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Wonders of World Aviation

Part 13


Part 13 of Wonders of World Aviation was published on Tuesday 31st May 1938, price 7d.


This part included a colour plate showing Henson’s proposed aeroplane. It formed part of the article on The First Powered Aeroplane.






The Cover


This week’s cover picture, from a Flight photograph, shows a De Havilland Dragonfly aircraft during a test flight. The Dragonfly seats five, and at sea level has a maximum speed of about 145 miles an hour.


a De Havilland Dragonfly aircraft during a test flight


Contents of Part 13


Geoffrey de Havilland (Part 2)

Progress to Solo Flying

Airscrews and Their Design

Air Transport in Canada

The London-Manchester Race

The First Powered Aeroplane

The First Powered Aeroplane (colour plate)

Representative Types of Continental and American Aircraft - 2

Tests of Flying Fitness (Part 1)







Airscrews and Their Design


Practical solutions of varied problems of propulsion. The airscrew is the mechanism which converts the engine energy into the work which has to be done to drive the aeroplane against the air resistance due to its motion. This chapter is by A Fage, who describes all aspects of airscrews and their design.

(Pages 351-354)


Air Transport in Canada


How the aeroplane has brought speedy travel and transport facilities to this northern Dominion.

This chapter is by Brian Meredith and tells how Canada leads the world in the transport of freight by air. Canada’s aviation has progressed to a high standard of efficiency without a subsidy and with little help from the Government.

(Pages 355-360)


Canada’s Air Communications

CANADA’S AIR COMMUNICATIONS extend throughout the Dominion from east to west and from the United States border to the northern coasts. Supplementing the main air routes are the charter services,which sometimes end in remote districts where there are no named settlements.

(Page 356)


The London-Manchester Race


French and English rivals in a contest for £10,000. After Louis Bleriot had won in 1909 the Daily Mail prize for the first aeroplane across the English Channel, that journal offered a cash prize of £10,000 for the first aviator to fly from London to Manchester. A start had to be made from a place within five miles of the Daily Mail’s London office, and the finish had to be within a similar distance of the newspaper’s Manchester office. The flight had to be completed within twenty-four hours, and only two landings were allowed, for fuel and any necessary adjustments to the machine or engine. This chapter is by Miles Henslow, and is the fifth article in the series on Great Flights.

(Pages 308-312)


In the editorial to this part, Clarence Winchester wrote, “RECENTLY I had a letter from a young man who wished to know something about the London to Manchester flight in 1910. He had seen references to it from time to time and, to quote his own words, “wondered what all the fuss was about.” Having grown up in an age that accepts long-distance flying as something of a commonplace, he could not realize the significance of a flight from London to Manchester. In 1910, however, flights of any appreciable distance were sensational events. Only a year previously Louis Bleriot had astonished the world by flying across the English Channel, covering a distance of 31 miles. A flight from London to Manchester was a different proposition, as the distance was some 180 miles.


“So important was the possibility of such a flight that the late Lord Northcliffe offered the enormous prize of £10,000 for the first aviator to fly from London to Manchester. This flight is among the most exciting in the history of aviation; it resolved itself into a race between Claude Grahame-White and Louis Paulhan. It was this flight which marked the beginning of Grahame-White’s remarkable career in aviation. I have referred to Lord Northcliffe’s offer of £10,000 for the winner of the London to Manchester event, and I think it would be appropriate at this point to recall the outstanding services that this great journalist rendered to aviation. It has been stated that when Lord Northcliffe was first interested in flying he saw little future in it except

perhaps as a hobby. I myself doubt this statement. Although it was some years after his early interest that I knew him (and then he saw scarcely any limit to the future of aircraft), I do know that he was too shrewd to offer enormous money prizes for something which was a mere pastime. The truth is, I think, that Lord Northcliffe - himself a pioneer and a man of vision - was among the first to realize the immense possibilities of the conquest of the air. Had he regarded flying merely as a pastime I do not think he would have offered prizes for the best performances by model aeroplanes.


“These prizes, which were the first of the several prizes he offered in connexion with aviation, were awarded for a model competition held at Alexandra Palace, London, and were doubtless inspired by his having seen Wilbur Wright’s amazing flights in France in 1908. The competition at Alexandra Palace was won by A. V. Roe (now Sir Alliott Verdon-Roe). From that time Lord Northcliffe consistently offered big money prizes for aviators. During the early years of flying in Great Britain he was one of the few men outside aviation who not only believed in it, but who also backed his belief by practical support, when aviation seriously needed such encourage-ment. He supported it through his newspapers and periodicals when other papers either ignored it or even openly derided it.


