Tuesday, December 29, 2009



MARCH 9, 1955

Below is an interesting look at a ferry flight across the Atlantic by a Viscount 724 written by Robert J. Blackburn.

HURN, Wednesday, March 9th, 1 p.m. All is ready for
the departure of 604—or, to give the aircraft her full
title, Viscount Type 724 CF-TGL, first of her type
to be built at Hum. Ferry 604, our flight number, derives
from Trans-Canada Air Lines' practice of referring to aeroplanes
by numbers rather than letters. Their first, second
and third Viscounts, built at Weybridge and already delivered,
are 601, 602 and 603.

Preparing the Viscount for her transatlantic flight is, I find,
only one aspect of the complicated process of dispatching a new
aircraft from factory to operator. The centre of all the activity
is the pilots' office at Hum, presided over by Guy Morgan, the ex-
Supermarine pilot concerned with customer relations. Telephones
ring constantly. At frequent intervals a Heron or Dove arrives
to unload pilots, passengers, documents and the latest news from
Wisley. Outside the office an assorted fleet of motor vehicles
provides surface transport to all parts of the sprawling Hum
works; within, a cheerful young Scotswoman miraculously combines
secretarial efficiency with the ability to produce cups of
hot tea at all times.

Here I meet Bill Bird, T.C.A.'s contracts representative at
Wisley, who has come to inspect and accept 604 on behalf of
his company and to check all the documents taken on the delivery
flight or retained in England. The list is formidable . . . acceptance
certificate, Vickers approved certificate, aircraft receipt, certified
paid invoice, journey log book, flight manual, certificate
of airworthiness, D.O.T. Form 2445, radio licence and inventory
of equipment.

The proverbial fine-tooth-comb scrutiny of 604 finds no defect
more serious than a dead battery for an emergency light and a
crinkle on one corner of the cabin floor-covering, so Bill takes
a deep breath and signs away x thousand dollars. Having accepted
the aircraft he must now sign it back to Vickers-Armstrongs, for
delivery flights are the manufacturers' responsibility.

Officially, all of the seven people who embark in 604 are classed
as crew-members, though two of us must admit to supernumerary
status. In command is Colin Allen, who joined Vickers' flight test
staff from B.E.A. some three years ago. His co-pilot is Peter
Marsh, a more recent recruit to Wisley and also ex-B.E.A. There
are two navigator/radio-operators—Bill Bower and George Wood.
Bill is yet a third ex-B.E.A. man, and George's marked preference
for comfortable, four-engined aircraft stems from some years of
service in R.A.F. Washingtons. The flight engineer is Bob
Rampling, a veteran member of Vickers' aircrew staff with 2,800
test-flying hours in his log-book. For Bob the transatlantic crossing
is a new experience, but his colleagues have all participated
in one or other of previous Viscount deliveries. The super-
numeraries are Willy Thomas, an electrical specialist on his way
to Winnipeg for liaison duties with T.C.A., and the writer.
We climb aboard the gleaming, silver-and-red aircraft, its
flawless interior a reminder that 604 has flown not quite 20 hours.
The Darts are quickly started, and their kettle-whistle is the
signal for a great deal of farewell waving to 604 as she rolls
majestically along the perimeter track. We reach the runway
—and turn back, with a faulty hydraulic-pressure gauge.
Embarrassed, we disembark to smoke a disconsolate cigarette
while the gauge is rectified. An hour later we are really on our
way—climbing at 180 kt indicated to join Airway Amber One
at Daventry.

The distance to Prestwick, our first refuelling-point, is only
315 nautical miles, so it is not worth going above 16,500ft. 604
reaches her cruising height in quarter of an hour to hum along
in calm air at 280 kt. Sunshine floods the cabin, empty but for
four double chairs and a few packages, including personal luggage,
a ten-man life raft and minor spares for dispersal en route.
The full seating for 40 passengers will not be fitted until the
aircraft reaches Canada, since the chairs used by T.C.A. are of
American manufacture.

Up front there is distinctly less room to spare. T.C.A.'s
Viscounts are designed for two-crew operation, whereas we shall
have three or four hands on deck at all times. The left-hand
seat will be occupied by either Colin or Peter, who are flying
alternate legs, with the duty radio operator on the right. Navigation
is performed in the right-hand freight compartment, situated
immediately aft of the flight deck and temporarily equipped with
a Loran scope, our main aid to navigation on the over-ocean legs.
Prestwick, March 9th, 4.30 p.m. We reach Prestwick H hr
after take-off, to be welcomed by T.C.A.'s station manager, John
Gilmore, who sees that 604's tanks are replenished with JP-4
and her galley loaded with ready-prepared meals and fresh coffee
for the crew. The met. office gives us a reasonable forecast for
Keflavik, and as we cannot force on to Bluie West before daybreak
there is time for dinner at the airport hotel before take-off.
We begin the 743 n.m. stage to Keflavik at 6.22 p.m. Once again
the air is smooth at our cruising height—24,000ft—and 604 is
performing beautifully. Contrary to normal airline practice,
T.C.A.'s advertising modestly credits the Viscount 724 with a
cruising speed of 322 m.p.h., whereas George's calculations show
that we have a true airspeed, at normal cruising r.p.m. (13,600),
of 286 kt—329 m.p.h. But we are not going to set any records
on this leg, since a 60 kt beam wind is swinging round into a
50 kt component "on the nose." Loran provides us with all the
fixes we need, and London comes through on HF with the latest
weather at Keflavik. Half-way through our flight Aurora Borealis
brings the sky to life; we are passing beneath an arch of dancing,
shimmering lemon-colored light. The vision has faded when
we reach our reporting point at Lax, 68 n.m. from Keflavik.
There are scattered clouds 2,000ft above our destination, but visibility
is 10-15 miles. We make a visual approach and touch down
on the 10,000ft-plus runway 3j hr after leaving Prestwick. 604
taxies to dispersal through a maze of colored lights and we step
out on to wet tarmac. The night air is surprisingly mild: Iceland
proves to be several degrees warmer than Southern England.
We enter the terminal, gasping slightly in its oven-like atmosphere.
Can this be Iceland? My doubts are dispelled by a notice
reading: "Aircrews—have you reported your iceberg today?"
Keflavik, March 14th, 12 noon G.M.T. Our fifth day in Iceland.
Each morning we have risen early, eager to set off for
Greenland, only to be forced back into frustrated boredom by a
gloomy shake of the weatherman's head. The entire operation
hinges on weather at Bluie West One. Flying direct to Goose
Bay, 1,315 nautical miles from Keflavik by great circle route,
would be out of the question for medium-range aircraft such as
our Viscount without the guarantee of (a) headwinds of not more
than 30 kt or so and (b) "wide open" conditions at Goose; a
diversion to the nearest alternate (Seven Islands, 286 n.m. from
Goose) plus an hour's holding would be stretching 604's endur-
ance too far. This is a situation which underlines the difference
between theoretical still-air range and practical stage-length. One
begins to realize why nobody has yet produced an airliner capable
of safe, regular operation from London to New York non-stop.
604 is not the only aircraft pinned to the apron at Keflavik by
the strong winds and weather which have persisted for the past
five days. Two Yorks, notwithstanding their 12-hour endurance
and 2,500-mile range, have also been tied up here. True, one set
out for Goose on Saturday night, but it turned back when, off
Greenland, headwinds cut its ground-speed to about 100 kt.
Meanwhile 604's captain has been seeking permission to reroute
the flight, if necessary, via Bluie West Eight, otherwise
Sondre Stromfjord, the U.S.A.F. base on the north-west coast of
Greenland, which has better weather and approaches than B.W.I.
Signals have flashed between Keflavik, London, Washington and
Montreal and diplomatic wheels have been set in motion.
Authority is needed not only to land at B.W.8 but also to uplift
U.S.A.F. fuel on the strength of a Shell credit card; "cash down"
is the normal rule. So far as B.W.I is concerned we already hold
such authority, but we think some days will elapse before the
concession can be extended to cover B.W.8 also. (Later we are to
learn that permission arrives an hour after our departure from
Over the past two or three days we have heard reports of heavy
snow-falls at B.W.I and the prospect of an early move seemed
remote when, yesterday morning, F/L. Fred Diamont, who controls
R.C.A.F. Sabre movements through Keflavik, received a
teleprinter signal forecasting that the airfield would be snowbound
until Thursday or Friday next. This morning, however, we
learned with surprised pleasure that Bluie's runway is usable
(though it offers only "fair" braking conditions) and that good
weather is forecast there for most of the day.
George and Bill, our navigators, have prepared their umpteenth
flight plan since 604's arrival at Keflavik and now the moment of
departure is near. Navigationally, the Iceland-Greenland leg is
the most difficult stage of the journey. Loran coverage is poor in
these latitudes and headwinds are likely to be both' strong and unpredictable.
Flight planning has been considerably simplified by
the performance and consumption calculations worked out in
advance of transatlantic Viscount delivery flights by Vickers'
analysts at Weybridge. The accuracy of these figures, which were
closely checked on the first two deliveries, may now be taken for

An important part of flight planning is the selection of our
cruising altitude. In still air it is always desirable to fly at 24,000ft
or above, except on very short stages, but we must take into account
the possibility of extreme disparity between the headwind components
expected at high and medium levels respectively. To
assist them in making this decision, 604's navigators have been
provided with a graph showing the ground nautical miles flown
per pound of fuel for any likely combination of headwind component
and cruising height.

In the event of inability to land at Bluie West One, due to bad
weather or some unforeseen factor, our alternate will be Keflavik.
It is necessary, therefore, to fix a critical point on the route at
which sufficient fuel will remain for an about-turn to Keflavik
plus 2,000 lb for an hour's holding on our return. This critical
point is little short of our destination—provided that the decision
to return is made before 604 begins her descent.
Our intention is to leave B.W.I as soon as possible after refuelling,
taking full advantage of the fair weather while it lasts. The
two Yorks have already set off for Goose Bay, naming Bluie as
their alternate.

We take leave of Binnie Thorvaldson, T.C.A.'s station manager
at Keflavik, and F/L, Diamont—two people who have done much
to ease the burden of our enforced stay within the confines of this
bleak airport—and thankfully climb aboard 604. At 12.58 she is
airborne, to climb swiftly through the thin overcast into the cold,
clear blueness which is the Viscount's element. Navigation has
its problems during the first part of the journey; our only fix is
obtained from a single Loran line crossed with back bearing from
Keflavik range. We are unable to contact weather-ship Alpha,
whose station lies half-way between Iceland and Greenland. At
the mid-point, however, George has established the wind at
24,090ft as 105 kt from 260 degrees instead of the forecast 100 kt
from 200 degrees. The Viscount alters course accordingly and
now communications begin to improve. Bill makes contact with
London and Keflavik on H.F. and obtains the latest forecast for
Goose Bay; Loran is working nicely and we are relaying position
reports for the two Yorks. Greenland is visible 50 miles away
and our position is easily pin-pointed as we cross the east coast
and make for Simiutak radio-range station. There is scarcely a
cloud in the sky, so we would have no difficulty in letting down
over the mountains (which hem in Bluie West) instead of descending
over the range and approaching via one of the tortuous fjords
which are the only means of entry in marginal weather conditions.
But study of such terrain in fine weather may pay dividends on
future occasions so we descend to 1,000ft at Simiutak for a normal
procedure approach. 604 weaves her way above the deep blue
water of the fjord towards the unseen runway ahead, great white
and brown masses of snow-covered rock mirrored in her gleaming
wings. A thump and a rumble beneath her cabin floor as the
wheels snap into the airstream. One more gentle turn and the
runway appears beyond the crust of ice which fringes the end of
the fjord.

Powdery snow and frozen slush prove a better landing surface
than one would expect, and 604 rolls almost to a standstill within
half the runway's length. The flight from Keflavik, 804 n.m.
away via the fjord, has taken 4 hr 12 min; headwinds, plus the
let-down procedure, have subtracted a good deal from our cruising
speed of 286 kt. We disembark in brilliant sunshine and snowglare
and make for the weatherman's office, pausing only to pay
the $10 56c landing fee. Our flight-planning is well under way
as the Yorks arrive at Bluie, having received ill reports of Goose

Bluie West One, March 14th, 7.20 p.m. G.M.T. Airborne for
Goose Bay. The flight plan names Seven Islands as our destination,
but an improved forecast of 5,000ft cloud-base and 5-8 miles
visibility at Goose allows u? to proceed as originally planned.
Now the navigators can relax—Loran fixes all the way to the
airways entry point at Caplin, then along the range to Goose;
H.F. contact with Goose, Gander, Shannon and London;.cruising
speed 280 kt at 16,000ft. A 70 kt headwind swings to 70 on the
beam, slackening to 25 kt.

At dusk, the first faint glimpse of Labrador through mkty
cloud—a television-screen picture of straight roads and patches
of colourless forest against grey snow. Headwinds considered,
604 reaches Goose in good time—672 n.m. in 3 hr 3 min.
Goose Bay, March 14th, 11.29 G.M.T. 604 soars into the
clear night air in a flurry of fine snow, which lies thick and dry on
the runway. Airways control have restricted us to 16,000ft on
this 716 n.m. last leg; perhaps the R.C.A.F.'s night fighters are
at exercise. The headwind has dropped to 20 kt, and the air
is smooth. Despite their long duty day, 604's crew show no
signs of fatigue, and one blesses the Dart turboprops which
have carried us so far in such comfort. Paradoxically, flying has
been the least strenuous part of our journey. Patterns of gleaming
lights confirm the instruments' messages as we identify one radio
range after another en route to Montreal. Touch-down is at
2.18 a.m. G.M.T. on Tuesday, March 15th. We re-set our watches
and it is Monday again.



Air Traffic Control
Here Is Some Great Information Taken From An Old Aviation Maintenance & Operations Book on Airline Operations
On How They Operated The Airlines.

From the old lighted airways in existence in 1924, between Chicago and Cheyenne, Wyoming, The Civil Airways of the 50’s expanded into a vast network of interlacing airways, over 40, 000 miles in length in the 1950’s.
The Federal Airway system is the responsibility of the Civil Aeronautics Administration. The CAA operates over 48,000 miles of airways,
The way the system was set up was to assure a smooth and safe flow of air traffic along the airways. The airways are designated by a color and number. The four color designations were GREEN, AMBER, Red, and BLUE, in order of their traffic priority. The number was assigned according to the geographical location of the airway.
An aircraft flying along a Green airway has traffic priority over any aircraft on an AMBER or RED airway. An aircraft flying along an AMBER airway has priority over any aircraft on a RED or BLUE airway, but in turn must wait for a priority clearance. The first letters of the airways form the GARB which makes an easy way to remember the traffic priority.
Sounds simple enough!
The GREEN and RED airways run east and west and the AMBER and BLUE run north and south.

