. T. J. Khaw explains from Belfast taht the "rice for rubber" deal between Malaya and China is a pretty good one for Malaya, regardless of what The Economist thinks. 


Vladimir Dedijer has Tito Speaks. For a Communist, he's a great guy! It says here. Jacob Viner''s International Trade and Economic Development is a collection of six lectures vindicating the classical economics interpretation of international trade as the basis of "stability and progress." The Editors of La Prensa explain the slow death of their newspaper in Defence of Freedom. Geoffrey Sawer edits the very worthy Federalism: An Australian Jubilee Study. George Dangerfield's The Era of Good Feelings is a history of the boring bit of early American history.

American Survey 

"Dollars for Diplomacy" The President wants Congress to appropriate them, and Congress has doubts. It is hard to believe it won't come around when American exports depend on replenishing the supply of dollars! US public transport is in trouble. It can't make money, especially given rising wages for its staff, and cannot keep up with the potential increase in ridership, either. Because of difficulties in handling intermittent loads, it cannot rationalise services, and in spite of heavy investment in new technologies, risks eventual block obsolescence. Of particular concern is its likely inability to take on the strain of moving the whole population in the event that another war forces cars off the streets. 

American Notes

The President ends controls, effective over the next two years, will not make it easier for Congress to kill his administrative reorganisations notwithstanding Senator McCarthy trying out an effort to reduce the President's administrative powers. The Administration is reaching the limits of its economy drive, while Congress seems to want to press forward with tax cuts. The loyalty programme overhaul is going forward, though. The Administration is stepping in to buy up the butter surplus produced by healthy harvests and low prices, which is at least a good excuse to criticise the Administration. 

"Three Deep for 3D" Hollywood is embracing 3D as an answer to five years of declining attendance. This is Cinerama and Bwana Devil have been hits, and now Twentieth Century Fox has announced that it will  only produce 3D films from now on. Other, glasses-less systems are being tested, and also panoramic displays, which have raised concerns that actresses will come off as well as the Grand Canyon.  

"Atomic Power for Peace" The President's atomic power initiative may deliver atomic electricity in as few as five years, if Dow Chemicals and Detroit Edison have their way, although the details of getting rid of the plutonium produced, are still a concern, as is the upcoming renewal of the McMahon Act, which will presumably be an opportunity to revisit international sharing of atomic information. 

The World Overseas

"Africa Divided" The Great Divide is between the white supremacy colonies and the West African soon-to-be-states. It is really, really hard to ignore the obvious issues to actually sympathise with the white supremacists, and to give the magazine due credit, it doesn't try very hard, at least in this article, as opposed to the dispatch fromm Kenya. 

"1952 Balance Sheet for Soviet Industry" Russia is making more iron, steel, and aluminum than ever. It's really quite impressive. Meanwhile, fascism is kind of back a little in Italy as the Fascist successor party, the MSI, polls well in local elections, taking 6% of the vote. Peru is a strange and backwards place, beset by racism against indigenous Indians and oppressive military rule, and its geography is also remarkable, but the real reason for this story is the absolutely crackers situation involving Victor Haya de la Torre, which apparently can't be brought up in any way except with a travelogue. The Economist still disapproves of the way that Australians run their economy.

The Business World

Some people (most people) have said mean things about the London Stock Exchange since the magazine defended it last week. The Economist throws a tantrum in their direction. It's absolutely vital for the economy! Investment good! Etc, etc.

Business Notes

The government is looking into the corporate takeovers which have taken place this week in case something needs to be done about shares. Government revenues are up, but so are expenditures, so the deficit will likely be larger than last year. Labour isn't moving in the right directions as too many workers go into consumer goods industries and not enough into engineering. In fact, the movement into engineering was greater in 1951, before the Government made it an official policy, than it is now. I missed that? Labour spent seven years boosting engineering to boost exports! Steel output continues at record highs, raising questions about the need for steel allocations. Vickers-Armstrong is looking into a short-range Viscount that might replace the DC-3. (Heard that one before!) But maybe turboprops will make the difference. The proposed sort range Viscount 800 would carry 66 to 82 passengers 450 miles at 10d per ton-mile compared with 8d for the existing Viscount, which carries 48 first class or 62 tourist passengers. BEA has ordered twelve, and hopefully there will be more orders and the Viscount will get some share of the Dakota replacement bonanza that is coming sometime soon. The deal to trade Meteor jets for Brazilian cotton is so remarkably strange that it requires more comment, and now there is talk of barter for Egyptian cotton, too. Associated British is fitting out some cinemas for 3D showings, but the Rank Organisation isn't in spite of being the main British distributor for Twentieth Century, but it will probably have to do something about Twentieth Century films being made for 3D projection onto panoramic curved screens, unless British movie goers suddenly decide to stop liking American films.

