Flight, May 15, 1919.
THE TRANSATLANTIC CONTEST
IN our issue of April 10 we published scale drawings of the Sopwith and Short Transatlantic machines. At the time no further drawings were available, and other machines have been entered since then. This week we are able, through the courtesy of the various constructors who have given us facilities for obtaining particulars of their machines, to place before our readers scale drawings of three other entrants and a photograph of a fourth, as well as scale drawings of one of the American flying-boats which will attempt the crossing hors de concours.
The Alliance-Napier "Seabird"
THE latest entry for the Transatlantic race is the biplane "Seabird," built and entered by the Alliance Aeroplane Co., of Acton and Hammersmith. This machine, which was designed by Mr. J. A. Peters, who will pilot the "Seabird," is a single-engine tractor with 450 h.p. Napier aero engine.
As the accompanying photograph well shows, both pilot and navigator are enclosed in the cabin, which affords room to move about and to lie down for a brief rest. A double wireless set will be carried, one for sending and receiving messages, the other "directional" for navigation purposes. The machine is stated to have a range of about 3,000 miles. As already pointed out, the pilot will be Mr. J. A. Peters, the designer of the machine, while the navigation will be in the hands of Capt. W. R. Curtis, who will also act as assistant pilot. The main particulars of the "Seabird" are as follow :-
Span, 53 ft.
Length, 33 ft. 6 ins.
Area, 700 sq. ft.
Total weight, 7,400 lbs.
Petrol, 500 gals.
Oil, 50 gals.
Range, 3,000 miles.
Max. speed, 140 m.p.h.
Landing speed. 45 m.p.h.
Engine, 450 h.p. Napier.
Flight, August 21, 1919.
THE "SEABIRD'S" LONDON-MADRID NON-STOP FLIGHT.
THE pilot's report of the recent non-stop record flight from London to Madrid made by the Alliance biplane shows that the flight was remarkable in many ways. This machine, which was fitted with a 450 h.p. Napier "Lion" engine, was originally designed for the Transatlantic flight. The pilot and navigator, Lieut. W. R. Curtis, R.A.F., was lent by the Air Ministry to the Alliance Co. for the purpose of making this flight. He had with him Mr. J. A. Peters, the designer, as assistant pilot.
The following notes are taken from the pilot's report :-
"We left Acton Aerodrome at 7.30 a.m., steering a course for Havre. A heavy ground mist made visibility poor, and at times completely obscured the ground from view.
"7.55 a.m. passed over Brighton at 10,000 ft., where visibility improved, until half-way across the Channel, when thick clouds again obscured the water from view.
"8.50 a.m. passed over Havre, which we just sighted through a break in the clouds. Course was altered here for San Sebastian, and we gradually decreased our height to 6,000 ft., flying just below the clouds, which were very broken.
"At 11.10 we passed over Rochelle; just after leaving this place we ran into very bad weather, the clouds being very thick and ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 ft. in depth. After having a very bad time in thick clouds we eventually found ourselves at 2,000 ft., flying just below them in most terrific bumps, which almost made the machine uncontrollable. After experiencing this for some time, we decided to go out to sea and get clear of the land.
"Here we found much better conditions, the sky being almost clear.
"We climbed to 13,000 ft., and passed over San Sebastian at 1.10 p.m.
"Course was altered for Madrid, and the land again became obscured from view owing to very heavy clouds.
"Nothing was seen of the Pyrenees, and the first land sighted at 2.20 p.m. when the clouds began to break up, Madrid being sighted at 3.10 p.m. and we landed at Cuetro Vientos Aerodrome at 3.28 p.m., having completed the journey in 7 3/4 hrs."
Flight, November 6, 1919.
THE FLIGHT TO AUSTRALIA
In addition to the Sopwith "Wallaby" three other machines are now all but ready for the attempt, and are mainly waiting for an improvement in the weather before making a start. These are: A Martinsyde, an Alliance, and a Vickers-Vimy. As all the machines must start from Hounslow it would appear that the arrival of better weather will mean the start of all three machines more or less together, and an exciting race may therefore be looked to.
The Alliance Machine
The machine entered by the Alliance Aeroplane Co., Ltd., is, generally speaking, similar to the "Seabird" which flew from London to Madrid. It is a tractor biplane with totally enclosed fuselage. The pilot occupies the rear of the cabin, control being by means of hand wheel and foot bar. Windows in the side allow of looking out laterally and to a certain extent at an angle forward. A triangular opening in the side, level with the pilot's head permits him; if desired, to put his head outside, when he can see fairly well in a forward direction. The engine fitted in this machine is a Napier Lion of 450 h.p. As will be seen from the accompanying photograph, the engine is totally covered in, only the exhaust pipes projecting, and the forward corner of the outer banks of cylinders. The fuel tanks, which have a capacity of about 500 gallons of petrol, are mounted inside the body, in front of the cabin. The machine has a maximum speed of about 135 m.p.h.
Lieut. Roger Douglas, who will pilot the machine, was born in Queensland, and enlisted in the A.I.F. at the outbreak of War. He was at the landing on Gallipoli with the Australian Machine Gun Battalion; from there he went to Egypt, and ultimately arrived in France with the first contingent of the A.I.F. He was Sergt. in those days, and for bravery in the face of the enemy at Pozieres in 1916, was awarded the D.C.M., afterwards receiving his Commission on the Field. He gained a further decoration, viz., the M.C, at Polygon Wood in September, 1917. Having thoroughly proved himself on land, Lieut. Douglas sought fresh fields to conquer and joined the Australian Flying Corps. After doing good work in France, he was selected as instructor of a Scout section of S.E. 5's; he underwent a course of navigation at Andover, so besides being an experienced pilot he is also a capable navigator.
Lieut. Ross, who will be the navigator of the machine, has also had considerable flying experience. He joined up early in the War as a Wireless operator, and received his commission and pilot's wings in October, 1916. He served continuously with the A.F.C. in France until September, 1918, when he was wounded in aerial combat whilst in charge of a squadron of S.E. 5's. He has also had considerable training in navigation, and both men have been working together since the Armistice.
Lieut. Douglas first conceived the idea of flying home in 1916, and immediately the Armistice was declared, he set out to obtain a machine capable of long distance flying. He has now had some weeks' experience in flying an Alliance aeroplane fitted with a 450 h.p. Napier aero engine, and is confident that he could not have secured a better machine for this flight. It is particularly steady in the air, has ample reserve of power, and the engine, with many remarkable performances to its credit, is firmly expected to do all that is asked of it. Every point has been considered in the preparations for this flight, even to such small items as painting the wings and struts green, so that they will be restful to the eyes on a long trip. It is intended to carry sufficient food to last five days.