Some of the old lighted airway beacons were still in use at this time. They were actually started in 1924. They were located on tower structures between 50- 105 feet high.
But in 1950 there 320 radio range beacons, or stations, located along the airways at intervals of approximately 100 or 200 miles. These were commonly referred to as the BEAM. These stations serve as the center line of an airway. The legs of these stations are projected along the airways and make up the invisible radio highways along which all the controlled air traffic moves.
In addition to their navigational function these stations also broadcast weather and other pertinent information.
By 1950 the conventional radio range stations will be replaced by the new VHF Omni directional type radio range, which is still in use today. They estimated by 1955-56 the airways system would be complete with the new VHF Omni Range.


The way air traffic was controlled back in the old days is quite an interesting method. To provide the pilots of the aircraft flying enroute along the airways with the latest weather, traffic and emergency information, there were over 400 airway communications stations. They were identified with names such as “Chicago Radio”, Dallas Radio”, “and New York Radio” These stations were spaced along the airways at intervals so they were able to provide current information.
These stations were tied into a network of teletype circuit covering 220 weather reporting points.
These stations also played a very important part in the control of traffic along the airways. Traffic instructions were relayed from the AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTERS to the planes en route near the zone of control of each station. IN the same manner they act as the go between the pilots requesting a route change on his flight plan while enroute. They also took all the position reports were the crew calling their attitude, time of passing etc.


These centers, referred to from their beginning as ATC, are the heart of the entire air traffic control system, REMEMBER we are talking about controlling many aircraft without the use of radar separation.. Quite an amazing feat when you think about it.
These controllers kept traffic flowing efficiently and rapidly without collision…Well most of the time.

The flight progress board or frames as they were known back in the 50’s were the non radar controller’s eyes in the sky. Each three foot high vertical rack is called a “FIX” which is usually made up of 20 flight progress strips. So many fixes make up a “Sector” and so many sectors constitute a center. This huge board on which these strips were mounted runs the entire length of the room.
Each of these fixes represents radio fixes, or airports along the airway. Each of the sectors is manned by a controller and 1 or 2 assistants who kept busy marking data on the individual strips, and telephoning or receiving calls from the control tower, airway communications stations, and the other agencies having or desiring pertinent flight information.
It is amazing when you think of what air traffic control does in this day an age. Imagine this, the practiced eye of theses controllers watched the fixes and sectors enabling them to visualize the over all traffic situation ion their sector for as much as two hours ahead. Can you imagine the head ache you would have doing this?
The flight strips were arranged in chronological order, starting at the bottom of the board with the first flight to arrive over a particular fix, the next flight in second position, and so on.


The Flight Progress strip is a foot long, inch wide strip of brown paper that was divided into eight sections. Each time ATC approves a flight plan one of these strips is initiated and the progress of the flight is recorded in pencil notations. The strip was inserted in a medal holder which is in turn affixed to its position on the “fix” or progress board mentioned above. There was a strip for every flight along the route on an approved flight plan.
Wow, these guys were really good!


The Air Traffic Control Center had complete jurisdiction over the traffic flowing along its airways and within its designated area of control. In 1950 the civil airways system was divided into 25 air traffic control areas. In the U.S. and Canada. For example, Boston ATC has jurisdiction over roughly 180 miles of airways and air space and handles all the traffic to a point 25 miles south west of Hartford, Conn. Here New York Air Traffic Control Center’s radius begins., and extends 25 miles beyond Philadelphia, where Washington Center takes over and has authority over traffic to within 25 miles of Florence, North Carolina.
All of this was hooked up by telephone, teletype and radio channels connecting each center with one another. More than 50,000 miles of teletype circuits were used by ATC just for weather alone. Another 10,000 miles for controlling air traffic.
Through the airway communications stations, company radio’s airport traffic control towers, military radios and airline traffic offices, ATC receives all of its pertinent information.


One hour prior to the established departure time, crew members check in at the airport Operations Office and report to the Captain for familiarization with route weather and execution of the flight plan...
The First Officer prepares in triplicate and the Captain signs a Flight Plan for the flight, giving pertinent clearance and airway traffic control data, and the flight dispatcher or his authorized representative signs; the flight dispatch to his agreement with the entire flight plan; his representative to indicate that altitudes proposed are at or above the approved minimum.
In preparing the flight plan the F/O follows the Captain’s instructions as to route, altitude to be flown, forecasted winds and temperature and alternate airports to be used. The original copy is taken on the flight for log use. Second copy is given to the Manager of Operations or Flight Dispatcher and a third copy is given to the stewardess.

During the flight all Air to ground communications are confined to the exchange of information bearing directly on flight operations. They take priority over point to point contacts on any channel serving both.
Flight Officers report their position from all points indicated on the airlines Radio facility and Flight Data Charts normally to the station whose altimeter setting is being used. After crossing a particular reporting point. \
When reporting positions at this time the Flight Officer give the following.
1. Position, (name or fix or check point)
2. Time over position
3. Altitude above sea level
4. Rate of climbing or descending
5. meteorological information
ATC requests or information, such as fuel or mechanical difficulties can also be given.

While enroute Captains promptly advise the airlines ground station of the reason for any change in altitude or flight plan made requested from either the airline or the airport tower. Flight dispatchers are immediately informed of any changes
It a required equipment item becomes unserviceable in flight, a landing must be made at the nearest safe, suitable landing area or at a point of the next intended landing, which ever the Captain or Flight Dispatcher decide is safest procedure.


The Flight Log

In order to indicate the conformity of the flight to its plan the Captain maintains a chronological written record of its progress. He enters in the flight log the weather encountered, the flights estimated time and actual time, to the nearest minute over all check points, direction flown, etc.
If the estimated time over is missed by more than three minutes reasons must be given. En route fuel checks are made at least once between each refueling station and entries must be made in the log showing which tank on which the check was made, time check started gallons in the tank as shown by fuel gauge. Time check ended gallons in tank as shown by fuel gauge. Gallons per hour being consumed.’
The flight log provides a basis for computing factors which vary with time and depreciation and to give the maintenance department information on conditions of the aircraft, inspections and servicing.


There are certain procedures that must be adhered to during the flight.

To Change from Instrument to Contact Flight Rules.
The Captain must obtain: ATC and Flight Dispatcher approval and normally make the change:
1. Over a range station when weather permits making contact at or above the minimums. CRF altitude.
2. Enroute by attempting to break out of the overcast while remaining at or above minimum instrument altitude for the route portion.

To Change from contact flight rules to instrument
The Captain must ascend to and proceed at or above minimum instrument altitude after requesting and receiving ATC approval of a definite altitude, maintaining CFR until receipt of the altitude assignment. In an emergency situation, Captain ascends to and proceeds at or above minimum instrument altitude, immediately requesting ground station to notify Flight Dispatch and ATC for clearance.

When a flight is unable to communicate with the airlines ground station and the ATC Clearance is needed the flight will obtain it from the CAA station.
If the flight’s call to the airlines ground station is not answered then two more calls will be made at fifteen second intervals.
If the three calls are unanswered the flight then calls another ground station in the sector, usually the station behind once only.
If this procedure fails the flight will then be broadcast its report in the blind.

The flight dispatch and sub dispatch offices initiate requests for the position report when a flight is 5 minutes over due at a check point. If it becomes apparent that a transmitter failure occurred, the Flight Dispatcher controlling the flight. (1). Advises the appropriate ATCC and (2) advises appropriate company stations to broadcast pertinent weather reports and altimeter settings and (3) have the appropriate range stations broadcast the above information.


Quite Simple For The Time.


Before leaving the minimum authorized cruising altitude on the starting an instrument approach the altimeters must be checked with and set to the latest figure at the station of the intended landing.
During the initial approach on instruments or on top, Flight Officer may not descend below the specified minimum altitude for initial approach until arrival over the range station has been definitely proven.

Except where approved landing minimums are 1000 feet ceiling and 2 miles visibility or better, The Captain after becoming in contact may not descend more than 50 feet below the specified landing ceiling, unless he is in the position to make a normal straight in approach to the proper runway and can plainly see the near end of the runway and approach lights or other approved identification marks leading to the runway.

Flight Officers when CFR are required to make an in range report ten minutes prior to intended landing or at required Position Over Report. (POR).

Flights my not let down through heavy icing conditions nor through heavy icing conditions nor through moderate icing conditions unless the weather conditions are 800-2 900-1 ½ or 1000-1 or better, nor in freezing rain, sleet or moderate or heavy freezing drizzle. Or moderate or heavy wet snow.



The Captain, F/O and Stewardess personally sign a Flight Report for each flight. It sets forth information concerning the flights date, route, type, ramp arrival and departure, ;landing and take off times. (Time wheels touch or leave the ground) gasoline and oil carried and total flying time together with pertinent remarks.


This is a form which is completed by the Captain Enroute listing:
1. Any difficulties encountered during the flight and noting itemized troubles under appropriate headings describing the difficulty or malfunctioning as fully as possible and if apparent, giving the cause.
2. Engine readings giving all readings: After engines are synchronized in level flight the tachometer and manifold pressure readings are entered. Space is provided for entering engine cruise readings and any engine malfunctions.
3. In addition the Captain notes, any mechanical delays enroute, giving station and length of time and cause of delay.
4. Aircraft Accident regardless of damage.
5. Engine out operation, giving engine out, reason, if established and whether propeller was feathered.
6. Use of Oxygen, deicing alcohol spare fuses etc.
7. The stewardess notes any items of fixed cabin equipment needing repair or adjustment.


Regardless of crew changes, Flight Officers leave “Pilots Flight and Maintenance Reports” attached and on board the airplane until the flight terminates or reaches a station where the “Times” are posted. When a new crew takes over, the outgoing Captain acquaints himself with the airplanes condition and flight operation by reading and initialing the inbound report.






Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I always liked the lines of the VC10 I wish I could have seen one while in service.
Listed below are two great articles on the flying of and the introduction into service of the Vickers Armstrong VC10.
Both articles are copied from the Flight International May 7, 1964 Magazine archives. Courtesy of the FlightGlobal website which has every issue of Flight Magazine published between 1909-2005, digitally scanned and fully searchable. A valuable resource for old aviation articles and technical stuff.


Flight International May 7, 1964
By Captain R. E. Gillman B.E.A.
ONE'S first impression on entering the flight deck of the VCIO
is that it is spacious, well laid out, and generously provided
with window area. For a modern jet, pressurized to a high
differential, the all-round view for the pilot is excellent, and additional
ports are provided in the roof so that one's intended flight path
during a turn may also be scanned.

On the starboard side is the engineer's station, with a second set
of throttles and a panel with switches, gauges and warning lights
laid out diagrammatically. The navigator sits on the port side,
facing aft, at a table backed by his instrument panel, but both the
engineer's and the navigator's seats can be swiveled to face forward.

The pilot's instrument layout is comparatively simple, being
confined to flight instruments including a Bendix integrated flight
system, twin RMIs, brake pressure gauge, course deviation indicator
and clocks. The only engine instruments on the centre
panel are h-p r.p.m. gauges calibrated in percentages of maximum
r.p.m.; there are also such essential indicators as undercarriage
lights, flap and slat position gauges, tailplane incidence and trim

The broad pedestal between the pilots' seats has, at the front,
trimming levers (tailplane incidence), flap and spoiler controls,
and a set of throttles; behind these come the station boxes, radio
gear, rudder and aileron trim controls, autopilot and h-p cocks.

The particular aircraft I had the pleasure of flying during a
C of A handling test was G-ARVB. Eight VClOs had so far
flown. BAC's method of developing a number of aircraft simultaneously
while inviting the participation of a development team
from the customer has proved most effective. BOAC pilots and
engineers have been working with BAC since three months after
the first flight; a number of suggestions and modifications have
been agreed virtually on the spot, and as the date of each aeroplane's
inception into service approached it was modified up to
the customer's agreed standard. This healthy co-operation between
manufacturer and customer has long been a feature of the Vickers
and BAC scene, the thoroughly commercial aircraft which result
being justification enough.

The Conway by-pass engines are normally started by low-pressure
air supplied by a ground truck via a connection in the main undercarriage
bay, and thence through the aircraft thermal de-icing ducts
to each engine starter which drives the h-p compressor via the
engine wheelcase. Alternatively, starting can be by a combustor
fitted to Nos 3 and 4 engines, h-p air being supplied from *n
external source on BOAC aircraft and from internally carried air bottles
in BUA and RAF machines. A third method—
a direct start from an I-p source—is also available.

The flight engineer carries out the drill by setting the master
switch to LP START and checking the pressures on the airframe
anti-icing duct pressure gauges. The START/RELIGHT switch
is then held to start and the starter and ignition lights checked on.
As the shaft-rotation light flashes, the h-p cock on the pedestal is
moved to START, and when the h-p r.p.m. reach 32 per cent the
START/RELIGHT switch is released. At 58 per cent r.p.m. the
h-p cock is set to RUN. On the flight deck the engines are heard
as a remote hum, barely noticeable above the noise of the ground

On many conventional aeroplanes the pilot is restrained by an
interlock from opening up the throttles to take off when the control
locks are engaged. On the VC10 there are no control locks as
such, but a warning horn will blow intermittently if the throttles
are advanced more than 50 per cent of their travel when the flaps
and slats are not at the take-off position, the tail incidence is not
within the take-off range, the aileron upfloat is not armed, and
any one of the power control units is not operating.

The powered flying controls are designed on a split-surface
philosophy, with duplicated power supplies. For example, control
in pitch is obtained by the use of four discrete electrically powered
elevator sections, and these are supplied in pairs from two entirely
separate sources. One source is derived from the outputs of the
generators on Nos 1 and 3 engines, and the other from engines
2 and 4. Should an engine or a generator fail, then the two main
busbars are automatically connected together, the three remaining
operative generators providing adequate power. However, it
was considered that during the critical take-off and landing phases
two separate power sources should be maintained regardless of
fault conditions, and to this end an override switch is provided to
prevent the coupling of the power sources should a fault occur
near the ground. In addition to these safeguards the variable incidence
tailplane is operated by hydraulic pressure and, again,
two entirely different systems are involved. The control levers on
the pedestal are also split, one operating an arming valve (electric),
while the other operates the rate selector valve. Release of either
lever will stop the tail moving; thus, should a fault occur on either
valve causing a runaway, the returning of the levers to the neutral
position will stop it.

The rudder is divided into three sections and each aileron into
two; again, the split supply principle obtains. In the rolling plane,
spoilers supplement the power of the ailerons, and these are
hydraulically powered in opposition to the electro-hydraulic

In the event of total electrical failure, an emergency power source
is provided by a ram-air driven alternator (ELRAT) which can be
dropped into the air stream. From this two elevator sections, two
aileron sections and one rudder section can be operated. Should
no electrical supply from any source be available (though such
circumstances are difficult to visualize), then the aircraft can be controlled
in pitch by the hydraulically operated tailplane, and in roll
by the spoilers.