“Looking back on those early days, we can see now that all the competitions he sponsored produced significant results and represented important advances in aviation. There was the £1,000 which Louis Bleriot won in 1909, when he crossed the English Channel (the first man to do so in an aeroplane) on July 25, 1909, in thirty-seven minutes, at a speed of approximately 50 miles an hour. Encouraged by this success, Lord Northcliffe offered another £1,000 prize for the first aviator to fly a circular mile in Great Britain; and this, as we read in Part 4, was won by Moore-Brabazon. In 191 I Lord Northcliffe offered another prize, this time for the first seaplane race round Britain. This was a prize of £5,000, to be won by the first British aviator to complete the course of 1,450 miles in 72 hours’ flying time on a British machine with a British engine and with a passenger. Lord Northcliffe offered £10,000 in 1919 for the greatest flight of all, the conquest of the North Atlantic. No one will disagree that modern flying owes a considerable debt to Lord Northcliffe.”


Geoffrey de Havilland (Part 2)


The story of Geoffrey de Havilland, the story of a pioneer who, from small beginnings, has piloted his own machines to outstanding successes. This chapter is written by Miles Henslow, is concluded from part 12. It is the fifth article in the series on Makers of Air History.

(Page 345)


A Fairchild 82-B Monoplane

MANY OF THE AIRCRAFT USED IN NORTHERN CANADA can be fitted with floats, wheels or skis. The wheels shown on this Fairchild 82-B monoplane of Dominion Skyways Limited are temporarily attached to the floats for the purpose of moving the machine over land. A 550 horse-power Pratt and Whitney Wasp engine is used, and the maximum speed of the aircraft as a landplane is 155 miles an hour. As a seaplane the maximum speed is only three miles and hour less. Freight or passengers up to a maximum number of ten may be carried.

(Page 360)


The First Powered Aeroplane


Henson and Stringfellow’s remarkable influence on modern design. A manufacturer of lace machinery was destined to become famous as the inventor of the first aeroplane to fly under its own power. The lace machinery manufacturer was John Stringfellow. One day in 1820 Stringfellow me a young engineer named William Samuel Henson. For years Henson had been ambitious to solve the great problem of flight. With their common engineering interests, they soon became firm friends. In this chapter by J Laurence Pritchard, the development of their ideas is fully described.

(Pages 365-367)


A Revolving Chair

A REVOLVING CHAIR is used to test reactions to aerobatics or stunt flying. The candidate is seated on the chair, which is rotated ten times in twenty seconds and suddenly stopped. Pulse rate and arterial pressure are recorded immediately before and after rotation.


(Page 371)


Progress to Solo Flying


Spinning, the first solo, forced landings and test for the “A” licence. Before he is sent up for his first solo, the pupil may be taught spinning. Forced landings are seldom necessary these days because of the high degree of reliability of the modern aero engine. But it is necessary to be prepared for the thousandth chance. When the pupil has put in an hour or two solo, the instructor will prepare him for the practical flying tests necessary for obtaining the “A” licence.

This chapter is by Arthur Clark and is the fourth article in the series on Learning to Fly.

 (Pages 346-350)


A DH9a at Amman, Transjordan

WHEELING OUT A D.H.9a at Amman, Transjordan, during the war of 1914-18. During these years de Havilland produced ten D.H. types, the D.H.9a being a modification of the D.H.9, which, engined by a Siddeley Puma of 200 horse-power, attained a speed of 110 miles an hour at 10,000 feet.

(Page 345)


Controllable-Pitch Airscrew


CONTROLLABLE-PITCH AIRSCREW manufactured by the De Havilland Aircraft Co, Ltd, under the Hamilton patents. This three-bladed airscrew is designed for an aero engine of 1,000 horse-power. It has a diameter of 13 feet and weighs 360 lb. The pitch of the blades can be altered as required for take-off, climb, or high-speed level flight.


(Page 351)


Claude Graham-White

CLAUDE GRAHAM-WHITE took up flying in 1909. A year later he competed for the prize of £10,000 offered by a London newspaper to the first aviator to fly from London to Manchester within twenty-four hours, with no more than two landing. A Frenchman, Louis Paulhan, was also competing, and thus the event became a race.

