Viewing page 2 of 4

AIRLINE SAFETY
(Continued from page 51)

type of activity, CAA representatives have been invited to the semi-annual conferences, as have representatives of the non-schedule and private flying branches of aviation. This means that the experiences of the airlines are passed on to not only the Army and the Navy, but also other phases of civil aviation and vice versa. Also attending some of these meetings were Lew R. Palmer and Jerome Lederer who have been active in the affairs of the National Safety Council.

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics has been represented at these conferences by Dr. George W. Lewis and members of the NACA  staff from Langley Field. These technical representatives of the Government take copious notes as to the airline problems so that the Committee may plan future research which would be of assistance. 

Great credit is due to the manufacturers of aircraft, engines, accessories, tires, and supplies for the manner in which they have participated in these semi-annual conferences. They are not permitted access to the closed sessions when problems are discussed, except individually to be of assistance in connection with especial matters pertaining to their own products. This is done because it would be unfair for a competitor to hear what plans are being made by one manufacturer and for the problems in overhaul or maintenance of a particular gadget to be generally aired. Most manufacturers are appreciative of the confidential basis on which a good part of the conferences are conducted. 

The first Chairman of the Engineering and Maintenance Committee was Luther Harris. he was succeeded by W. A. Hamilton who held Chairmanship for several years. H. O. West and Royal Sundell had terms as Chairmen, and William Littlewood is the current head of this important group. All of these men have been active participants in the frequent conferences on aviation safety conducted under the auspices of the National Safety Council. 

Then, in addition to the Engineering and Maintenance Conferences, there are even more frequent meetings of the Air Transport Association's Operations Committee. Ralph Damon was the first Chairman of this Committee, and was recently succeeded by Major R. W. Schroeder. The problems they discuss involve flying technique rather than strictly engineering problems. Airway traffic control has been an important function of the Operations Committee and in connection with this subject, the airlines have had the collaboration of the private flier, the Army, and the Navy with respect to how the CAA handles this difficult but necessary subject. 

Mr. Palmer, former President and a founder of the National Safety Council, who has been the leading exponent of the recognition of aviation in the National Safety Council, has in years past conducted the same sort of activity in connection with railroads, His impartiality and desire to give all media of transportation the break each deserves is to be highly commended. The airlines are grateful for having the active collaboration of this energetic engineer as we are honored to have aroused his interest in our progress to which he has contributed so constructively.

Aside from the award angle, there are the aviation safety conferences conducted under the sponsorship of the Council, and for the past several years, with the well-known Jerome Lederer of Aero Insurance Underwriters, as conference secretary.

These meetings are most valuable clearing houses for ideas, experiences and plans with respect to planes, engines, accessories and operating procedures.  Publicity accruing from these conferences is valuable to aviation as a corollary to the practical and direct results obtained.  Aviation needs this sort of press attention to counteract, in the minds of the public, many ill-founded rumors with which the industry unfortunately has been steeped.  An example of this type of worthwhile publicity is the case of a representative of the airlines who made a talk on safety before the National Safety Council's annual convention at Atlantic City.  As a result of this talk, the editor of the national publication asked for an article in elaboration of our representative's brief remarks.

The manner in which aviation has been featured at the annual National Safety Council conventions is most gratifying.  The romance of aviation, even though it sometimes works a hardship, was probably initially responsible for this prominent position accorded aviation at the Council conventions featuring all phases of safety.  Now, due to our record we are not only there on merit, but stand out on the basis of an unprecedented record for an industry which has been in existence for little more than a decade.

Comparisons of our safety record and those other media of transportation have been made from time to time.

We hear it said that railroads are so many times safer and, although I do not believe it has been so stated by the Safety Council, that bath tubs and automobiles are so much less safe.

These figures are not comparable for the reason that if a fatally injured person does not die within 24 hours of a railroad accident, he is not considered a fatality.  With respect to automobiles, not including buses, the record of which has been remarkably good, there is but one set of authentic figures.  These figures are based on a scientifically determined estimate made by the Federal Coordinator of Transportation in 1935, in which it was shown that there were 11,300,000 passenger miles covered by passenger automobiles per fatality.  The airline safety record for 1938 is 2.3 times that automobile record which is the most authentic and recent official figure available of automobile passenger miles.  It is safe to presume that the automobile record, according to recent reports from the National Safety Council, has become no better where, as I indicated in the first part of this article, the airline record has improved materially.

It has long been my philosophy that there is room for all four media of transportation, the motor car (buses, trucks, private automobiles), railroads, steamships and the airplanes.  Each has a unique and separate function which cannot always be performed by the other.  The National Safety Council, in the conferences it conducts and the awards it grants to various classes of operators, is performing a valuable function and the entire airline industry is grateful for it.

EDITORIALS

(Continued from page 62)

sary.  But, unless, manufacturers also build airline radio, they cannot get an inspector to verify the tests and the subsequent production.  This is because the CAA is hopelessly short-handed on aircraft radio inspection personnel.

Certification of aircraft radio is a good and necessary move.  It saved the radio industry from haphazard experimentation and put it on a sound footing.  And it is a fast growing industry.  For example, last year AERO DIGEST published descriptions of almost twice as many new radio devices as of all other aircraft equipment combined.  This healthy growth demonstrates what an important factor aircraft radio now is in the aeronautical industry.

That growth should not be stunted by an insufficient number of inspectors.

Private fliers need good radio as much as the airlines do.  They want to know what they are buying, and if the OK of the CAATC is not there, they are apt not to buy.  That approval should not be denied to any manufacturer whose product conforms to the requirements, and since the CAA does not now have enough inspectors to do the job, it should get those inspectors without delay.  This may be arranged by divesting itself of some of the 400 or more legal lights now on its payroll, and who outnumber the inspectors by about 4 to 1.

MAY 1939        85
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.