Page:Aircraft in Warfare.pdf/14

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vi.
PREFACE.


national grindstone; a few, innocent, following on a vague quest for supernatural powers of flight.

As a matter of fact, there are no experts in experts in the military aeronautics. There are experts in scientific research, in the design and construction of aeroplanes and engines, in military organisation and tactics as yet, there is little opportunity for the expert in branch to gain definite knowledge of the others, except by hard personal experience; in every direction there is progress, in every section of work opinion is fluid, and the views of the workers are not yet sufficiently crystallised to permit of definite instruction to others. Yet there are some students who, by reason of their receptive minds, and their wide and varied experience, have mastered so many of the fundamental problems that they are well qualified to review the general position, and to put forward a reasoned statement of their views. And of those so qualified, none has a wider view than Mr. Lanchester.

Of all the fields in which work for the advancement of military aeronauties has been undertaken, in this country, that of scientific research has, up to the present, produced the results that will probably be the most enduring. It is only by the solution of fundamental problems of science that improvement in the power of fight can be won. Solutions may be obtained, and some few have been, by chance, or by intuition; but to gain the full value of the result, it is necessary that the scientific solution should also be found, further deductions. In this work of stating and solving the problems of aeronautics, Mr. Lanchester was one of