The aileron upfloat switch, referred to earlier, relates to a
device aimed at relieving outer wing panel stresses at weights in
excess of 299,0001b. When this circuit is armed, and the flaps are
raised, both ailerons are set up by a further 5' over and above the
normal 2£° upride.

There being only one set of throttles available to the pilots on
this rather wide flight deck, the reach is such that it is not possible
to get one's elbow behind them; thus the tendency is to push them
from in front or from behind with the flat hand. As there is a
built-in friction device which is smooth and nicely loaded, this
does not appear as a disadvantage.

At our weight of 230,0001b only a modicum of power was needed
to start the aircraft rolling, and almost immediately it became
necessary to throttle back again to keep taxying speed down to
something reasonable. The nosewheel steering control is of the
spade-grip type, and through the initial movement the hand load
was light as steering systems go, while the nosewheel followed up
smoothly and without backlash. There is little nosewheel rumble,
and the suspension results in a very comfortable ride. Once again,
one is struck by the lack of engine noise on the flight deck.

Not too heavily loaded, the toe brakes have sufficient feel to
facilitate smooth and positive braking. Despite the long wheelbase
and the bogie undercarriage it was possible, using 40' of the
available 73 nosewheel travel, to turn the aircraft round within
the width of the Wisley runway in readiness for the take-off.
The wind was calm, the temperature was plus 4°C, and the e.g.
was set fully aft. For our weight of 230,0001b I was given a Vr of

Full power was applied against the parking brake, and on its
release the aircraft accelerated away rapidly. One was very conscious
of the 82,OO01b of thrust available. There was no tendency
to swing, and on feeling out for the rudder the foot loads were
found to be nominal.

I had been warned that a very positive stick movement was
necessary to rotate, but at Vr the stick loads were found to be
much lighter than expected, and the fully aft e.g. resulted in a
high rate of rotation and a clean unstick opposite the perimeter
track junction, a distance of 3,300ft. Admittedly the aircraft was
comparatively light and the temperature was down; but for a
machine of such a size this was most impressive.

Settling into a climb with the maximum continuous power of
94.5 per cent h-p r.p.m. at 300kt, the VSI was hard against the
4,000ft/min stop, and this rate continued to 10,000ft.

The elevator was reasonably light and positive, with no suggestion
of backlash, but trimming in pitch with a variable-incidence
tailplane demands a technique different from that used in conjunction
with tabs. The amount of displacement of the trimming
levers varies the rate at which the tailplane incidence changes.
There is some lag between moving the levers and sensing the result.
With conventional elevator trim-tabs one can feel the effect on
the hand loads immediately, and fine trimming is thus easier; but
this is merely a case of adjusting one's technique to the equipment
and no criticism is implied.

The ailerons are light, positive, and with no discernable breakout
force. As the aircraft is not too stable laterally, this combination
resulted in a tendency to over-correct in roll initially. The rate of
roll is high for an aircraft of this size; at 230kt IAS, employing
full spectacle displacement, it was measured as 15/sec. Aileron
trim, applied by the deflection of two switches in series, was more
than adequate in power and range.

Rudder loads became rather high with speed and, having applied
20° of bank, one found that the resulting fractional slip required a
foot pressure of some 301b to eradicate it. At circuit speeds,
however, the rudder loads appeared acceptable.

The roll-yaw couple is quite virulent, as one would expect with
a 32° sweep-back. During side-slip maneuvers considerable
aileron deflection was necessary to keep the wings level. These
were, of course, the extreme cases, applying limiting rudder at
speeds varying from 140kt to 365kt and invoking yaw angles of
10° to 12°.

With the yaw dampers switched out, a dutch roll was initiated
without difficulty. Not alarming in amplitude, it has a cycle of
about 3sec. There was no tendency for it to become divergent, and
it could be damped out manually. A second roll was instigated,
and on switching in one of the yaw dampers was suppressed in less
than half a cycle. Two yaw dampers are normally in circuit together
at any one time; additionally, a stand-by is available in emergency.

At the Stall
At 20,000ft the aircraft was put into a turn at 235kt ISA, and at
this speed the turn was tightened to load the aircraft by reference to
a g-meter. As 2g was approached considerable buffet was felt. This
is the pre-stall buffet which in the "clean" case begins at something
like 1.4 Vs. In level flight this means that some 40kt of buffet is felt
before the stall itself, but under g loading this margin may increase.

As the stalling speed is approached the VC10 becomes sensitive
in roll, but no real vices are apparent. With full flap down, there
is very little pre-stall buffet and the aircraft is stable laterally; on the
threshold a tendency to yaw appears and, as the stall itself is
approached at around l00 kt, a nose-up pitch develops, but at this
stage there are no difficulties in recovering. A great deal of work is
being done by the manufacturer in this area, including the fitting of
fences to induce an earlier breakaway.

A descent was made to a lower level in order to check the engine out
performance, and on selecting the dive brakes the resulting
drag was most marked, accompanied by buffet. When the spoilers
are fully extended they no longer operate with the ailerons, for they
can move in only one direction, which is up. On ailerons alone,
control was crisp and positive. A control-surface indicator above
the pilot's head faithfully reproduces the movements of the surfaces
whenever the powered control units are switched on. Under normal
flight conditions, it can be seen that the spoilers on the inside of the
turn move up with the aileron. When ailerons and spoilers are
disconnected—as can be done by a control in the cockpit should
one system fail—then on spoilers alone the spectacles become very
light as they are now only subject to spring feel. When a rapid
spectacle movement is made, some buffet is felt as a result of the
spoiler deflection.

With the dive brakes in, and the throttles closed, descent was
made through 15,000ft at Vne (365kt IAS), the rate of descent
being 3,5OOft/min.

At 5,000ft No 4 engine was shut down at 190kt, the resulting roll
and yaw moments being slight. Increasing power on the remaining
engines to 90 per cent r.p.m. and keeping the speed constant, the
resulting rate of climb was l,500ft/min. The aircraft weight was
now down to 210,0001b and the speed was reduced to the \i for
that weight (135kt) and full power applied on the other three engines.
Two of the 5° of rudder trim were needed to keep straight under
this extreme condition, and the resulting climb averaged 2,100ft/mill
to 10,000ft. Returning to 5,000ft, No 3 engine was also stopped,
and the other two opened up to maximum continuous power--
94.5 per cent h-p r.p.m. The asymmetric loads were contained within
1° of rudder trim at 190kt indicated, and a climb of 1,500ft/mm
achieved. The inner and outer spoilers were isolated at this stage but
no difficulties in roll were apparent. ,

Back at 10,000ft engines 3 and 4 were restarted and Nos 1 and 2 •
shut down. With turbojet engines mounted at the tail, no one
engine is significantly more critical than the others under asymmetric

Engines 3 and 4 were now opened up to maximum continuous
power and the aircraft held level. The speed built up steadily until
final stabilizing at 400kt IAS just 12kt under Vd, half a division of
rudder trim now sufficing to keep the aircraft straight. Outside
air temperature was —7°C. The top rudder section, left outer
elevator and left outer aileron were then isolated. It was necessary
to increase the rudder trim to 1° and to apply a dash of aileron trim,
but control was otherwise completely normal.

The requisite part of the test schedule having been completed,
course was set back to Wisley, and I had time during the descent to
check on the radio set-up.
The pilots' station boxes are positioned one each side of the
Pedestal, and the facility selectors are combined ON/OFF-volume
controls. There were three VHF and two HF communicators,
two VOR/ILS and two ADF sets feeding twin RMIs, a 75Mc/s
receiver, Selcal and a transponder. Ekco weather radar is also
fitted, with scopes for both pilots.

On the run into Wisley, all the elevator powered control units
were switched off, and the aircraft controlled solely by the tailplane.
It was perfectly clear that adequate control was available for all
night configurations. The nose-down couple when the flaps moved
to 20° and the slats run fully out was easily contained. With further
«ap extension and undercarriage lowering, the nose-down couple
resulting from falling speed was held; and finally, as a supreme test,
we dive brakes were applied. By this time the speed was down to
140kt, but full pitching control was still available—a comforting
thought. Although one would need to be practiced at fine pitching
control with the tailplane trim, undoubtedly the aircraft could be
landed in this extreme emergency condition, though it would
probably be expedient to make a long, flat approach.

The surface wind had now become 12kt almost along the runway,
and some turbulence had developed. The aircraft rode it well, and
little difficulty was experienced in maintaining height or heading,
though the variable-incidence tailplane still felt strange, and the
direct trim feel was missed. Weight was now 191,0001b and the
threshold speed 120kt.

Take-off flap setting was used down-wind at a speed of 190kt,
for the aircraft "clean" it was found difficult to get the speed back.
Across wind the approach flap setting of 35° was selected, and the
speed reduced to 145kt.

A turn on to finals was made at about three miles. When straightened
up, full flap was selected, and the speed reduced slowly to
130kt. Like most aircraft of its configuration, the VC10 proved to
be a little bit "fidgety" on speed at these angles of attack; but
though I was unfamiliar with the aircraft, and flying it in choppy
conditions, I experienced no undue difficulty in keeping within 5kt
of the desired figure. At one stage, power was opened up to check
the recovery rate. Unlike many pure jets, the aircraft gave an
immediate speed response. During the landing and the take-off
phases this terrific reserve of power is most comforting, and slam
accelerations from idling to 95 per cent h-p r.p.m. can be made
safely in 5sec to 6sec without crossing the surge line.

In deference to a wooded gully just short of the runway I held a
little speed in hand consequently arriving over the threshold 5kt
fast. Elevator control was still light and positive. The throttles
were closed, and the round-out initiated at about 100ft. This felt
more like checking the rate of descent rather than changing the
attitude, and the VC10 was held above the runway as the speed
dissipated. The extra 5kt resulted in a noticeable float and, as the
aircraft finally started to settle, a prolonged hold-off eventually
ended in a gentle rumble from the mainwheels. Reverse thrust,
which is on the outer engines only, was selected on touchdown,
with a resulting nose-up couple, and the nosewheel had to be
lowered on to the ground. Mild application of the brakes was all
that was necessary to kill the speed; the aircraft could, if necessary,
have been stopped in considerably less than 6,000ft. VClOs have
been landed at Brooklands, which offers only 4,200ft; and I am
told that a minimum landing distance of 1,600ft has been achieved
at 180,0001b, though I would hazard a guess that the technique
employed would hardly have appealed to airline passengers.

The undercarriage is particularly kind, for the "hop damper" on
the bogie absorbs the initial impact with the ground, and prevents
pattering of the bogies during taxiing.

A subsequent circuit and landing resulted in a more accurate
threshold speed; but even so, the VClO's tendency to settle was
slow during the hold-off, and there was no difficulty in resisting
this to achieve a touchdown with a minimum rate of sink.

Undoubtedly, this is a pilot's aeroplane. It is well laid out, a
delight to handle and, despite its size and the power available,
extremely docile under all flight conditions. The field-length
performance is also most impressive; this feature alone, will surely
endear it to both passengers and operators.

Part two converting to the VC10

BOAC's Crew-training Programme
WHEN it became known that BO AC was to receive no fewer
than 42 VClOs and Super VClOs, a natural topic of
conversation among the training captains was the
problem of the crew-conversion courses needed for such a sizeable
fleet. The aircraft was decidedly modern in appearance and
construction, with rear-mounted engines, and we wondered just
what problems would arise for the pilots who would handle it.
Experience on the 707s and DC-8s throughout the world had
shown that a conversion course to those aircraft was not without its
difficulties. Some pilots found the transition from the slower,
* propeller-type aircraft a tough hurdle to overcome, and for some
the hurdle was too great. Would the VC10 present even greater
problems in training?

The size of the training commitment was also discussed fully.
Working on an estimated requirement of just over five crews to
each aircraft operated, this meant a total of about 230 captains,
350 co-pilots (this an approximate figure which would vary with
navigational requirements, and decisions on the carriage of a third
pilot) and about 230 engineer officers. This posed a formidable
task for the people responsible for planning the organization,
although it is fair to say that a training organization is rather like
a sausage machine; it only needs to be big enough, and complex
enough, to deal with the numbers being processed at any given time.

The BOAC team originally consisted of two captains (Capt
H. J. Field and Capt A. P. W. Cane), who, together with two flight
engineers, worked hand in glove with the manufacturers' test pilots
and design team in the formative years of the VC10. Late in 1962,
the appointments were made of flight manager VClOs (Capt A. S. M.
Rendall), deputy flight manager (Capt F. W. Walton) and officer
i/c training (Capt J. Nicholl) together with various other appointments,
including that of Sen Eng Off G. Sears as chief engineer
officer instructor. Jack Nicholl had long experience of training,
having been a training captain on Stratocruisers and DC-7Cs before
being appointed officer i/c training on the Britannia 312 Flight.
To this team were added, early in 1963, nine other captains and a
similar number of flight engineers, to form the "nucleus," as it was
known. Of these additional captains and engineer officers, a
number were selected specifically for the future task of training on
the VC10.

In 1963 this team of pilots and engineers were themselves the
"pupils," taking courses at the Rolls-Royce training school at
Derby and at the Vickers works of British Aircraft Corporation
at Weybridge. They were trained on the aircraft itself by last
September or October. Thereafter, they carried out l.000 hr of
route-proving and VC10 development work under the watchful
eyes of the BAC test pilots.

Our reactions to the aircraft were swift and most enthusiastic.
We found it delightful in every way. We eulogized its virtues.
We spread the gospel. But our audiences, the future crews of the
VC10, naturally reserved judgment. Now, some months later, our
own delight with the aircraft can be shown to have been well founded,
for at the time of writing over 100 pilots have completed
their own conversion courses on to the VC10 and share our
admiration. As a very senior pilot remarked to me after only his
fourth landing under training, "I took it all with a pinch of salt
when I heard you discussing the aircraft in the hotel, but this really
is a wonderful aeroplane."

The decision to carry out the training programme at Shannon
Airport, on the Atlantic coast of Ireland, was made after carefully
considering all the alternatives. Training on any large aircraft is a
very expensive item indeed, and every minute spent in flight must
therefore produce valuable results. A rough estimate of the cost
of flying a VC10 on training, covering only such items as fuel, oil,
landing fees, maintenance and spares, etc, comes to about £300 to
£360 per hour. To this should be added "standing charges," for
such items as insurance, fixed engineering and administrative
costs, of a further £300 per hour. Lastly, the aircraft on training
is not available to fly down the routes and thus earn money. Considering
only the first of these items, the bare operating costs, the
figure comes to £6 per minute. Prolonged delays, caused by "holding
stacks," extra circuits because of conflicting traffic, or long periods
at the runway threshold awaiting the right to take off, can cost an
astronomical figure over a period of several years.

