Aircraft Engineering THE MONTHLY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL ORGAN OF THE AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERING PROFESSION propensity to defend itself when attacked, we have rather un wittingly been led into some degree of hitting back at our critics, HE Editorial in our issue of last November—'Unfair to Aero though we do not desire that our main thesis should become ob planes'—was designedly written on a controversial note to scured in a mass of detail. Tact as a gadfly in calling attention to what we believed to be a The truth is surely that MR HULS has in his letter put his finger on weak place in the body politic of air transport as it exists today. the real point—that airworthiness requirements that are originally Looked at from this point of view it can certainly be said to have had intended to set minimum standards of safety tend in practice to even more than the desired effect in the repercussions it has aroused. become the maxima towards which those responsible gradually On reading what we wrote again in the light of the correspondence become satisfied to aim as ends in themselves. The fact that this we have received—a selection from which appears on page 21 of this tendency is part of the general trend of human nature does not make issue—we readily admit that we employed one or two phrases of an it, so far as flying is concerned, any more desirable. unintentionally, and perhaps undesirably, over-emphatic nature which rather obscured the main argument of the case we were putting and threw the general picture out of balance. Unfortunately, though The Revelant Point only naturally, these sentences have been picked out by corre It is, as we have already said, easy to be led off into all sorts of spondents and made the theme of their defensive-offensive replies. side issues by detailed arguments on this or that but we would like MR TYE, for instance, has been able to make an impressive case for to come back to the main issue we raised; which was, quite simply, the removal of THE AIR REGISTRATION BOARD from the criticism that devices which are introduced for increasing the safety of aircraft implied in what we wrote. We can only say that, however justified when taking off or alighting should not be diverted from this single he may feel himself to be in resenting on behalf of the Board what purpose merely to give increased performance. This is, we conceive, he has read into our leader, in actual fact this is the very last author axiomatic and incontrovertible, but it is by no means infrequently ity in the world to which our criticisms were intended to apply, since flouted. we look upon it as a most impartial and efficient watch-dog over We would urge our readers to turn up and re-read the extra the safety of British aircraft. ordinarily significant paper on 'The Usability of Aerodromes' by So far as MR NEWMAN is concerned he appears to have mis MR J. S. TENENBAUM of the Australian Commonwealth Department understood the main tenor of our views since we should have of Civil Aviation which we published last July from which important thought that it was abundantly clear that we were sympathizing with lessons are to be drawn. We will not be controversial and ask from the troubles of designers and constructors rather than voicing whom the call comes, but it is the fact that there has been for some strictures on them. Since, however, he has written we feel entitled time, and still is, a steady increase in wing-loading, and consequent to reply that we do not agree with his statement that it is not practic length of runways, which involves a constantly growing demand for the able in the initial design to make the whole structure 'only just provision of more and more high-lift flaps, slots and what-not to make strong enough'. At any rate if it is so the sooner the position is possible the take-off of the more and more heavily loaded aeroplanes improved the better—for the process summarized in his phrase as from the ground facilities available' on the aerodromes they have to 'the way in which efficient structures are obtained' seems to us a use. What we wish to emphasize is that the proper function of flaps step-by-step progress towards the desired end by purely empirical is to reduce—or at any rate maintain—approach and landing speeds methods rather than initially planned design. The progressive in in the interests of safety and not to increase the all-up weight with crease in the total weight of the Constellation that he quotes in his which an aeroplane can legitimately take off from a scheduled last paragraph seems to us to provide a typical example of the aerodrome provided with a profusion of hard-surfaced runways. procedure against which we were protesting. In the same way improved streamlining should be used to increase speed and obtain better air flow at low speeds, thereby improving Cancelling Out handling qualities, instead of relying on reduced wing area for this purpose. It will be noticed that the two letters to which we have referred come respectively from an authority and a designer. We had one The transatlantic aeroplane is, we consider, a special case which other, which was unfortunately not suitable for publication owing justifies high all-up weight and wing-loading, as well as exceptionally to its treating with matters of domestic controversy over the develop high speed, owing to the long distances that have to be covered, ment to the operational stage of a specific type of aeroplane, from with allowances for adverse winds; since there is no possibility of an operator. Perhaps, therefore, we may be forgiven if we point out intermediate landings on perhaps unsuitable aerodromes in an that these represent three points of view that are inevitably so emergency. But we feel that for normal inter-State operation over opposed the one to the other that it is legitimate to claim that comparatively short legs too much importance can be attached to criticisms coming from them must to a large extent cancel each the illusory advantage of increased speed, with the inevitable sacri other out. Evidence of this is to be found in the opposed views on fices in other desiderata that this implies. We would rather see for the one hand of MR TYE who claims that no post-war British air general use of this nature a slower aeroplane amply provided with liner has suffered from weight increase and, on the other, of MR all necessary safety devices against the exigencies of emergency land NEWMAN who looks upon such development as inevitable. ings. We are convinced that thought on these lines could produce Like the animal in the French fable which was described by the a breed of aeroplane which would be a truly economic load-carrying proposition. explorer who discovered it as very wicked, on the ground of its
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 1949
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