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In this modern world of many wonders Aviation stands supreme. It has annihilated distance and pushed forward the march of civilisation faster than anything in history.
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The presentation of this booklet by the manufacturers of “ACE ” CHEWING SWEETS has been undertaken with the object of interesting the coming generation in aircraft and to convey, in the space available, a resume of the rapid progress made in its development. The information contained herein has been gleaned from various sources and an effort made to illustrate the phases of growth from the very early days up to the present time.
“ACE” — THE SWEET
The age of romance is not dead. Far from it! Years ago adventurers used to conduct their exploits by land and sea only, but to-day the highways of the air offer scope for their ambitions and achievements.
The conquest of the air is a very dramatic story indeed, and dates back as far as history or legend takes us. King David sighed for "the wings of a dove, ’ and the Greeks represented one of their heroes with wings.
Many are the stories that have been handed down to us through the ages of man’s early attempts to conquer the air. One of the earliest of these is of the Chinese general, Han Sin, who elevated a man by kites to observe the movements of the enemy. The harnessing of birds to a wicker basket is reputed to be another method used, and the idea of bladders and a sail was exploited by Francesco da Lana.
Watching the smoke rising from a fire gave the Montgolfier brothers the idea of inflating a paper bag with smoke. They experimented on these lines, and the first hot-air balloon was made. Thus it was that fire, the chief terror of the present-day flying man, figured largely in the early attempts at the conquest of the air. These early attempts, although we laugh at them now, demonstrated that flight was possible.
In the year 1783 the Montgolfier brothers successfully launched a balloon containing live stock. Watched by the King and Queen of France, the balloon rose into the air, floated some distance, and came to rest, without injuring the animals it contained.
So it was that a milestone was passed; but it was left to Pilatre de Rozier to carry it a step further. Persuading the Montgolfier brothers to make a larger balloon, he ascended to a height of 80 feet. The balloon, however, was controlled from the ground, and this could not be termed true flight.
The First Balloon Ascent,
21st November, 1783
The illustration depicts the balloon made by the Montgolfier brothers and used by Pilatre de Rozier in the first flight across Paris.
That, however, did not satisfy this daring balloonist, and soon afterwards, accompanied by the Marquis d’Arlande, he made a successful flight of about nine miles across Paris.
What an event that must have been! What courage and determination! With the constant threat of fire ever before them, certain death if their balloon caught fire, these heroes laid the foundations of air travel and transport to-day.
Two years later de Rozier was killed in an attempt to fly across the English Channel—a figure of tragedy as well as triumph.
An outstanding achievement was the first crossing of the English Channel in 1785 by a balloon. Blanchard, a famous aeronaut, was the pilot, with an American scientist, Dr. Jeffries, as his passenger. After an anxious time, in which their balloon sank lower and lower, they saw their goal in sight, and eventually landed in the Forest of Guines, in Artois.
Many lives were lost in these early attempts at flight, but the torch lit by the pioneers of aviation was not extinguished. Others seized it quickly, and the quest gathered impetus and went on.
For years man had tried to imitate the birds, and many queer contrivances were designed. In 1678 a French locksmith, P. Besnier, made an apparatus of rods and hinged flaps, with which he made gl ding flights, but it was soon proved that man could not fly by his own muscular exertion. The realisation of this fact put an end for a time to the construction of flying machines, save for gliders and parachutes, which were used for sport and exhibition purposes.
With the development of the balloon came the endeavour to obtain directional flight, and the illustration shows an early attempt at this by the use of paddles.
This was a steam-driven model, the steam for the engine of which was raised by spirit fluid.
It must be remembered that these early experiments had not even the steam engine as a means of power. They had to grope in the darkness of ignorance which obscured the middle ages, with none of the appliances or scientific advantages that the modern student can command to-day.
The perfecting of the steam engine by James Watt opened another field for the experimenters. Many thought that the search for a driving force had at last been found. Five years before the reign of Queen Victoria W. S. Henson built an aeroplane, which much resembled the modern monoplane, and drew designs to drive his machine. Henson’s models actually flew, but lack of money prevented him from making the machine itself a success.
Henson was joined by Stringfellow in his experiments, and together they built several models, which bore a resemblance to man-carrying monoplanes of to-day, and which were flown successfully at a later date.
Many others followed along these lines, but soon realised that the weight of the engine, fuel and the driver proved too heavy a tax on the carrying capacity of the aeroplane. Parts of an early model built by Sir Hiram Maxim may still be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, London. With this, on a trial flight, the inventor actually rose in the air, but the machine was badly damaged in landing.
At the end of the nineteenth century came the combustion engine, and between 1895 and 1907 road motor travel developed enormously, perfecting the engine in many ways and gradually fitting it for aeroplane work. Much of the present success of this type of engine is due to the motor industry, and before the Wright brothers actually flew it was realised that this engine and properly constructed supporting surfaces had put the conquest of the air within the bounds of possibility.
