The Aeroplane, No. 14, Vol. 5, October 2nd 1913

O c to b e r 2, 19 13 . She Aeroplane. 367 CONT ENTS. On M ano euvres ....................................................... ...367 M im ic W ar ............................................................... ... 376 N aval and M il it a r y A ero nau tics .................. 380 F o r eig n N otes ....................................................... ... 381 PAGE C aptain B e r tr a m D ic k so n ................................ 383 U p sid e-D o w n F l y in g .................. ......................... 3S4 T h e In te rn a tio n a l M atch ..... 1 ......................... 3S5 T h e G ordon B ennett M eet in g ....................... 3S7 E d ito ria l and A d v e rtisin g O ffic e — 166, P icca d illy . T e l e p h o n e — 6407 M a y f a ir . T e l e g r a m s — A i l e r o n , L o n d o n . On Manoeuvres. Those people connected with aviation who had the good sense to go and see the aeroplanes on manoeuvres and who had the good fortune to get in close touch with the work that was going on ought to have come away considerably wiser, and anyhow they spent their time more profitably than those who elected to go and watch a French acrobat set a bad example to siily and vain young British pilots. In these notes 1 do not propose to deal with the work of the aero­ planes as it affected the operations—that has been done in various paj>ers by better qualified people; what I hope to do is to show the relation of the work to the aeroplanes and how it may affect their development. Before 1 go any further I wish to place on record my appre­ ciation of the kindness, courtesy, and hospitality of the officers of Squadrons 3, 4, and 5 of the Royal Flying Corps, and of the Naval officers attached to No. 5. Courtesy, to a reasonable extent, one expects from any’ British officer, though a certain brevity in replying to questions from stray scribblers may well be excused to one who is worried and Busy, but I certainly had no right to expect the excellent treatment 1 re­ ceived during three days spent in the manoeuvres area, most of the time busily occupied in asking W hy? When? What? and How? Those questions alone would have justified my expulsion from camp, and certainly were no reason for my being entreated to live on the fat of the land at the expense, of the R .F.C . all the time I was in the district. I am glad to have this opportunity of publicly returning thanks not only for creature comforts generously offered, but for very many courtesies, and for one of the most informing and genuinely amusing periods in my experience. To apply to the R .F .C . a phrase of Mr. Kipling’s, “ I swear they’re no end good men." No. 3 Squadron, with the ‘ ‘ Brown” Army, I saw early in the week, when they were living in the lap of luxury at Hadding­ ton Hill, entertained by the Rothschild family, and—barring harvest bugs—existing amid ideal surroundings in a species of open-air Hotel Cecil. In front of them was a landscape that looked just as if it had been copied from a picture by the late Mr. Constable, a beautiful scene, only marred by the camp of the 1st Infantry Brigade—Guards, Highlanders, and Irish. This brigade was also being entertained by the Roths­ childs, who had fitted out their camp with electric lights till at night it shone like a railway junction, and had erected a mess-tent for the men in which 2,500 of them fed at a time. I missed that interesting ceremony, but 1 am told that the din thereof reverberated for miles through the Chiltern Hills. However, by way of compensation No. 3 had to rough it in moving camps for the next few days, while Nos. 4 and 5 lived in peace and comfort at Lilbourne. Also, by way of evening things up, the landing ground at Lilbourne though small was very flat and good, while at Haddington Hill it was a series of rolling hills, so that if a machine over-ran the top of the slope up which it was landing it rushed down the otjher side with the uncontrollable purposefulness of the c adarene swine, which, in the absence of a suitable miracle to Ci»«t out the devil of gravity, suggests the fitting of land- bralces. Of No. 3 ’s work during the rest of manoeuvres I know little, for the “ White” Army, barring the R .F .C . and cavalry, was such a very attenuated skeleton that even on foot one had to walk quite long distances from one soldier in order to discover the next, and they could not possibly be seen from the air. 1 am inclined to think that when an “ Army Exer­ cise” takes the place of “ Manoeuvres,” a purely imaginary enemy is just as useful and far less trouble and expense than a skeleton which is hardly even a ghost. The only things, except the op]>osition aeroplane camp, which No. 3 <ould go and locate were the “ White” dirigibles Delta and Eta, and chasing them with fast aeroplanes like those of No. 3 Squadron was about as exciting as pig-sticking with a neighbour’s pet performing porker as the quarry. At Lilbourne Camp. The “ White” air scouts, however, had a very different job, for opposed to them was about two-thirds of the Expeditionary Force, with most of the battalions within 25 per cent, of war strength, consequently the permanent camp at Lilbourne was a very busy place. W ’hen I arrived there I found seventeen or eighteen machines of Squadrons 4 and 5, all Maurice Farmans and B .E.s, approximately in equal numbers, and six naval machines, two S .38 type Shorts, the famous No. 3 Short, a Sopwith, a Caudron, and a tandem Bldriot. There had been also a 100-h.p. Breguet belonging to No. 4 Squadron, but that retired from active life early in the proceedings and was seen 110 more after a contretemps somewhere to the south­ ward. Curiously enough, all the Naval machines had 80-h.p. Gnomes, although the Navy arc not prejudiced in favour of the Gnome, and all the Army machines had 70-h.p. Renaults —and the R .F .C . is very far from being in love with the Renault. In common fairness it must be said that most of the engines worked quite well considering the enormous amount of flying that was done, and though there were always some of them under repair, none of the machines was laid up for long with engine trouble, for if an engine proved obstinate it was promptly replaced by another. None of them pushed their connecting rods through their crank-cases while I was there, and most of the trouble came from defective magnetos, re­ fractory valves, insulation leaks, and perished petrol pipes. Why someone does not produce a reliable flexible petrol pipe passeth human understanding. Presumably there is such a thing in the world, but obviously rubber tubing is a wicked thing on whch to hang a man’s safety, and wrapping it with insulating tape is not much improvement when once it is perished. Years ago I had some excellent flexible petrol pipe which was made by the Bowden Company, but apparently it is not now on the market, as ordinary copper pipe does well enough for road motors. It would be worth while to revive it. During the defence of “ Whiteland” on Tuesday, Wednes­ day, and Thursday the machines went out from Lilbourne, and after making a 'reconnaissance landed to report, and to take in fresh supplies, at a landing-field at Everdon, only re­ turning to Lilbourne in the evening, or for repairs. On Monday and Tuesday there was much wind and rain, and 011 Wednesday it was blowing a gale and very hot, so that heat mnous were added to the pilots’ tribulations. Nevertheless every available machine was out every day. Real Flying. On Wednesday the wind was at its worst and the Maurice Farmans could make no headway at all. One pilot managed to cover two miles in half an hour and after coming back in about a minute only managed to get into the ground by coming down steeply with the engine running “ all out.” Two
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