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Wonders of World Aviation

Part 15


Part 15 of Wonders of World Aviation was published on Tuesday 14th June 1938, price 7d.


This part included a colour plate showing the pilot’s cockpit of a Tiger Moth. It formed part of the article on Blind Flying.






The Cover


Our cover illustration this week shows German military biplanes lined up on their aerodrome.



German military biplanes lined up on their aerodrome


Contents of Part 15


Blind Flying (colour plate)

Blind Flying

Aircraft Markings

Originator of Light Aircraft

Aerial Mountaineering

The First Air Meeting at Rheims

Belgium’s National Air Line

Catapults for Aircraft (Part 1)







Aircraft Markings


National and individual identification marks by which aircraft are distinguished. The need for some system by which the nationality of an aircraft could readily be determined by observers on the ground and in the air first became apparent soon after the outbreak of the war of 1914-18. This chapter describes the systems in use and includes a full list of aircraft registration markings in current use at the beginning of 1938. The chapter is by T. Stanhope Sprigg.

(Pages 407-411)


A colour plate showing International Service Markings appeared with part 7.


Originator of Light Aircraft


The story of Alberto Santos-Dumont, whose first aeroplane flew in 1906, and who designed the world’s first light aeroplane in 1908. This chapter is by H. G. Castle and is the seventh article in the series on Makers of Air History.

(Page 412)


A Flying Fortress above Mount Rainier, in the Cascade Mountains

A UNITED STATES ARMY AIR CORPS MACHINE in flight above Mount Rainier, in the Cascade Mountains. This type of machine, the Boeing YB-17, has been popularly termed The Flying Fortress. It is a four-engined bomber, and the engines are 1,000 horse-power Wright Cyclones. The normal crew is seven to nine, and five machine-gun positions are provided. The span is 105 feet. Air liners regularly cross the Cascade Mountains on routes to and from the Pacific Coast of the United States.

(Page 413)


World’s First Light Aeroplane

THE WORLD'S FIRST LIGHT AEROPLANE. The Demoiselle was built by Santos-Dumont in 1908. The use of bamboo and the system of staying made this aeroplane, one of the lightest and simplest to construct of its time. It weighed 242 lb. The tail moved as a whole about a universal joint fixed to the back of the framework. A twin-cylinder water-cooled Darracq engine of 30 horse-power was fitted, and gave the machine a speed of 60 miles and hour. The span of the wings was only about 18 feet.

(Page 412)


Aerial Mountaineering


A difficult branch of aviation that requires specialized knowledge. Aerial mountaineering for survey purposes includes photography, mapping and flights to determine the best routes for air transport to follow. The earliest flights across mountain ranges were all by their nature survey flights. Much of this work has meant laborious accomplishment far from the haunts of men. Therefore, while record-breaking flights and pilots became household words, few of the mountaineering air pioneers were equally known.  This chapter is by Captain Norman Macmillan.

(Pages 413-416)


An Aeroplane Mounted on a Catapult at No. 1 RAF Flying Training School

THE PILOT FULLY OPENS THE THROTTLE just before the catapult is released. The acceleration of the catapult, combined with the pull of the propeller, enables the aeroplane to attain flying speed before it reaches the end of the catapult runway. This picture shows an aeroplane mounted on the catapult at the No. 1 RAF flying training school at Leuchars, Scotland. The crane in the background is used to lift the aeroplane into position on the catapult.

(Page 427)


Blind Flying


Methods of flying and landing aeroplanes when visibility is reduced by bad weather. The pilot is obliged to rely on instruments when flying blind. These instruments have to give him the information he would gather from watching the horizon if visibility were good. They have to tell him when the machine is flying level, when climbing, when diving or gliding, when it is banked, and when turning. Instruments for blind flying differ in the ways in which they convey their indications, and also in the principles on which they operate. These instruments are described in this chapter by Arthur Clark.

 (Pages 401-406)


Swissair Aircraft Equipped with Lorenz Radio Apparatus

A SWISSAIR PASSENGER MACHINE equipped with Lorenz radio apparatus for making blind approaches to an aerodrome. The Lorenz system works on ultra-short wavelengths, and two aerials are fitted to the aircraft in addition to those used for other radio purposes. One of the aerials consists of two short rods, visible in this picture below the nose of the machine. The other is a short, vertical-rod, and is generally accommodated on the side of the short mast which supports the aircraft’s fixed aerial. This mast is visible above the pilot’s cabin.

(Page 401)


Practising Blind Flying


PRACTISING BLIND FLYING ABOVE THE CLOUDS in a Royal Air Force Miles Magister training machine. To simulate conditions of zero visibility the pilot, in the back seat, pulls a hood over his cockpit. An instructor, or another pilot, flies in the front cockpit to check the accuracy of the flying and to keep a look-out for other aircraft.