One very important fact had been overlooked by these men. Since no man had flown, nobody realised anything about the management of the machine in the air, how the winds would affect it, how to land, and many other problems which beset the flying man of to-day.
Before actual directional flight could be made, there was much to learn, and Otto Lilienthal in Germany, and Percy Pilcher in England, did much for those to follow. Lilienthal made many gliders and successful flights therewith. Considering he had learned all they could teach him, he decided to fit an engine to one of them. On the 9th of August, 1896, he made a last gliding flight before using his power-driven machine. He fell whilst making this attempt and broke his spine. Pilcher also met a tragic end, being killed when he fell in making a demonstration flight in his glider.
These two pioneers of flight had given their lives in the conquest of the air, but not in vain. The results of their experiments had been set down on paper, and proved of inestimable value to those who followed after.
Profiting by the work of Lilienthal and Pilcher, Professor Langley made the first model aeroplane that flew. What a dramatic moment in the history of flight.
. . . The first power-driven aeroplane would actually fly!
With his friend, Dr. Graham Bell, the im entor launched his model from the top of a h ouse-boat on the River Potomac. It flew away down the river, coming to rest on the water when the power gave out. He had made a step forward in the conquest of the air. . . He had solved a scientific problem!
Some years later he made a mancarrying machine, launching it from the same p'ace, but, alas! he was doomed to disappointment. Something went wrong with the mechanism, and the aeroplane plunged into the river. The victory of 1896 was overshadowed by the defeat of 1903. Many years later this machine was taken from his workshop, a pilot took his seat, and the machine was actually flown. So it is that we owe to an American the first plane, and to an American fell the honor of being the first man to make an actual flight.
Wiibur and Orville Wright, of Indiana, U.S.A., starting in life as printers, for many years carried out experiments with g’.iders and model aeroplanes.
They came to Europe in 1903, and in a shed in France started to prepare the machine that was to astonish the world.
All day long peasants gathered around the wooden shed, and, as days went by and nothing happened, they began to jeer. But at last the eventful day arrived, the shed doors swung open, and out came the machine, to the jeers of the crowd. Little did Wilbur Wright care for this. He took his seat and made ready to fly.
"One,” he shouted.
"One,” jeered the crowd.
"Two," he shouted.
"Two,” jeered the crowd.
"Three," he shouted.
And the crowd jeered no more, for Wilbur Wright’s machine had taken the air and "was flying like a bird.”
He brought his machine to earth, never to be jeered at again. The man-bird had flown, the machine was alive, and man had conquered the air.
The earlier experiments in France were closely followed by all the air enthusiasts of the world, and it seems certain that, had these two brothers not succeeded when they did, either England, France or Germany would have claimed first honors, as very successful experiments were being undertaken in all those countries.
It is interesting to recall that amongst the early experimenters was an Australian —Hargrave—who built a wing-flapping model in 1891, which flew 300 feet. Following this he built a cellular or box kite apparatus, which is associated with his name.
This machine was made famous by that noted French aeronaut. Bleriot, and was later used by the Italians as a war plane.
A noted French aeronaut, named Ader, made considerable progress towards perfecting a flying machine, and it is highly probable that, had the petrol motor been successfully developed, he would have been accorded the honor of being the first to fly. He actually claimed to have flown fifty yards in 1890, but there were no observers of this flight, and records are not worth anything unless properly attested.
An outstanding Englishman of this period was A. V. Roe. Working against innumerable difficulties, he finally gained success, and went on to establish an aeroplane factory and to-day his machines rank amongst the best known in the world.
The experiments and exploits of many others would make interesting reading, did space permit. Such men as Farman, Rolls, Curtiss and Latham all added their quota of knowledge to the conquest of the air.
The passing of the next milestone was brought about by the flight of Bleriot across the English Channel. The “Daily Mail” had offered a prize of £1,000 for the first cross-Channel flight, and Hubert Latham made a gallant attempt to accomplish this feat. Leaving France, he had covered only eight miles when his engine failed, and he came down on the water in a series of long glides.
Bleriot was more fortunate in his attempt. The engine he was using had run previously for 20 minutes, but on this flight it would need to run for 40 minutes.
Setting out from the French coast with his engine running “full out,” the cylinders overheated, and the supply of power was fast failing ... he was rapidly losing height . . . defeat looked certain, but deliverance was at hand in the shape of a thunderstorm, which cooled the cylinders of his engine, enabling the machine to battle on and eventually make a landing at Dover.
On 2nd June, 1910, the third Channel crossing was made by C. S. Rolls, who flew from Dover, was officially observed over French soil, then flew back without landing—the first aviator to make the double crossing.
Two other flights worthy of mention during this period are the flight across the Pyrenees and the trial of an aerial mail between Hendon and Windsor.
