Sunday, March 5, 2017

Postblogging Technology, January 1947, II: Sparrows Fall.

Mrs. B. T.,
79 Av de Harmonia,

Dear Jenny:

I know that as a proper English girl you don't really let your hair down for the Lunar New Year, and in my state it's hard for me to be any wilder; but, nevertheless, happy Year of the Pig! You will have received Arcadia's traditional New Year's gift, and a little something more in memory of last summer. 

Also this! Which you may or may not think is anything like a gift. If you detect a subtle thread running through this letter, it is that people are just about fed up with air crashes this winter, and this "Instrument Landing System" thing might be just the ticket. Westinghouse seems to have the inside track, but Uncle George is not talking about anything so reasonable as increasing the family investment in that old New York Stock Exchange reliable.  Nor Bell or General Electric, either. Rather, he wants to make a major investment in a Boston-area company which has already come to our attention, but which still seems like an outside chance --Uncle George's favourite. 

So, if you do read this, you're supposed to end up thinking, "Why, you know what might stop all these air crashes? A big investment in Raytheon!"  I'm not sure how you're to come to that conclusion, so I'm spoiling it a little. 

I would say more about family matters,but I am pressed for time, and you have my recent post, anyway. 

Again, best in the new year, Your Loving Cousin,

Flight, 16 January 1947


“Air Reconnaissance” Air Chief Marshall Leigh-Mallory’s report on the campaign in Northwestern Europe emphasised the critical importance of aerial reconnaissance, including photographic reconnaissance. One problem that came up during the campaign was a lack of a low and intermediate level photographic reconnaissance type, which led the RAF to rapidly convert some Mustang IIIs for the role. That shouldn’t happen again, the paper says, and it points out that while the Americans have developed prototype specialist reconnaissance types, the RAF hasn’t, and this is bad.

Let's get this straight: The Americans set out to build a Mosquito replacement and ended up with a four-engined monster the size of a B-29, and this is a British failure? I mean, sure, if the Rainbow had managed to compete with the Stratocruiser; but it didn't, did it? On the other hand, if you're thinking about photographing Semipalatinsk without being detected. . . 

“Ground Organisation” As of going to press, it wasn’t clear how the BOAC Dakota that crashed near Lympne, Kent, on11 January, came to be there. It was flying to France, could not land atBordeaux, Le Bourget, or Cormeilles, was turned over to British air control,instructed to land at Manston, and crashed at Lympne, out of fuel. It looks as though it should have been sent on to Marseilles, so it was the ground controllers, probably the French, who were at fault –quite a strike against ground control of approaches.
“Lightweight Canard: General Details of an American Light Aircraft of Unorthodox Design” At the last meeting of the San Diego branch of the U. S. Institute of Aeronautical Science and Society of Automotive Engineers, Mr. B. F. Raynes, “tooling superintendent of the RohrAircraft Corporation” described a new, light aircraft with a two-control scheme (no vertical surfaces), boundary control, and various other dubious aeronautical advantages, including a tail-first variation in the “Midnight Oiler” configuration. Mr. Raynes proposes to solve all problems with an engine blower that controls boundary layer conditions over not only the wing, but the control surfaces and even the propeller! Having spent two pages on it, even the paper is out of patience by this point. “We shall await flight trial reports with great interest.”
This isn't even Raynes' version, which is tail-first.

American Newsletter

“Kibitizer,” “Too Much Emphasis on Performance of Commercial Aircraft: New Jet-Propelled Fighters and Bombers”

These bobby soxers and teenagers of today are all het up about “speed” and “size and “ceiling.” In my day, we cared about “reliability” and “comfort” and “punctuality, and “safety,” and a good five-cent cigar. The current slump in Atlantic air travel isn’t just a matter of Queen Elizabeth and America being there. They are taking tickets away because they run on time and are comfortable. An ad I saw in the paper the other day implied that we would all be flying above the speed of sound in arrow-shaped aircraft with rocket propulsion in a few years; while the articles talk about astrodomes flying off, depressurisation, aircraft coming to pieces in mid-air, flying into hills, and “nosing into bedrooms.” If we even bring up the “Sound Barrier,” John Q. Public will think that it is an “ectoplasmic barrier."  Instead of talking about it, we should have a coordinated advertising campaign to persuade everyone that “air travel is a normal, everyday, unexciting, but useful method of travel.” “Kibbitzer” is also grumpy about the Bell XS-1, and its announced successor, the XS-2, which will have swept wings, and the Douglas and Northrop high speed aircraft that will follow, but he grudgingly grants that they will produce useful data. 

A Bell X-2, on not exactly its best day. 

He also cannot wait to see the new Lockheed, North American, Bell and Curtiss jet fighters. North American, Glenn Martin, Consolidated and Curtiss are said to be working on four jet-engined bombers in the 45,000lb class, with the Martin one already complete but not flying due to lack of a suitable engine. It is thought that Boeing, Consolidated, Northrop and Glenn Martin might be working on big jet bombers, although in Northrop’s case it is not just speculation, as they are putting jets on the B-35. Exactly how they expect to keep the result stable without the rudder effect of the big airscrews is unclear.

Whizzing like a Sabre jet! CC BY-SA 3.0, And to answer "Kibitzer's" question, they're not.

B. J. Hurren, “Behind the Scenes: War Cabinet ‘Gen” Released in Graphic Form” Mr. Hurren reviews a picture book for the paper. Which seems about right.

Here and There

Airport staff at Ministry of Civil Aviation-run airports will be issued blue battledress uniforms, free of charge, only not, because they will cost clothing coupons.
Because exports! Also, bite it, Corelli Barnett!

These are obviously only a temporary measure, and “Will be replaced later by a more attractive uniform specially designed for M. of C.A. staff.” Mr. de Freitas’ office has issued a statement to the effect that he never cancelled his flight back to England due to weather, that he always planned to “return by the land and sea route used by men going on leave from Germany.” Sir Robert Watson-Watt has left his position as Vice-Controller of Communications Equipment at the Ministry of Aircraft Production, and as Scientific Adviser on Telecommunications under the Air Ministry. He is going into unspecified private work, but will remain available for consulting. Ljungströms Steam Turbine Company has licensed its American patents to Wright Aeronautical Corporation.
 Ljungströms steam turbine locomotive with preheater, 1925.

Evert Van Dijk, Charles Kingsford-Smith’s co-pilot in the Southern Cross transatlantic flight of 1930, has given up professional flying at the age of 53, and will continue to serve at KLM in another capacity. BTH is proud of its new cordite cartridge starter for jet turbine engines. The Air League of the British Empire is providing 10 shillings a week of pocket money for each of the four cadets who will accompany the King’s Flight to South Africa. Four more British Standards, in the drawing office equipment and material series, have been released. They deal with tracing and drawing papers. The Scientific Instruments’ Manufacturers Association, which has a membership of 88 firms employing 60,000 people, has formed an “electronics” division with fourteen members. G/C Banditt has arrived at Truscott Field, near Darwin, completing his “first solo flight to Australia since the war” after a stay in India along the way.

