SHIPS OF THE AIR.
MR HA_\"Df,F.Y TAGE ON TRAVEL PROSPECTS. « A most opportune, moment," Mr. F. _______ley Page remarked, when a representative of the London "Observer" called to hear his views of tbe historic report on organised airways, which had just been issued by the Civil Aerial Transport Committee. It was opportune because news had just been received of the safe arrival at Delhi from England of one of the Handley Tage machines, and it showed, as he pointed out. that commercial aviation is already an accomplished fact. " Few people."' he said, " realise the amount, of organisation which is necessary before a long distance flight can be accomplished. There are the necessary aerodromes to he prepared, the ground surveyed, tbe petrol s-upplies made available, and spare parts collected at various depots in rase of need for replacement- Great credit is. therefore, due to General Salmon.! and to those responsible for the organisation that the first flight from England to India has been accomplished without a hitch. This world's record cross-country flight show-* the _rre..t advance that has been made in aviation since Rleriot crossed the Cbannei in 1010. "That the aircraft industry has progressed so much during the war is largelydue to the great co-operation which there has been between the industry and the Department of Aircraft Production, at first under the guidance of Sir William Weir, as he then was. and afterwards of Sir Arthur Diickham. It is fortunate, too, for the full development of commorrval aerial f.ransport that in This transition period the Secretary of State for thp Royal Air Force should be one who thoroughly under stands aircraft requirements, and has the best interests of aviation at heart. rTSTOjIS AND TRESPASS. 'There are many problems with which the authorities have to deal in civil aerial transport, ln the first place, at the present time, no flying is possible either in this country or between this country and abroad, and although thp reitilationr- with regard to living in this country will shortly be relaxed, it is improbable that universal flying will takp place before peace is signed.
"Quite apart from the difficulty of our being- theoretically still at war. and that therefore there mils', be restrictions on travel and transport, there are many questions stil to be settled —questions of Custom.-, of the right of flying over foreign territory, and of the prohibition of flying over certain areas. These questions have to be considered by international convention. By the time they have been settled we shall be ready to deal with aerodrome organisation, and meteorological and navigational difficulties will have been overcome.
"One must realise that the aeroplane as a transport vehicle has developed in advance of the organisation necessary to operate it. The Handley-Page machine which Hew to . airo. Bagdad and India is capable to-.lay of flyin_r regularly with twenty passengers for long distances and carrying freight as well. The larger four-engined Handley-Page has already demonstrated its capabilities of carrying large loads hy flying over London at a eight, of fi,.iooft., with a pilot and forty passengers and six hours' supply of petrol.
"The mere fart, however, of aeromplishin™ these individual flights docs not necessarily mean that they can be repeated every d.iv in the year to fcboduied time. Here in Knuland we have fr.2. low-lying clouds, and adverse ■weather to consider. To overcome, the difficulties of fog and cloud it is necessary that, air routes should be ma.pped nut by captive halloons tethered, with their <»orre.ct markings, at such a height thn-t they are above the fog. An aviator flying with his passengers and running into a district covered with fog will thus be ahle to tell from these balloons exactly where to alight THK ADVANTAGE OF SPEF/P. "FTon. the report of the committee which considered possibilit.es of aircratt. performa m c and the requirements ot aerul service*:, the basic fact is very clearly seen that the main advantage ot the aeronlane is itr. speed, and that it can maintain continuously speeds that are impossible hy any other means ot transport. "In ronseqnneop of its high speed, its loads must necessarily be small. If tne speeds demanded are pushed to too hi_.h a limit the iraffic cost becomes prohibitive. It is thus proba-ble that, the speed of aeroplane transport will he kept down to the limit at which adverse winds or weather will not militate against, the successful continuance ot the service, and that at such a speed. say ninety or a huntred miles an hour, it will .be possible t:> carry relatively large loads compared with those of a machine designed to fly at 130 or 140 miles an hour. It is probable that the cost of carrying goods or passengers in the first type of machine with the slower speed, will be. one-half or one-third that of the high speed machine.
"The investigations of the committee dealing with the establishment of aerial transport services show that aeroplanes will take a position in the world's means of communication midway .between express service hy passenger train and communication by telegraph. The committee shows the great saving that can be effected in sending a letter by aeroplane compared with sending it by telegraph, provided that the urgency of the message is not such as to call for anything quicker than a deferred telegram or a week-end telegraphic letter.
"With regard to the work of the committee on air routes, it is rather curious to notice that the long-distance route from England to Jndia which has been the first to be traversed is the one that is not mentioned. The possibilities ot the suggested route .between London and South Africa and that across the Atlantic arc very great, and tbey will no doubt be down in the near future. •TJMLXG TYPES. "It i:- probable that commercial aviation will develop in two ways. Immediately the aerodromes ar P established, and the ground organisation and the meteorological service completed, large passenger-carrying cachines, such as the twin-engined or four-engined Handley Page, will fly betwen England and India. Australia. Africa, and other parts of the World.
"We have, in fact, already made arrangement, for establishing such services. The machines are being built, and the signing of peace will see the commencement of world traffic on them. As soon a_; passenger traffic can be carried, announcements wi'i he made with regard to fares _ n d booking arangempnts. The other aspect of the' transport qnestmn which needs consideration is this, that, just as a wealthy businessman crosspj continents in his own saloon railwavcni- or travels round the world 'or pleasure on his yacht, so there will always be a certain number of persons
who will own their private aeroplanes. We are already building for such clients what we may term air yachts, similar in size to the twin-engined machine that flew to India. "These air ya-ehts arc -Vicing fitted rather with regard to the comfort of the traveller than for excessive speed. It will be possible when peace is signed to fly from this country, landing at various aerodromes en route, and conduct a shooting expedition in the wilds ot Africa or Asia, at distances from civilisation which it would be impossible to rearh in the ordinary way, except, hy long and arduous journeys by camel or other transport. In short, the sporting possibilities which aerial transport open to the busy man who has hitherto had no opportunities of big game shooting owing to the long distances are practically unlimited. •This same type will be equally available for exploring or prospecting' expeditions equipped in this case with a lull list of scientific apparatus."