(Page 405)


Lefebvre in a Wright Biplane

THE BEST FLIGHT on the first morning of the meeting was made by Lefebvre in a Wright biplane. He completed a circuit of the course (about six and a quarter miles) in nine minutes. Because of this flight he was chosen as one of the two fliers to represent France in the Gordon-Bennett Cup race. Bleriot was the other aviator chosen.


(Page 420)


The First National Identification Mark Adopted by Great Britain

THE UNION JACK ON THE RUDDER and under the wings was the first national identification mark adopted by Great Britain for military aircraft. The necessity for distinctive markings arose soon after the outbreak of hostilities in 1914. This picture of a Morane monoplane shows the method in force in 1915. Under the wings there is in addition a “target” - concentric rings of red, white and blue.

(Page 407)


Belgium’s National Air Line


A network of services covering Europe and extending across central Africa. Civil aviation in Belgium is controlled by SABENA. This company operates all Belgium’s public air services as well as private charter services for the transport of passengers, mail and freight. This chapter is by Sidney Howard and describes all the air routes operated by SABENA.

(Pages 423-426)


A Savoia-Marchetti S 73

SAVOIA-MARCHETTI S 73 MACHINES are used on the Continental services of Sabena, the Belgian air line, and on the route to the Congo. Accommodating eighteen passengers, this low-wing monoplane has a span of 78 ft 8½-in, a length of 57 ft 2½-in, and a wing area of 1,000 square feet. Maximum speed is about 210 miles an hour.

(Page 423)


Catapults for Aircraft (Part 1)


How heavily-loaded aeroplanes are enabled to take off from confined spaces. Aircraft can always fly with a bigger load that that with which they can take off. The extra power needed can be supplied by a ship-mounted power-driven catapult, which accelerates the take-off so that by the time the aircraft reaches the end of the catapult runway it has already attained flying speed and is thus able to support its weight unaided. The introduction of the catapult dates back to the pioneer days of Langley and the Wright brothers, who used primitive forms of catapults to launch into flight aircraft whose engines were not powerful enough for the take-off. This chapter is by T Stanhope Sprigg, and is concluded in part 16.

(Pages 427-428)

Pilot’s Cockpit Equipped for Blind Flying


PILOT’S COCKPIT of a Tiger Moth equipped for blind flying. The upper three instruments are engine revolution counter, turn indicator and air speed indicator. Below, from left to right, are clock, inclinometer, compass, altimeter and engine oil-pressure gauge. The longer of the two ball-topped levers to the left of the picture is the throttle, and the shorter the mixture control for use when flying high. The label to the left of the turn indicator reads: “Start engine on front switch only. Try engine on both magnetos before taking off”. On the label to the right of the turn indicator are the words: “Gipsy Major. Warm up engine for 4 mins at approx. 800 rpm. Then for not more than 10 secs full throttle to test full rpm. Oil pressure normal 40-45 lb. Min. 35 lb. Never use mixture control to cause drop in rpm. Cruising rpm 1,900-2,050. Normal full rpm 2,100, Max permissible for not more than five minutes 2,350 rpm.” Of the three labels below the compass, the centre one is the same as the one to the right of the turn indicator, the one on the left has the aircraft maker’s name and number of the machine, and the one to the right has the words: “Brooklands Aviation, Ltd, Brooklands Aerodrome, Byfleet, Surrey” the owners of the aircraft.

(Facing page 401)

Pilot’s Cockpit Equipped for Blind FlyingSwissair Aircraft Equipped with Lorenz Radio ApparatusPRACTISING BLIND FLYING ABOVE THE CLOUDSThe First National Identification Mark Adopted by Great BritainWorld’s First Light AeroplaneA Flying Fortress above Mount Rainier, in the Cascade Mountains


The First Air Meeting at Rheims


A well-supported event which, in 1909, helped to establish the future of aviation. Air meetings and air displays are common enough today, but they began in the far-off days of 1909, on the Plain of Bethany, in the Champagne district of France, when thousands of eager spectators flocked to see the first great display of flying. The significance of the Rheims Air Meeting seems unimportant now, yet Rheims was the cradle of competitive aviation.  This chapter is by Miles Henslow.

(Pages 417-422)

Lefebvre in a Wright BiplaneA Savoia-Marchetti S 73Air Routes in the Belgian CongoAn Aeroplane Mounted on a Catapult at No.1 RAF Flying Training School


Air Routes in the Belgian Congo

AIR ROUTES IN THE BELGIAN CONGO. The inset in the bottom left-hand corner of the map shows the route across North Africa from Oran to Bangui, on the border of the Belgian Congo. At Libenge the routes divert, one southwards and westwards to Coquilhatville and Leopoldville, and eastwards and southwards to Stanleyville and Elizabethville. Connexions continue the route through Northern Rhodesia to Mozambique and Madagascar.


(Page 425)