My 10,000 Flights in Untried Planes
By Frank T. Courtney
CAPTAIN FRANK T. COURTNEY began flying in England in 1911. During the war, he served as a member of the Royal Flying Corps. In 1919, an accident destroyed his chance of making the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic. In 1928, he attempted to fly the Atlantic from east to west. The engine caught fire in mid-ocean and he drifted for twenty-four hours. He is a famous racing pilot and has tested more new planes than any other flyer.
Count the engines on this corporate-size jetliner.
This is the Lockheed JetStar: Four pure-jet Pratt & Whitney powerplants deliver peace of mind as well as power. And the engines speak softly because they are mounted on the aft fuselage—where their noise is behind you. You cruise at 500-550 mph, up to 45,000 feet high—far above the weather.
I think there might be just a few technical problems with this idea…
BALLOON TO TAKE GLIDER ALOFT FOR STRATOSPHERE FLIGHT
Plans for the first glider flight in the stratosphere are under way in Russia, where a motorless plane will be carried aloft by a huge balloon to a height of about twelve and a half miles and then cut loose. Enclosed in a hermetically sealed cabin, the copilots of the glider will guide its initial plunge toward the earth at an estimated speed of more than 250 miles an hour, made possible by the rarefied air of the upper levels of the atmosphere, and level it off for a gradual glide to a landing.
GERMAN TAIL-FIRST PLANE FLIES ACROSS CHANNEL
Germany’s tail-first plane, which appears to be flying backward, soared across the Channel to visit Britain in one of its first trial flights of any length. The triangular control surface at the upper right of the photograph above is the forward end of the strange-appearing craft when it is in flight.
Grasshopper Plane Jumps into the Air
An airplane that jumps into the air, like a grasshopper, is reported to have performed successfully in trial flights at an Alhambra, Calif., airport. Alonzo Mather, inventor of its boosting gear, sees possibilities for it in enabling airplanes to take off from the restricted space of a ship’s deck or a small field bordered by trees or cliffs.
SCIENCE IN PICTURES
Mechanical “Wings” with which the inventor hopes he will be able to fly, are the work of 36-year-old Horace T. Pentecost of Seattle. In his right hand he holds the flight control stick: its handle is the throttle, regulated by turning. The “Hoppicopter,” as the inventor calls it, has a 2-cylinder, 20 hp. motor and weighs 60 pounds plus.
Precipitron an electrostatic air cleaner made by Westinghouse, cleans 23,000 cubic feet of air per minute in this room where lenses for naval optical instruments like periscopes are checked.
Wouldn’t it be better for the pilot to control the engines? Designing an airplane like a flying ship doesn’t seem like a great idea. Plus, that’s a pretty damn large cockpit!
Actually Charlie, everyone but Charlene pretty much got it wrong. The pilots did indeed have engine controls in the cockpit as evidenced by the photograph in this article from Flight magazine. A close up of the controls at the flight engineer console can be zoomed to where you can just read the labels on the first two sets of levers: Engine Cowl Flaps and Manifold Pressure Controls. So the pilot “controls” the engines with the throttles, trim levers and mixture controls at his station but the engines are “managed” and monitored by the Flight Engineer.
Huge Cockpit Is “Bridge” of Giant Plane
FIFTEEN times as large as the cockpit of a modern twin-motor transport, the huge control room pictured on this page is the nerve center of a seventy-four-passenger clipper plane, one of a fleet of six being constructed at Seattle, Wash., for transoceanic service.
GROWING PAINS OF A PLANE
It took 11 years to get the new Colonial Skimmer Amphibian off the drawing boards into the sky.
IT TAKES more than a pair of wings to get a plane off the ground and the new Colonial Skimmer Amphibian is a perfect example of the complications that plague designers from the initial plans until the ship takes to the air.
Back in 1945 David Thurston, a young aeronautical engineer, put down on paper his idea for a small, two-place amphibian. The first step was to design a ship capable of operation from both land and water yet have the plans conform to CAA regulations.
Airplane Gun Fires Through Shaft
THIS new eight cylinder motor has only five major working parts. It has no crankshaft, no wrist pins, no piston skirts, and only two bearings; yet it will develop a higher horsepower at low speed than any motor of similar weight of the type now in use, its designers claim, and allow greater streamlining than the radial type.