Imagini ale paginilor

try. And this will be so beneficial to many of its passengers. The air will their health that their efficiency as provide a luxurious form of travel workers will be materially increased; such as the voyager of today has never while the cost of aerial travel, in their known, and can scarcely imagine. daily journeys will be outweighed by There will be no vibration or noise the fact that their rent and living from the machinery, and no sensation expenses will be reduced, and that whatever of an earth. contact. The they will be able to cultivate produce only sound to reach a : passenger's in their own gardens. It will become ears, as the machine sweeps through feasible, in the air age, to populate the air in a smooth, apparently effortevenly the whole of a country, instead less progress,' will be the faint hum of masses of people being congested- of the wind as it rushes past the hull. as they are now, through the slowness When they are on long journeys, airof transit--within areas of only a few craft will' fly high, often above the miles,

clouds; and there will be no sign then City men who are private owners of of the earth below, and nothing to tell aircraft will be able to live a hundred the eye that the machine is driving miles' or more away from town, and its way through the air at high speed. still attend their offices each day. Even in a 100-mile-an-hour airFlying up in the morning to one of craft, immediately 'one reaches the the aerodromes which will be situated normal cross-country altitude of about on the outskirts of London, they will 5,000 feet, the sensations of movehouse their machines there, and then ment or of speed, in relation to the travel on into the heart of the city by earth below, become almost imperone of the high-speed tubes (probably ceptible. The passengers, seated in on the mono-rail system), which will luxuriously-appointed saloons, will be act as "feeders" for the aerodromes, in just as much comfort, so far as any and will run to and fro constantly with sense of movement is concerned, as passengers and goods. In the evening, though they were in their drawingthe last of his letters signed, the busi- room at home. People complain often ness man will take tube to the aero- of train-tiredness after a long journey drome, : ascending again in his air- by rail. This is due to the oscillation, craft, änds reaching his home, some- noise, and the constant flashing past where in the heart of the country, in of objects which are close to the time for dinner:

carriage windows. But there will be The world has, at various times, been no such fatigue after an air journey, promised an ideal form of travel - however long, for the reason that there such as the train, the motor-car, and will be none of the discomforts which the luxurious modern liner. But the are encountered on land: train oscillates; its wheels grind and There are people still who think roar;; it clangs through tunnels and that, because a flying machine passes over bridges;' it lurches when róunding through the air, unsupported by any curves. With the motor-car, even on earth contact, there will always be an the best of roads, there is always the element of risk in aerial travel. But sensation of earth contact and of in the future, when passenger-carrying vibration-to say nothing of the dust machines have been perfected, 'to and inconvenience of the traffic on travel by air will not only be as safe main thoroughfares; while the ocean- as to travel by land or sea, but will going liner, pitching and rolling in a be in certain respects even safer. bad sea, causes scute discomfort to There will, for instance, be less danger

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

from collision. Craft traveling in machine is traveling, the more control different directions-north, south, east, its pilot has over it; while there is or west—will be required by the rules not the same risk in the air, as there of the air to fly at various altitudes. is on land, of a vehicle oscillating And these lanes of traffic, in which all when at a very high speed, and the machines will be traveling in the threatening to overturn or leave its same direction, will be so arranged track. The faster an aircraft flies the that they are not immediately one steadier is its motion. The momenabove another, but are some little tum of its flight enables it to drive distance apart; and this will mean through. adverse wind-gusts without that should a machine have to glide these' having any effect upon it; down from a high altitude, through whereas a slow machine would pitch some temporary breakdown of its and roll. And there is not the risk machinery, there would be little risk

with an

aircraft, as with a land of its penetrating 'as it descended- vehicle, of a wheel or axle breaking with a consequent risk of collision- under the strains of a high speed, and any of the streams of traffic which thereby causing an accident: might be moving at lower altitudes and In flying, of course, as in any other in different directions. Foggy weather, new form of transport, the purely which presents such dangers for land experimental stage has been marred or sea traffic, would only provide a by accidents. Machines have collapsed risk in aerial travel (one writes, of in flight, or have been driven to earth course in a general sense) when ma- and wrecked by wind-gusts; motors chines are ascending or alighting. At have failed, and caused disaster; pilots higher altitudes, as a rule, it should have been guilty of errors of judgment be possible for them to escape the fog which have cost them their lives. banks. And at the landing grounds, But during all this time, experience when there are fogs, science may find and useful data have been accumulatit possible to dissipate these, at any ing. In learning to fly men have been rate over limited areas; or by some breaking completely new groundsystem of powerful lights, or by signals learning to navigate an entirely new from . captive balloons which ascend element. But in the future we shall above the fog banks, it should be. be bred and born to the air. We shall possible to regulate the flow of traffic take to it just as naturally as, today, in and out of the aerodromes. An we travel by land or sea. With the aircraft pilot under such conditions, aircraft of the future, which will be when approaching an aerodrome at a metal-built, the risk of structural high altitude, well above the fog, breakage will be reduced practically would watch for the signals sent up to a vanishing point. And the infrom the ground, which would inform herent stability of these large machines, him whether all was clear for his and the speeds at which they will fly, descent, in the same way that a ship will enable them to weather 'safely is signaled, telling it whether it is even the heaviest of gales; while the safe to enter a harbor.