Furthermore, delays caused by adverse weather, or local restrictions
on the amount of night or weekend flying (introduced at the
insistence of the local residents' associations, who nevertheless
have my sympathy in their complaints) expensively lengthen the
training programme and prevent the aircraft from earning money
on the passenger routes. Shannon is the best answer to all these
considerations. Indeed, the excellent and friendly co-operation of
the air traffic controllers and other airport authorities at Shannon
have been much appreciated.

Desk Work for a Start
The training programme started at Shannon on December 19,
1963, and has since progressed in parallel with the l,000hr route flying
programme. BOAC have had the use of three aircraft for
these purposes. Prior to flight training, the "nucleus" pilots and
engineers were busy writing-up the flying, navigation and technical
manuals, deliberating on the details of procedures, the syllabus for
various courses, instructional techniques and many other matters.

The course for each pilot consists of three "airwork" periods, as
we call them, the first climbing to 20,000ft and the others to 30,000ft
and 40,000ft. These periods are used for general handling practice,
high-speed runs, rapid descents and other exercises such as the
approach to the stall, and the use of the autopilot (including its
use for the automatic approach). Further periods cover take-offs
and landings on four and three engines, night take-offs and landings,
and what we call "abnormal" take-offs and landings—such as the
two-engined landing, the Sapless or slatless landing, the three engine
take-oft", etc. There follow periods on instruments alone,
and approaches using ILS or VOR, and finally the Instrument
Rating renewal is carried out. We find this syllabus takes between
8Jhr and l0^hr, according to weather and other delays.

I will not deal with the aircraft in detail, nor with its performance,
as these are already being discussed elsewhere
one must mention the various aspects which most impress the pilots
under training.

First, they greatly appreciate the cockpit layout. It is orderly and
neat, and it is easy to operate all the controls—in particular, the
autopilot and radio controls—without the necessity of continually
reaching up to the roof as has been their lot on some other aircraft.
Nor are pieces of equipment pinned to any and every few square
inches of available wall or roof space, as appears to have happened
on other aircraft we have known. The windows are large; and this
in itself is a move towards greater safety in the air, for the all-round
visibility is thus greatly improved. One senior executive commented
"there seems a lot of wasted space here," but no company director
could hope to work efficiently in a cramped or inconvenient office,
and the same applies to the "directors" of a large modern aircraft.

Taxying is not the hazard many expected when they saw the
66ft which separates nose wheels and main wheels. However, care
is needed on curving taxiways and narrow runways to avoid running
the main wheels over the grass on the inside of the turns. The crux
of the manoeuvre is to position oneself on the outer edge of the
concrete, or even over the grass (since the nosewheels are about
10ft aft of the pilots' seats) when executing sharp turns, but few
pilots at first relish seeing the grass passing beneath them when
initiating such turns. The VC10 can, in fact, turn on a 150ft-wide
runway using 50° of nosewheel steering, and since up to 70° is
available (55° being the recommended maximum) turning on such
a runway is a comfortable manoeuvre.

Nevertheless, on one occasion a wheel did leave the concrete.
During a turn through 180° after landing on the short runway at
Shannon, a sharp gust caught the tail au moment critique and caused
the nosewheels to continue on to the grass. The training captain
rightly played for safety and requested that the aircraft be towed
back on to the runway, whence it returned to the apron for refuelling
' and to continue on night-flying exercises. (The BBC TV news that
evening reported that the aircraft had "overrun the runway on
landing," and the following morning a national newspaper reported
|- that the VC10 had "crash landed," but that "none of the crew was
' injured." A subsequent cartoon in the BOAC news sheet had one
captain commenting to another: "I think the most dangerous thing
about flying is the Daily —.")

The power of the Rolls-Royce Conway Mk 540 engines is allied
to the low take-off speed to give an impressively short take-off run.
This is the cause of much favourable comment, and one cannot but
compare these aspects with those of the other big jets. The VC10
has approximately 20 per cent more power than its most powerful
nvals, while the use of leading-edge slats gives a rotation speed some
!6kt less than for comparable American aircraft. This means a
much greater margin of safety where there is an ample length of
concrete, or a better performance where the runway is short.
On the approach and landing the speeds are again some 16kt
lower than for the American counterparts. This may not sound
rouch to the layman, but in terms of braking needed the difference
ls considerable. Landing distances are correspondingly less, and all
these considerations add up to greater safety margins in practice.

The admirable stability and ease of handling of the VC10 under
a" conditions has made the transition from earlier types like Britannias 769
and Comets impressively straightforward. From the point
of view of ease of conversion, there has proved to be no apparent
advantage in having flown the jet Comet rather than the turboprop
Britannia. In fact the VC10 circuit and approach speeds favour
the latter, being almost identical.

Previous experience of Flight Director systems, other than the
Bendix on the BOAC 707, is almost a disadvantage. Adherents to
other types of system, on the Comet and Britannia 312, take
marginally longer to adapt themselves to the Elliott system (produced
basically under licence from Bendix) than does the "Basic
ILS, call Zero Heaven" adherent from the Britannia 102. The
Elliott system, incidentally, provides for more leisurely commands
to the captain than was the case with the Bendix on the 707, and this
fact, allied to the lower approach speeds and great stability of the
aircraft, seems to leave the pilots with time to spare on the approach
—surely another very valuable contribution to safety.

The improved stability of the VC10 may stem from several
sources. The close grouping of the engines around the tail means
that a power change on the approach—which can scarcely be made
without some inadvertent asymmetry—will not produce noticeable
yaw, and therefore roll, as it does in other big jets. Furthermore,
the inherent stability in pitch means that trim-changes to the
variable-incidence tailplane need hardly be made at all.

VC10 pilots are most impressed with the "soft" undercarriage.
Checking the rate of descent to about 300ft/min, coupled with
ground-effect, cushions the aircraft on to the ground almost
irrespective of whether it be held back to a fully flared attitude or
checked only lightly. Naturally, as with any other aircraft, failure
adequately to check the rate of descent results in a "loss of face"
for the pilot concerned; but we have nevertheless been most
impressed with the general standard of arrivals during training.

Loss of engines on the VC10 is a minor problem for pilots under
training, because the asymmetry associated with engine failure is
so small, and the reserves of power so great. Exercises associated
with two and three engines are therefore much more a mere
formality on a VC10 course than on earlier conversions with which
I have been familiar.

Training on the Routes
Naturally, the training of VC10 crews does not end at Shannon.
Further flights under supervision take place down the routes,
enabling pilots and engineers to gain experience of the aircraft
operating from airfields at higher altitudes and temperatures, as
well as to become thoroughly acclimatized and "at home" with
both the aircraft and the routes. Our conversion course for ground
maintenance engineers and cabin staff are outside my sphere of
activity; but both are considerable undertakings.

BOAC is scheduled to have two VC10 simulators, with a visual aid
attachment. The first simulator has only been in active use
some five weeks, but will obviously have a pronounced effect on our
flying training, as much familiarization hitherto carried out in the
air will now be carried out in "the box." Savings in aircraft time and
expense remain to be seen. Certainly the visual attachment, by
which a picture of the approach is projected by closed-circuit TV
in front of the pilot, will make this a popular method of training—
at least until the "gimmick" value wears off!

Finally a word should be said of the reactions of such passengers
as we have carried on our overseas training flights. Albeit in old
seating (proper VC10 seats are being installed in aircraft for passenger
services), their reactions have been most favourable. The noise
level has been adjudged markedly below that in the 707 and DC-8,
while the pressurization has been found to be excellent—a boon to
all those who, like myself, hate "popping" of the ears on the climb
or descent. Reactions to flight or turbulent conditions have also
been good, and I was particularly pleased to note the healthy
appetites on one flight immediately following a rather prolonged
"hold" in a turbulent thunderstorm near Beirut. I took this to be a
tribute to the aircraft, rather than to the stomachs concerned.

To summarize the reactions of those pilots who have now completed
their training: a thoroughly delightful aircraft to handle in
every respect, with extra safety resulting from such factors as the
ample power available, the stability, the low take-off and landing
speeds, and the advanced simplicity of the flight-deck layout and
pilots' instrumentation. Today, when extra safety in the air is
being increasingly demanded, we should remember these facts
above all others when assessing the comparative merits of the VC10
in commercial use.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009



Tag all photos to enlarge

Here is something a little different from the July 1919 issue of Flight Magazine.. Copied from the archives of Flight Global.
It deals with the forst Atlantic Crossing of the Airship R-34, to include the actual flight logs.. These articles are really interesting.

THE Transatlantic voyage has at last been accomplished by an airship. The R 34 has arrived at Mineola, Long Island,
under her own power, after being in the air for 108 hours 12 minutes. In connection with this splendid achievement
it may be of interest to recall an unsuccessful attempt made nine years ago.
A Previous Attempt
We are referring to the Wellman airship " America," on which Mr. Walter Wellman intended to make the trip from
Atlantic City to London. It may be remembered that previously Mr. Wellman had made an attempt to reach the
North Pole by airship, the venture, however, being unsuccessful, and the airship coming to grief. The rebuilt
airship, " America I , " had a length of 228 ft., and a maximum diameter of 52 ft., while her capacity was about 350,000
cub. ft. The power plant consisted of two engines of 80 h.p. each. A smaller engine of about 10 h.p. supplied air to the
ballonets. The two engines were mounted transversely in the keel of the airship, each driving two airscrews through
bevel gearing. The screws of the aft engine were of the swiveling type to allow of steering in a vertical plane and also
to give direst lift or anti-lift when the airship was about to ascend or alight. There was a long keel extending nearly
the whole length of the envelope, and in this enclosed keel were the crew's quarters. Slung underneath the keel was
a lifeboat stocked with "provisions. The most novel feature

Brig.-Gen. E. M. Maitland, C.M.G., D.S.O.
of the Wellman airship was the equilibrator, which was intended to keep the airship at a more or less constant altitude,
and which consisted of 30 cylindrical tanks strung together on a steel cable of some 330 ft. length. As the airship
tended to rise she had to support an increased length of this cable, while if she lost lift she descended and a greater proportion
of the cable became submerged in and supported by the sea. Ingenious as this arrangement was, it ultimately
proved to be the undoing of the airship. After waiting for favorable weather Mr. Wellman decided
to make a start, and at 8 o'clock on the morning of Saturday, October 15, 1910, he announced that everything was ready
and that the conditions were favorable. He, therefore, climbed aboard with his companions, including Capt. Murray
Simon (pilot), Mr. Melvin Vaniman (engineer), Mr. Jack Irwin (wireless operator), and Messrs. F . B. Aubrey and Louis
Lond (mechanics), and in the presence of an enthusiastic crowd the " America II " rose from her moorings at Atlantic
City and headed out to sea where she was soon lost in a thick fog. During the day numerous messages were received
by wireless from the airship, and everything seemed to indicate t h a t good progress was being made. On the following
(Sunday) morning the airship was reported off Nantucket, and Mr. Wellman's message was " Going O.K." After that
no further news was heard of the airship until the Tuesday afternoon, and there was naturally a great deal of anxiety
felt at the absence of news. Finally on the Tuesday afternoon, a wireless message was received from the R.M.S. Trent
saying that in answer to a distress signal by the airship the Trent had stood by and had rescued the crew. When it was
found that the equilibrator, from which so much had been expected, prevented the airship from being steered properly
and also gave rise to serious vibration on account of being dragged through a rising sea, preparations were made for
launching the lifeboat, and after the airship had been brought down close to the sea the crew got into the boat and were
later picked up by the Trent. The airship after being relieved of so much weight, rose to a great height and soon disappeared.
Thus ended this plucky attempt to cross the Atlantic by airship, and it has remained for a British airship, manned
by a British crew, to accomplish this feat.

The Successful Voyage of R 34
After many hours of anxiety, chiefly caused by the knowledge that the fuel supply must be running low, the R 34
and her gallant crew arrived at their destination at 3 p.m. (British Summer Time) on Sunday last, July 6. The landing
of the airship is thus described by The Times special correspondent" With the band playing ' God Save the King' and
thousands of spectators standing bareheaded, the R 34 dipped ground wards and dropped anchor at 10 o'clock this
morning,* after a voyage which up to late last night even experts feared might end in disaster.
" It was at 8.55 that the news that the giant airship was overhead brought the thousand inhabitants of Garden City
and Mineola into the streets to see the R 34 slowly circling overhead as she maneuvered herself in position for landing.
The number was clearly visible on her side, and her great bulk was gleaming in the morning sunshine. *
" Almost immediately streams of motor-cars appeared on the roads leading to the aerodrome. A few minutes later
a shout went up as a tiny object detached itself from the rear gondola and floated earthwards. It was Maj. John Pritchard,
who had jumped out in a parachute to give landing instructions. He came to earth in front of the grand stand and was
taken to headquarters on a motor-cycle. " Meanwhile the R 34 continued to circle above Roosevelt
Field. Soon she released a quantity of ballast from the stem her nose dipped, and, shutting off the forward propeller^
she came slowly earthwards. At a height of about 300 feet dropped an anchor, which the landing parties seized
and began to haul her to earth. At one minute past ten
the first gondola touched the ground, the long and perilous voyage over. She had just enough petrol left to have enabled
her to fly 40 minutes more. " One of the first to descend from the forward car was
Gen. Maitland, who was greeted by officers of the United States Air Service, headed by Gen. Minoher, Director of
Aeronautics. Gen. Maitland was smiling and cheerful, though he appeared tired. 'We are all pretty fit,' he said,
when asked how he had fared on the journey. Describing the voyage, he said they had been much worried by winds,
' and last night two thunderstorms shook us up badly,' he added. The fog troubled them little. The total time of
the voyage was 108 hours 12 minutes, it was a non-stop flight, made entirely under their own power. As soon as the landing
parties had made the airship fast, the crew descended to solid ground and immediately began to stretch their legs.
Hot coffee, food, soap and water were their immediate needs, and these were supplied on the spot in plenty.
" The ship is absolutely none the worse for her journey and suffered no damage in landing. It is hard when looking
at her to realize that she has just completed so v a s t a journey and will in 48 hours calmly undertake another.
until her arrival at Mineola at 3 p.m.