“Interest in Gas Turbines: Flight Handbook on Jet Propulsion Published in America and Holland” The North American edition has an introduction by General Spaatz, and is to be used as a textbook in various colleges and Air Force establishments. Six Martin Mariner PBM-5 flying boats have been allocated to the Byrd Antarctic Expedition for aerial reconnaissance and mapping.
First American dead in Antarctica.

“Cirrus Activities: Some Details of the New Series of Larger Engines” Blackburn Cirrus proposes to produce a 180hpfour-cylinder Bombardier, 265hp six-cylinder Musketeer, and “moderately supercharged” 265hp Grenadier. The Bombardier is not likely to be in production for at least eighteen months, and the other two will follow on after that.

“Britain’s Test Pilots, No. 18: R.E.M.B. Milne, AFC, AFRAeS, FRGS” Robert Milne came to England from Canada in 1916 as a trumpeter in Lord Strathcona’s Horse. He was allowed to transfer to the Royal Flying Corps, did fourteen hours of flying, more than enough to qualify as an instructor in 1917, was ‘browned off’ by instructing quite quickly, transferred to an active duty squadron, and managed to get in a month of operational flying in Italy before the Armistice. He then did a spell of naval flying from Furious, back when the launching platform was a flying-off platform erected over its 18” guns, takeoff consisted of a racecourse start off the platform, followed by a sickening plummet to within ten feet of the sea, and the aircraft were returned to the ship in pieces. (When it was done right.) With this ridiculous career in jury-rigged flying behind him, it was only natural that his next campaign was the intervention against the Bolsheviks, flying off Vindictive, followed by a five-year spell as an instructor, followed by a tour in India flying Bristol Fighters over the Northwest Frontier. He left the service in 1931, became chief test pilot for Miles (then Philips and Powis) in 1933, and joined Airspeed, after a spell back in the RAF, in 1940.  
HMS Vindictive. Originallly named for Thomas Cavendish, who took the Manila Galleon.  Note for boat enthusiasts: the Wiki article now includes a discussion that explains why the County class were so weird. 

In shorter news, Hunting Aviation has called a conference of its four Dominion subsidiaries in London on February 10th-11th, which I mention because its main activity is aerial surveying, and one of the things that the Canadian division does, is aerial timber cruising. That makes them one of my Father-in-Law’s competitors, and while he is here to see the story and fume, he might be reviewing this letter in years to come (Hi, Reggie!) and so I am reminding him. Also, TWA is beginning a new, weekend air freight service from Washington to Lydda, Palestine, via New York, Gander, Shannon, Paris, Geneva, Rome, Athens and Cairo.

Civil Aviation News

“Lack of Imagination?” The paper is upset about a recent Notice to Airmen directing that aircraft maintain as high an altitude as possible when passing overperimeter roads around airfields. I think that it is insulted?

“Aircraft Noise” The Technical Development Service of the CAA in the United States is launching an investigation into small aircraft noise around airfields in conjunction with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots’ Association. Various things will be done, such as investigating eight-bladed airscrews and perhaps banning some types at some airfields. “There is no longer any excuse for the present high level of noise.”

“The Springbok Route” A parallel BOAC/South African Airways service will start as soon as South African’s Skymasters are delivered, with flying boat service to start in the summer.  (South African winter, but I am sure you do not want to hear me rant about that  flight from Honolulu to San Francisco again.)

“American Airlines’ New Equipment” American and American Overseas have ordered 104 million dollars worth of new aircraft, including a hundred CV 24s, 50 DC-6s and twenty Rainbows for domestic service, while American Overseas is to get 8 Stratocruisers and 7 C 69s. AOA is running thirty-two trans-Atlantic passages a week, will have 39 DC-4s and 80 DC-3s in its domestic fleet.
Douglas is running while everyone else is standing still.

TCA reminds us that since the beginning of its trans-Atlantic service in July of 1943, it has had only 3 cancellations out of 1064 schedules. Macao is to have an 800 meter runway! Air France will from now on fly Constellations exclusively Paris-New York, taking the DC-4 off the route and reassigning the fleet. Airworks is to run a Dakota special service from Northolt to Samaden Airport, St. Moritz, for the convenience of visitors staying at the Suvretta House, St. Moritz. A Viking has joined the Central African Airways fleet, and a Bristol Wayfarer the Channel Islands. Douglas is advertising its five-seat “Cloudster,” a small version of the Mixmaster.
Although it helps to make sure that you're running in the right direction.

“AEAF Operations in North-West Europe,” continued. This summary does not do justice to the original despatch, although it is certainly interesting. The Air Marshal thinks that he could have stopped the German retreat from Normandy entirely were it not for the restrictive bomb lines established by the ground forces, for example, and it is interesting that the entire fighter ground control for the Normandy landings was done from two Fighter Direction Ships. Ships crammed full of radios and radars seem to have a bright military future.

“Ingenious New Calculator: The Watts B.B. Computor Described: An All-in-One Instrument for Air Navigation: ‘Stretchable’ Scale for Conversions” A nice adaptation of the fold-out slide rule for air navigators. It’s not new technology of the kind we’re looking for, but it is a cute little thing, even if it could stand some snazzing-up.

“Cheaper Light Engines: A Proposed Two-stroke Design for Low Production and Running Costs” Mesrs. Oerhli and Jandasek, of America, have proposed an opposed-piston two stroke that might be suitable for a wing installation in a clean cowling.

“Short-Span Meteor: Rate of Roll Improved: Performance Slightly Affected” Gloster has chopped off the final six feet of the wings of some Meteors, giving it a span 3ft less than a Vampire’s, at minor loss in performance.


Alliott Verdon-Roe thinks that Langstone Harbour would make a fine permanent flying boat base. The base should not be in Portsmouth, because it would attract a Russian atom bomb then. (The Russians have no objection to a major Royal Navy base, but BOAC’s flying boat terminus is just too much!) D. McClintock, of Air Contractors, advertises that his charter service moves furniture. Various persons write in favour and against the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the ATC, the RAF, and against the RAF cap, which is a “very female hat.” “Clunk” Watson, Lieutenant Commander (P.), R.C.N., (R.), R.C.N. Air Section, Dartmouth, N.S., writes to say that since they still have active duty Swordfish at Dartmouth, no-one else can call any Swordfish the “last of the many” yet.
I got nothing.

Time, 20 January 1947


Grace cast her first Democratic Presidential vote for Lyndon Johnson.
Several letter writers seem to have managed to get it through their heads that sending shoes to poor children in Europe is a good thing. I’m a little nonplussed here, because I cannot believe that famine relief is unpopular in America, and yet you’ll hear politicians (and, regrettably, often politicians of my party) carrying on as though foreign entanglements and what-have-you are just the worst thing in the world. I can see the point, after a fashion, since American involvement in Latin America, or China, or Liberia has been so obviously disastrous for all concerned. Well, yes, the disaster of our China policy is slow to be taken on board by the church ladies, but they're just a vocal minority. I think. And that’s the mystery of democratic politics. It is the loudest people who are heard, not the most reasonable. The Earl is getting ready for a world in which England can’t get the credits to buy in America, and Congress lets England starve, because it “plays well in Peoria.” (I cannot believe that the Earl even knows where Peoria is!) People say that, but how could reasonable people let things go so far?

I now return you to the opinions of actual letter writers. Raymond C. Faller, of Philadelphia, is pro-sending shoes. Russell Cranmer, of Wichita, is pro Harold Stassen. Dick Velz, a small-town radio man, has no time for Mary Howard’s advice that stations be more careful in fitting needles to grooves to get the best sound out of, for example, Bing Crosby’s radio show. He points out, as do many other correspondents, that their equipment comes with factory-made, standard needles. Keith Castelluccio, of Richmond, Indiana, writes to say that we shouldn’t judge German rocket scientists for patriotically serving their country in time of war, because “not all Germans were Nazis.” Nathan Levy, of Atlanta, writes to support the letter writer. So an Italian is pro-Nazi, a Jew, anti-Nazi. Paul St. Gaudens of Keene, N.H., thinks that we should be careful about permitting things like the giant Churchill statue, since monstrous war memorials might be difficult to take down in the future.

National Affairs

“We Will Keep the Faith” At least one of the papers I take is willing to cover General Marshall’s appointment as news. He still doesn’t warrant anything so grand as a cover story (that honour goes to Senator Taft). That covered, along with Jimmy Byrnes' illness, the paper can move on to what really matters, which is finding a way to twist Marshall’s disgust at the Chinese situation into a pro-Kuomintang position. 

General Marshall, getting set to give hard-earned American taxpayers' money away to socialistically communistic Europeans including Englishmen with their oh-so superior accents. 

The paper also points out that American policy in the “hot spots” of the global confrontation with communism is now being set largely by generals. I honestly find it hard to tell if it thinks that this is a good thing, or not. It’s also a bit of a stretch. MacArthur, Clark, and Lucius Clay are in the hot seat, but as commanders of occupying armies, reporting to the War Department, not the State Department. There are several former generals in ambassadorial appointments, but to turn this into a major point, you have to first concede that Belgium and South Africa are important embassies. Which, I don’t think so.

Because Hoovers suck.
“Micawber’s Masquerade” The 1947 budget is based on maintaining maximum employment at 58 million, allowing the nation’s productive plant to “go at full blast,” raising American national output 5% above 1946’s whopping $196 billion. On this basis, revenues will support a budget of $37.5 billion. The Army and Navy will take $11.2 billion; Interest on the $260 billion national debt is $5 billion. Tax refunds will be $2.1 billion, international affairs, including the loan guarantee, absorbs $3.5 billion; veteran’s services, $7.3; Transport, communications and national resources, 2.6, including $443 million for atomic energy; agriculture, 1.4, of which a quarter will go for supports on crop prices; social welfare, health and security, 1.7; the federal housing programme, $539 million; Miscellaneous, of which almost a third is war liquidation, $2.1 billion. The President says that if his revenue estimates are met, and Congress allows him to raise postal rates to wipe out the Post Office’s $352 million deficit, the nation will post a $202 million surplus, the first balanced budget since 1930. The issue is that Republicans want a tax cut. Holding debt service, the British loan, and the army and navy immune from harm (they originally asked for $15.6 billion), there is not much to cut. Senator Taft thinks that there is still $3—4 billion to be squeezed out, and Harold Stassen promises $5; but, as the paper points out, the general opinion is that any budget savings that can be found would be better spent reducing the national debt.

“The Age of Taft” Senator Taft is a great politician, and not at all the product of generations of nepotism. The paper stretches the cover story with short bits, reporting that Henry Wallace is now saying that he was double-crossed by the President in 1944; and that the Democrats will nominate Truman in 1948, because a party has to stand or fall on its record.

“Immortality” The paper attended Forest Lawn Cemetery’s funeral for Carrie Jacob-Bonds, the second person, after Gutzon Borglum to be granted the honour of a burial in its central court, which Forest Lawn, in all modesty, hopes will be America’s Westminster Abbey. Helping to make it a perfect Why Everyone Hates Southern California moment, the disgraced Dr. KleinSmid gave the eulogy, and a poem by Kathleen Norris was recited.
Everything about this is awful. Really, just layers and layers of awful all piled onto each other. The Wiki quotes an epitaph from Herbert Hoover! What did Ms. Jacob-Bonds ever do to deserve it?

“Vital Statistics: Less and Less” American infant mortality reached an alltime low of 39.3 deaths per thousand births in the first ten months of 1946. Now, whoever or whatever is responsible for that deserves to be buried in Forest Lawn’s central court!

“Help, Help, Help” “Young Bill Keyes,” is the only survivor of the Eastern Airlines DC-3 crash near Galax, Virginia, hauled, seat and all, from the flaming wreckage by two rescuers. [Btw] While in Antarctica, one of Byrd’s Mariners crashed, killing three of the crew and leaving the six survivors to huddle in the fuselage for shelter until rescued from the nearest open water, ten miles away.

Since after those two stories, everybody needs cheering up, the paper follows with a story about the Speaker of the Iowa state legislature, a Republican named Gus Kuester, who is a part-time politician, like the rest of the assembly, and is a farmer for the rest of the year.


Two stories at the head leave me wondering if Mr. Luce needs to see a doctor about his “communism" problem. 

“Brr!” The Russians have asked for an air base on the island of Spitsbergen, suggesting that it could be part of a regional defence system. Norway has turned them down, as it has turned previous Russian offers to take the island off their hands. This seems sinister to the paper –and everyone else, to be fair.

“Crisis of Socialism” Socialists are terrible. For example, there is a trucker’s strike in England. 

“Basic Revolution” The paper thinks that the Town and Country Planning Bill is communism in its purest form. It’s bad and terrible and will cost too much. Also, talk of nationalising the Marylebone Cricket Club is terrible, but isn’t likely to happen. In France, the next President of the Fourth Republic will probably be Vincent Auriol, and not “Serge Granier, 24, a sculptor,” who promises to abolish all government, including anarchism. In Italy, (and France), the socialists are far too communistic, under the leadership of Pietro Nenni, despite scoldings from Angelica Balabanov and Matteo Matteotti. 

“Retort” Returning Izvestia Uno correspondent, Victor Poitoratsky, wrote something nasty about New York, so Drew Middleton wrote something rude about Moscow, which the paper quotes at length, as any grownup would.

Egyptians, Sudanese (second Mahdi), Palestinians and Trans-Jordanites are excitable.

“Goodbye” The paper’s China correspondent, Fred Gruin, provides colourful local details from the scene of General Marshall’s departure from China.

Latin Americans [pdf] are excitable. Canadians are so boring that they must make up stories about headhunters in lost valleys of the Yukon, full of gold. (Nahanni: since it is, apparently, not a howling Arctic wilderness due to hot springs, why not go the whole hog and have dinosaurs and cannibals?

Business and Finance

The news is a bit sparse, which is why it leads off with a New York broker who commented that he couldn’t be on professional gambler Alvin Paris’ jury, because he was a bit of a gambling man himself. The news is that he was removed from the New York Stock Exchange for making the comment, which doesn’t seem fair. The used-car business is seeing crashing prices, which the paper celebrates (warns?) with an “End of the Boom” title. Finality is so compelling that it moves on to housing and observes the “Beginning of the End.” That is, of the housing shortage, since 1.2 million homes will be built this year by an investment of some $13 billion in new construction alone.