multi-engine plants with which they The attaining of high speeds by air will be fitted, enabling any one unit implies a greater safety rather than a to be cut temporarily from the series, greater risk-provided, of course, that and repaired while the machine cona machine is so built that it will with- tinues in flight under the power of stand the air pressures it encounters. its other motors, will eliminate for all The higher the speed at which a practical purposes any need to descend


owing to a mechanical breakdown. and they are certainly not legionAssuming, however, that a machine will find their services almost beyond should descend involuntarily, there will price. Such men will need to have the be chains of landing-grounds on all whole world, and not any one country the main flying routes, and these will or continent, as the field for their opbe so close together that a machine erations; and, when they travel frewhich is flying at a sufficient altitude quently to all parts of the globe, any will be able to reach one or other of saving of time in their journeys will be them, in a glide, from any point at of extreme importance. which its machinery may fail. Craft Here lies the future of aerial transit. which are on ocean journeys, being It will supply a means of communicabuilt so that they can alight on the tion so rapid that the world will be water, will follow certain given routes, able, after the war, to go ahead in the and will be in constant touch with full stride of its reconstructive energy; each other by wireless. Should a though this period of reconstruction machine be obliged to descend on the will, of course, occupy a number of water through a total breakdown of its years. Instead of being restricted to machinery, it will be able to call to its the old, slow methods of travel, the assistance, if necessary, and in a very nations in their expansion will find this short time, any such craft as may be new and high-speed medium open to nearest to it on the flying route.

them—a medium in which rates of But such a total breakdown will be travel will be obtainable without risk no more probable with a perfected air- which would be impossible by land or craft than it would be with an ocean

Five days are required, at norgoing liner. On the liner, should one mal times, to traverse the sea route of her turbines run hot, this only re- between England and America. A duces her speed temporarily, while the business man who has interests in the turbine is stopped and allowed to cool. two countries, and needs to travel The others continue to do their work frequently between them, must set and to propel the ship. With a liner, aside ten days at least of his valuable in fact, having many engines and time in which to be transported across boilers, and several propeller shafts, the ocean and back again. In the the risk of a total breakdown is prac- future, however, by way of the air, he tically eliminated. And in aircraft of will be able to travel from New York the future, which will be fitted with to London and back again, within a multi-engines, driving a number of period of forty-eight hours. propellers, this risk will be equally The influence of high-speed air remote.

transit, facilitating business between

various countries, will be beneficial to IV.

an extent which is almost incalculable. In the air age we shall be able to After the war we shall be establishing take the map of Europe, and also of closer relations with Russia. But the the world, and reduce journeys of traveler by land and sea, coming from weeks to days, and those of days to Petrograd to London, has to face a hours; and what this will mean to long and wearisome journey, crossing business men, who will be extending a number of frontiers and being subtheir interests farther and farther jected to many delays. In the days of afield, one need scarcely emphasize. the Continental air service, however, In the years following the war men a Russian business man, embarking at who have great organizing ability, Petrograd in the morning on one of

owing to the fact that a certain amount of time will have to be lost in gaining altitude before a maximum speed can be attained, and again in slowing down before alighting.


the aircraft which will run non-stop on such routes as these, will find himself in London the same evening, having made a smooth and easy journey, with no need to leave the saloon into which he stepped in his own city. In connection with such long, non-stop fights, in which passenger aircraft, while en route, will pass above frontiers without alighting, it may be necessary for the authorities of the various powers to have representatives at the points of departure, so that the flights of these express craft may be supervised, and the customs, passport, and other formalities complied with before the machines ascend.