THE LOGJuly 5 :—
(B.S.T.) on Sunday,
Wednesday, July 2,
5.30 a.m.—The British airship R 34 passed over Rathlin'
county Antrim, at 4.30 G.M.T. (5.30 British summer time)
this morning.
9.0 a.m.—The R 34 a t 8 a.m. G.M.T. (9 a.m. British summer
time), was 10 deg. 40 min. W., 55 deg. 20 min. N. The
airship was then taking a course due West at a speed of
40 knots.
11.5 a.m.—Going through thick fog. Everything doing
well. Time of dispatch 10.05 G.M.T. (n.5 a.m. British
summer time).
1.0 p.m.—The R 34 is reported by wireless to have reached
at 1 p.m. to-day (British summer time) the position 55 deg.
07 N.-, 14 deg. 50 W. She was then proceeding at a speed
of 32 knots in a thick fog. The officer in charge reports
all well.
3.15 p.m.—A wireless message from the R 34, at 3.15 p.m.
(British summer time), gave the airship's position as 53 deg.
50 N., 17 deg. 50 W. The course then being taken was
West true and the speed 31 knots.
5.30 p.m.—The following signal has been received from

CROSSING" Her appearance this morning took every one by surprise after a night of anxious waiting. The last messages received had reported her in distress over the sea, using up her last few gallons of petrol. Late last night 200 men with supplies
of petrol and hydrogen were dispatched from here by special train to Montauk, at the northern extremity of Long Island,
in case the ship succeeded in reaching there. However, she sailed calmly into sight early this morning and made a
successful landing as the climax of a triumphal voyage. " Now she lies at rest in the middle of Roosevelt Field,
while motor cars from every part of Long Island disgorge thousands of people who have come to behold the latest
wonder of the world." On the accompanying sketch map, prepared from the
chart published in The Times of July 7, the various positions of the R 34 as indicated by wireless messages are shown.
In order to render the map more complete we have added the approximate course which the airship proposes to follow
on her return journey. It is hoped that on this she will pass over London on her way back to her starting point at East
Fortune. The following messages from the airship herself, and from ships and wireless stations, form a very good record
of the progress of the R 34 from the time she started from East Fortune (on July 2, 2.38 a.m. British summer time)
R 34 : " Position at 4.30 p.m. G.M.T., 53.50 N., 18 W. ;all well."
The Air Ministry adds : " The position given in the previous signal is probably incorrect and may possibly have been wrongly transmitted. The position indicated in the above message is very probably correct."

7.23 p.m.—The Air Ministry announced at 6.23 p.m. G.M.T. * " In answer to a wireless message sent from East
Fortune this afternoon to R 34, asking whether she was getting sufficient weather reports, the following reply has been received
: ' Yes, thanks. We are in touch with Ponta Delgada
(Azores), with St. John's (N.F.), and with Clifden,
Ireland.' "
8.00 p.m.—The ss. Suffem reports having sighted the R 34
at 7 p.m. Greenwich mean time in the position 54.30 North,
18.20 West, steering South, So.00 West true.
9.15 p.m.—The Air Ministry announces that Maj. Scott
reported that at 8.15 p.m. G.M.T. R 34 was flying westward
at 30 knots and at a height of 2,000 ft.
UNTIMED.—British ship, code signed G.B.R. (name unknown)
reports :—" Following message from R 34 : ' Flying
at 2,000 ft. ; brilliant sunshine above clouds. Give me your
position.' Position g;ven 54.30 N., 18.20 W. Answer:
' Arrive about Friday morning. Report speaking us.' "
We gaze through our glasses in her direction, but she is just
over the horizon.
" 2 p.m.—Slight trouble in the starboard amidships engine
—cracked cylinder water-jacket. Shorter made a quick
and safe repair with a piece of copper sheeting, and the entire
supply of the ship's chewing-gum, which had to be chewed
by himself and two engineers before being applied.
" 4.30 p.m.—Now on the Canadian summer route for
steamers bound for the St. Lawrence, via Belleisle Strait
and the well-known Labrador current. There are already
indications of these cold currents in the fog which hangs
immediately above the surface of the water. Scott and Cook
spend much time at the chart table, measuring angles of drift
and calculating the course. Aerial navigation is more complicated
than navigation on the surface of the sea, but there
is no reason why, when we know more about the air and its
peculiarities, it should not be made just as accurate.
" 5 p.m.—Harris unwisely shuts his hand in the door of
the wireless cabin. Injury painful, but not serious. Flow
of language not audible to me, as forward engine happened
to be running.
" 6.30 p.m.—We are gradually getting further and further
into the shallow depression reported yesterday coming from
the South Atlantic. For the last four hours the sea has been
rising. Now the wind is south-south-east, velocity 45 miles
an hour. Visibility only half a mile. Very rough sea.
Torrents of rain. Despite this the ship is remarkably steady.
At 8 p.m. Scott decided to climb right through it, and we
eventually came out over the top of it at 3,400 ft.
" 8.30 p.m.—We now passed the centre of the depression,
exactly as Harris foretold. Rain has ceased, and we are
travelling quite smoothly again. To the west the clouds
have lifted, and we see an extraordinarily interesting sky,
black, angry clouds giving place to clouds of grey mouse color,
then bright salmon-pink and a clear sky, changing
lower down on the horizon to darker clouds, with a rich
golden lining as the sun sinks low.
"The surface of the sea is invisible, being covered with
a fluffy grey feather-bed of clouds slightly undulating and
extending as far as t h e eye can reach. The moon is just
breaking through the black clouds immediately above it.
East and west the clouds are black, owing to the ominous
depression from which we have just emerged, while away
to the south the cloud-bed over which we are passing seems
to end suddenly and merge into the horizon. We are getting
some valuable meteorological data on this flight without
doubt, and each fresh phenomenon as it appears is instantly
explained by the ever-alert Harris, who has a profound
knowledge of his subject.
" 9 p.m.—One of the engineers has reported sick. He
complains of feverishness. A stowaway has just been discovered,
a cat smuggled on board by one of the crew for luck.
It is very remarkable that nearly every member of the crew
has a mascot of some description, from an engineer officer
who wears one of his wife's silk stockings as a muffler, to Maj.
Scott, the captain, with a small gold charm called '' Thumbs
" 4.30 a.m., Friday, July 4.—-A wonderful sunrise, the
different colors being the softest imaginable—just like a
wash drawing.
" 7 a.m.—Height 1,000 ft. Bright blue sky above,' a thin
fog partly obscuring the sea beneath. Sea moderate, but
a big swell.
" The fog bank appears to end abruptly 10 miles towards
the south, where the sea appears clear of fog. It is a very
deep blue, and standing out conspicuously is an enormous
white iceberg. The sun is shining brightly on its steep
sides, and we estimate roughly that it is 300 yards square
and 150 ft. high. Another big iceberg is seen in the dim
distance. These are the only two objects of any kind we
have yet seen on this journey.
" 8.15 a.m.—The fog is still clinging to the surface of the
water. The water is evidently very cold. There is an extraordinary
wave-like appearance in the clouds, which are
rolling up from the north. Underneath, on the port beam,
there is a long stretch of clear, blue sea, sandwiched between
wide expanses of fog on either side, looking just like a blue
river flowing between two wide, snow-covered banks. This
is caused by a warm current of water which prevents the
cloud from hanging over it. This illustrates the rule that
over cold currents of water the clouds cling to the surface.
" 9.0 a.m.—We are now over a large ice-field, and the sea
is full of enormous pieces of ice, small bergs in themselves.
The ice is blue-green under the water, with frozen snow on
" 1.50 p.m.—Land in sight, first spotted by Scott on the
starboard beam. A few small rocky islands were visible
for a minute or two through the clouds, but were instantly
swallowed up again. Altered course to the south-west to
have a closer look. Eventually made them out to be the
north-west coast-line of Trinity Bay. Our time from Rathlin
Island, the last piece of land we crossed off the shore of the
north coast of Ireland, to the north coast of Trinity Bay,
Newfoundland, is exactly 59 hours.
" 2.30 p.m.—We are crossing Newfoundland at 1,500 ft.
in thick fog, which gradually clears as we get further inland.
Message from St. John's to say Raynham has gone up in
his machine to greet us. We replied, giving our position.
" 3 p.m.—Again enveloped dense fog. Message from
Sentinel giving us our position. We are making good
38 to 40 knots, and heading for Fortune Harbor.
" 4.30 p.m.—We passed out of Fortune Harbor with its
magnificent scenery into azure blue sea dotted with little
white sailing ships, and are now over the two French islands
of Miquelon and St. Pierre, steering a course for Halifax.
"7-4S P-m-—Passed over tramp steamer Seal, bound for
Sydney (Nova Scotia), from St. John's, the first we have seen.
"8.15 p.m.—Clear weather, Sea moderate. Making good
30 miles per hour with three engines. The northern point of
Cape Breton Island is just coming into s i g h t ; lighthouse with
four flashes.
" Saturday, July 5, 2.30 a.m.—Very dark, clear night.
The lights of Whitehaven show brightly on the starboard side,
and we can make out the lights of a steamer passing us to the
east. Strong head wind against us. Making no appreciable
" 7.0 a.m.—Scott decided to turn inland to avoid the southwest
wind barrage blowing up the coast. Crossed coast at
Goose Island and Country Harbor. Miles and miles of
endless forests. Here and there a clearing with a hut or two,
and a few cows and an acre or so of cultivated land. Any
number of small rivers and lakes.
" 10.20 a.m.—We came down as low as 800 ft. over huge
forests of lovely resinous small pines, the scent of which we
inhale with delight. The stacked tree-trunks look like bunches
of asparagus from above put end up. We saw a big brown
eagle. We all agree that we must come to Nova Scotia for
shooting and fishing.
" 12.30 p.m.—Lunch. The petrol question has become
distinctly serious. Shotter has been totaling up the available
petrol resources with anxious care. We have 500 miles to go
to New York, and, if we do not get any wind or bad weather
against us, we will do it all right with two engines, assisted
occasionally by the third engine. We can't afford to run all
five at once owing to the petrol consumption. Lieut.-Com.
Lansdowne, of the United States Naval Airship Service, sends
a signal on behalf of ' R.34 ' to the United States authorities
at Washington and Boston to send destroyer to take us in tow
in case we should run out of petrol during the night.
" The idea is that we could then be towed by a destroyer
during the hours of darkness and at dawn cast off and fly to
Long Island under our own power. Let us hope that this
won't be necessary. It is now rainy and foggy, which is the
kind of weather that suits us now, as rain generally means no
" 3.00 p.m.—Passed Haute Island in the Bay of Fundy.
" 3-3° P-ni.—For some little while past there have been
distinct evidences of electrical disturbances. Atmospherics
are very bad. A severe thunderstorm was seen over the
Canadian coast moving south down the coast. Major Scott
turned east off his course to dodge the storm, putting on all
engines. In this, fortunately for us, he was successful, and
we passed through the outer edge of the storm. We had
a very bad time indeed, and it is quite the worst experience
from the weather point of view that any of us has yet experienced
in the air. During the storm some wonderful specimens
of cumulo-stratus were seen and photographed. These
clouds always indicate a very highly perturbed state of the
atmosphere, and look rather like a bunch of grapes.
" 7-3° p.m.—We are now in clear weather again, and have
left Nova Scotia well behind, heading straight for New York.
A particularly fine electrical disturbance at time of sunset.
"9.30 p.m.—Another thunderstorm. Again we have to
change our course to avoid it, and every gallon of petrol worth
its weight in gold. It almost breaks our hearts to have to
lengthen the distance to get clear of these storms.
" July 6, 4 a.m.—Sighted American coast at Chatham.
"4.25 a.m.—Are over the south end of Mahoney Island.
Scott wondering whether petrol will allow him to go to New
York o r whether it would not be more prudent to land at
" 5.30 a.m.—Passing Martha's Vineyard, a lovely island,
beautifully wooded. Scott decided to the landing at Hazelhurst Field, that there would
be enough petrol to fly over New York. Very sad, but there
is no alternative. "We will fly over New York on the start of
our return journey on Tuesday night, weather and circumstances
"Landing 1.54 p.m., Greenwich mean time, or 9.54 a.m.
United States summer time, at Hazelhurst Field, Long Island.
" Total time entire voyage 108 hours 12 mins."
While General Maitland's log briefly indicates the progress of " R.34 " from time to time, it will be of interest to record
what in the meantime took place ashore, where great anxiety was naturally felt for the safety of the airship and as to whether
or not she would have sufficient petrol to reach Mineola. The Times correspondent at Mineola describes what was taking
place there during the last part of the journey and says :— " The ' R.34 ' landed at Mineola at 9.55 this morning under
her own power.
" The landing came as a relief after a night of anxious waiting. Yesterday evening there was real anxiety at Roosevelt
Field. Dispatches came in that the airship was cruising slowly south-west along the Canadian coast into head winds.
Dismal pictures flitted into the watchers' minds of possibilities of her running with none too much petrol to spare into thunderstorms brought on by the great heat under which this part of the Continent is sweltering. The vicious currents at the Bay of Fundy were anxiously canvassed. " The climax came when a message was received at 9.36
p.m. by one of the Navy wireless stations, saying ' Rush help, making for Boston, from Bay of Fundy at 23 knots. Come
quickly. Gasolene giving out. Send ship.' At 11 p.m. anxiety was relieved by another message by way of the Ottercliff
wireless station which, though it indicated a great short-, age of gasolene, showed that there was good hope of landing.
The message ran :—Following received from ' R.34 ' :— ' Position " R.34 " 67.30 W., 43.20 N. ; course S.W. by S.
by magnetic compass ; flying 1,500 ft. Come and meet us ; making for Boston. Rush; very short of gasolene.'
" U . S . Naval Help " Could a landing be made near Boston was then the question
uppermost in everybody's mind. Its answer was not reassuring, and the anxious vigil continued. It was, however,
assuaged somewhat by the knowledge that the American Navy was doing everything possible. As soon as the two
messages given above were received Admiral Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, sent out instructions.
" A message from the Ottercliff station filed at 11.30 p.m. read as follows :—'U.S. Bancroft trailing the " R . 3 4 . "'
Then came the news that another destroyer had seen the airship. ' U.S. Stevens at 11.3 p.m., Washington time, reports
position 45.50 N., 66,50 W.' Orders were sent from Washington to the Stevens to proceed at full speed toward the
dirigible's position, trying to establish radio communication.
Early this morning this message came from the Bancroft showing that the ' R.34 ' might be able to reach Chatham.
It read :—' To Commandant, First Naval District : position 41.52 N., 58.04 W., headed for Chatham at 23 or 24 knots.
" R.34 " thinks fuel will hold.' Later the Ottercliff Naval Station reported this intercepted message from the Bancroft
to ' R.34 ' :—' We see you are heading Jor Chatham, course 230 deg., speed 23 knots. Keep me informed your movement.'
Finallv at 2 a.m. came this message from the airship :—' Will land Montauk. Will report later.' The message was received
with great relief. The spot at Chatham on Cape Cod, near Boston, where Major Scott had thought of landing, though a
dirigible base, is not fitted for large ships, and it was cleared that it might be impossible to berth her there. Had Maj.
Scott put in there, he would have done so with the intention,
according to a message received from him, of fuelling, and proceeding to Mincola, possibly to-day.
A Dangerous Landing Place " The decision to go on to Montauk Point, on the eastern
end of Long Island, was due to messages from Mineola to
Major Scott pointing out the danger of Chatham and the comparative advantages of Montauk, where there are ample
supplies of hydrogen and fuel, a good landing place, and plenty of vessels about in case of an enforced descent into the sea.
I t was also accessible for the men who had been trained to handle ' R.34 ' on landing-—an important consideration.
Indeed, news that Chatham or Boston might be the landing place had caused something like a panic among those responsible
for the safe berthing of the ship, some of whom set out, on hearing the news, to rush as fast as possible to
Boston. " It was with the idea that the landing would be a t Montauk
whither a number of men were hurriedly despatched to manage the landing, that such of the anxious watchers as
slept last night went to bed. They were relieved, but not happy, for great uncertainty could not but surround a landing
at an unexpected place. It is clear that ' R.34 ' must have had a very bad time of it on the last lap. She had two days
and nights of dodging storms and fogs over one of the most inhospitable of seas. She was running short of hydrogen and
of fuel. Her long-distance wireless refused to work at the end. Nevertheless, as her messages show, she was determined
to stick it out to the end."Messages of Congratulation His Majesty sent the following message of congratulation
to Officer Commanding " R.34 " through General Sir F. H.Sykes :—
" I am commanded by His Majesty to transmit the following
message to you : " Heartiest congratulations to yourself and crew of ' R.34 ' on your splendid achievement, and best wishes for a safe return.Your flight marks the beginning of an era in which theEnglish-speaking peoples, already drawn together in war, will
be even more closely united in peace." The following messages of congratulation were also sent:—
From Mr. Winston Churchill.—" All congratulations to Major Scott and his gallant companions on their conquest of
the Atlantic. Henceforward East Fortune and Long Island are signal names in the history of flying. May the return be
as prosperous as the outward journey."From General Sykes, Controller-General of Civil Aviation.— " Heartiest congratulations on your successful voyage and sincere wishes for safe return. I sincerely hope the flight will
be the forerunner of Transatlantic commercial traffic by air." From the Air Council.—"The Air Council desire that their
appreciation be conveyed to Brig.-Gen. Maitland, Maj. Scott and officers and crew of " R.34 " of the manner in which they
successfully crossed the Atlantic and dealt with subsequent difficulties."
From the Air Staff.-—"Well done. We fully appreciate your difficulties since the crossing to Newfoundland was actually
completed. Further congratulations on establishing a world record for time in the air.—GROVES, Brig.-Gen., Deputy-Chief
Air Staff." From the Chief of the Air Staff.—" In the name of all ranks
of the R.A.F. I desire to express our appreciation of your feat. Airmen can realise your airmanship, navigation, and
endurance.-—TRENCHARD, Maj.-Gen., Chief of Air Staff.'' The R e t u r n J o u r n ey
At the time of writing no definite decision has, apparently, been made regarding the time of the start of the return
journey, which was at one time thought to be taking place during Tuesday last (July 8), but July 9 or 10 is
probably nearer the date. However, according to reports from Mineola the airship nearly came to grief during the early
morning of July 7, when, it is reported, owing to the expansion of the gas the airship became almost unmanageable, and at
times lifted the men of the landing party off their feet. Finally the strain grew so great that the mooring ring in the nose
of the airship broke, and the nose shot up into the air, the airship being now anchored by the aft gondola only. While
the airship was in this precarious position some members of the crew succeeded in climbing into the airship through the
aft gondola, making their way into the nose whence a rope was lowered and the landing party succeeded in bringing the
airship into a horizontal position once more. When the mooring ring tore away some slight damage was done to the nose
of " R.34 " but this is not thought to be serious, as the ballonets are not damaged. It will, however, take come little
time to make the necessary repairs, although naturally the commander of the airship is anxious to get away as soon as
possible, which will probably be during Wednesday. The Lessons Learned from the T r a n s a t l a n t i c Voyage of
" R 3 4 " In our Editorial comment we are referring to the lessons that are to be learned from this great trip of the " R.34,"
and the effect which it will have on the future development of commercial airship aviation. Suffice it to publish here some
of the deductions that have been made by members of the crew of " R.34 " and by others equally qualified to judge.
Maj. Pritchard, who by the way, arrived some little time ahead of his fellow travelers by the expedient of dropping in
a parachute in order to be on the spot to superintend the landing operations, expressed the following views to a correspondent
of The Times :— " Personally, all this sort of howl and congratulations seem to me out of place. This journey in itself is not so wonderful. The thing to praise is the past work which has made it possible." He confessed a moment later that he and his brother
officers were all so tremendously absorbed in technical questions during the journey and so keenly interested in their
solution, that they had no interest left for the purely human aspect of their adventures. He continued :—
" What I want to emphasize first is that airships are supreme for long-distance travel by air. Aeroplanes are for
quick, short flights, and there is no competition between the two, any more than there is between an Atlantic liner and a
cross-Channel boat. If you want a really reliable long-range air vessel it must be a rigid ship. In the flight we have just
completed the flight was tremendously longer than any ever attempted before by a heavier-than-air machine. It must be
remembered that we took only 59 hours to do the purely Atlantic part of the trip, though the whole flight here has
occupied 108 hours. Of our difficulties I will speak to you in a minute, but first I want to point out t h a t our return journey
will be infinitely easier. By air, for the purposes of airship travel, America, figuratively speaking, is a thousand miles
nearer England than England is to America. Winds are invariably against the traveller to America, and in his favour
going from America." A Reuter message says that shortly after the landing the
officers and crew of " R.34 " had luncheon with American Army and Navy officers, when Gen. Maitland predicted that
within a few years airships five times as big as the " R.34 " with a lifting capacity of 200 tons, would not only cross the
Atlantic regularly but would establish trade routes in the Mediterranean and in the Pacific.
Maj. Cooke, the navigating officer, said : " The weather situation in the Atlantic must be investigated thoroughly
before trans-oceanic travel by air between England and America can be made safe and practicable. With the limited
information we now have regarding the weather conditions, Transatlantic travel is highly dangerous. I consider it
almost a miracle that we completed the trip successfully after what we went through last night."
Lieut.-Com. Lansdowne, U.S.N., observer on board the" R.34," whose story of the trip is printed in the Daily
Telegraph, makes the following statement :— " I thoroughly believe that the future of the airship for
commercial aviation has been established. I make this assertion from my personal observation aboard the ' R.34,'
d I earnestly hope that America in this matter will keep pace with our progressive cousins across the sea. Such
co-ordination, I firmly believe, will augment, if that is possible, the close relationship that binds the two great English-speaking