“Ghost on Skis” Aspen, Colorado, is a former mining ghost town that Walter P. Paepcke, founder and board chairman of Container Corporation of America, is trying to revive as a ski-ing resort.   Coloradans seem quite excited, but nothing ever happens there, anyway.
Closest I could come on Youtube to a vintage Warren Miller ski movie. 

“Strickland Plan” Bob Strickland, the man who brought contractor-owned heavy farm machinery to Georgia, has died.

In shorter news, the paper covers TWA’s settlement with Howard Hughes as a “temporary truce,” notes that the CAA cannot decide on whether more funding should go to big or small airports, and attends the first postwar power boat show in Manhattan. (Prices are up, orders are up, boats are nice.)

Science, Medicine, Education

“A Robot’s Job” All the sciences, (“even fleshy anthropology”) are full of numbers these days, and as science takes off into “ever thinner abstractions,” the calculations get more and more difficult, or something mathematical like that. Who knows? It’s all “mind-wracking.” There’s thousands of “equations” to solve, bales of figures! How can we boil all this down into useful conclusions that can go at the end of a one-page story? With a “giant calculating machine . . . which eat[s] up equations as quickly as small boys gobble peanuts.” Specifically, Harvard’s Computation Laboratory now has a Mark I electronic calculator, and is making a Mark II for the Navy. Dr. Howard Aitken, the Laboratory’s director, does not like hearing his calculators described as “mechanical brains,” but they do have “memories,” and “combines them into conclusions, as human brains try and often fail to do. Unlike most human brains, it stops when it makes a mistake.”  Returning to the point of the lab, the paper notes that the physicists, mathematicians and engineers of Harvard all want to use the Mark I for various things, and economist Wassily W. Leontif even wants to use it for economic planning.
The idea behind the caption is that computers an't appreciate pretty girls, of course. What did you think it was trying to get across?

“Tempest in the Cells” Drs. Sol Spiegelman and Martin D. Kamen of Washington University, are in trouble this week for “disputing the Divine right of Genes.” It’s all a bit confusing, but they think that the “genes” in a cell, which I was brought up to think of as sort-of a blueprint-plus-architect, are  not solely responsible for a cell’s chemical makeup. There are also “plasmagenes.” They believe that they have already controlled the growth of yeast cells by “regulating competition among plasmagenes,” and think that this breakthrough might lead towards fresh insights in curing cancer.
Although Kamen is first alphabetically, the first rule of mid-century science still holds true: The one with the biggest pipe is the smartest scientician. 

“Ferrets in Oilfields” Dr. Claude E.ZoBell is back to his ideas about bacteria and oil wells. He is almost ready to start infecting exhausted oilsands to extract the residual oil.

“Search for a Virus” Hubert S. Loring and C. E. Schwerdt, just up the road at Stanford, are on the trail of the elusive infantile paralysis virus. They believe they have found it, by centrifuging frozen samples. In New York, physiotherapising Doctor George Deaver is getting good results with older patients.

“No Place to Go” At least 60% of doctors (the paper says) do not treat alcoholics in any shape or form.  A A committee of the New York Academy of Medicine gave them a scolding for it last week, recommending that the state form long-term alcoholics colonies.

“Boost” New York has just raised teacher’s pay to a minimum of $2000/year, which means a whopping 67% boost at the bottom, and is still below California’s $2400/year.
Story title: "Why Teachers Quit" 

“The Gospel of Work” The paper celebrates the work of Sir Evelyn Ruggles-Brise, creator of the English borstal system. In not entirely unrelated news, Admiral Holloway of the Navy’s Bureau of Personnel has introduced a kind of naval officer reserve training programme in American colleges, so that Annapolis boys can finally have people to look down on who aren’t Marines. (It’s no fun being cutting to Marines, because they don’t notice.)

Press, Radio, Art

A full-page story on how JamesBarrett (“Scotty”) Reston broke the Marshall story; another story about Ep Hoyt of the Denver Post, since it has been months since the paper fluffed him up; and one about Sir Wilmott Harsant Lewis, the retiring Washington correspondent of the Times of London. Fred Robbins, the impossibly handsome New Yorkdisc jockey, has been promoted to the national radio network, because he knows a lot about jazz, and because he scats like a real hepcat.
I just learned that there was a television show called "Coke Time with Eddie Fisher."

The paper goes to Paris and looks at paintings of nude ladies and ladies with strange noses, in case there are some young French painters who are good as the old ones, and whether there is a new school of painters with Important Ideas. (There are: for example, Gustave Singier, Andre Fougeron, Marcel Vertes, and they are “Surnaturalists.”) Glad that was cleared up, and even gladder that it gave the paper an excuse to print a “tasteful” female nude. In America, a painter named John Marin is much more wholesome. 
Vertes is better known as a "costume designer," but that seems to sell him short. This is from HouseofBamboo's page on Pinterest.


Edmund Wilson is to be an honoraryeditor of somethingSinclair Lewis is in Hollywood writing a movie, Sax Rohmer is in New York to spend the money he has earned by making up stories about Great-Uncle.
Sax Rohmer, not Fu Manchu

 Richard Wright is coming back to America for a visit before going back to Europe, which is much nicer, socially. Hedy Lamar is trying to break her contract so that she can have a baby, Ingrid Bergman is enigmatic, Danish princesses are cute,Donald R. Richberg warned the nation that “unless labour is put in its place,” there would be a civil war. Art Mooney thinks that wild dancing to hot music is ruining the shapes of American girls “Piano legs, wide bottoms, thick waists and hefty bosoms” are on the way! Maria Romana de Gasperi thinks that American girls are nice, but shouldn’t try to dress up, while Adolphe Menjou offers advice on how men should dress. (He adores suspenders, and so do I!) Russel McKinley Crouse has had a baby, Jascha Heifetz and Ely Culbertson have married, and Eva Tanguay has died. So have some politicians: Anatole de Monzie, Lynn Joseph Frazier, and Navajo Chief Chee Dodge, who is sort of a politician. Charles Sumner Woolworth is also dead, but deserves his own sentence so that I can joke about a lay-away.

The New Pictures

This is the week of the annual movie awards, which the paper thinks should be cancelled, because all of this year’s movies were mediocre. Really mediocre movies come out this week, and poor Ann Bythe and Sonny Tufts have to do their best with Swell Guy, which is apparently an excellent portrait of a neurotic psychopath.


A review of a “stagey” war novel by William Wister, Command Decision which is actually a thinly veiled account of Ira Eaker's relief, is followed by a long review of a book about Henry Adams, who was something on about books or philosophy or science, or, anyway, something terribly worthy. Like a bracket, the back pages are closed with a juicy novel about the “Nazis last stand,” George Millar’s My Past Was an Evil River. There is also a true life novel, Dulcimer Street, and a book about great explorers by Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who points out that Antarctica is the only continent that was actually discovered by its discoverers.
I'm actually not sure that the novel and the movie have anything to do with each other,but whatever. 

Flight, 23 January 1947


“International Aeradio” The three British carriers are founding “International Aeradio” to install and operate an international system of radio aids to navigation.

“Looking Ahead” The Ministry of Civil Aviation has announced that it will “make every effort” to ensure that all essential air navigation facilities are installed at all major airports at home, and, so far as was possible, overseas, by next winter. Heathrow will have eight different systems, which may seem extravagant, but is necessary as there has been no standardisation yet. Lord Nathan’s announcement also extended to several new services and regulatory relief for private civil aviation.

“A Military Classic” Air MarshalHarris has a book out. He thinks that the atom bomb has made the Army and Navy obsolete. Although, in fairness, he already thought they were obsolete.

“Light Aircraft” The Light Aircraft Committee has been very quiet since it was struck, but now is holding a demonstration at White Waltham.

“Light-Plane Parade: An Interesting Informal Meeting of Many Aircraft Types” The Light Aircraft Committee meet at White Waltham was very interesting.

In shorter news, Major H. R. Kilner, of Vickers-Armstrong, announced on 17 January that the de-icing problems that have resulted in the Viking being withdrawn from European services will be overcome soon. The problem has been traced to buildup on the elevators, and chances are that the solution will involved carrying more de-icing fluid instead of fuel, and so cutting aircraft range. F. A. de V. Robertson the paper’s long term military correspondent, died in Paris on the 14th. He sounds as though he was a wonderful man in person, and that is probably as much as I should say today. The Wright R-3350 engines on TWA’s Constellations are now equipped with fuel injection.

Here and There

Yet another Paris-London Meteor speed record, this one 20 minutes, 11 seconds, and set by Sqdn Ldr. W. A. Waterton. Metrovick has built a 2500hp gas turbine locomotive for thePaddington and West Country, Fishbourne, and Birkenhead service. Commander J.M. Keene-Miller is the new chief of Channel Islands Airways. Mr. Eric McIllree, an Australian businessman, has bought 35 Anson aircraft there, and will be flying them to England for sale. The first three are coming out in February. One will be flown by Mcllree, and two by ex-RAAF pilots who will be paid £500 for the service. “An old pal of Franco’s” was able to secure the flight of a Percival Proctor carrying a vital load of streptomycin from London to Paris in a mere 2hr 15 minutes in order to treat his child’s meningitis. The US Navy is expected to announce its own experimental supersonic aircraft, the Douglas“Skystreak,” although it will be some time before it makes an attempt on the sound barrier.  The fall-off in American air bookings has not been matched in Europe, where services continue to expand. United Airlines is conducting special training sessions ahead of the arrival of their first DC-6s. Group Captain Banditt has arrived in his native Queensland.
Now that the Navy has its own supersonic test plane, shouldn't the Marines and the Coast Guard look into their own X-planes?

“Soviet Aircraft Engines: Details of Representative Operational Types” Russian piston aircraft engines are derivatives of former designs, sometimes well-developed, but perhaps not that well-finished.
There's another page to the table, but if anyone's really interested, it's all online. 

“Derwent V –100-Hour Test” Rolls-Royce recently ran a Derwent on the bench for one hundred hours to test new turbine blade materials and the effects of running on “neat” fuel (without added lubricants). The result was to show a reduction in oil consumption from 5—5 gallons/hour at cruising thrust to 2.25 pints, the equivalent of a thousandth of an ounce of oil an hour. There were also tests of heating, hot and cold starts, and turbine overspeeds. Firms like Wright that are eager to get into the turbine business will have to work very hard to catch up with Rolls Royce! As for a company like Packard, which is just jumping in now, we shall have to see. In shorter news, Westland has licensed the Sikorsky helicopter designs in England, and British South American Airways has taken over British West Indies in a share swap.

"An expendable jet turbine giving 4000lb thrust and weighing no more than 1000lbs." I wonder if it would be more interesting to know what Wright Field wanted to use it for.

“Helicopter Operation: some Problems and Their Effect on design Discussed: The Importance of Reducing Structure Weight, a Precis of a Lecture Given by Wing Commander Reginald Brie to the Helicopter Association” This is another Cierva veteran giving the “Autogiros make better helicopters than helicopters” talk. The major concern is that helicopters cannot land safely without power due to the weight loading on the disc (the amount of weight dragging the plane down against the residual inertia of the spinning helicopter blades), which makes it vital to reduce the structure weight. He suggests getting rid of the conventional undercarriage in favour of rubber pontoons, various kinds of tackle to help helicopters land on ships, and twin motors for safety, since transport helicopters will probably operate city-centre-to-city-centre. 

A pictorial of the “Fairey Firefly Operational Trainer” follows, along with an explanation as to why it is vital to call it an “operational trainer.” (It is used to teach navigation, and not just to train Firefly pilots.)

“Indicator” Discusses Topics of the Day “Tomorrow is Not Another Day: Some Implications of Really High-speed Air Travel: Structure and Passenger Loadings: End of Guess and God Technique” First, fast flying means terrifying turbulence. The high speed Meteors experienced accelerations on the order of 6Gs flying through clear air on their practice runs. No-one wants to fly passengers through the kind of turbulence “Indicator” has experienced at 450mph, while at speeds over 500mph, even the lightest off-shore wind has “quite shattering” effects. The obvious solution to this is to fly very high, probably at 36,000ft or so, and perhaps not so fast, as 500mph corresponds to Mach 0.75 at that altitude, which is awfully fast from the structural design point of view. High speed aircraft are likely to have a short endurance, as their speed can only be high for part of the trip. On the bright side, a five hour flight across the Atlantic is a much smaller challenge to the weather forecaster. Meanwhile, the “long hairs” will have four to five years to improve navigational and approach facilities to meet the new speeds, as systems good enough for 150mph are already obsolete for modern aircraft. An error in a millibar of correction, or between inner and outer boundary marker can lead to disaster at these speeds. Most recent accidents have been “navigational,” or simple mistakes in near impossible conditions. “Indicator” likes FIDO, GCA, and imagines a simple-to-use “fog-piercing vision.”
Britain's worst mid-air collision, next year, will be caused by a millibar error in pressure readings. 

“The Wren ‘Goldcrest:” Ultra-light Single-seat with Flat-four Two-Stroke Engine: A Newcomer to Tempt the Owner-Pilot” Yet small civil aircraft. And by small, I mean it looks like a motorcycle, and has a motorcycle engine.
Albeit a very interesting motorcycle engine.

Civil Aviation News

“Spread of Disease by Air Travel: An International Organisation Discussed” Writing in the British Medical Journal, Doctor G. M. Findlay, late consulting physician to the British West African Command, points out the risks and suggests an international organisation, to be placed under the World Health Organisation and in close association with PICAO. It would in charge of sanitary conditions at all airports, the disinsectification of all aircraft, and to control various vaccination efforts. In shorter news, BOAC has reintroduced airradiograms, which allow passengers to send messages up to 15 words long anywhere in the world. In shorter news, PICAO is still talking about standardising navigational aids, American Overseas Airlines Stratocruisers will have radar. The inquest into the British European Airways Dakota accident on 7 August has concluded that it resulted from the pilot’s unfamiliarity with the Radio Range equipment at Oslo airport, and inadequate equipment on board plane, which led the pilot to begin his approach too  early. Two Avro XIX’s (Ansons) are going to the Belgian C.F.L Company in Congo for aerial survey and miner transport work.

“Air Operations in Greece: Air Vice-Marshal D’Albiac’s Despatch on a Gallant Campaign” The English beat up the Italians, and were then beat up by the Germans. Air Vice-Marshal d’Albiac wanted to bomb behind the lines, the Greeks wanted him to directly support their troops. So, pretty much every air campaign of the first half of the war.

“’Bomber’ Harris Tells His Story: A Personalised Account of Bomber Command’s Offensive” Air Chief Marshal Harris was clearly the right choice for the job, and he is right about everything!


O. Poulsen, late of the RAF, thinks that bureaucracy is hindering former RAF men who want to fly. J. Wychman, of the Netherlands, wishes that the paper would use the Metric system of measurement as well as the Imperial. J. S. Stoneman, chief statistician of British European Airways, disagrees with Mr. Blondin about how best to measure fatality rates, and uses statistics to show that British European Airways is safe. In fact, he implies that it is safer than taking the train. (Allowing that you would have to take the train twenty times over to go as far as you do on a single flight.) Ex-Fighter Boy points out that just having a “B” license is no guarantee of a flying job on a multi-engine type. J. Cecil Rice, of the Leicestershire Gilding Club, points out that gliding is not being as BUNGLED as all that.

Time,  27 January 1947


J. J. Burnside, of Lewiston, Montana, is hoping for a MacArthur/Eisenhower ticket in 1948. Merold Westphal[sad face emoji -pdf], of the Kendall Community Presbyterian Church of Portland, Oregon, is appalled by all the immorality that’s about, these days. Several writers agree with the English exchange teacher who was appalled by American education. There is a more even division of opinion on Jimmy Byrnes being Man of the Year. Edgar Brookes writes to remind Americans thinking of going on vacation in Haiti that they can only catch yaws in small, rural areas that they would never visit, anyway. Several correspondents are upset at the “Justice for Germany” call raised by “former Members of the Reichstag.” The publisher writes that he was impressed by all the bright young things who turned out to hear Senator Arthur Vandenberg talk about “the World” in Cleveland.  (It was the subject of an entire insert in last week’s paper that I decided not to trouble you with.

“Changed Direction” The paper reads tea leaves and concludes that price increases and wage demands are moderating together in Detroit.

“Put Up or Shut Up” Is John Foster Dulles’ prescription for dealing with Soviet Communist Doctrines and communism-friendly nationalism.

“Better Late” General Marshall’s flight from Honolulu was grounded in St. Louis by weather, making him late for his own swearing-in. In other cold-related news, there is talk of the United States buying Greenland from Denmark to be another bastion of its Arctic defence. The paper broadly implies that it can be seized to settled Denmark’s $70 million debt to the United States. The Russians, predictably, are suggesting that there is something imperialistic about this.
Yes, that is what Time says. 

“Yond Cassius” The President received various visitors this week, among them, Gene Tunney, who thought that the President was in fighting shape, and then got confused quoting Shakespeare. Opinions differ on whether the President is a contender in 1948, or a palooka to take the fall.

“Congress’ Week” With a new, mainly conservative leadership, House Committees set out to find ways of actually taking the promised savings out of the budget, while Democrats settled into the role of opposition with “surprising zest.” In one, amazing turn, the President was blamed for Congress’s slow start, because he failed to put a full legislative programme before it in the State of the Union Address.

Representative Shafer, the Communist Party, the American Veterans Committee, William Tatem Tilden II, Georgians and Oklahomans (Roy Turner) are excitable.

“The Enemy” A Mine explosion in the Nottingham Colliery of Plymouth, Pennsylvania, killed fifteen men last week, leaving thirteen widows and 31 children.

“Cure for Crashes?” “The only perfectly safe airplane is one on the ground,” the paper leads off, pointing out that this year saw the American industry have its best safety record in history, 1.24 passengers killed per 100 million passenger-miles flown. But that doesn’t impress anyone as much as the 74 men, women and children killed in air crashes in the last four months.

Called to account by the Senate Commerce Committee, Civil Aeronautics Administration chairman James M. Landis pointed out that they asked for $90 million to improve passenger safety last year, got $64 million. This year’s budget has already been pared down from 113 million to 92.7. The CAA has had to close 55 air communications stations and three airport control towers for lack of funds this year. The CAA agrees with Flight: the main problem is  landing in poor visibility conditions. Everyone is hearing about GCA, which is no longer secret, nor experimental, but requires round-the-clock work by crews of five, far too expensive for the CAA, and not foolproof, as shown by the recent Navy crash at Oakland. New equipment, which has cut the crew to two, makes GCA practical “as a check to other landing methods,” and it has ordered experimental units for Washington, Chicago and LaGuardia; but the system it is betting on is the Instrument Landing System.  And, hopefully, some relief from the current, desperate competition between airlines that might be leading to corners being cut.
Another postwar Transport Command crash.

“Peace on the Potomac” A plan for amalgamating the Army and Navy into a common Department of Defence has been reached. There will also be an independent air force, making three Secretaries under a Secretary of National Defence. The Navy gets to keep the maritime reconnaissance air force, which is good news for the family, if a bit illogical; and the Marines get their own private air force, for obvious, logical reasons thatI do not even have to explain to you.


“Warm Up” Kurt Schumacher, the German Socialist leader, gave a talk in Munich the other day. He’s a socialist, so it was awful, although not as awful as it could have been, because the Russians didn’t like it.
This is for Henry Luce.

“Freshman” United Nations delegateslike good Greek. Further bulletins as events warrant. 
I was hoping that Warren Austin's hapless maiden speech to the General Assembly had made a stir, but, apparently, he obliterated it with subsequent stupid comments. 

Poles and French are excitable. Latins are always excitable.

“Menace of the Seas” A Greek transport, the Chimara, was sunk by a floating mine off the Attic coast of Greece this week, with four dead out of 87 crew and 548 passengers.
It's actually the Heimara. Details, details.

“Operation Eatables” “Last week the Labour Government wiggled out from  under its worst labour scare yet.” The truckers’ trike nearly starved Londoners, who were down to half-rations as the wildcat strike and sympathy strikes continued. Then there was a settlement, and no violence on the picket lines as soldiers “blacklegged” it. Disappointing all around, but there’s still hope that a wave of imitation wildcat strikes will bring England’s economy down, and it will be the Socialists’ fault.

“Pieces of Hate” Speaking of things falling apart, the paper puts an Indian politician on the front cover as it discusses he intractable problem of ethnic, regional, and political division within India.

“A View of Russia” The paper puts a “view of Russia” in a box. The view is that the Russians have an awful government, but are nice people at heart, so if they are treated with “friendly firmness,” they will eventually come around. Intransigent, non-provocative, friendly, patient, understanding firmness. In this new spirit of non-provocative friendliness, it goes on to make fun of Soviet critics’ reaction to Admiral Nakhimov, a recent movie that was probably intended to be read politically.

“UNRRA’s Sorrow” the UNRRA (or Unrra in The Economist) has a programmeworking on the Yellow River dike defences. The Communists hate it, because they are awful.


“Shot in the Arm” Marriner Eccles said this week that the war against inflation has been won, and it is time for a “shot in the arm” against deflation in a falling market. (In a story below, the paper covers the recent and rapid reduction in prices, beginning with Ford cars, but extending to commodities and now meat.)