The stream of traffic which passes at normal times between London and Paris, and will attain after the war an even greater volume, will be influenced to a remarkable extent by the establishment of a Continental air service. One need not dwell upon the discomforts and delay, during the winter months, which business men have had to suffer whose misfortune it has been to make this journey frequently by steamer and train. About seven hours are needed for the journey under favorable conditions. But, when there is a Channel gale or fog, apart from the unpleasantness of the sea crossing, travelers have to reconcile themselves to many hours of delay. The Channel tunnel, if it is built, will obviate the discomforts of the sea passage,

and also the delay of changing from train to steamer and from steamer to train. But no journey by land, even with the advantages of the tunnel, will offer such facilities in rapid transit as will be possible by air. A high-speed aircraft, flying in an absolutely straight line between the two cities, should be able to make the journey in slightly more than two hours! Aircraft will, of course, show to the greatest advantage in the matter of time-saving when on long rather than on short journeys,

LIVING AGE, Vol. VII, No. 346.

Instead of being a series of widelyscattered communities, knowing little of each other, and prone in consequence to suspicions and mistrust, humanity will find itself drawn closer and closer together through the speed of aerial transit. In the process of time the individual man will cease to regard himself as the citizen of any one nation, and will recognize that he is a unit in a world-wide organization, laboring not for the furtherance of purely selfish aims, or even of local or national ambitions, but for the betterment of conditions throughout the globe. That, at any rate, is the ideal. It will be some time, naturally, before it is realized, if it is ever realized. But this much is certain: it would never be possible to realize it at all were it not for the promise which is offered by the coming of the air age. After the war, therefore, every nation, as well as every individual, should work wholeheartedly for the development of flight. Though the aircraft now figures in our minds principally as an instrument of destruction, its rôle in the future will be that of a great instrument of construction-an instrument by means of which we may establish such a world-wide friendship, such a mutual understanding, that the ruthless ambitions of a few men will never again be able to throw millions of their fellow-citizens at each other's throats. This is the hope, at all events, of those who view the coming of the air age, not as a further menace to the world, but as a change which will tend always to strengthen the peaceful inclinations of mankind.

In the air age we shall need to break

down that barrier which has been

VI. raised between the people of various It may be that there will be another nations owing to the use of different great world war, and that this will be languages. Some form of Esperanto, fought and won, not on the land or adopted universally, will become a ne- sea, but in the air. And it may be, cessity, and will indeed be a natural also, that the terrors of such a war, outcome of the advent of rapid aerial with its devastation, not of countries travel. And when this stage has been but of whole continents, may teach reached, the aerial traveler who sets mankind a lesson so grim that a policy out on a world tour will find himself as of armaments will be finally discarded. much at home in foreign capitals as Whether this will be so or not, the he would be in his own. It will be immediate task of Great Britain must difficult, when this period has been be to develop flying, not only in its reached, for those who wish to keep naval and military aspects, but also nations apart to spread successfully commercially. We must prepare ourtheir mischievous tales of misunder- selves to resist successfully, at any standing and unrest. When the men time and under any circumstances, an of different nations are meeting each attack which may be made against us other constantly, and are able to ex- by air. The aircraft of the future, change thoughts freely in a universal used in large numbers by an enemy tongue, the mischief-maker should who is ruthless, will have an enorfind that his occupation has become mously destructive power. After one both unenviable and untenable.

or two staggering blows, in which its But the view one takes should not, of chief cities are destroyed, and its means course, be too optimistic. We shall of communication paralyzed, a counhave no justification, after this war, try may find itself so helpless that for throwing down our armaments, or there will be nothing for it to do but sue for declaring that the days of un- for peace. Our watchword, therefore, broken peace have already dawned. must be to safeguard ourselves in the Sooner or later, largely through the air as we have done on the sea; to humanizing influence of aerial transit, make ourselves at home in this new men's minds will become so eniight- element; to create a great aircraft inened that the idea of war will be intol- dustry; to encourage our airmen-alerable. But the question is, how long ready the finest in the world—to emuwill it be before that stage is reached? late the achievements of our greatest Will the world have to endure an- seamen; to gain, in fact, in the air, other war, or wars, before a universal a power sufficiently great to enable understanding, and a universal lan- us to resist successfully the attacks of guage, renders such gigantic tragedies any enemy, or combination of enemies. impossible?

Claude Grahame-White. The Contemporary Review.

Harry Harper.



CHAPTER VI. From a mother's life peace is banished. Joy is there, but it walks beset by terrors that ambush behind every

event. There is the season of epidemics, the season of green fruit, the season of dangerous pastimes, the season of autumn disorders.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »