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November, 1931    U.S. Air Services    23

Comment and Review

NEO-AEROBIA

WHEN a transport pilot with a long and creditable record opens his mouth on the subject of visionless flight he is certain of a respectful hearing. That is why Howard C. Stark's little pamphlet Blind or Instrument Flying out to find a large number of readers. Certainly it deserves to. And if it does, let us hope they include all present or prospective transport pilots–yes, even those who rate a goodly number of hours in the air; for unless they have discerned the specific facts and rules that Mr. Stark is at such pains to point out, they are flying and will continue to fly under a handicap that may prove fatal at any time.

This Magazine has repeatedly pointed out the hazards of blind flying. It has also pointed out the division of opinion among pilots themselves on the safety or danger of visionless flight, even when safeguarded by elaborate instrumental equipment. This attitude called forth one of the most thoughtful articles on the subject ever published, entitled "The Distinction between Blind Flying and Instrument Flying," by Lieut. L. C. Ramsey (U.S. Air Services, April 1930). His principal and very sapient contention was that instrument flying was entirely feasible, but that it was something that has to be learned, and once learned has to be practised.

This is precisely the theme take by Mr. Stark, but he does it from the standpoint of the practical commercial flyer,whereas Ramsey's was the more academic one of the flying school instructor. Furthermore, Stark tells in detail just what the pilot must do to interpret his instruments, and how their testimony must be translated into manipulation of the controls. He recites his own difficulties in the past and explains in detail how they were overcome. Having overcome them he was enabled to fly a Fleetster on the mail route between Buenos Aires and Porte Alegre for seven months without weather reports, radio or beacons. It was night run of 625 miles, but not a single trip was cancelled or delayed. Frequently he was required to fly by instruments for from to to four hours at a time through conditions that "varied from dense fog with calm air, to the roughest thunderstorms I have ever been in."

Here is an unambiguous and logical manual of instruction in the practical use of the instrument board when sky, ground, and horizon have been cut off. Mr. Stark is to be complimented on it and the industry is to be congratulated on securing so important and necessary a contribution to its literature. If something like this had been in prince and in use before, many a fine pilot whom we now speak of in the past tense would be with us today and some of the worst tragedies in the history of commercial air transport would never have occurred. If, as is to be hoped, this booklet goes into another edition there are a few errors in typography which should be corrected, and a suggestion in regard to the title which might be carried out to advantage. Why not append the "Which" to the latter? Blind Flying or Instrument Flying, Which? Too many people, some pilots among them, consider blind flying and instrument flying the same; wheras one is something which should be and is rapidly becoming taboo, and the other something which should be sedulously cultivated by the expert and conservative air man. For copies of the booklet address Mr. Stark at Postoffice Box 1, Newark, N.J., $1.00.

L'ANNEE AéRONAUTIC 1930-1931, par L. Hirschauer & Ch. Dollfus. Dunod, Editeur, 92 Rue Bonaparte, Paris.

ANYONE who wants to learn what a Frenchman's idea of a Yearbook for aeronautics out to be may do so by application to the Zenith Carburetor Co. or to M. Dunod. The Zenith Company comes into the picture only as sponsor for the publication, which as an example of unobtrusive and yet effective advertising is unequaled. The book, inexpensively bound in paper covers, depends on the extent, conciseness and completeness of its statistical contents for approval. There are over four hundred pages of the latter which as a survey of worldwide aeronautics, covering everything from types of aircraft to official records, is remarkable for the extent of its information and accuracy. Its very competent authors–pilots both–did their work in collaboration with substantial authorities occupying important positions in the Aéro-Club de France, and it bears the imprint on its title page "ouvrage couronné" by that organization.

DER FALLSCHIRM, von Hans Steiner, Richard Carl Schmidt & Co., Berlin W 62; 4.50 Rm. kart.

IF YOUR German is equal to it, this little paper bound volume of 105 pages will unfold to you the present status of the parachute business, art and profession north of the Rhine. It is characterized by Teutonic thoroughness and amply supplied with photographs and diagrams.

THE NAVIGATION OF THE AIR, by Capt. Leslie S. Potter, Harper and Brothers, New York. $4.00.

ANOTHER Britisher lays bare to us the secrets of navigation (if any there be) and also some of the secrets of meteorology (of which there are a great many). Both subjects are treated in the most elementary way, however, and the "laying bare" attempts nothing new although so far as it goes it is a model of clarity and simplicity and bespeaks the ground-school instructor as well as the flyer of experience. Captain Potter was a member of the British Royal Air Force for 13 years and has also taught the subjects of which he now writes.

SKY GIRL
Clifford Gessler

You who so love sky and sea,
You who live to soar on wings,
How can you have thought for me
Or for any earthly things?

You who love the sea and sky,
Curl about me like a wave,
Lift my spirit till I fly–
Wings are in the gift you gave.

How–unless, by rare good chance,
I, by Nature's alchemy,
Under stars that whirl and dance,
Change, for you, the earth to sky.
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