“Settle out of Court?” The scale of the portal-to-portal suits, which have rapidly bloomed into claims on billions in back wages, seems to have scared the labour movement, which is now looking to settle out of court before Congress acts.

Leo Corrigan has bought the FederalDefence Homes Corporation, responsible for Fairlington and McLean  Gardens in Washington and a much smaller development in Bremerton, Washington.

In news that may or may not come to anything, there is movement on the railrwayair front, and Joe Moran, of MoranCorporation is trying to get Government support to move into the European tugboat business.
Science, Medicine

“Diggers” The paper takes a tour of the world to profile an assortment of archaeologists working in Egypt and Palestine, where an American has found a royal servant’s tomb, and Father Vaux has traced Jerusalem’s history back to 4000AD. In the Soviet Union, an archaeological dig ahead of a new hydroelectric dam in Azerbaijan has discovered “1500 objects.” The cliché is that archaeologists excavate with brushes, but this excavation apparently involves Red Army tanks doubling as bulldozers, which doesn’t sound very scientific! Also, Pavel Schulze is working on a “Neapolis of the Scythians,” discovered in the Crimea.  In England, a prehistoric “punt” boat has been found in a mudbank in the mouth of the Humber river, and at Ponape in the South Seas, Americans are the latest to investigate the enigmatic ruins of “Nanmatol.”

Not only does the article not speculate about lost White tribes, it even explicitly compares Nan Madol to the smaller and less impressive islands built off the coast of New Guinea by modern Melanesians. Where it doesn't involve communism or Chiang, Time is still capable of being surprisingly liberal.

“Last Resort” The paper covers Dr. Lester Samuel’s drastic solution to chronic hiccups –cutting the  phrenic nerve. Last time the story came up, I think it was being used to treat ulcers?

“Pestilence Stoppers” It is now safe to say that the end of World War II won’t lead to a global epidemic of any kind, even flu. The UNRRA steps forward to take credit on the strength of 7.5 million pounds of DDT powder, 550 million units of penicillin, on million pounds of sulfa drugs, six million cc of diphtheria toxoid, 5.67 million units of antitoxin.

“Bounding Main” The Gripsholm, with 1,248 passengers, ran into the worst of Atlantic weather on its way to New York last week, spending elven stormy days at sea, in which ship’s physician Hans Ribbling dispensed 10,000 seasickness pills. These wonders of modern medicine, made of a mix of scopolamine and a mild barbiturate, don’t really seasickness so much as prevent it. Science isn’t sure why.

Press, Art

Louis Adamic has lost a libel case he defended against Winston Churchill for reprinting a Drew Pearson claim that England’s Greece policy was motivated by Churchill's private interest in the Hambro Bank of London. Mrs. Ogden Reid has inherited controls of the New York Herald Tribune.

“Shadows on the Rock” Australia House put on a show of Aboriginal art, copies of paintings found in the Kimberley district of northwest Australia, this week. They might be the oldest paintings in the world, although they are redaubed each year, so I can’t see how they could possibly say that.
Also no reference to lost white tribes, which was apparently a thing in Australia for a while. 

“Millennium Regained” Boston Archaeologist Thomas Whittemore was permitted by the Turkish government to excavate under the whitewash of St. Sophia’s in Istanbul, and found that the Muslim conquerors had only concealed the extraordinary mosaics underneath.


Jacob Epstein can’t get his best sculpture into the Tate Gallery, Alfred Cortot can’t go back to making music, Eleanor Roosevelt can’t drive any more, Randolph Churchill has paid $105 in speeding fines already this year in America. Speaking of drunken boors, LiamO’Flaherty and James Thurber both think that the world would be a better place without women, and Louis Untermeyer thinks that they are just not funny, and so can’t be comedic writers. Diana Barrymore has married, and Elizabeth Brooke (“PrincessPearl”) has divorced, along with Lord Ashley, heir to the Earldom of Shaftesbury. Lieutenant-General Sultan has died.
In his defence, James Thurber seems to be joking. Untermeyer definitely isn't.

The New Pictures

Last week I made fun of a movie for being released during awards season. It stood to reason that it was a weak offering, I thought. Well, this week, here comes Lady in the Lake, a Raymond Chandler novel turned into a movie with Robert Montgomery and Audrey Totter. But the reason for the “B movie” cast is that it was apparently shot in a revolutionary style. I guess the studio is expecting it to bomb, but be a worthy bomb? ThePerfect Marriage is an Anglo-American farce with David Niven and Loretta Young. Bedelia is a failed “noir” movie with no suspense. Stone Flower is an odd fable of a Russian movie, that will be compelling to younger audiences.


Sir Samuel Hoare’s memoir of his ambassadorship to Spain is out. H. G. Wells described him as “a blinkered, pleasant, gossipy, gullible snob,” but it was Hoare who was the smart one, and Franco who was the “complacent dictator.” James Cain has a reputation of writing novels about awful people doing awful things, but his new novel, The Butterfly is a terrible disappointment on the awfulness front. The paper doesn’t like Holger Cahill’s Look South to the Polar Star, a thriller set in wartime China, whose title recalls the flatterer’s favourite nickname for Chiang. I might have to read this! (If the paper doesn’t like it, I shall have to at least buy it.) Booth Tarkington, who writes worthy novels, has a new worthy novel out, even though he’s dead.

Flight,  30 January 1947

“The Case for the Flying-boat” Flight is mad for the flying-boat, and correctly suspects that no-one else is, which makes its tone on the subject a little frantic, although not quite as lunatic as that zeppelin booster.

“Three Crashes” Three recent Dakota crashes: an engine failure at Croydon during takeoff; probably an inaccurate petrol gauge reading at Stowting; and elevator trouble at Gastrup, perhaps due to an gust lock being left on, do not give much support to the idea that the allowable takeoff weight of the Dakota should be reduced.
Grace Moore in performance. Dead along with he thanks to a member of the ground crew forgetting to remove a gust lock, the Crown Prince of Sweden. Note that this is a completely fatuous argument, because it neglects the military and freighting crashes, which continued on a weekly basis for the rest of 1947.

Ambassadorial Ingenuity: Interesting Features of the Airspeed AS-57: Aerodynamic Cleanliness Without loss of Accessibility: Designing to an Ideal” Flight is very taken with the Ambassador, even though it hasn’t even flown yet. It is the first English airliner with a Bristol Centaurus motor, in a nice power egg layout, a steerable nosewheel, reversible airscrews, thermal de-icing with hot gas ducted through the double walled skin, and, in general, a whole host of standard technologies that were utopian fantasies when I started reading this paper in 1941.

“Londonderry House: Royal Aero Club’s New Quarters in Park Lane: Luxurious Annexe for Associate Members” It turns out that there are plenty of private flyers in England, that they are flying, and that when they come to London, they can stay at a very nice club. Lord Londonderry has kept the top floor as his town flat, the ballroom has a newly cleaned and polished floor, and negotiations with the GPO for telephone service are ongoing. However, the Ministry of Works still won’t let three rooms be used.

Here and There

The paper congratulates 17 year-old apprentice steward, Arthur J. Hagan, for his courage during the Stowting crash.

Rainmakers” The RAAF and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research may or may not be carrying out rain-making experiments near Sydney.

