What the inside of a stratosphere plane looks like is shown in the picture at the right. It is the first view to reach this country showing the interior of a Farman plane recently tested near Paris, designed to fly at high speed through the rarefied atmosphere nine miles above the earth (P.S.M., Oct., ’32, p. 13). Two pilots sit facing each other in the barrel-shaped cabin, which is sealed airtight to protect them from the physiological effects of reduced air pressure at great heights. They will fly the machine blind, depending upon instruments alone to guide them except in taking off and landing.

Roto-Chute for Rocket Pilots (Feb, 1949)

Roto-Chute for Rocket Pilots

SUICIDE is the word for the pilot who tries to escape from a supersonic plane by parachute. The billowing fabric ‘chute was -a wonderful aerial lifesaver —till Air Force pilots started streaking faster than sound in rocket planes like the Bell XS-1. The impact of the air at such speeds is so terrific that it will not only shred the parachute like a burst of shrapnel but also peel the flesh off the pilot’s bones.

On Trial . . . America’s First Jetliner (Aug, 1954)

On Trial . . . America’s First Jetliner

By A. M. “Tex” Johnston
Chief of Flight Test, Boeing
as told to Thomas E. Stimson, Jr.

CRASH BOATS are standing by off Mercer Island!” “All airports in vicinity of Seattle are closed to normal traffic!” “Rescue helicopter now on patrol off Seward Park!” “Fire fighters standing by!” “Your chase plane is airborne!”

Reports like these were part of the pre-flight preparations in July when copilot “Dix” Loesch and I prepared to streak down the concrete runway at Renton Airport and lift the prototype of America’s first jetliner into the air on its initial test flight.

Boeing’s 707 “Jet Stratotanker-Strato-liner” is considered the safest passenger transport ever built, yet Dix and I were happy about the elaborate precautions to rescue us if anything went wrong. All our recent preflight and ground tests had been perfect. We were expecting a normal routine ride on the first flight, but there’s always a chance that the unexpected can happen.



THE modern demand for long range flying at high cruising speeds has presented a take-off problem for highly loaded airplanes. As one solution to the problem, Major Robert Mayo, of England, has designed a composite aircraft, which consists of a small, fast, heavily-loaded seaplane mounted atop a huge, lightly loaded seaplane, the larger plane serving to carry the smaller one aloft to an altitude of about 10,000 feet before launching it.

The powerful four-engined lower component of the Mayo Composite Aircraft, as the novel craft is officially named, is equipped with a special strut-type structure to which the smaller, but heavily loaded, seaplane is firmly attached. Until the actual planned separation of the two aircraft has been made in mid-air, the controls of the smaller plane are locked to prevent a premature launching.

The combined wing area of the small and large seaplanes enables a take-off to be made from the water with a minimum run. Use of the larger seaplane as the launching medium enables the smaller plane to be loaded to its maximum of 20,500 pounds (mail, cargo and fuel), providing a cruising range of about 3,800 miles at 180 m.p.h., which will enable the mail carrying plane to fly non-stop from Southampton, England, to New York, N. Y. Trial flights of the composite aircraft are now being conducted and on the cover of this issue a Modern Mechanix artist has depicted the aerial launching as it will appear to observers.

GIRO-Automobile FLIES Without WINGS (Jul, 1935)

GIRO-Automobile FLIES Without WINGS

The wing-less autogiro and the invention of a combined land and air drive makes the dream of the flying auto come true.

FLYING automobiles are within reach of the public today as a result of a dual drive for land or air invented by Edward A. Stalker, of Ann Arbor, Mich. His gear drive includes a simple clutch which engages a wheel to drive the car on land or a propeller to push the vehicle through the air.

Based on this invention, the giro-automobile was designed. In appearance it resembles the modern streamlined, rear engine automobile. No wings are necessary as autogiro blades would provide the necessary lift.

The U. S. Bureau of Air Commerce has ordered the Pitcairn Autogiro Company to design an autogiro airplane-automobile for amateur fliers, which with its rotor blades folded back and its engine geared to the wheels can be driven on a highway like a motor car.

Steam Will Power Tomorrow’s Planes! (Aug, 1932)

Steam Will Power Tomorrow’s Planes!

