EMPIRE AIR ROUTES.
IMPORTANCE OF EGYPT.
(By "Wing Adjutant" in the "Daily ■ SIaU")
Great Britain will undoubtedly control all the aerial routes of the Old World, and the key to this control lies in Egypt.
Egypt,'is the junction for all the lines which will link up British possession in all continents except America. Canada and British Guiana by nature of their respective situations cannot be reached via Egypt, but India, our African dominions /and Australia are all vitally affected by the future of the Near EastJ
There is. practically no alternative route to India and Australia on account of the tremendous mountains which would have to be crossed at the N.W. Frontier. Africa can be reached by means of France and the Sahara, but in this case the route would not lie through all-British territory. Whether seaplanes or aeroplanes make the journey, Egypt is the main factor in the route.
So far the journey from England to India has been twice attempted. and each time successfully performed, though iriXthe nrst case the aeroplane which flew spent many weeks in Egypt after the first half of the journey while it was occupied in the final operations of rounding un the Turks, and the second machine—th*e giant HandleytPage which has just reached Karachitook a month over the flight on account of the bad weather encountered in Europe and also because of slight engine trouble which delayed the machine in Egypt while the requisite "spares" were brought from elsewhere. On the second stage the Handley-Page carried to 'Mesopotamia the orders for demobilisation of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force. . . *
It is noteworthy that both these flights were made in Handley-Page aeroplanes, one fitted with two and the other fitted with four engines of the Rolls-Royce type. The only other type of aeroplane which has so far flown from England to Egypt is the De Havilland 9a, fitted with,a Liberty engine, but a flight with a certain type tt' fly-ing-boat has already been projected and may take place at any date. The main routes which it may be confidently asserted will be followed are as follows. For the sake of clearness the towns on that portion of the route follows:-—
(a) England to Egypt, via Marseilles, Rome, Taranto, Athens or Crete, according to the weather, Sollum on the Egyptian-Tripolitan frontier and Cairo or Aboukir, a large R.A.F. station near Alexandria. An alternative to this route which may be used at certain seasons of the year, or probably usually on the return ' journey from Egypt, is via Marseilles, Rome, Sicily, or Taranto, Malta, Bengazi in Tripoli, Sollum and, Cairo. This latter route has been flown over by the last Hand-ley-Page to reach Egypt. (b) England to India over the same route as to Egypt,: and then via Damascus, Baghdad, Bussorah, Karachi and Delhi. An alternative is to proceed direct from Cairo to Bussorah, missing out Damascus and Baghdad . This route would save several hundred miles but would involve a tremendous flight over tthe unexplored Arabian des-' crt where a forced landing would probably mean death to the aviators. (c) England to Australia over the same route as to India, and thence via Burma, Singapore, Christmas Island, and Western Australia. (d) England to South Africa over the same route as to Egypt, and thence via Khartoum, Port Victoria (on the Victoria Nyanza), Ujiji, Broken Hill, Pretoria and Capetown. It is apparent that while Egypt is the junction of-all the aerial routes for aeroplanes, England herself cannot be reached from her Dominions except by passing over and landing in the Allied countries of Italy and France. With Itaty an arrangement exists by which Britain may continue to use the aerodromes at pi-esent occupied in Italy for a certain term of years. In order to obviate this landing in countries which, though friendly, are not British, the flying-boat may be brought into use. It is not generally known that . we have at present flyingboats of tremendous" capacity and with a speed and range equal to those of the Handley-Page aeroplane. These boats could fly over an all-British route to Egypt, via, Gibraltar, Malta, _Sollum or Mersa MatruTV, and Aboukir, and could continue their journey to India and Australia via the Suez Canal, Aden, Chahbar or the Andaman Islands, India, Burma, Straits Settlements, Christmas Island or Sarawak and New Guinea, to Australia and New Zealand. In the same way the journey could be continued from Egypt down the Nile and thence by way of the Central African lakes and the River Zambesi to Delagoa Bay, in Portuguest East Africa,, and round, the coast to Natal and Cape Colony. The y flying-boat is thus able^to do the journey almost exclusively in British territory. In addition the preparation of landing-places does not entail the labour and expense requisite for ■ a'; land aerodrome, and forced landings could be made at any places on the route without the slightest danger or any •preliminary preparations 1. The future of the flying-boat appears even more rosy than 'the future of the aeroplane, and if Canada- and Newfoundland are considered the flying-boat appears more fitted to cross the Atlantic.
But it must be remembered that, a-part from the western 'lands, Egypt is the key to all the aerial' routes so invaluable for the well-being of the Empire. - .
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EMPIRE AIR ROUTES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9578, 4 April 1919
EMPIRE AIR ROUTES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9578, 4 April 1919
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