The Transport Bill is being debated, textile sales are up although the scars of last year's slump are still being felt, British firms are investing in Spanish steel, the textiles recovery is spreading to rayon and wool, the copper and other metals boom seems to be ending as Rhodesian share prices and London spot prices fall alike, and the Chamber of Shipping reports that tramp shipping contracts are irregular with more companies entering a flat market.

 Business Roundup reports a great deal of optimism that isn't entirely warranted. Both higher interest rates and an economy drive are in the cards, and a double dose of deflation might have serious consequences. Buying power is actually falling in a few agricultural areas already. Enormous increases in production combined with declining sales must mean that inventory is building up and that production will soon turn down. This explains the softness in commodities and says that the current retail boom must end. Even stock prices are evening out. 

Fortune's Wheel explains that now all of the Tumult and Shouting is done, we can turn to the country's other favourite past-time, sorting out the "Russian enigma." Four articles of 25,000 words are Fortune's best attempt to explain what is going on in the Soviet Union right now. They are by the best people, as the column goes on to explain. A special sixteen page GE insert is the other highlight of the issue. It's advertising, yes, but it is GE advertising, and GE bought the first advertising contract at Fortune. So it is birthday advertising for both the magazine and GE. 

"Note to Mr. Brownell" Because the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations were commie socialist pinkos, anti-trust legislation came to be associated with anti-business ideology. It doesn't have to be, because not having an anti-trust policy is a kind of anti-trust policy, and we can get there with just a few easy steps along the way. 

"The Future of Business Baiting" Anti-business agitation has no future in this bright new republic of ours because Eisenhower is a much more moderate sort of conservative than the real conservatives and so the intellectuals should shut up and in return business might think about reining in McCarthy a bit eventually. (This is also the subject of a shorter editorial note.) Also, what about that Peter Viereck? What a guy! 

The promised twenty-five thousand words on Russia follow. I don't know what to say. The family has interests in shipping, immigration, Western real estate, Far Eastern trade, increasingly in the Cold War thanks to Uncle George's "electronics" brainstorm, and, of course, your sideline of practically everything not actually nailed down in British Columbia, including trees and base metals. I don't see anywhere where we have an interest in Russia. If anything, they have trees and zinc and freighters, too, so they're competitors. 

That, I guess, leaves the Cold War. As Fortune says, Stalin may say that total war is not inevitable, but the completion of the Fifth Five Year Plan puts a "superblitz against Europe and perhaps the United States" in reach. "Despite many difficulties, he might achieve the required industrial and military strength by 1955." Is it true? I don't know! Will it sell magnetic tape and process controllers and transistors? It looks like it! So I guess I support the intentions behind these articles even if I don't particularly want to read about miracles of Soviet steel, miracles of Soviet planning, and the new Soviet "dacha" class. 

So the Russians expect to match American military spending in 1955, double Eastern European economic output, and increase total Russian economic output to half the American level by the same year, by which time there will be 210 million Russians, so Russian average income will still be far lower than American, and it might not actually be enough labour for the plan. A separate article on "The Red Air Forces" focusses on the real threat. Besides the "tactical air forces" that will help "superblitz" Europe, the Reds have perhaps as many as 1000 strategic bombers, "a figure uncomfortably close to the effective aircraft strength of US Strategic Air Command." The Soviets are building 10,000 aircraft a year, compared with 9000 in the United States, and the industry is running well below capacity due to a shortage of raw materials. It says here that they are producing 5000 MiG-15s per year! It doesn't say how many B-29skis they're building, but Fortune does admit that the Tu-4, to give it its proper name, is useless for intercontinental strategic bombing. The follow-on "Type 31" bomber, first seen at the 1951 May Day parade, is mysterious, but seems to resemble a slightly smaller B-36, perhaps with turboprop engines. A supersonic bomber might follow, although some in the USAF think that these bombers are strictly an interim counter-atomic deterrent, and that the real intended Soviet atom war-fighting arm is an arsenal of intercontinental rockets, which might appear between 1956 and 1960, although "[t]he evidence supporting this is extremely scanty." So the bombers won't get through, but the buildup of  Soviet air defences means that our bombes might not get through, either. 

Done with Soviet Communism, we move on the capitalist high life; specifically, Miller High Life, the biggest news in beer today. What a great business this would have been for us to get into many years ago! It might not be too late to start, but I don't know anything about beer. In fact, the most I know about alcohol, from my days as a California co-ed, is that domestic wine is as cheap as it is sweet. And with the Cold War and smuggling already on our plate, I'm not sure we want to go in for corrupting the youth. There's a wonderful portfolio of pictures of US small town rail depots following, which is perfect for the set that buys Fortune for the pictures, although I'm not sure what it has to do with business. (It is relevant in that it has pictures of Mr. Luce's station in Westport. "Do anything you like to American business, just don't touch the New Haven line!" Follows an article about conserving on paper work, a profile of the new president of US Steel, and an actually quite interesting article about "The Battle Against Decay," meaning corrosion and rust.  

After which we close out with some articles about sales and salesmen. 

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