The records provide evidence of the advance in design and performance that had been made. Design .was becoming more and more standardised, and aviation not so much a matter of personal courage as of the reliability of the machine and its engine.
In 1911 the first twin-engined machine made its appearance, and the sight of aeroplanes in flight more common. The commercial aspect of flying was talked of, but not exploited to any great extent. The use of the aeroplane as an instrument of war was being realised. Little did anyone think at this time the great part aeroplanes were to play in the Great War of 1914-1918.
The never - to - be - forgotten years of the Great War bring to our minds many tragic events, but to those interested in the history of the aeroplane they stand out as years of progress. Finance, which had retarded development in the pre - war years, was made available, aeroplane factories were established, and the sphere of usefulness of the machines broadened. '
The names of such men as Bishop, Mannock, Immelman, Richthofen and many others spring to mind as one recalls the "ACES” of that period. They did their part, not only in the defence of their countries, but also in the development of aircraft and knowledge of flying and air conditions.
The history of the Royal Air Force, although short, is an eventful one.
The number available for service overseas was only 82 at the outbreak of war. The machines were only a scratch lot, but what invaluable service they rendered! It was a pilot of the Royal Air Force who informed the authorities, in the days of the great retreat, that three German army corps had to be faced, instead
of three divisions, and the wonderful retreat was only begun in time on account of observations by the Aerial Scouting Service.
The German Army took the field in 1914 with over 600 aeroplanes of standardised design, and with factories back in the Fatherland capable of quickly replacing any losses. Despite this, the dauntless courage of the British airmen compensated, in some measure, for their lack of equipment.
Many uses were found for this important branch of the British Army, and different types of machines evolved. Speed and ease of handling were necessary for the machines used solely for fighting, long-range and large machines for distant bombing raids, and smaller machines for aerial photography and contact work with the artillery and infantry.
It might have been expected that the use of metal in construction would have been developed more during this period, but doubtless the need for rapid production and the dangers of delay resulting from switching over from the known to the unknown was the cause of this.
Although the all-metal aeroplane was not evolved during the war period, much research work was done in the testing of metals and metal alloys. It is interesting to note the use of X-ray photography to show up latent defects, both in material and manufacture, which would otherwise have passed unnoticed. This was also done with other parts of the fabric of the machine, and proved of great value in construction.
Not many years after the development of the aeroplane the attention of the Naval Authorities was directed to the aid that aircraft could give as scouters for the fleet. The great problem was where the aeroplanes were to be kept, and how they were to be worked from a ship several hundred miles from land.
This probl e m was solved by the American, Curtiss, one of the leading air pioneers of the United States. He first took the shape of an aeroplane flight from the deck of a large cruiser. The experts were impressed, but there was still the problem of landing on the limited space available on board a cruiser. To these doubts Curtiss replied: ‘‘Give me as much deck space as you can spare, and I will prove to you that a deck landing is not impracticable or dangerous. He succeeded, and in 1911 took off and landed on the deck of a cruiser.
Thus it was that the seaplane was found to be possible. The fitting of floats made this machine more versatile—they could then land and take off from the water itself. On the outbreak of the Great War Britain developed this arm of the air fleet. Vessels were altered to act as aircraft carriers, and the R.A.N.S.— “the eyes of the fleet’—was formed.
From the small beginning of 82 in 1914 grew the Air Force which played such a big part as a deciding factor in the victory of 1918—by then a force composed of 30,000 officers, 265,000 other ranks and 23,000 women.
The story of the Australian Flying Corps in the Great War is one we can well be proud of. The fine work they did there formed the traditions which our present force is so ably carrying out.
By a strange coincidence, the first course of war flying instruction began at Point Cook in August, 1914. The outcome of this military training was that three pilots qualified for active service. From this small beginning was to grow an air force in 1918 of 410 pilots, 153 observers and 40 other officers. Their record was 276 machines destroyed and an additional 251 brought down, while the Australian machines destroyed numbered 60.
Many names since made familiar to us in times of peace through their achievements figure on the roll of honor of those who served the Empire. But their work in the cause of Empire did not stop there. To them has fallen the honor of bringing the Empire closer together. Many of these heroes of 1914-1918 have pioneered the routes of aerial travel and transport; have again and again braved the elements in the cause of humanity, until to-day the world can look upon aircraft not as a hideous instrument of war, but as a blessing to mankind.
First Successful Dirigible, 1SS3
In 1884 a speed of eight miles an hour was attained by this type of airship. This was the first successful flight of a dirigible.
As the aeroplane can be traced to the gliders of Pilcher and Lilienthal, so does the airship link up with the balloon of the Montgolfier brothers.
As far back as 1784 experiments were made with this type of aircraft, but it was another hundred years before an airship was built that would fly in any direction.
