AIRCRAF T ENGINEERING December , 1932 Mrs . Mollison's Remarkable Feat of Endurance Described, wit h Notes on the Aeroplane HATEVE R ma y be though t of th e practical utilit y of attempting to fly from one point Won the earth's surface to another with the minimu m numbe r of stops , th e minimu m amoun t of sleep, and in the minimum time, such performances a s tha t of Mrs. J . A. Mollison ca n arouse nothin g bu t admiratio n as feats of endurance, on the part of bot h pilot and machine. Th e amoun t of fatigue the frame of a young woma n can endur e is a s meet for amazemen t as the har d conditions, to sa y nothing of the overloading, wit h which engine an d aeroplane can pu t up . Th e Flight To recapitulate briefly the main features of the outwar d flight—the projected return journey has no t yet been begun—Mrs. Mollison left Lympne Aerodrome on the South Coast of England at 6.37 a.m. on November 14 in a Puss Moth fitted wit h the new 130 h.p . Gipsy Major engine, fully described in th e las t issue of AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING. I n this respect, and almost in this respect alone, she noticed the oil pressure dropping and therefore Mrs. Mollison's aeroplane differed from that in returned , to land there—1,150 miles from Duala— which he r husband successfully crossed th e Atlantic, a t 7.25 a.m. on November 17. The trouble was his aeroplane being powered b y a 120 h.p . Gipsy II I found to be due to a clogged filter which she was engine. The first stop was a t Barcelona, where an abl e to put right herself, though without a box hou r was spent in refuelling, the flight being then spanner . Benguela was left 9 hours later, at continued to Oran in North Africa, where she 4.35 p.m., and she landed at Mossamedes, 200 landed at 7.30 p.m., having covered approximately miles from Benguela, a t 5.20 p.m. on November 17. 1,100 miles in 13 hours. After a stop and rest of On the final stage of 1,300 miles from Mossamedes 4 hours she left Oran a t 11.30 p.m . and , flying across t o Cape Town she again flew through the night and th e Desert of Sahara all throug h the night, landed a t lande d a t Cape Town a t 3.31 p.m. on November 18. Gao on the River Niger, in French Sudan, at noon Th e tota l time taken to cover the 6,220 miles from on November 15, after a flight of 1,370 miles in Lympn e to Cape Town was 4 days 6 hours, 54 13½ hours. After a short stop for refuelling she minutes , which is 10 hours 28 minutes shorter than restarted , but after flying for 1½ hour s noticed a th e previous "record " set up by Mrs. Mollison's shortag e of fuel and returned to Gao, where she husban d in March this year. found that only 16 gallons instead of 42 gallons, Th e average speed made good was 61 m.p.h., and ha d been pu t in th e tanks . She remained a t Gao till a n average of 1,468 miles was covered in each 24 6 a.m. on November 16, when she took off and flew hours , as compared with 1,330 by Mr. J . A. Mollison to Duala, on th e coas t of th e Cameroons, 1,070 miles ove r the same route. away . There she remained for 2 hours, refuelling, an d then left again intending to fly direct to Th e Machine Mossamedes along the coast. Shortly after passing over Benguela, in Portuguese West Africa, however, Th e "Desert Cloud" used was an ordinary standar d De Havilland Puss Moth with the two rea r seats in th e cabin removed, the space thu s made availabl e being occupied by two extra petrol tanks, th e wheel brakes being also dispensed with. The tota l petrol capacity was 120 gallons, distributed betwee n the two standard wing tanks, holding 17½ gallons each, and the two 42½-gallon special cabin tanks . This gave a nominal range of 2,060 miles. Fo r lubrication, in addition to the standard 1¾- gallon oil tan k a n auxiliary tan k with a capacity of 3¼ gallons was fitted, giving a total oil capacity of 5 gallons. Details of the fuel and oil installations ar e given in Figs. 1 an d 2. The actua l flying weight, th e pilot's weight being 1701b., was 2,400 lb. — whic h is 350 lb. more tha n the 2,050 lb. gross weight authorise d on the Certificate of Airworthiness of the standar d Puss Moth. The wing area being 222 sq . ft., this gives a surface loading of 10∙8 lb./sq . ft. an d power loading of 17 lb./h.p. , compared with the 9∙25 lb./sq . ft. and power loading of 16∙8 lb./sq . ft. of the standard Puss Moth wit h a 120 h.p . inverted Gipsy II I engine. It is interestin g t o note tha t the Pus s Moth used by Mr. J. A. Mollison on his trans- Atlanti c flight had a flying weight of 2,754 lb . That machine—th e "Heart's Content"—was described in AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING, Vol. IV, September 1932, p. 226, where details of the standard Puss Mot h were also given. Mrs. Mollison's achievement ma y be considered a gruelling tes t of, and a triump h for, th e new 130 h.p . inverte d Gipsy Major engine, designed by Major F . B. Halford, which was dealt with in detail on pp . 277 an d 278 of our last (November) issue. A sectioned longitudinal general arrangement drawing of this engine is given in Fig. 3.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 1932