(Page 361)


The Difficulty of a Forced Landing

THE DIFFICULTY THAT MAY BE EXPERIENCED in having to select a suitable field for a forced landing is clearly shown in this illustration. The flying pupil should always endeavour to have in view a field which would permit a safe forced landing to be made. The higher a machine is flying the greater is the number of fields from which the pilot may make his selection. The aeroplane shown in this picture is a Belgian Tipsy single-seat monoplane with flat twin engine.

(Page 348)


The Aeroplane Proposed by Henson in 1842


THE AEROPLANE PROPOSED BY HENSON in his patent of 1842. Power was to be obtained from a light steam engine to drive paddle wheels or other propellers. The design was for a huge monoplane built of bamboo and hollow wooden spars braced with wires. This illustration shows the completed machine as seen from below, and the framework of the machine as seen from above. There are three spars running the whole length of the wings. The centre spar is of rectangular section; the outer two are of oval section and taper towards their ends. Sections at the centres and ends of the tapering spars are shown in the inset. This inset also shows plan and side views of a turnbuckle used to tighten the bracing wires.


(Facing page 366)

A DH9a at Amman, TransjordanThe Difficulty of a Forced LandingControllable-Pitch AirscrewA Fairchild 82-B MonoplaneCanada’s Air CommunicationsCanada’s Air CommunicationsCanada’s Air Communications


Canada’s Air Communications

(Top left) CANADIAN AIRWAYS AIRCRAFT at Gold Pines, Ontario. Machines of these types are used in connexion with a contract for carrying freight and machinery for the Argosy Gold Mine. Gold silver and copper are found in Canada in places remote from roads and railways, and the aeroplane has made possible the establishment of mining centres where these minerals abound. In the opinion of one authority, a former president of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, the aeroplane has advanced mining in the north by a hundred years.

(Middle left) CONTRASTING MODES OF ARCTIC TRANSPORT are illustrated in this picture. A dog sledge one of the oldest methods of moving goods in Canada, is shown alongside an aeroplane fitted with skis to permit it to land on snow or ice Flying on extremely cold days presents few difficulties; the cold makes the air much heavier than usual and the lifting power of the machine is thus improved.

(Lower left) PROSPECTORS LOADING THEIR GEAR into an aeroplane for transport to the East Coast of Hudson Bay. Most of the machines used in the north of Canada use floats during the summer and skis in the winter Each autumn, before the freeze-up, the machines go to their bases for an overhaul and to have the changeover in their landing gear made. The north of Canada abounds in lakes which provide ready-made aerodromes in summer and winter.

(Upper right) A FAIRCHILD 51 CABIN MONOPLANE on one of the lakes of north Canada. This machine is aptly named The Prospector. The pilot in north Canada flies with one eye on the waterways, which act as a guide and also provide him with a landing place in the event of trouble. He cannot take any undue risks because, in the event of a forced landing, help may be hundreds or even a thousand miles away.

(Lower right) MAIL AEROPLANE AT HERSCHEL ISLAND which is near the most westerly part of the Arctic coast of Canada. The Canadian Post Office makes considerable use of regular airlines operating to the various mining camps. Outposts that formerly received their mails once a year now get them once a week, and mail distribution generally is being revolutionized by the aeroplane.

(Pages 358-359)

Claude Graham-White


Representative Types of Continental and American Aircraft - 2


The previous diagram appeared in Part 12.

(Page 368)

Stringfellow’s Model of 1848


Stringfellow’s Model of 1848

STRINGFELLOW’S MODEL OF 1848, which is now in the Science Museum, South Kensington, had a wing span of 10 feet; the length of the tail was 3 ft 6-in, giving a total supporting surface of about 14 square feet. The engine drove tow screw propellers, which made three revolutions to one stroke of the engine. The model, less than nine pound sin weight, is shown slung on the launching apparatus. It was held back until the airscrews were revolving at full speed and then released; it then travelled along the wire until it encountered a block which released the model.

(Page 365)

The Aeroplane Proposed by Henson in 1842


Tests of Flying Fitness (Part 1)


Searching medical examinations for service and commercial pilots. There is no recorded instance in the history of British aviation of an accident due to the physical failure of a commercially-licensed pilot. This is largely due to the high standard of physical fitness demanded in the specialized examinations of the Central Medical Board of the Air Ministry. This Board has to ensure that none but pilots of exceptional fitness are licensed commercially to carry passengers or goods by air. This chapter is by T Stanhope Sprigg, and is concluded

in part 14.

(Pages 367-372)

Representative types of continental and American aircraftA REVOLVING CHAIR is used to test reactions to aerobatics or stunt flying