The oldest prime mover—steam—is staging a comeback. Read what amazingly logical things can be accomplished with new designs in planes through the use of steam as a power plant and control medium.

Aeronautical Engineer

EVERY once in a while we have to “get back to nature”—get back to the simple things our dads used. Often we find that we’ve been on an engineering merry-go-round and that the old gentlemen who were our forbears had some right good ideas in design, but were unable to use them to the fullest extent of their theories because the right materials were not available in iron, or steel, or something else.

And every so often the subject of what tomorrow’s airplane will look like bobs up in some writer’s mind. He is usually hard pressed to get something really new to write about, so he lays it on thick and the resulting pipe dream generally makes an air-minded man who has any air “savvy” pretty sick.

It’s Raining Baby Trout (Jul, 1954)

Can you guess what song is now stuck in my head?

“It’s raining trout. Hallelujah it’s raining trout!”

It’s Raining Baby Trout

By Claude M. Kreider

LAST SUMMER almost 3,000,000 baby trout “rained down” over 662 blue lakes in California’s lofty Sierras.

This was not a miracle of nature brought about by the storm clouds hovering over the high peaks. It was a manmade phenomenon, the result of a long experiment in modern trout culture and the planting of fish by airplane.

For many years Sierra lakes, barren of fish life, and other lakes heavily fished, were stocked with trout by the use of pack mules, each carrying two 10-gallon cans of baby fish. Many were lost in transport, others injured. The packers had to stop often along the rough trails to replenish the water in the cans and thus provide the necessary oxygen to keep the fish alive.

Often there was no trail, even for the sure-footed mules, and the men had to complete the journey carrying the cans upon their backs. Several days were often required for one journey. And the cost was prohibitive, averaging almost $20 per thousand trout.

Airport-Docks for New York (Nov, 1931)

Airport-Docks for New York
The hardest thing in aerial travel, nowadays, is not to fly, but to get quickly to and from the airport; especially in such cities as New York. An architect, Harry B. Brainerd, has worked out a solution in connection with the great docks which will be built for the new huge liners. Roofing over the docks, as shown, will afford landing space for airplanes; while the great covered docks will serve also as hangars for dirigibles, as shown in the central slip above. Passengers can transfer almost instantaneously from ship to plane, by using the elevators. Between the slips, the available dock space will be utilized by offices, factories and warehouses. The projected port is to be 1,025×1,700 feet, pier buildings 115′ wide, 200′ high.

Proposed Dual-Purpose Plane To Rise Vertically (Jan, 1933)

I can’t decide if this plane looks more like a fish or a banana?

Proposed Dual-Purpose Plane To Rise Vertically

THE machine illustrated at the left, in various operating positions, is the subject of a recent U. S. patent issued to Umberto Savoia, and assigned to the Fiat Co., well-known Italian manufacturers. Its purpose is to unite the horizontal flight of the ordinary plane with the vertical flight of the helicopter; without complexity of machinery to convert horizontal drive into vertical. As will be seen, the plane can be tilted back at right angles, so that the traction of its propeller is vertical; and land in either position. Another design contemplates a double body, in which the rear fuselage is hinged to the front, so that the angle between the two may be altered. Wide ailerons and large empennage will be required, and powerful engines, probably with a propeller (or pair) of variable pitch.

Tiny Blimps Carry Flying Electric Signs (Nov, 1939)

Tiny Blimps Carry Flying Electric Signs

BILLBOARD blimps, carrying” flashing neon signs through the night sky above big cities, form the latest innovation in spectacular advertising. The aerial electric signs, developed and patented by Goodyear Rubber Co. experts, spell out sentences a word at a time like many of the big displays on New York’s Great White Way.

Ten lighting units, each approximately six feet high and four feet wide and formed of a maze of curving and zigzag neon tubes, are attached to the side of the semirigid dirigible before the take-off. An ingenious hooking arrangement permits them to be attached or removed in a few minutes. Each unit is capable of producing any number or any letter of the alphabet.

During the flight, an automatic mechar nism makes the proper contacts to spell out the desired words on the side of the blimp. Perforated tape, similar to that used in player pianos, runs through the switching mechanism, the perforations tripping mechanical fingers to make the electrical connections. The sign remains the same until the next series of perforations is encountered, flashing on another series of letters.