Page:EB1922 - Volume 30.djvu/46

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The Pre-War Years. The chief flight of the year 1910 was Paulhan's from London to Manchester, by which he won the Daily Mail 10,000 prize (April 27 and 28 1910). The race was gallantly contested by Grahame-White. If skill and tenacity had been the determining factor, the prize would have been hard to award. The chances of the race aroused the greatest enthusiasm and to the many incredulous one more demonstration was thus given of the possibilities of the aeroplane.

During the year flying meetings were held at Heliopolis, Wolverhampton, Bournemouth, Blackpool and Lanark, the flying performances at which demonstrated the advance that had been made on those of the previous year. At Bournemouth Eng- land lost one of her best fliers, the Hon. C. S. Rolls, who had previously made the double journey across the English Channel. His statue stands at Dover, gazing out over the waters that he crossed. Most British pilots were flying on aeroplanes that were wholly or partly French, but it is to be noted that Moore Braba- zon won the British Michelin Cup with a flight of 19 m. on an all-British machine. At Lanark Chavez on a Bleriot monoplane reached a height of 1,794 metres, a prelude to his magnificent flight over the Alps, the tragic sequel to which was his fatal accident on landing. Legagneux, however, created a record by reaching a height of 3,100 metres.

Moisant flew from Paris to London but, though he quickly reached English soil, various troubles delayed his arrival in London till three weeks later. On the continent, Leblanc won the 4,000 prize for the Circuit de L'Est. Grahame-White went to America and brought back the Gordon Bennett Cup, which Curtis had won the year before. The contests for the British Michelin Cup and the Baron de Forest prize brought forward new fliers. Sopwith, competing for the former, flew 100 m. at Brook- lands, which had been opened as a flying-ground the year before, thus beating Cody's distance of 97 m. which had previously stood; competing for the latter he flew from Eastchurch well into Belgium.

At the close of the year Cody, after an exciting contest with Sopwith and Ogilvie, held the British Michelin Cup with a dis- tance of 185 m. in 4 hours 47 minutes. In France Tabuteau held the International Michelin Cup with a distance of 582 km. in 7 hours 48 minutes.

It was in 1911 that the aeroplane was first tried in warfare. Hamilton, an American, carried out a flight over the town of Ciudad Juarez during a Mexican rebellion. In their campaign in Tripoli the Italians also realized the value of the aeroplane for reconnaissance. In England the idea of the time was that, for bombing, aircraft would be useless and contrary to international usage; on the other, hand, the first British attempt was made to run an aerial post between Hendon and Windsor.

Capt. Bellenger, a Frenchman, flew from Paris to Bordeaux in 5 hours 10 minutes net time, a distance of 690 km., while later Fourny remained in the air for n consecutive hours, covering a distance of 720 kilometres. Garros made a height record of 3,910 metres. London was linked with Paris by a notable non- stop flight by Prier, which foreshadowed the aerial services of to-day.

The year 1911 saw many races: the Paris-Madrid race won by Vedrines at 50 m.p.h., in the course of which the French Minister of War met his death and the premier was seriously injured; the European Circuit, divided into nine stages, with the recently opened Hendon flying-ground at the end of the seventh, which was won by Lt. Conneau flying under the name of " Beaumont "; the Daily Mail race round Great Britain of 1,010 m., also won by " Beaumont " with Vedrines as a close second.

The Gordon Bennett Cup was won for America at Eastchurch by Weyman flying a Nieuport monoplane at 79 m.p.h., and the International Michelin Cup for France at Gidy-Lhumery by Helen with a distance of 1,252 km. in 14 hours 7 minutes at 56 m. per hour.

The increase in performance over the previous year may be referred chiefly to the development of the aero engine. It would be difficult to say that fliers were more skilful, but it is certain that they were able to substitute knowledge and experience for

pure instinct, and thus set out on long and arduous flights with increased confidence in their own powers and in the reliability of the aircraft they flew.