Maj. G. H. Scott, R.A.F., commander of R 34.

THE R 34 now has the double journey across the Atlantic to her credit. She made a somewhat hurried start, as it was
reported that a storm was approaching from the Great Lakes; she arrived safely at Pulham, the airship station
in Norfolk, early on Sunday morning after a voyage which had taken 75 hours and three minutes.
The Air Ministry state that the airship was first sighted on the north side of Pulham at 5,56 G.M.T., her position
being about 15 miles away, and her course almost due east. Turning south towards the Airship Station she circled over
Pulham about 6.22, flying at 800 ft., landing safely at 6.56 G.M.T., exactly an hour after she was first sighted.
The landing at Pulham was thus described by The Times correspondent:— " The British airship R 34 landed at Pulham aerodrome, 14 miles from Norwich, this morning a few minutes after
8 o'clock. She had accomplished the flight from Long Island in 7; hours three minutes.
" We began to watch for the airship at 6 o'clock. Reports through the night indicated that that was the earliest moment
at which she could arrive. Towards 4.30 the R 34 had been reported over Derby, and it was nearly 7 o'clock when we saw
her at last coming out of the mist. " She might have been a cloud herself in shape and hue and seemingly slow movement. She was creeping out of the north-west, flying at r,5oo ft., and not until she was almost overhead could a sound be heard from her. At a quarter to 6 parties of men had brought out the guide ropes and placed them in readiness on the ground. As the airship began to
circle the aerodrome the crews were mustered and took up their positions on the ropes, forming a lane. The airship
dipped and headed for it, but rose again suddenly and swept overhead as if unwilling at last to come to earth.
" There was a rapid exchange of signals by flashlight between Maj. Scott and a signal party on the ground respecting
barometric pressure and then the R 34 swung round again, dived rapidly towards the ground, and flattened out. A
rope was flung out from her; a score of orders were shouted through a megaphone ; cable ends were joined ; and in five
minutes the landing party had the airship under control and were hauling her nearer and nearer to the ground.
" The sudden ejection of her water ballast and the emptying of her water storage tanks occurred at the moment when the
R.A.F. band, much depleted by week-end leave, struck up " See the Conquering Hero comes.' A moment later the
airship was being walked by the guide rope crews, still directed through Capt. R. A. Cochrane's megaphone, to her shed,
and Gen. Maitland leant from the forward gondola and handed me a letter addressed to the Editor of The Times, the first
to be delivered on English soil from an airship. Upon the envelope was written, ' By kindness of the officers of R 34.'
" Not for a second did the airship get out of control. Steadily and without a hitch she was moved across the wide
meadow, always entirely in hand. Then her bow was turned
and stern first she was brought into the shed and moored." Gen. Maitland, who was wearing the blue uniform of
the R.A.F., was the first to disembark. He was followed by Maj. Scott. They were met by Lieut.-Col. Boothby,
commanding the air station, and the officers and crew were taken to the camp for breakfast. Pulham aerodrome is vast
and flat. " The R 34 came home to-day on four of her five engines,
and finished the flight with 1,000 gallons of petrol to spare. Half-way across the Atlantic the engine in her stern gondola
went wholly out of commission, the connecting-rod breaking and going clean through the crank-case. Otherwise she shows
little sign of the severity of the test she has just undergone. The repairs to her envelope can be detected, but the damage
itself was trifling." The story of the progress across the Atlantic is thus told in Gen. Maitland's log, which was issued by the Air Ministryan hour after the airship landed :—
The Log of the R 34
It is a dark night, and a gusty wind is blowing from the
S.W., strength about 30 m.p.h. We steer straight for New
York, and stop, as promised, to fly over the city before heading
out into the Atlantic. It was an extremely good " get-away,"
considering the gusty wind and difficult conditions generally.
We find we have 4,600 gallons of petrol for the return journey.
New York at midnight looks wonderful from above. Miles
and miles of tiny bright twinkly lights—a veritable fairyland.
The searchlights at first make a very unsuccessful
search for us, but finally get us fair and square. We are
over Fifth Avenue. The Times Square and Broadway
present a remarkable sight. We distinctly see thousands
of upturned faces in spite of the early hour, 1 o'clock in the
morning, and the whole scene is lit by the gigantic electrical
signs which seem to concentrate about this point. One
in particular, the Overland Tower, illustrates the enormous importance
of aerial advertisement. From 2,000 ft. above
we see its wheel revolving and the mist rising in a cloud
behind it, presumably an illustration of its speed.
The air over New York feels very disturbed, partly owing
to the approaching cyclone from the Great Lakes, of which
we have already had warning, and partly also to the heat
rising upwards from the city itself. The airship, however,
rides out very steadily under the circumstances.
July 10, Thursday, 1.10 a.m.—We head for home with
3,000 miles of sea between us and our Scottish base. The
wind is now well behind, and our speed makes good ; it is
estimated at 65 knots, or nearly 74 m.p.h. Our weather
at time of starting is deoidedly favourable for a flight from
America to England. There is a depression west of Newfoundland,
and then a large one centred to the north of
Iceland ; also an anti-cyclone over the East Atlantic and
Great Britain. The inference from the above is that a strong
south-west or west wind will prevail over the greater part
of the Atlantic. We have got away on the outskirts of the
depression which is central west of Newloundland, and are
getting the full benefit of the 35-knot south-west wind on its
southerly side.
At this speed we are travelling considerably faster than
the depression, which is probably moving eastward at about
35 m.p.h., and it may well be that we shall run right out of
it by the time we reach mid-Atlantic. We then expect (it may be only a pious hope)
to get into touch with the still
bigger depression centred to the north of Iceland and benefit
by the south-west wind which we ought to find on its southerly
2.17 a.m.—We are crossing the American coast with four
out of our five engines running, the fifth engine resting.
Some hot coffee from the Thermos flask presented us by our
kind American friends is very nice and warming.
9.15 a.m.—We have already covered 430 miles irom New
York and are going strong. Our mails are now sorted and
this takes some time. We find we have quite a large collection
of parcels and letters of all descriptions, including some for
H.M. the King, the Foreign Office, Admiralty, Postmaster-
General, and a large number of copies of the Public Ledger
for the Editor of The Times. This journey, we hope, will
prove the fastest newspaper delivery between New York
and London yet accomplished, and will be the forerunner
of regular interchanges of mails between East and West—
the Old World and the New.
10.45 a.m. G.M.T.—We are now making good 72 knots, or
83 m.p.h., on four engines. The forward engine stopped.
If all goes well Maj. Scott will go straight for London, and we
will see how long it takes us to cross the Atlantic from Broadway,
New York, to Piccadilly Circus, London—from the
heart of one capital to the heart of the other.
10.45 a.m.—Cooke asleep under the dining-room table.
(Note.—This may take our thoughts back to the days of our
ancestors, but the cause of this slip and the position selected
are from quite a different reason.)
12 noon.—Lunch : Cold Bologna sausage and pickles and
stewed pineapple, and a ration of rum. This latter was much
appreciated as the weather had turned much colder. The
conversation turned on the subject of obtaining secondary
meteorological information in the Atlantic. Scott, Greenland,
Luck and Harris all agree that one good method of
getting information at small cost would be to equip all cable
repair ships with a meteorological observer and a suitable
outfit of kites and instruments. These cable repair ships
work in all parts of the world, and are often at sea for days
at a time. Moreover, the cable routes are ready in every case
on the shortest and most direct route between the countries
they link up.
1.5 p.m.—We have averaged 56.3 knots ever since leaving
Broadway. Weather fine, visibility 15.20 miles. Wind
40 knots S.S.W., sea very rough. It is difficult from above
to measure the height of the waves, but it is easy to see that
in a very heavy sea like this one surface ships would be having
an extremely bad time. Up here we are as steady as a rock,
and unless one looks out of the windows one would hardly
realise we were travelling at all.
Lieut.-Col. Hemsley, U.S. Army Aviation Department,
is steering, and is taking opposite watch with Pritchard,
while Luck has relieved Greenland in the fore car, Corpl.
Burgess being on the elevators. We are in very good wireless
communication with Sable Island, and many messages
wishing us success are received from America and Canada.
We send our grateful thanks to the U.S. naval and military
authorities for their very efficient and kind assistance in looking
after the airship at Mineola during four days of difficult and
unpleasant weather conditions.
4.50 p.m.—Position 42.15 N., 54.05 W. ; course 140 deg.
steered, n o deg. made good, 86 deg. true, 48 knots. We
have covered 900 miles from New York, 16 hours, and are
1,850 miles from south coast of Ireland, exactly one-third
of the distance between the two countries.
Our petrol consumption works out at about one gallon
an hour. Weather clear, sea deep blue, very good visibility,
35-40 miles according to the dip and distance horizon tables
at this height (1,500 ft.), should be 45 miles. Cooke determined
his position by observation on the sun and sea horizon.
It is interesting to note that there were only two occasions
when he was able to do this on the outward journey owing
to clouds and fog.
6.15 p.m.—A five-masted schooner under full sail on
starboard beam about five miles away was an interesting
contrast between the old and the new, the sailing ship and
the airship. We are now over the main east-bound summer
route of steamers from New York to Queenstown. The
s.s. Adriatic, due New York on 13th, should be somewhere
near us, and we are on the look-out for her on the wireless.
Getting much colder.
8 p.m.—Position 42.40 N., 50.30 W., making good 55
knots. Harris gives most interesting explanation of the
clouds formationed to the N. and S. of us, and compares
the clouds as we see them with the illustrations in a different
cloud text-book we have with us. It is now time for supper, soft-boiled eggs and cocoa, and we all discussed at great
length our impressions of American men and American
women. I wish our newly-made American friends could
have heard the delightful things that were said about them.
Pritchard goes to sleep under the dining-room table, while
the second watch come in for their supper. This position
under the dining-room table seems to be the most sought-after
point of vantage in the ship.
July 11, Friday, 3.20 a.m.—Position 45.03 N., 42.57 W.,
estimated by observations on stars and sea horizon. Visibility
4.20 a.m.—The foremost of the two engines in aft car breaks
down on connecting-rod fractures owing to bolts shearing,
with the result that the crank-case gets badly notched and the
engine is consequently quite beyond repair. Course, making
good 115 deg. or 87 deg. true. At 26 knots with forward
and two wing engines. Weather clear, sea moderate.
6.4c a.m.—Altered course to N. 30 deg. E., came down to
600 ft. to get under clouds, which are now appearing and
threaten to block out all view of the sea completely. We
now find by accurate measurements that below the clouds
is a northerly wind and above them, at 3,000 ft., the wind
is from south-west. The reason for this is an interesting one.
We are over the Gulf Stream on a north-easterly course.
The air over this Gulf Stream is warmer than the air over
the sea immediately to the north of it. This warm air rises
and its place is naturally taken by the cold air from the north,
resulting in a 12-knot conversional wind from the north
extending from the surface of the sea up to a height of about
2,000 ft. Having made this discover}', we accordingly
keep at 3,000 ft., when we have a steady wind from southwest.
8 a.m.—Cloud formations in so far as they indicate weather
are like an open book, profusely illustrated, with a plot that
changes all the time. On our port beam away to the northwest
we see the depression centred over Newfoundland
written plainly in the skv in fantastic and streaky cirrus
ventosus, a certain and sure indication of what is going on
over there some hundreds of miles away.
9.15 a.m.—Clocks have now been put forward one hour.
10.30 a.m.—Scott and Harris are agreed that the wind is
stronger in our favour the higher we go* up, but in spite of
that Scott decides to keep on a 3,000 ft. level to avoid necessity
of losing gas from expansion, which to-day is precious. Tomorrow
he can afford to go much higher, and the airship
will be so much lighter on account of having burned another
24 hours' petrol.
12 noon.—Weather report from Air Ministry tells us of
an anti-cyclone off south-west of Ireland, and so we change
course more to the north with a view to getting round into the
westerly wind which we know must be blowing on the northerly
side of it.
12.30 p.m.—Lunch. Mealtimes are always most welcome,
and give the more responsible members of the crew a muchneeded
interval. Our new gramophone is a vitally better
instrument than the one we endured on the outward voyage,
and as I was descending the ladder down into the fore car
after lunch I just caught a glimpse of Luck and Harris doing
quite a nice one-step together.
1.30 p.m.—Air Ministry sent a message to say that they
had made provision to land us in Ireland if necessary, and
that destroyers with steam up were available at Berehaven
if required. We replied—propose to land at East Fortune.
One engine completely broken down.
3.30 p.m.—Still at 3,000 ft. in and out of the clouds at
intervals. We have not seen the sea since 8.30 this morning,
1,600 revs, three engines, our speed 32 knots. Another
weather report from London to say that the depression
north of Iceland has moved easterly, and that as a result the
wind is from south-west over north of Ireland and whole
of Scotland. This strengthens Scott in his decision to give
up going to London and go to East Fortune instead. It
is sad not to take in London on our return, but with one
engine lost and weather in South of England not very favourable
the decision is a wise one.
4.30 p.m.—Scott brings ship down to try to see water
and get an indication of our speed, but at 900 ft. it is still
very thick, so he abandons the attempt. In coming down
from 3,800 ft. to 900 ft. we pass through no fewer than five
distinct and separate cloud strata. In these thick clouds
(we have been in them now since 3.30 this morning) we have
no means of telling our speed, as they extend right down to
the water. We assume from general weather observations
