ACROSS THE FRONTIER.
GERMAN BALLOONS IN FRANCE
(Received 8.10 a.m.)
PARIS, April 7.
The frequency with which German balloons cross the frontier, led France to levy high duties on all landing upon French soil.
Four alighted upon French territory yesterday, and as the occupants were not provided with sufficient funds to pay tlie amount of the duties, all were confiscated.
Another balloon dropped near Antwerp citadel. Upon being questioned, the aeronauts at first denied, but later confessed, that they were German officers.
Major B. Baden-Powell, the British aeronautical expert, in a recent letter to the editor of the ''Times," referred to the necessity for some international control of the air. It has been clearly demonstrated that apparatus can now be made, he wrote, which can carry men through the air in a practical manner; and there seems to be every probability that within the next few years many machines will be constructed capable of travelling hundreds of miles through the air. swiftly, surely, aud safely. If then, such machines are to become at all common, it is very evident that laws must, be made and modified to meet the new circumstances. The first and one of the most important questions calling for solution is that regarding international frontiers, seeing that neither walls nor fences, mountains nor rivers, not even seas, offer insurmountable barriers. Are these airships to lie allowed to traverse frontiers freely, regardless of passports, independent of Custom duties, defiant of bans of exile and laws of immigration? Are they at liberty to hover over fortifications, arsenals, and dockyards? Secondly, there is the very serious question of private boundaries. Are these ''airhogs" (as they are sure to be dubbed) to be allowed to pass over our private properW? May they glide over chimneytops, or skim close above our lawns and flower-beds? The law of trespass is intricate as it is, and if proof of damage to property is its mainstay it seems wholly inapplicable to aircraft. Damage due to accidental landings, as well as from articles dropped from above, is another matter. Then there must be consideration for enclosures where sporting and other events tafe place and where entrance money is collected. Even if fivers are to be allowed to cross high up in the sky, how can we limit the exact height at which they may travel? If definite laws are adoptee controlling such matters, we then get to the still more perplexing problem of how to police these realms of blue. It is all very well to dictate regulations for aerial traffic, but how is the law to be maintained? Machines travelling at a speed of 30 or 40 yards a second get such a start that they cannot easily be followed; uneonfined to definite tracks, the transgressors cannot be detained on arrival at their destination. If all machines are to bear registered numbers or means of identification, there must be some international understanding about i».
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