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Aircraft Engineering THE MONTHLY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL ORGAN OF THE AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERING PROFESSION JUNE 1948 VOL XX No 232 Giving a Lead One of the arguments that has been frequently used against the E have not in these days, unfortunately, space to publish suggestion that we in Great Britain should go all out for the develop- the 36th Wilbur Wright Memorial Lecture read before the met of commercial flying-boats is that no other country is doing this Royal Aeronautical Society at the end of last month by and that, therefore, the British Corporations concerned would have to MR GOUGE, but it provides so much food for thought that we have bear the whole cost of providing the necessary seaplane bases instead decided to deal editorially with some of the reflections it has engend of this expenditure being shared with other countries making similar ered. It starts with a review of the lessons that have been learnt as a provision on their own account. This seems to us a woefully pusillani result of experience from all forms of transport and contains in the mous attitude. If we really believe that there is a future for these craft first figure a line which shows that two fundamental points are com we should have the courage of our convictions and go ahead in the mon to sea, road and rail transport as well as air. These are that the confident hope that sooner or later others will be forced to admit that speed of the vehicle dictates the frequency of the service and the we were right and will be compelled to go and do likewise. Apart density of traffic the size of the vehicle—with the subsidiary historical from this, we ourselves believe that these bases will ultimately prove fact, according to MR GOUGE, that experience in all forms of trans to be invaluable—and, indeed, essential—from the Imperial point of port has led to the employment of the largest possible vehicle and that view and that they should be established to provide facilities for the the largest unit has invariably proved the more efficient. R.A.F. in exactly the same way as, in the past, coaling stations have The significance of these conclusions, particularly the latter, as been arranged all over the world for the British Navy. affecting the future of air transport is obvious. Without going into all A certain parallel can be drawn from the current plan by which the points at which MR GOUGE arrives in summarizing his views at R.A.F. Transport Command are putting into service in their Theseus- the end of the lecture—which he lists under five heads—we may pick engined Lincoln aeroplanes the first turbo-prop powered type in the out, for our present purpose, one. This is that it is technically possible world to be tried out over regular routes, to obtain experience of its at the moment to design aircraft of larger sizes than are being built behaviour in actual operational service in varying climatic conditions. now and, in his opinion, these will be more efficient. This is a bold and interesting pioneering effort, the results of which should, and no doubt will, be made available to the commercial Cor Landplane or Seaplane porations when the time comes for them to take into service similarly Given this premise, the fundamental question at once crops up as equipped aircraft. We see no reason why the Corporations should to the relative merits of the landplane and the seaplane in future air not themselves be charged with a corresponding responsibility for transport. This is, of course, acutely controversial ground, but we do thoroughly trying out the possibilities of seaplanes. feel that it involves a matter of high policy which cannot be ignored much longer. It is, we think, incontrovertible that even with land- The Customer's Choice planes of present-day size the provision of aerodromes of adequate area with runways of satisfactory length and strength is already a There is another cogent plea that can be made for the large flying- serious problem and that when we come to machines such as, for in boat and that is that there is no question but that the ordinary pas stance, the Brabazon, it means that the number of places in the world senger likes them and, in our view, rightly. It seems to be a fact in where aerodromes with suitable provision for landings are available herent in the nature of a flying-boat that it is possible, in types of is likely to be extremely limited. This, of necessity, raises the un comparable performance, to give the passenger a greater degree of pleasant inquiry as to what is to happen when a landplane of this size, comfort and general amenities in the hull of a flying-boat than in the or larger, finds itself for some reason unable to 'make' one of these fuselage of a landplane and we have a strong feeling that where there sparsely-distributed havens and has to land elsewhere. It must be re is a choice between the two the public would, generally speaking, membered that it is not only a matter of providing sufficient open select the boat. There will probably always be a demand on long space but one of cost. The expense of making, and maintaining, such routes for travelling by the fastest method between two points but we aerodromes will be an enormously heavy overhead charge on air believe that many prospective travellers would on the other hand pre transport. While not pretending that a flying-boat of the size of the fer the rather more leisurely comfort of the seaplane service. The SR/45, for instance, can alight 'just anywhere', the fact remains that public reaction to the recently introduced Solent service to South the finding of a suitable harbour is, to put it mildly, a less daunting Africa is a case in point. problem. There are many other aspects of this matter that could be dealt with There is another matter which affects the decision and that is the had we space available. Our present object is merely to register our question of safety on long oversea flights. We have had in the last conviction that the present lethargic attitude towards the develop twelve months or so the lessons of two occasions when an aeroplane ment of large commercial flying-boats should give way to one of was forced down when flying ove r the ocean. In the one case, a land- whole-hearted encouragment and development. It is a matter of high plane, it disappeared without trace; in the other, a seaplane, it re policy anent which the Ministry of Civil Aviation should cease to sit mained afloat long enough for the crew and passengers all to be on the fence and force the Government to take a definite line. rescued.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 1, 1948
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