Although the airship and balloon are always spoken of as “lighter-than-air” craft, this is rather misleading, for they may weigh several tons. The reason of the use of this name is that the envelope contains something that is lighter than the air. *
The introduction of the petrol motor solved the problem of propelling airships, but this also brought its attendant difficulties, for it was found that, if driven too forcibly, the envelope was apt to crumple.
Whatever the difficulty, there is always a method of overcoming it, and the construction of a rigid type, with its strong steel framework, solved this problem. At the extreme end of this framework are huge rudders and elevators, by means of which the direction and elevation are controlled.
The wonderful flight made by one of these giants of the air was that of the R34, which sailed across the Atlantic in four and a half days, against fierce storms and through thick fog—the first airship to cross the Atlantic. Later this record was broken by the “Dixmude,” a French airship.
Brought into prominence during the war period, these giant liners of the air have now taken their place in commercial aviation.
The man to achieve great fame in airship design was Count Zeppelin. Profiting by the experiments made by others, he worked a revolution in airship design and provided the craft which takes his name.
During the Great War this type of craft was used in connection with the fleet and on long-distance bombing raids, but it is their commercial aspect which concerns us.
In March, 1932, the first scheduled trans-oceanic service was inaugurated, when the Graf Zeppelin sailed from Germany to Brazil, 3,000 miles distant, over the longest trans-oceanic air route. The airship ran to her schedule with such clock-like regularity on this service that the confidence of the public was gained, and airship travel, with passengers, mail and freight, in this type of craft is now commonplace.
The accommodation in these air-liners is very good—smoking and lounge rooms, together with spacious promenades, provide ample room for all.
It will probably never carry the volume of passengers and ordinary freight now going by steamer, but for that percentage of passengers to whom greater speed is valuable it must prove a great boon.
Looking at the airship from the purely commercial point of view, its future hinges on the ability to transport her payload economically and quickly over great distances with regularity and safety.
The offer by the Australian Government of £10,000 for the first flight from England to Australia to be completed in 30 days brought four competitors into the field to attempt the task of travelling 1 1,000 miles, with a further single flight at the end almost equivalent to making the cross-Atlantic journey.
To Captain Ross Smith (pilot), his brother, Lieutenant Keith Smith (second pilot), and Sergeants J. M. Bennett and W. H. Shiers (mechanics) fell the honor of completing this flight within the prescribed time.
Leaving England on I 2th November, 1919, they reached Lyons the same day. The next stage, to Rome, they completed on the 1 4th, and on the 18th their Vickers-Vimy machine reached Cairo. The 19th saw them at Damascus, and on the 20th Basra, on the Persian Gulf. From here to Calcutta occupied eight days, and on the 30th of the month Rangoon was reached. The adventurers arrived at Bangkok next day, at Singapore on 4th December, at West Java on the 6th, and at Port Darwin (I 1,294 miles) on 10th December.
The flight was made in easy stages, hardly exceeding 300 miles. This allowed the mechanics time to tune up the engines and keep everything in first-class order.
Landing places had been established along the route, in case of engine trouble. This made it possible for them to land at Koepang Bay, in Timor, only 5 18 miles distant from Port Darwin. This they did, in place of making a last hop of 1,000 miles or more, as originally planned.
Having won the competition, a rest at Darwin was taken, where the machine received a thorough overhaul before continuing the journey to Melbourne.
The value of this flight gave proof of the reliability of the large type of aeroplane for journeys over a prolonged period and the possibility of establishing a regular service between England and Australia by air, which would bring Melbourne and London within a fourth of the time of each other that is taken by the sea route.
The story of the rapid advancement of flight from the war period to the present day is one worthy of Jules Verne. If only those early pioneers of the balloon and glider age could see this development they would doubtless be repaid for the sacrifices they made.
The crossing of the Atlantic was an epic period in the history of aviation, and the men who accomplished this feat take their place in the history of the conquest of the air.
The failure of Harry Hawker and Commander Grieve to cross the Atlantic did not daunt others from making the attempt.
Captain Alcock and Lieutenant Brown made the first direct flight across the Atlantic, winning this greatly-coveted record for Great Britain. The flight was made on a Vickers-Vimy machine, the distance of 1,880 miles being covered in 1 5 hours 57 minutes, an average speed of 1 18 miles an hour.
The North Pole has been a magnet which has drawn explorers for years.
The first air attempt was made in a balloon, but nothing has ever been heard of it or the ill-fated crew. Amundsen, accompanied by Colonel Nobile and Elsworth, made the first successful flight in an airship. On reaching the Pole, they circled it twice and then made for Alaska, thus covering a total distance of 2,700 miles in 71 flying hours. That noted Australian explorer, Captain Wilkins, was another who successfully made the flight over the North Pole.