One of the most prominent features of the year 1012 was the active part that the British and French Governments took in the development of aircraft for war. The French Minister of War held a great review of military fliers and aeroplanes, and British aircraft took a conspicuous part in naval and military manoeu- vres. The Cody pusher biplane won the 4,000 prize in the War Office trials on Salisbury Plain in the summer, during which the tractor biplane BE2 reached a height of 9,500 feet. In Sept. four army fliers lost their lives in two accidents in monoplanes, which led to close restrictions being placed on their method of bracing in England. In March the French Government had im- posed a ban on certain monoplanes until the defects were removed as the result of a report by Bleriot on their structural weakness.

Garros won the Grand Prix of the Aero Club de France for the Anjou Circuit of 685 m. at 45 m.p.h.; Sopwith the first Aerial Derby at 59 m.p.h., a race round London of 81 m.; Vedrines the Gordon Bennett Cup in America at 105 m.p.h.; Audemars flew from Paris to Berlin; the two British Michelin Cups were won by Hawker and Cody, the first with a duration of 8 hours 23 minutes, and the second with a flight over a circuit of 186 m. in 3 hours 23 minutes; in France Daucourt for the Pommery Cup flew 550 m. in a single day at 63 m.p.h., while at the meeting at Leipzig Hirth reached a height of 4,100 metres. World's records were made in height by Garros, who reached 5,610 metres; in dis- tance by Fourny with 1,010 km.; and in speed by Vedrines with 174 km. per hour, over 5 kilometres.

In the spring, flying had suffered an irreparable loss in the death of Wilbur Wright from typhoid fever.

Apart from the establishment of the fundamental merit of the tractor biplane the year was notable rather for a steady improve- ment in strength and detail than for any radical departure in type. From this time it becomes increasingly difficult to single out individual performances. Achievements deemed impossible three years before became commonplace events.

The year 1913 was one of great progress. Long cross-country flights were proving day by day the faith that fliers had in the aero engine. Seguin in France covered 1,021 km., Legagneux reached a height of 6,120 metres, while Prevost attained the speed of 203 km. per hour, over 5 kilometres. It was a brilliant year for him; he won the Schneider Cup for seaplanes at Monaco, covering 150 nautical m. in 3 hours 48 minutes, and the Gordon Bennett Cup at Reims at 124 m.p.h. Helen won the International Michelin Cup with a distance of 16,096 km. Captain Longcroft won the Britannia Challenge Trophy by a magnificent flight from Montrose to Farnborough via Ports- mouth on a BE2 aeroplane built by the Royal Aircraft factory. Hamel won the second Aerial Derby at 76 m.p.h., while Pegoud in France and England gave some of the most marvellous demon- strations in the new art of aerobatics that the world had ever seen, including looping, inverted flying and quitting his aeroplane in a parachute. In Dec. 1913 the REi, the first aeroplane stable longitudinally and laterally, was flown for 35 minutes without hand or foot control; and this, which may be regarded as the greatest technical advance in aerodynamics, is to the credit of Busk, an Englishman, who both made the flight and applied the theory on which the aeroplane was designed. The last previous attempt of the kind was by Dunne, who a few months earlier had flown for one minute with " hands off."

The year 1914, just as it marked a turning point in the affairs of nations, altered the whole character of flying. For seven months the ideas of safe, stable flying and safe alighting were dominant ; then the World War came down like a curtain and blotted them out in favour of widely different objects. During those months, Sykorsky, in Russia, had been proving the weight-carrying possi- bilities of the aeroplane, and had risen to 300 metres, carrying 15 passengers. At Farnborough, an SE4 (see Plate I., fig. 4) flew at 130 m.p.h. and climbed 1,400 ft. in a minute. Linnekogel had reached a height of 6,350 metres in Germany, though just before the war Oelrich beat him by reaching 7,860 metres. Landmann