that the wind is with us, the worst condition we think fair
to assume being no wind at all. There certainly ought not to
be a head wind against us. There is no alternative but to
keep pegging away through the clouds until other weather
conditions appear.
4.45 p.m.—We appear above the clouds for a lew blissful
moments and see a beautiful cloud panorama. Range
upon range of alternate white and slate-coloured mountains
with wide deep valleys and an occasional glimpse of bright
blue sky immediately above. The glare is almost blinding,
and we can only look at the sun for a moment or two at a time.
5 p.m.—We are back again in the clouds with no visibility.
Picked up H.M.S. Cumberland on our Marconi spark set.
She gave her position and when plotted on the chart Cooke
thinks her to be almost due north of us, and from the strength
of her signal she should be within 30 miles. Durrant tried
to get her with our directional wireless, but without success.
7.5 p.m.—Passing through wet rain clouds. It has been
raining very heavily since 5 o'clock. Scott goes up to 5,000 ft.
to get out of it, but with no success, and reduces height to
3,000 ft. again. Very cold and dark. All windows and doors
are shut.
7.35 p.m.—We ask H.M.S. Cumberland for a weather report.
She replies giving her position and reporting wind at N.N .W.,
18 m.p.h., overcast, passing showers, and clouds above 1,000 It.
8 p.m.—Supper, and a very good one too. We are well
equipped with little luxuries on this Teturn voyage, having
learnt a thing or two on the outward journey, about what
is necessarv and what is not.
8.30 p.m.—Still pouring with rain. Height 4,000 ft.
The wind whistles round the forward car. Very dark and
no visibility. Scott reduces height to 3,000 it., and an
extraordinary sight suddenly presents itself beneath us.
Thousands and thousands of little round clouds like tiny
white puff balls packed closely together, with the blue sea
just visible in between them, iorm a layer of cloud between
us and the sea. This cloud formation is called " ball cumulus."
8.45 p.m.—Dropped a calcium flare, which floated away
burning brightly straight astern and enabling Cooke to get
our direction and a good idea of the speed at which we were
8.50 p.m.—Again thick clouds and heavy rain. Clifden
Wireless Station sounds very loud on the wireless, which
shows we are getting nearer home, and Durrant has just
succeeded in getting East Fortune, 1,100 miles away. He
could just faintly hear them say the words " Saturday
9.15 p.m.—S.S. Dominion speaks us and gives her position
and barometric readings. She reports us as being quite near
her, though, of course, she cannot see us or even hear our
engines owing to rain clouds.
12 midnight.—Still pouring with rain. Dropped flare ;
drift estimated as 10 deg. to southward. As we lay in our
hammocks we listened to the rain beating pitilessly down
on the outer cover of our trusty ship of the air, and our feelings,
despite the weather, are those of complete confidence and
July 12, Saturday, 12.45 am-—Weather clearing. Sea
visible at 2,500 ft.
3 a.m.—Magnificent sunrise. The sun appeared above
the clouds in a blaze of color, much impressing those of the
crew who happened to be on duty at the time.
6 a.m.—-Position 52.20 N., 22.35 W., 760 miles from East
Fortune. Running on three engines, aft engine having broken
valves. Springs changed. Air speed 32 knots. It is
interesting to note that Cooke has not been able to get a
single observation for plotting his position for the last 24
hours, and it is quite fair to assume that yesterday's weather
with S.W. wind is quite an average day in mid-Atlantic.
Clouds beneath us look just like a gigantic soft, springy,
R 34 IN AMERICA : A striking view from beneath of
the airship at Roosevelt Field. Note the gas cylinders
for re-filling.
fleecy, white feather bed, and they fill one with a strange
irresistible feeling of wishing to jump down into them, probably
a similar sort of feeling which some people feel when
they are climbing a steep mountain face.
8 a.m.^-H.M.S. Tiger gives her position and reports wind
N.W.—N. 15-20 m.p.h., sky overcast with low stratus,
visibility five miles. Breakfast this morning is quite a
festive meal, as we reckoned it should be our last breakfast
on board, and we are not quite so economical with our issues
as usual. Message received -from Mr. G. Constantinesco,
the brilliant Roumanian inventor of Sonic transmission,
welcoming us back to England.
10.55 a.m.—Height 5,000 ft. We are now over a big
gap in the clouds about 26 miles across, and will soon be in the
clouds again. Clear blue sky and sea. No sign of a ship.
Making good 35 knots, which should enable us to make East
Fortune at daybreak to-morrow.
11.25 a.m.—Durrant succeeds in getting a wireless out on
Clifden with directional finding apparatus. Weather has
turned very cold.
12 noon.—Lunch. We are all rather anxious to get to our
journey's end. Perhaps it is the strain that is beginning
to tell, and it is now rather disappointing to find that a N.E.
wind is preventing us from making more than 28 knots.
We shall be breakfasting in the air again to-morrow, after all.
12.30 p.m.—The clouds have all cleared away, but only
temporarily, I feel certain. Height 5,000 ft., perfectly
clear blue sky and deep blue sea. Visibility is at its maximum,
and at this height, according to our text-books, we can see
81 miles. This means that we can see 162 miles from right
forward to right aft, arid the area we can see over works
out at 19,200 square miles, and not a ship to be seen. My
ambition to see a steamer at close quarters in this gigantic
Atlantic will, I am afraid, never be realized.
3.50 p.m.—Clouds rolling up again. Some very fine
examples of cumulus major are to be seen. One particularly
interesting cloud formation on our port beam takes the eye.
It is a huge vertical column of cloud joining a lower stratus
of cloud to a higher stratus, and is about 500 ft. high. It is
carried by an upturned vertical current.
5.30 p.m.—Great excitement. Two trawlers are sighted
on our starboard beam. They look very tiny. We try
to speak the near one with an Aldis lamp, but as she has no
wireless we cannot get reply. We are now down to 3,000 ft.,
and the difference in temperature between this height and
5,000 ft. is most marked, 8 deg. F. Making slightly better
headway at this height, 32 knots. Wind N.N.W., 25 deg.
drift. Cooke considers that an accuracy of more than 20
miles in estimating a position in mid-Atlantic cannot be
guaranteed in an airship even in clear weather. Directional
wireless, however, should, when perfected, make this much
more accurate.
6.50 p.m.—We ran into a sudden squall from north-west.
Low black clouds and a rough confused sea all in a space
of a few minutes. Ship very steady. 1,600 revolutions
on four engines.
6.57 p.m.—Passed out of squall. Got Clifden on directional
wireless. 96 deg. mag. 76 true. We are not very far from
the coast of Ireland.
7.15 p.m.—Another squall, but not a big one.
Land in Sight
7.25 p.m.—Land in sight on our starboard bow. Great
enthusiasm on board. First spotted by Lieut.-Col. Hemsley,
U.S. Army Aviation Department, 7-10 miles away. Scott
alters course to make the land. Cooke gets the large chart
of the west coast of Ireland, and there is keen competition
to see who will fix on the exact spot when we cross the coast.
Two little islands lie right ahead of us. With our glasses
we see the wireless mast of Clifden. These two islands are
almost certainly the same two little islands that appeared
out of the fog to the delighted gaze of Alcock and Brown
at the conclusion of their historical flight. A strange and
happy coincidence.
8 p;m.—At 8 o'clock precisely we crossed the coast line
a little to the north of Clifden, Co. Mayo, and our time from
crossing the American coast at Long Island to crossing the
Irish coast is exactly 61 hours 33 minutes.
8.15 p.m.—We head right in over the mountains, which
at this spot are 2,900 ft. high. What a wild and rugged coast
line ! A magnificent cloud panorama now appears. Huge
white cumulus clouds of weird and fantastic shape surround
us on all sides, and over the top peep out the tops of the
mountains, while through the gaps we see lakes, harbors,
islands, and green fields, quite the prettiest picture we have
seen on the entire voyage. It seems as if the elements have
reserved their best cloud shapes to welcome us as we cross
over British soil.
of Castlebar flying past us and under us, waving a welcome.
We are now well away from the mountains over the flat
country inland, heading right across to Belfast and finally East
Fortune. Height 2,000 ft., making good 38 knots. Bright
full moon.
The Airship's Company
Crew of the R 34 on return journey:—Officers:—Maj.
G. H. Scott, A.F.C., Capt. G. S. Greenland, 1st officer,
Sec. Lieut. H. F. Luck, 2nd officer, and Lieut. J. D. Shotter,
engineer officer (Ship's Officers) ; also Brig.-Gen. E. F.
Maitland, C.M.G., D.S.O., representing Air Ministry ; Maj.
J. E. M. Pritchard, O.B.E., Admiralty ; Lieut.-Col. W. H
Hemsley, United States Aviation Army Department; Maj.
G. G. H. Cooke, D.S.C., navigating officer; Lieut. Guy
Harris, meteorological officer ; Sec. Lieut.* R. D. Durrant,
wireless officer; W. Mayes, coxswain; H. J. Robinson
Flight-Sergt., coxswain; H. M. Watson, Sergt. ; R. T. Burgess,
Corpl. ; F. Smith, Corpl.; J. Forteath, leading aircraftsman,
F. Borowdie, air-mech. 1st Grade (last five riggers).
Engineers :—W. R. Gent, Flight-Sergt. ; R. Ripley
Flight-Sergt.; N. A. Scull, Flight-Sergt. ; J. Shirwell, Sergt.
B. Evenden, Sergt. ; P. Cross, Corpl. ; G. Gray, Corpl.
G. Graham, 1st Air-Mech. ; F. Mort, 1st Air-Mech.; J.
Northeast, 1st Air-Mech. ; R. Parker, 1st Air-Mech. ; E. E.
Turner, Flight-Sergt; W. Angers, Flight-Sergt. ; H. Powell,
wireless Corpl.
The Last Stage
As things have turned out (though one could have foreseen
this) it would have been wiser if we had kept a more northerly
course after getting away from the helpful influence of the
Newfoundland depression. We would then have been helped
by this N.N.W. wind instead of being hindered by it and
might have saved some time. Undoubtedly the captains
of the big aerial liners of the future will become wily and
cunning masters of the art of selecting the right way and the
right height and often by making wide detours will by means
of their air knowledge alone save many hours on long sea and
land passages.
11.20 p.m.—Message from Air Ministry to say we are to
land at Pulham. We ask if we may land at East Fortune
as that is our original objective and the weather is reported
good for landing. The reply is to land at Pulham, so we
assume there is some special reason and we alter our course
Sunday, July 13,7 a.m.—Scott increases height to 5,000 ft.,
and course is steered over Isle of Man, and Liverpool 2.45 a.m.,
Derby 3.55 a.m., and Nottingham 4.15 a.m., direct to
5 a.m.—A wireless message is received from His Majesty
the King :—" I congratulate you all on your safe return
after completion of your memorable and, indeed, unique
Transatlantic voyage.—Signed, G.R." Wireless messages
of congratulations were also received from Maj .-Gen. Seely,
Under-Secretary of State for Air; Maj .-Gen. Sir H.M.
Trenchard, Chief of Air Staff; Maj.-Gen. Sir F. H. Sykes.
Controller-General of Civil Aviation ; and Sir A. Robinson.
Secretary of the Air Council.
6.20 a.m.—Over Pulham Airship Station, and 6.57 landed.
Total time of return journey from Long Island to Pulham,
Norfolk, 75 hours, 3 minutes, or three days, three hours, three
General Maitland's Story
IN an interview with Mr. H. C. Bailey. 01 the Daily Telegraph, Gen. Maitland gave some further impressions :—
" One of the objects of the flight," he said, " was to demonstrate what airships could do in long-distance flying oversea
with an ultimate view to their commercial use. Airships will undoubtedly be employed for commercial purposes or
very long journeys over sea and land. They will not conflict with the aeroplane and seaplane. There is no question of
competition. Airships will make long voyages, and from their terminal aero planes and seaplanes will radiate on short,
quick journeys. A second object of the voyage was to cement the friendship between this country and the United States.
The ' R.34 ' was very comfortable. There was no feeling of sea-sickness on board. On the return trip we had a wind of
45 miles an hour and a high sea. A surface ship would have been all over the place. The airship's motion was perfectly
smooth. " We came to Pulham not because we should have had any
difficulty in making East Fortune, but because we were ordered here by the Air Ministry. The landing in America
gave an illustration of the uses of the parachute in air work. When the ' R.34 ' was over the landing-ground on Long Island,
Maj. Pritchard went down by parachute from a height of 1,500 ft. to assist in directing the landing party, and his
services were very useful. This illustrates the employment of the parachute in air work in addition to its value in life
saving. The parachute, I am convinced, will be used in all air craft, but will be of particular value to the airship.
" The worst moment of the voyage ? I think our worst moment was on the outward run, when we met the electric
storm in the Bay of Fundy. Confident ? Oh, yes, we were all confident that we should complete the round trip. The
only question was whether the petrol would last out. It is certainly true that after a long flight landing is difficult,
because an airship with its petrol expended is very light. We have begun experiments in mooring ships in the open.
You can see the first experiment here, ' R.24 ' " (this is an earlier and smaller craft) " is lying moored to a mast, and she
has been out since Thursday. In the future I hope that an airship will come in under her own power right over her
mooring-mast, drop a cable, which will be connected by one or two men to a cable in the mast, and will then be hauled
down by a winch till her bows meet the tip of the mast. Such a mast for a big airship would be some 200 ft. high. It would
be a structure of some considerable diameter, a tower, let us destination the engine in the stern car broke down beyond
repair. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Thus, as we carry five engines, the ship lost one-fifth of her power. In the
conditions of the voyage it made no practical difference. I seldom have all the engines working, and, in fact, only use the
whole five when running against a strong wind. Before making Ireland we were for six hours at over 5,000 ft. We
reached the coast just by Clifden wireless station, in fact, at just the same point as Alcock. We approached Pulham by
way of Derby, Nottingham, and King's Lynn. The signal which you saw the ship making as she approached the station
was to ask for the barometrical reading on the ground in order that I might judge how to make the descent. The water
which was discharged from the bows as we came down was let out to render the descent more gradual. We started out from
America with 4,900 gallons of petrol. We landed at Pulham with 1,000 gallons still on board, so that the run was made on
3,900. On landing we received a message from the King. I think that there is no room for doubt that the large airship
is the type of aircraft for deep sea work. Before very long I hope that we shall have airships of a size and speed which will
enable them to sustain a rate of 70-80 miles an hour. The cross-Atlantic route, I think, will vary with the weather.