Most of these have been record-breaking attempts, but the evacuation of 600 Europeans from Afghanistan demonstrates another use for the aeroplane. In 1 929, when there was trouble in Afghanistan, it became necessary to take away all the Europeans, but, as it was winter, this seemed impossible. There was only one way transport could be arranged—BY AIR. A telegram was sent to Bagdad, and troop-carrying aeroplanes successfully transported 600 people to a place of safety.
What an advance from the one-man aeroplane built by the Wright brothers! Yet without the initiative and faith in the ultimate conquest of the air by these pioneers of flight we should not be enjoying the privileges of air travel to-day.
The Centenary Air Race from London to Melbourne, sponsored by Sir William MacPherson Robertson, called forth the flying ACES of the world to compete in this classic air race.
Of the 20 planes which started, only nine finished within the time limit of 16 days. The honors went to C. W. Scott and Campbell Black, their time being 2 days 23 hours 18 seconds.
This record is all the more remarkable when the fact that they were flying a practically untried machine is taken into consideration. In addition to this, they had to make the journey across 2,426 miles of the dreaded Timor Sea with only one engine functioning.
The flight of the Dutch Douglas plane, piloted by Parmentier and Moll, demonstrated the speed, safety and comfort of long-distance aerial travel. Although they lost their bearings near Albury, and made a forced landing on the Albury Racecourse, they recorded the wonderful time of 3 days 18 hours 18 minutes 31 seconds.
The performance of the 21-year-old C. J. Melrose in his solo flight was an outstanding feature of the race, and the welcome he was accorded on arriving in Melbourne well deserved.
This long-distance air race provided flying with its greatest racing thrill and established records that should stand unbroken for some time.
Jean Batten, the well-known New Zealand pilot, has demonstrated the place women may take in aviation. Her first flight was made with Kingsford-Smith in Sydney, and later she went to England to study aeronautics and gain her pilot’s certificate. The Britannia Trophy and the Johnston Memorial Prize were awarded to her for the fastest flight in history between England and South America. Several flights from England to Australia stand to her credit, but her outstanding achievement was the flight from England to Australia and, continuing from there, to New Zealand. On this journey the record was broken. The 1,100-mile hop from Australia across the perilous Tasman Sea was undertaken against much opposition, but with supreme confidence in her own ability she made the flight and established a new solo record from England to New Zealand. That coveted award, the French Legion of Honor, has been awarded to her.
“The World's Greatest Airman” is how Col. Lindbergh describes this famous pilot. During the Great War he served in France and on Gallipoli, but it was his many record-breaking flights that made him world-famous.
In 1928, accompanied by three others, he flew over 2,000 miles to Honolulu, another hop of 3,000 miles to Suva, and finally 1,300 miles non-stop to Brisbane. He was the first airman to conquer the Tasman Sea, flying 1,200 miles to New Zealand. His next record was from England to Australia in 12* days; but, not content with this, he next flew the Atlantic, starting from Ireland and landing at Harbour Grace. And so he went from triumph to triumph until, in another attempt at the England-Australia record, he lost his life. The last heard of this tragic flight was between Rangoon and Singapore, and the only reasonable theory is that he crashed into the sea or into some remote jungle. He has vanished from the world, leaving behind a record of wonderful achievement to spur others
To write on all the famous aviators would require many volumes. All that is possible in the space available is to give a short resume of some of the better known, together with some of the exploits which made them famous.
BERT HINKLER, whose solo flight from England to Australia will always remain one of the finest, endeared himself to the Australian public by his unassuming manner and his ability to get the job done. As well as being a born pilot, his skill as a mechanic did much to help him out on his many exploits. He was the first airman to fly the Atlantic solo in a small machine. Many wonderful achievements stood to the credit of this intrepid airman before he met his death whilst on a record-breaking attempt on the England-Australia route.
AMY JOHNSON (afterwards to become Mrs. Mollison) was the first woman pilot to make a solo flight from England to Australia. Leaving England on 5th May, 1930, in her “Jason” light aeroplane, she battled against the elements that man had looked upon as his alone to conquer, and won through to Australia in 19 days. Her next big flight was from England, via Russia, to Japan. Amongst other records which she created was from England to the Cape in 4 days 6 hours 54 minutes. Like others in the long-distance field of flying, she studied engineering and possesses a ground engineer’s certificate.
MRS. PUTNAM, who is now figuring in the news by her attempt at a round-the-world flight, was the first woman to make a successful solo flight across the Atlantic.
The name of SIR ALAN COBHAM will always be associated with his pioneering flights of new air routes. He was the first pilot to fly from London to Rangoon and back. From Belgrade to London in a day, and an equally fine achievement was his flight from England to Africa, also completed in one day. He was the first airman to fly from England to Australia and back.
