Aircraft Engineering THE MONTHLY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL ORGAN OF THE AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERING PROFESSION VOL XIX No 215 JANUARY 1947 individual devices to be used. We would urge that it is possible to pay too high a price for this co-operation and that the time has come T has frequently been said that what aviation has to offer to the for the Government—for presumably this, in these days of nationali travelling public is speed. Vis-â-vis other forms of transport zation, is a matter of national policy—to have the strength to I this is no doubt true but it must never be forgotten that it is a say that British Air Services at least should be made safe by the special requirement superimposed upon the demands made on all adoption of devices with which British airports and aeroplanes can forms of locomotion—that they should be safe and reliable. be equipped. If other countries do not choose to take advantage of In view of recent experiences it can, we suggest, scarcely be urged these facilities by installing reciprocal equipment in their aeroplanes that a form of transport which, in its present inchoate stage of ex that is their lookout. We should at any rate then have British pansion, kills some 200 of its passengers on the world's airways in aeroplanes maintaining their services in safety and reliability ; which the course of a single month is safe—however relative the user may we are convinced they are capable of doing, with a regularity at desire to make that term. Nor can it, when it keeps numbers of its least equal to their pre-war record. prospective passengers kicking their heels on the ground waiting for We feel that there is a lesson to be learnt from the recent history of favourable conditions in which to start their, journey, be described, R.A.F. Transport Command. A few months ago this organization without straining of phrase, as reliable. Writing in AIRCRAFT likewise began to acquire an undesirable reputation in regard to acci ENGINEERING, we are not proselytizing but addressing those who may dents; but, as a result of a general tightening-up and improved be looked upon as being 'in the family'. It is no concern of ours to organization, a complete change has come over the scene and an persuade the public into the air and we therefore conceive ourselves as excellent example is being set to commercial air lines. completely free to set down the truth as we see it—even if it be blunt. It is not desirable that improvement should be postponed till the Let it, therefore, be frankly stated here that the number of accidents time when the ideal device for any particular purpose can be evolved. involving fatalities and serious injuries to passengers on scheduled If, as we maintain is the case in many instances, there already exists air-lines in the past few months has been extremely disturbing— a piece of equipment which can give at any rate better aid to air particularly when it is borne in mind that the booking of a seat in a crews than those provided at present, they should be brought into commercial air liner has to be carried out some time ahead and that service immediately, while research and experiment into other more if they were available there would be many times the number of ultimately promising lines of development are continued in parallel. machines flying on scheduled air services that there are—and, The Sort of devices we have in mind are such navigational aids as therefore, by logical deduction, more accidents involving the death Gee, Decca and the various manifestations of Radar in general. The of more passengers. R.A.F. device nicknamed 'Mountain Goat' should, for instance, avert the danger of collisions with high ground in bad visibility. A Matter of Equipment In considering the causes of these accidents it is reasonably clear that the fault lies not in the aeroplanes themselves, nor in the piloting Available Aids —though some of the blame may be attachable in some instances to So far as the approach to an airport is concerned the putting into the navigation. The responsibility lies with the organization and operation of Ground Control Approach would be of at least some provision of equipment for taking off, flying and landing in condi assistance to a pilot coming in to land ; pending a settlement of the tions of low visibility. What is so disheartening about this position is competing claims of leader cables and so forth and the possible long- that during the late war the difficulties of maintaining operations in scale development of the ground-configuration picture-producing such circumstances seemed to have been overcome—or, at any rate, device known as 'H S', which may or may not have a practical future to a very large extent surmounted. The mind has only to be cast for this purpose. There must be any quantity of the various pieces of back a couple of years for it to recall innumerable occasions when a equipment available in R.A.F. stores ; from which we suggest they steady stream of R.A.F. bombers could be heard passing overhead should be dug out. We are aware that objection can be raised to some on the outward, and later on the homeward, journey in weather that of them that in their present form they are heavy and bulky ; but would have seemed to be almost impossible for safe taking off or surely it would be better to sacrifice the pay-load of one 170 lb. landing. With what confidence one used to predict what this implied passenger in order to carry, say, 24 passengers in safety rather than for civil aviation in the days when peace returned. And with what risk causing the death of 25. gloom—almost despair—does one hear the flutter of wings as these A detailed suggestion we have to make is that fuel-jettison equip optimistic prophecies come home to roost now. ment should be fitted to air liners to avoid the fantastic occurrence The depressing feature of this is that in 1939 Imperial Airways, of having to fly passengers round for hours until sufficient petrol has though subject to criticism on the score of lack of speed in com been consumed to make an emergency landing with a damaged parison with some of its competitors, had achieved world-wide re undercarriage a reasonably safe operation. We feel also that efforts to nown for the safety and reliability of its services and drew foreign produce a satisfactory thermal—as opposed to fluid—de-icing equip passengers on this score. We feel strongly that this reputation is ment should be made a matter of high priority. being dissipated when it could be maintained and even strengthened. Since the above was written the formation of INTERNATIONAL AERADIO LTD. has been announced. This company is being estab Waiting for Others lished by the three British State-owned Corporations to provide, It seems that what is holding up the adoption of certain aids to safe install and operate navigational and landing aids wherever required operation is the difficulty of obtaining international agreement on the throughout the world. A most praiseworthy development.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 1947