R 34 entering the hangar at Pulham on Sunday, July 13, after her successful return journey from America.
say, and the airship's passengers would disembark by coming down inside it in a lift.
" Our damages ? Oh, the damage on the landing in America was very slight, and easily repaired. In the engine
which failed coming home, the connecting-rod broke, and the engine was completely wrecked."

Maj. Scott's Impressions
Maj. Scott, the Commander of the " R.34," also gave some impressions to Mr. Bailey :— " I t was an uneventful voyage," said Maj. Scott. " I estimated that it would take between 70 and 80 hours. In fact, it took 75 hours 3 min. The outward voyage lasted
108 hours. On leaving Long Island we proceeded to New York, and were over the city between midnight and 1 a.m.
We circled over Broadway at a height of 2,000 ft., but we could not hear the crowds cheering on account of the noise of
our own engines. Owing to the storm behind us, and the strong following wind which it caused, the first 500 miles were
made at a very high speed. Our best rate \vas 72 knots— some 80 miles an hour. After leaving Newfoundland, which
we passed on a course 150 miles to the south, the following wind failed, and we had a certain amount of head wind,
which yielded to light and various breezes. We met much low cloud and fog, and could take no sight of any sort for 24 hours.
Directional wireless enabled us to keep our course without difficulty. When we were still some 1,200 miles away from our
There can hardly be for aircraft, as for surface ships, more orless fixed courses."

R 34's Engineer Officer
Probably no one on the airship would deny that the hardest work of all fell to the lot of Lieut. John Irwin Denham Shotter,
engineer officer of the R 34. He was responsible for the care of the five Sunbeams, and, in fact, for everything of an
engineering nature on the airship. He, like everyone else on board, depended upon Maj. Scott, but everyone in turn
depended equally on him, for the upkeep and skilful management of the motors were vital to the success of the voyage,
and as all the world knows by now, his post demanded the most constant attention.
His task was made all the harder, and his heroism was all the greater, for the reason, known to all his comrades, that
on the eve of the start his wife was taken seriously ill with heart trouble. Under such circumstances he might well
have been forgiven if he had asked to be relieved of his duty, but his heart was in the work for which he had trained so
long, and no one else knew the ship and her engines as he did,so he went through with it, despite the keenest personal anxiety
for the safety of his wife. Under such mental strain his devotion
to duty deserves the highest praise. Lieut. Shotter, who was born on November 7, 1890, at
Freshwater, Isle of Wight, was by a curious coincidence born in a house which was the property of Gen. Sir J. B.
Seely, with whom his father had served in the South African War, and had also manned the same lifeboat on numerous
occasions. This fact aroused much interest at the House of Commons luncheon at which Gen. Sir J. B. Seely presided
on Monday. Our Allies will be glad to know that his mother is French.
He served his apprenticeship to locomotive engineering at Messrs. Manning and Wardle's, at Leeds, but soon turned
his attention to internal combustion engines, and at the outbreak of War was chief aero engine tester at the Wolseley
works at Birmingham. He joined the Royal Naval Air Service as a petty officer on his birthday in 1914, having set
himself out to see how far he could progress on his merits. His career was one of steady rise, and he gained valuable
experience on every type of airship. His enthusiasm suffered in no way in spite of the fact that his first trip ended in
disaster and a period in hospital. For his bravery on that occasion he was specially mentioned in dispatches and promoted
to rigids. He has achieved a reputation of the highest class for his handling of aeromotors on rigid airships, and has spent
in all over 2,000 hours flying. The official logs of the several great and historic journeys of the R 34 give some idea of his
capabilities under circumstances of extreme difficulty, where the economical use of his fuel and the hourly nursing of each
motor meant all the difference between success and disaster. As illustrative of his coolness, one of his brother officers relates
how Shotter was roughly disturbed in the midst of a brief spell of sleep by a mechanic who exclaimed, " My engine's
all on fire ! " Shotter, exhausted by his labours, calmly replied, " Well, go and put it out ! "
He received the most gratifying compliments from prominent officers in the American Air Service, among them
Commander Reade of the N.C. 4, and was embarrassed by the fame he had earned. No engineer officer in any Air
Service ever had so gruelling a test before, and few would have emerged with such honor.

The following message of congratulation from the King was dispatched by wireless, and was received by R 34 while
on her way from Nottingham to Pulham :— " I heartily congratulate you all on your safe return home
after the completion of your memorable and, indeed, unique Transatlantic air voyage.—GEORGE, R. and I."
The Air Minister has communicated the following congratulatory message received from the Prime Minister to
Gen. Maitland, Maj. Scott, and the crew of H.M.A. R 34 :— " Heartiest congratulations on fine feat of airmanship.—
Lloyd George." From Mr. Churchill, Secretary of State for Air, to Gen. Maitland
and officer commanding R 34 :—" My sincere congratulations to all concerned on the complete accomplishment of
your journey and your successful work as pioneers." From Maj.-Gen. Seely, Under-Secretary of State for Air :—
" I send my best congratulations to you and to the crew of R 34 on your magnificent achievement of being the first to
cross and re-cross the Atlantic by air. We are all very
proud of you." From the Secretary, Air Council:—" Heartiest congratulations
on making the return journey so successfully. The Air Council fully realise the endurance and fortitude entailed
in the accomplishment of this epoch-making event.— W. A. ROBINSON, Secretary, Air Council."
From the Controller-General, Civil Aviation :—" Hearty congratulations from myself and Department of Civil Aviation
on your successful journey and safe return. It is a really splendid augury for the future of commercial aviation.—
SYKES." From the Chief of the Air Staff :—" On behalf of the whole Air Force, I send you heartiest congratulations on your
magnificent achievement in making the double journey across the Atlantic.—TRENCHARD, Chief of Air Staff."
In a further personal telegram to Gen. Maitland and Maj. Scott, Gen. Trenchard said :—" Please accept my heartiest
congratulations on your successful accomplishment of the return journey. The flight you have just completed is, I
consider, one of the main stepping-stones in long-distance aviation."

On her outward journey the R 34 carried a message from Mr. Long, the First Lord of the Admiralty, to Mr. Daniels,
the United States Secretary for the Navy. She brought back a reply in which Mr. Daniels says,: " Our country is
filled with pleasure at the successful arrival of the R 34. The Navy of America salutes the British Admiralty. It
is our privilege to live in the days of fulfillment of many
visions and dreams. I congratulate your great Empire on its spirit of daring and skill which is evident in this epoch making
flight."The Governor-General of Canada received the following message from King George by the R 34 :—
" I take this opportunity of sending by the first British
airship to cross the Atlantic a message of good wishes to the people of Canada from the Old Country."
The following telegrams have been received by the Under- Secretary of State ior Air, Gen. the Rt. Hon. J. B. Seely,
in reply to messages sent by him on the R 34, which were dropped by Gen. Maitland when passing over Canadian
territory and over Newfoundland. The Canadian Premier, Sir Robert Borden, telegraphs :—" Best thanks for your
greetings. Warmest congratulations on splendid success of R 34. I earnestly join you in your aspiration that this
successful endeavour may tend to bring closer together all the great English-speaking nations."
The Premier of Newfoundland replies :—" Thanks for your message dropped by dirigible last Friday. It was blown
away from parachute and only recovered yestereve. On behalf of colleagues and country please accept warmest
congratulations from Newfoundland on success of dirigible flight which forms yet another aviation triumph for the
Briton." Among the 40 lb. of mail brought back were the two gold medals awarded by the Aero Club of America to Capt. Sir
John Alcock and Lieut. Sir W. Brown. Sergts. Turner and Anders replaced the wireless operator
Edwards and the stowaway Ballantyne in the crew of the R 34 on the return flight.
Gen. Maitland, Maj. Scott, and Lieut. Shotter arrived in London on Monday morning, and were met at Liverpool
Street Station by representatives of the Air Ministry. Mrs. Winston Churchill was there with Lady Drogheda, and the
War Minister was represented by Col. Scott. Gen. Swinton represented Gen. Sykes (Controller-General of Civil Aviation),
Col. Chamier represented Gen. Trenchard (Chief of Air Staff), and amongst others on the platform were Gen. Masterman
(chief representative of the Airship Service), Comdr. Perrin (secretary of the Royal Aero Club), Comdr. Ramsey (of the
United States Navy), and a number of R.A.F. officers who were connected with the arrangements for the flight. The
three officers were entertained at luncheon in the House of Commons by Gen. Seely, Gen. Trenchard, and Gen. Sykes.
Included in the cargo landed by the R 34 on Sunday morning was a film showing the airship's arrival in America
and scenes at Mineola up to the time of her departure. The pictures were taken by Messrs. Pathe's operator, and were
brought home in the airship by permission of the Air Council, enabling events which took place over 3,000 miles away to
be depicted on the screen in England within four days. Some remarkable wireless signals were exchanged during
the voyage of the R 34. The Royal Air Force station at Dundee exchanged signals at 1,000 miles. The R 34 sent
messages at 1,100 miles that were read by the Air Ministry
and by Wormwood Scrubbs at 1,13s miles, and by Ballybunion at 1,600. In one case, when the R 34 was approaching
America, a signal was sent to her from the Air Ministry through Clifden, and a reply received via St. John's, Glace
Bay, Clifden, and Marconi House, and then to the Air Ministry,
all in 20 minutes.

JULY 17, 1919
and the New York Times. The London correspondent of the latter states that a copy of the New York Times of July 9
was received by the King at Buckingham Palace on Sunday soon after 1 p.m., while a copy of the Public Ledger was
delivered at the Palace at 2.30 p.m. THE damage to the envelope of the R.34 is just in front of
the forward gondola, and was caused in an accident to t he mooring eyes that are fixed there. It was satisfactorily
repaired for the voyage, but ho doubt the damage will now be
permanently repaired. Dunbar will confer the freedom of the burgh on Maj. Scott,
commander of the R 34. THE Air Ministry have allowed visitors tfl inspect the airship
each day between 2 and 8 p.m., and large numbers of people have taken advantage of this opportunity.
LEADING AIRCRAFTSMAN GEORGE GRAHAM received an offer in America of $1,000 (£200) for " Wopsie," his tabby kitten,
which sailed on " R.34." Graham, however, refused to part with it.
The R 34 brought over a batch of United States papers, among them being parcels of the Philadelphia Public Ledger
THE " establishment " of the R.34 included two carrier pigeons, but one escaped in America.