HARRY HAWKER, the son of an Australian wheelwright, lived to be one of the finest pilots of his day. His attempt to cross the Atlantic and the dramatic rescue by a small cargo boat, which he was fortunate to observe before the engine of his plane gave out, will go down in the history of flight. He crashed in July, 1921, and, to use the words of the late King George, “The nation lost one of its most distinguished airmen, who, by his skill and daring, had contributed so much to the success of British aviation.”
COL. LINDBERGH first came into prominence by his wonderful solo flight from New York to Paris in a Ryan monoplane. He was at one time known as "the flying fool" in America, for he gave the impression of casually walking over to his machine and starting off on some long and hazardous flight. Such was not the case, however. Having worked out the details in his brain, he saw his objective clearly before him and went straight for it.
Prior to the war period, between the years 1910 and 1914, a German company had a commercial fleet of Zeppelins. During the four years of its existence it carried 17,000 passengers, and over 100,000 miles were flown without incurring one fatality. Doubtless, there was a military aim in this, but the fact remains that this service gave proof of the possibility of air travel on a commercial basis.
When the war came to an end there were many expert airmen, who had braved great dangers and become expert pilots, but were thrown out of employment by the cessation of hostilities; in addition, many good machines were available. These formed the beginnings of the great fleet of aeroplanes operating all over the world to-day.
Like the pioneers in their early attempts at flight, many experiments had to be made before the air could be looked on as a means of transport, either for passengers or goods.
The first regular service in England was between Blackpool and Manchester. From this the area covered by the Avro Company grew, and soon they had aerodromes in most of the important towns all over England.
The next service, between London and Paris, was a great success, as it cut down the travelling time from seven hours to two hours. In the second week of its trial the demand for passengers was so great that another aeroplane had to be put on the route.
The many speed record flights to distant places have proved of value. It can be readily understood that, the longer the aeroplane is in flight, the more petrol it will consume, and, being only capable of carrying a limited number of passengers or freight, it is necessary to make fast flights to put this service on a commercial footing.
The romance of commercial aviation in Australia dates back to December, 1921, when West Australian Airways started a service between Geraldton and Derby, North-West Australia. A year later the Qantas Company opened its first service in Queensland. They have now developed into Qantas Empire Airways, and control the Australian end of the Empire Air-mail from England to Australia.
What a boon this service must mean to the people of the outback! During the floods of 1930 in Queensland, when land communication was completely cut off, stores were landed, two maternity cases were flown to proper care and attention, and shearers who were caught in the flood waters and were practically without food were saved.
Even in this country of long distances there is no excuse for being late for school. A party of boys, prevented by floods from motoring in to catch a train to go to their school in the city, were flown to the rail-head and got to school in time.
From only one route being operated in Australia in 1921 we have to-day aerial transport from Melbourne to Tasmania, Sydney, Adelaide, Broken Hill; Adelaide to Perth; Sydney to Brisbane; Brisbane to Singapore, and Perth to Daly Waters.
It is now possible to travel around the world by recognised air routes. The months of travel that the pioneers of Australia were forced to endure in making the trip to this country can now be accomplished in days. And the end of the story is by no means told. The romance of air travel, especially in Australia, still goes forward, pioneered by these stalwarts of the air.
They are carrying on the work started by the pioneers. The spirit of such men as Rozier, Lilienthal and the Wright brothers still lives and flourishes.
Another Record Broken. England to Australia in Three Days.” What an achievement! The pilots of these record-breaking flights are greeted as heroes and receive the plaudits of the crowd—and rightly s'"—for have not they endured days and nights of anxious flight, when the failure of their machines meant defeat, and an error in navigation, perhaps, certain death?
They carry the torch lit by the early pioneers in the conquest of the air—each flight adds something to the ever-increasing knowledge of actual air conditions.
But what of the organisation that has made these flights possible— th e mapping out of air routes, the erection of suitable aerodrome sites, the exam nat'on and testing of aircraft and engines?
What a feeling of security it must give the aviator flying under bad conditions to know he can get into radio communication with the ground stations along the route—to be able to obtain correct and i p-to-the-second information of weather conditions in places he is approaching!
These are some of the things undertaken by the Civil Aviation Bocrd. Situated in unromantic buildings, their work goes steadily forward. Each year, each month—in fact, one might almost say, each day—something is being planned and tested for greater security —something to make that ever-increasing form of transport— FLYING—more efficient.
Not to them come the plaudits of the crowd—only the satisfaction of a job well done.
What a wonderful thing the radio beacon is! By its aid the pilot is enabled to fly through fog, or far above the clouds, direct to his
objective. He can dispense with all landmarks. On leaving the ground, a pilot picks up the radio signal. A continuous note indicates that he is on the right course—dots or dashes that he is off his course. For instance, a series of dot signals may indicate that he is east of his course, and a series of dashes that he is west of his course. The range of these signals is 100 miles, and, as the pilot finds signals weakening, he switches over to the next station along the route. When d.rectly over his objective the signals stop.