In shorter news, there is now a charter airline service Prestwick-Portugal, allowing Scottish tourists fourteen days in the Portuguese sun. The Flying Doctor service now covers half of Australia, Flight continues to be upset at all the coverage that air accidents and near-accidents are getting in the press. KLM is beginning a civil service to the East Indies, postal rates are being reduced, another Turkish airline has started, TWA pilots have been granted an increase in pay by an arbitrator, and Sir Claude Gibbs says that the future of the gas turbine in English industry will be secured as soon as they start burning English coal instead of foreign petrol.

“Studying Safety” Base visits under the Anglo-American Officer Exchange  Plan are common, but Colonel John Persons and Captain W. R. Saunders of the USAAF are at RAF Odiham to study safety, and that’s new. Disappointingly, it hasn’t to do with radios and radars in the air and on the ground. Odiham is a Vampire squadron base, and it turns out that jet fighters have a reputation for being less safe than airscrew machines, for aerodynamic and structural reasons. It is very hard to escape the plane under heavy “gs.” The P-80 has a particular problem, in that its power-boosted ailerons mean that the pilot must bail out if the electrics fail, while Vampires are apparently being lost when the pilot’s seat collapses under g stress! In shorter news, A. W. Martyn, one of the founders of Gloster Aircraft, has died at 76 in a London nursing home. This is particularly interesting to me because it shows that founders of aircraft builders are now old enough to die peacefully of old age, and because his biography notes that after retiring from Gloster in 1927 (that might be when Hawker Siddeley took it over, but I don’t have that number off the top of my head, and don’t care to take a trip to the university library to confirm it), he became a director of Dowty Equipment a year before it went public. Dowty has grown very quickly into a major player in the aviation accessory business, and the names of its early directors is obviously quite interesting –although, again, I could just go look them up.

“Symbol of Power” As war’s end rolls back the veils of secrecy, we get a look at all the silly ways that the big war manufacturers wasted the public’s money on unlikely projects. I’ve been very critical of Northrop’s various engine projects, so it is only fair to note that this week, we hear that Rolls-Royce was doing it, too. Not content to cancel a whole series of engine projects in 1940, it began new ones in the mid war years, with similar results. In this case, it was a massive, 24 cylinder,sleeve-valve 3500hp “H” engine. I suppose that it was sold to the directors as a potential competitor to the Sabre, if it took off, and, just to ensure that it didn’t, the lab boys decided to put a two-stage, two-speed supercharger, fuel injection and reduction gearing for an eight-blade Rotol, contra-rotating airscrew into it. 

“Echoes of White Waltham” Even more pictures from the Light Aircraft Committee meet at White Waltham on 25 January.

“His Majesty’s Vikings: King’s Flight Aircraft to be Used by Royal Family in South Africa” The Vikings to be used to ferry the Royal Family around South Africa will have very posh interiors and very senior crews. Radio equipment will include Command R/T; a VHF TR 1430 with high frequency air-to-ground-control communication; an MHF Marconi 1154/55 for low frequency air-to-ground communications; a radio compass; a radio altimeter; a GEE Mk II; Loran; a Rebecca Mk III to provide a homing beam. This (along with hotelling) requires the addition of two 6kw generators. So it is a standard 21 seat Viking with about half the passenger capacity due to the furniture and all the electrics. I do not see what reason there would be to leave any of this equipment off the new BOAC Stratocruisers, but as these Vikings show, smaller airliners are still being built without the weight allowance and generating capacity to use the full range of available electronic navigation aids. Plenty of room for the industry to grow!
It's time for an ad! Also, it fits the theme because things are getting better? 

In shorter news, the Bristol Theseus has passed a 127 hour type test, KLM has opened up a new engine maintenance workshop at Schiphol, and South Africa is working on expanding its internal routes.

American Newsletter

“Kibitizer,” “Outstanding Flights in 1946; Timing Troubles at Record Attempt; Comparative British Efforts” The USAAF’s New Years list of outstanding flights in 1946 include the American speed record set by an XP-84; the first flight of the Republic XF-12; the first flight of the Douglas XB-43; the development of the Northrop “flying ram”; Development of the Consolidated-Vultee B-13, or flying jeep; the first flight of the XB-36; the development of the General Electric and Allison J-35 jet engines; development of the world’s largest reciprocating engine; and the first flight of the Bell XS-1. It is thought that the XP-84 had made enough runs at speed to qualify for the world speed record, but that the timing cameras failed, so that the flight had to settle for the American record. The XF-12 continues to be exciting, but the XB-43 has disappeared from the horizon due to the prototype crashing. No-one is really clear what the “flying ram” is or how it qualifies, although Northrop ran a flying wing scale model test aircraft for a few years, and even less is known of the Consolidated-Vultee L-13 and why it might belong on this list. Putting the General Electric and Westinghouse engines on the list reflects American sensititivity about allegedly being two years behind the English in jet development. “Kibitzer” then goes on to list all the things that would go on an equivalent English list, showing that it would be much more impressive than the American one.
The Air Force probably means the L-13, and not the B-13 basic trainer. It's still not clear why it is an outstanding flight,

Belfair in the Air” The subtitle says that M. E. O. Tips, of Belgian Fairey, has revived the two-seat sporting type with the Belfair. This is part Avions Fairey advertising, part nostalgia for the old Tipsy, which I remember as a fun and exciting plane (although not nearly as exciting as landing a Lysander!) in in the days when we all flew without a care in the world.

Civil Aviation News

“Future Prospects” The paper sent a correspondent to the Portsmouth branch of the R.Ae.S to cover a very depressing session in which important people like Frederick Handley Page, N. E. Rowe, and W. Tye, head surveyor of the Air Registration Board, agreed that there wasn’t much to look forward to in English civil aviation in the next five years except more crashes, since while safety was very important, no-one could think of a way of improving it quickly, as it was due to all sorts of unfixable factors, such as the shortage of good aircrew. After that, it was uncertain, since it was so hard to forecast what types might be successful.

In shorter news, Lord Londonderry is organising a charter company in Ulster, Huntings Aerosurveys is sending an expedition to the Persian Gulf, the South Pacific Council met to talk about routes between Australia, New Zealand and Fiji; Ethiopia is buying planes in Sweden; and BOAC is buying more equipment for its synthetic training establishment in Montreal for Atlantic R/T operators. KLM is surveying in the West Indies, there are more new routes, and Pan-American wants us to know that it, too, is completing almost all of its planned schedules. (It is 93% for 1946, including the Constellation grounding.)


“Sotonian” thinks that the beginningof the V-1 bombardment should be pushed back a month before D-Day, because he has heard of various “sighting shots.”
A V-1 conspiracy theory! Nothing's sadder than  a forgotten conspiracy theory.

 “474” replies to his critics on the subject of .  . . something. Pilots’ licenses? Peter Hill and O. Grugeon both quote old poems from a hundred years ago that tend to show that people used to be worried about railway safety in the same way that they worry about air safety now. Splendid! Everyone in the family has my permission to book flights for anywhere in the world on or after 29 January, 2047!

. . . And, much to my disappointment, I am at the end of the paper without reading a single technical article about how the flying boat really is the coming thing.


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