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March, 1941 AIR C R A F T ENGINEERING 59 extent exercised a spell and led to the belief that it has only to be called in, or its methods adopted, and the deed is done. Aircraft Engineering Devote d to th e Science an d Practice of Aero The Men in Charge nautic s and to Allied and Subsidiary In point of fact, those responsible for aeroplane production, many of whom have been in the industry for years, have not Branche s of th e Engineering Industry spent all their time with their eyes closed, or fixed on archaic Editor: Lieut.-Col. W. Lockwood Marsh, F.R.Ae.S., M.S.A.E., F.I.Ae.S. machines and methods. They have been seriously studying the problem of aeroplane production—we feel that the italics have become necessary—in all its aspects and have, where possible, frequently taken ideas from other industries and modified them so as to utilize them where practicable. Numerous individual articles that have appeared in AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING in the last three or four years bear testimony to this intelligent understanding and HIS month we are resuming the series of articles on the appreciation, and the lessons from all this experience are being jigging of modern airframes which started to appear in driven home in the series summarizing them to which we are re consecutive issues at the end of the last volume. The ferring. Some of those who have notions of the ease with which interval has been due to circumstances connected with the times aeroplanes ought to be reproducible would do well to read the over which we have had no control, but we now hope to be able to admirable paper on " Factors Affecting the Mass Production of complete this survey of the methods and tools adopted in various Aeroplanes " which was read before the Engineering Institute of countries, during the next two or three issues. Canada by Miss ELIZABETH MACGILL and summarized in our As we have repeatedly said in the past, there is every advantage " Reports and Memoranda " page last October. We venture to in, when opportunity offers, " taking stock" of a subject and exam think that if they did they would cease ining the practice of different firms. No to talk nonsense on the matter. Those great originality is claimed for the series, engaged in the aircraft industry, either in the sense that none of the articles con here or in the United States — or, tains much that is new, and it claims no we suspect, in Germany—have never more than to summarize material already suffered from these illusions, and con made available. Most of the information sequently have always been careful to has already appeared either in individual avoid giving rise to false optimism in articles that have in the past been pub their forecasts. lished in AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING or else where—notably, for example, in the extra ordinarily interesting and informative A Reason for Improvement lecture delivered by MR. T. P. WRIGHT before the Royal Aeronautical Society on One point that is of immediate interest November 9, 1938, and published in these is that quite apart from expansion of old, pages in December of that year. That and construction of new, factories, and lecture contained a remarkably complete enlargement of staffs, there is reason to account of the production methods of suppose that the output of machines may all the principal American firms at that tend shortly to increase. This is because time; and from all we hear there has not the appearance of new types—some of been any very great change, in principles at any rate, since. which have, as has now been revealed, already made their debut—may be expected from now onwards. These machines have not only, in most instances, been designed since the period Facile Optimism of comparatively large-scale Government orders came into being, but will go into production with all the accumulated data From time to time, grandiloquent stories have appeared of the gathered from the trial and error process of the change-over, in their number of aeroplanes that were going to be turned out by the predecessors, from manufacture in small batch to series production. American industry within an incredibly short space of time. Fan This cannot fail to have a beneficial effect on the preparation of tastic as most of these stories were, to anyone with the smallest the necessary jigs and tools for the new machines now beginning knowledge of the difficulties, some of them were unfortunately to come along. sponsored by persons in authority, who should also have been responsible, on both sides of the Atlantic and therefore received credence which has subsequently led to disappointment. We seem to remember, for instance, a forecast made last summer by one very highly-placed individual of a steady flow of 2,000, or was it 3,000?— DOWNHILL RUNWAYS the precise figure was always immaterial, as both were equally fantastic—aeroplanes coming out of American factories and being The method of taking-off large aeroplanes by starting their initial shipped to England each month within an indeterminate period, run from sloping ground, though an obvious development, has not impliedly in the not far-distant future. Such a figure would not, received much serious consideration. We, therefore, deemed the of course, be possible for years, as was straightway pointed out by account of some German calculations on the subject, accompanied responsible officials on the other side of the Atlantic, and in fact by a few practical experiments with light aeroplanes, sufficiently MR. KNUDSEN is reported to have stated, towards the end of interesting to publish the translation of it, which appears in this February, that in January this year the combined output of aero issue, under the title : " Gradient-Assisted Take-off." planes delivered to the U.S. Army and Navy and British forces was We are confirmed in this view by reading just before publication 957 machines—the total output of the American industry during that, in his testimony before the House of Representatives Appro that month being 1,036. The truth is that a great many people priation Committee, General Marshall, Chief of Staff of the U.S. hug the belief that it is only necessary for an order for a sufficiently Army, stated that the Air Corps " intends to experiment with large number of aeroplanes to be given for the magic process of downhill runways for heavy bomber take-offs". We hope that by "mass production " to come into being ; with the result that all making available this translation of the German examination of manufacturing problems disappear and aeroplanes come more or the possibilities and advantages of this method, we may be of some less automatically rolling off " the line " in vast numbers. We are assistance to the American authorities responsible for undertaking afraid that the experiences of the motor car industry have to a large their experiments.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 1, 1941
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