The pilot can be in continual wireless telephone communication during the whole of his journey, and can speak to the ground at will. Weather reports from any quarter desired can be supplied to him.
Flashing beacon light signals are another feature of safety for night flying. Under good conditions, these can be seen for about 60 miles.
Balloons are also sent up to measure the speed of the wind high above the ground. This enables a pilot to fly at a convenient height where he can obtain a following wind, or, failing this, to find the air track that will give the least resistance to his plane on its flight.
All these services come under, and are controlled by, the Civil Aviation Board.
The Air Force, as is the case with the other Defence Services, is maintained in peace against the emergency of the outbreak of war.
Being organised and maintained especially to meet the needs of the operations of war, it might be assumed by some that life in the service during peace is one of comparative ease and that there is little to be done other than to fly an aircraft and enjoy oneself generally; but this is not the case.
When a member has qualified as a pilot at the Flying Training School, his real work is just beginning, for he must, by practice over a period of years, get to the stage where he practically flies an aircraft automatically, and this in itself is only a very small part of his duties. He must be able, in addition, to hit a target by machine-gun fire or bombing from heights from a vehicle travelling at a speed of 200-300 miles per hour, and this requires a good deal of practice and concentration, with a thorough knowledge of the equipment used for the work. In addition to this, he must be acquainted with all that goes to make wireless communication in the air possible, with aerial photography and its uses, as well as with the work of the Navy and Army, and the extent to which he and his aircraft can help them in their work.
Every member of the service, from top to bottom, realises that, if it is called upon for war, the equipment of the opposing sides may be expected to be fairly equal and that victory will go finally to that which has the most highly trained and most efficient personnel.
Much of the experience referred to, however, may be obtained under very pleasant conditions, for much of the flying training, exercises, air navigation, etc., is carried out in ideal weather conditions and over country which is pleasant to see.
Further, it is essential that pilots should know the country, and this requires that they should move to parts of the Commonwealth which they perhaps, under other conditions, would never see.
But the whole of the work of the service is not exclusively devoted to that which is to do with war. For example, each morning an aircraft goes to about 18,000 feet over Melbourne and collects data, which is passed to the Meteorological Department to help in weather forecasting, etc., and for the information of the community generally.
Again, in summer, in co-operation with the Meteorological Department and the Forestry Department of the State of Victoria, aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force patrol over the valuable forest areas of the State and report the outbreak of fires before such fires have got beyond the limits of the possibility of being dealt with by men on the ground. Information of these is sent by wireless direct to employees of the Forestry Commission on the spot.
Again, in co-operation with other Government Departments, the service undertakes, from year to year, the photography of large areas of country for the purpose of helping the authorities concerned to find oil, gold and other mineral-bearing areas. During the last three years many thousands of square miles of country have been so photographed. This work has taken many members of the service to the North and North-West of Queensland, Central Australia, the Northern Territory and to Northern Western Australia. This and much other work of a similar nature, which is of value in the development of the country in peace, is interesting to the personnel concerned and gives them a knowledge of country and experience they would not otherwise have got, at the same time providing them with knowledge which would be of value in war.
The Australian Aerial Medical Services, or, as it is commonly called. "The Flying Doctor Service." will always be associated, in the minds of Australians, wi.h the Rev. John Flynn, O.B.E. It is due almost entirely to his inspiration and tenacity of purpose that the A.A.M.S. exists to-day.
In 1917, an Australian airman serving overseas, the late Lieut. Clifford Peel, conceived the idea that the destructive weapon of war —the aeroplane—could be used to serve a more useful purpose: that of conveying doctors and patients in the sparsely-settled areas of Australia. He wrote to Australia, setting out full and practical details of this proposal, and Mr. Flynn conceived the idea of having a doctor and aeroplane established at a central base, using the aeroplane not only to reach the patient but also, if necessary, to convey him to hospital.
The proposal seemed possible except for the fact of communication between the patient and the doctor. Wireless, which was then in its infancy, was thought of, but the acquisition of a cheap and efficient set was the bar to this. These obstacles did not deter Mr. Flynn, who, meeting Mr. Tregear. a young wireless operator in Adelaide, put the case before him.
This young wireless enthusiast invented a portable set. worked by what is known as the pedal generator, operated by moving the pedals as in riding a bicycle. This made possible the sending of messages in morse to the base wireless station, then by turning a switch to receive, in voice, the reply. This set did good work, but the ideal was a "two-way voice transceiver. ' Once again Mr. Tregear came to the rescue by inventing this set.
With the Aerial Ambulance, specially constructed to carry a stretcher case, and which is also fitted with wireless, the Wireless Transceiver and the main Wireless Station, and last, but in no way least, the Flying Doctor, you must realise what a difference the service MUST mean to the outback settlers. They can obtain medical advice by wireless, and, if necessary, the Flying Doctor can fly out in the Aerial Ambulance to examine the patient, and, if required, transfer the case to the hospital. Distance makes no difference, up to, say, 400 miles.
