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THE LAWS OF THE AIR.

An International Conference to define the rights of aeronauts is now being demanded on the Continent. We may if we please directly connect the proposal with the trouble that has arisen about espionage on the Franco-German frontier, and the recent arrest of a German military balloon and its occupants on French soil. But quite apart from incidental causes of this kind, the recent, rapid development of aeronautics has rendered inevitable some attempt to define the rights and responsibilities of those adventurers who are now pioneering a way for us through the sky. On these questions an interesting discussion is supplied by Major F. B. to the current number of the "National .Review." The writer, who has had considerable practical experience of aerial navigation assert* his belief that in four years' time flying will be quite a common practice, and long before that time it will become necessary to settle several important questions' that the new art has suddenly brought into unexpected prominence. The "Rule of the Road" must be absolutely fixed so as tc provide for all possible contingencies. The question of respecting International frontiers and paying regard to fiscal regulations muet also be considered. Apart from the military or naval aspect of the case, the use of aeroplanes and dirigibles would render smuggling easy and lucrative, and this is a possibility that jiiust "be faced at once. Aβ to more private rights, it is generally- held in English law that a landowner's proprietorship extends upward toward* the sky; that to move through the air above his house is trespass and to dmt out his

lightj is;, illegal. or /djityv'of "policing" the air" 'also suggests itself as reauiring specific adjustment. But on the whole, infinitely the most important questions involved in. aerial navigation sue concerned-'Vith international dispute? over the delimitation of frontiers, and with these -we may expect that a representative, conference will-soon be called upon to deal.-. . ■ ,; . . t

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THE LAWS OF THE AIR. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 88, 14 April 1909

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