The following article, which appeared in a Queensland weekly, gives a good word-picture of the working of the service:—
From an isolated little homestead, situated in the midst of that vast area known as the "Great Outback,” dots and dashes are travelling. Over the hundreds of lonely miles their urgent message seeks the "Flying Doctor.”
A man sits on the verandah of the homestead, and whilst tapping out his call for help, he pedals vigorously at a small bicycle-like device. A familiar enough scene, only on this particular day an atmosphere of anxiety prevails, and a white-faced perspiring horseman stands nearby, intently watching the proceedings and listening . . . listening.
Since he galloped into the yard a quarter of an hour previously.
Barton had stood thus, intermittently mopping his brow and unconsciously fidgeting with a nearby withered creeping vine.
"What if it is too late?" is the constant thought in his tortured mind.
The pedalling and tapping cease, and both listen for the reply.
"Hello, hello. Cloncurry calling."
A sigh of relief escapes at least one of the listeners.
"Doctor needed here—child ill," taps the man at the wireless.
Then comes a pause, fraught with suspense, while the Flying Doctor is summoned to the microphone. Ah! there he is. asking for the
symptoms and details of the case in a clear, steady reassuring voice.
Now Barton speaks quietly, whilst Perry hurriedly writes, prior to tapping the message, "High temperature, leg cut some days ago, looks like poison, etc.
Again they listen, this time to hear the doctor’s directions for treatment until his arrival, which should be within a few hours.
Instructions from the pilot are sent now; the plane has not been in this part before, although a landing ground has been prepared for emergencies; they will have a fire in readiness to show the direction of the wind; the landing ground must be clear of all obstacles. The operator informs them that he will be in touch with them every half hour.
The tension in Barton's face relaxes somewhat, for he now realises it is only a matter of a few hours. The car with his wife and sick child should arrive any minute; for Perry had sent immediately to the lonely little bark hut which he Galls home.
Yes! He hears the car in the distance. "If Benny had died while I ve been here,” he thinks, wretchedly; but no! that couldn't be.
A haggard-looking, large-eyed woman steps out and hands her precious little burden to him.
"Oh, Mike, he's worse! I know he’s worse, she cries, brokenly. “Just feel how hot he is, and he doesn’t seem to notice anyone." Indeed the little flaxen head rests pathetically unnoticing, against its father's shoulder.
They entered the house to wait. Everywhere, save in the hearts of the grief-stricken parents, is bustle and excitement in preparation for the plane’s arrival.
An -hour later anxious eyes scan the horizon. The whirring of the plane suddenly becomes audible, and hearts are gladdened by the sound.
Down flutters the great bird of the blue, bringing with it fresh hopes and succour. The doctor is taken indoors to see the tiny patient, his very presence brings relief and a new-found courage.
“To the hospital without delay" is the doctor’s verdict. The mother and child are helped into the cabin, the father watches them go, with mingled reluctance and thankfulness. But. as the winged messenger soars into the blue, the other onlookers realise with pride and admiration that this is only one of many occasions whereby Flynn's Flying Doctor has fulfilled his mission, and had been the means of saving a precious life in the outback.
Who can say what the future holds in store for us as regards aerial transport? Speed, and still greater speed, but in the years to come harnessed and controlled as our servant, not our master. We have progressed from the creaking and rumbling over bush tracks of the bullock waggon to the rush over perfect roads of the modern motor car, and the speed of the fast express trains. Then comes flight through the air of the giant air liners with their speeds of hundreds of miles per hour. And still the work goes forward; science does not know the meaning of the word “impossible.”
Every day our newspapers tell of some new record established, of something accomplished to make air travel of more use to mankind. The recent flight of two giant air-clippers, which crossed the Atlantic from opposite sides, has demonstrated the possibilities of commercial services between Great Britain and America. The new altitude record recently established brings nearer flight through the stratosphere, when we may expect speeds of 1000 miles per hour or more, and still the story of the conquest of the air is not finished; the work started by the early pioneers of flight marches steadily onward, and no one can forecast where it may lead to.
The manufacturers of “ACE” CHEWING SWEETS trust that this booklet has proved both interesting and instructive, and that the pleasure you have derived therefrom is equal to the enjoyment you have experienced in their sweets.
WHOLLY SET UP AND PRINTED IN AUSTRALIA BY
McLaren & Co. Pty. Ltd. 144-164 George Street Fitzroy
A COPYRIGHT PRODUCTION
We acknowledge with thanks the courtesy of the Editor of "Aircraft" (a monthly publication dealing with all matters relative to the air) for the loan of photographs and general assistance in the compilation of this booklet.