lj A L i n L and BOOK SECTION
PART VII TEft PAGES
Breaking of Parachute Record, Like Similar Feats, Not for Spectacular Effect Only
By Jack Binns
How High Can Man Fly Above the Areas NovTConquered? Airman's Leap From24,000Feet Brings Up the Question Again
Machines of the Future May Make Commercial Use of Trade Winds
mate altitude for birds.
above the earth this sea of THEN Lieutenant Arthnr air has a temperature of 60 degrees «jr-^r G. Hamilton zero. leaped into above six milesWe know. too, that the temperature by » space one day last week jsome strange law of nature rises five miles above Cham- slightly, but how high this paradoxichange we have still paign, Ift-i anc* staked his life upon cal lcarn. Itcontinues surmised that has been of a frail and to the rr°Per fnnctioning above the blanket of the earth's atflimsy piece of silk merely to estab- mosphere space stands constant at lish a world's record for parachute the absolute zero. deseer.t, he raised again within the In addition to this we also know that as we go higher the density of public mind two vital questions: "What is the advantage of high this sea of air becomes less and less, thus adding to the difficulties that flying?" "How high can man really fly?" must be overcome before man can Each time an effort is made by explore its unknown regions. *ft is the very attenuation of the gome intrepid airman to rise a few hundred feet higher than any one atmosphere at high altitudes that else has ever been, these questions .offers the greatest difficulty to meare always asked.but how often are chanical flight, for two important reasons. In the first place, the they snswered? proThere is a scientific answer to jpeller of the airplane has less grip which is quite important, but it on the air, and the thin air prevents them is in the practical solution that the proper carburetion in the engine, history of the future lies, and to the ;with the consequent loss of power. nation which successfully solves Projected them will be given the supremacy of Two interesting experiments are the air. At the present time the answers being conducted by all the leading lie in the realm of speculation, but nations of the world in an effort to accumulated data would indicate overcome these defects. One is in that 50,000 feet is about the ultimate .the development of the variable pitch altitude at which man will ever fly. propeller and the other is a turbine This sounds rash, indeed, when we pump that has been designated a consider that the mightiest eifort of "turbo-booster," or supercharger. As an airpiane mounts in the air man has so far carried him to only "2,000 feet, and even then he has the propellers get less and less dens¬ only been able to rernain there but ity in which to cperate, and conseiquently the pull of the propeller is t few moments. decreased. It is to overcome this The l pper Trade Winds that the variable pitch propeller is But, one may well ask, what are being experimented with. The new the advantages to be obtained from device consists of two screw blades flying at 50,000 feet, when it is so set at the proper relationship to each difficult and hazardous to reach that other io a boss (or hub) that contains a nuniber of gears. These altitude? In the first place, careful and gears are controlled from the' pilot's elaborate observations carried out seat in the cockpit As the airplane climbs higher and over a number of years with the aid of smali bal'oons and box kites have higher the pilot increases the angle established beyond dotibt the exist- at which the propeller blades attack cnce of terrific trade winds which the air, by moving his lever. This biow with steady and persistent increases the pitch, and makes up force at an average velocity of two |for the loss occasioned by the thin hundred miles an hour in the stra- air. This propeller has not yet tum of atmosphere between 40,000 reached practical proportions, but and 50,000 feet above sea level. has operated extremely well in exTheir effect is felt at a lower level. iperimental flights so far. These mighty winds surge forward The other device to aid in reachin a general west to east movemer.t^ :ing high altitudes is the so-called with a slight northerly tendency. turbo-booster. To understand this Now the advantage of flying at 50,- apparatus it is necessary to point 000 feet means that an airplane out that the explosive mixture and by would be assisted by the very vio- [governed airthe gasoline vapor is by adjustment of the ience of those trade winds, and its carburetor. As the air speed would be increased by approx- sea level than at high is denser at altitudes, it imately 150 miles an hour, above its follows that after a machine has own normal speed. reached a certain altitude the carbuAs an illustration: Suppose an retor is no airplane with a natural speed of air to form longer obtaining enough the explosive mixture. 200 miies an hour is flying from San Francisco to New York and is capaAid to Schroeder bie of reachir.^: 50,000 feet and fly¬ The turbo-booster is a turbine ing there. With the aid of the pump that revolves at terrific speed. trade wind it would cover the 2,700 It is miles across the continent in about from operated by the exhaust gases the engine itself, and owing to eight hours! its excessive speed it compresses the Although it has never been actu¬ thin and feeds it carbu¬ ally established, there is every rea- retor air practically the to the density at same »on to believe that at some high as sea level. Such an instrument altitude a counter moving trade wasatused by Major R. W. Schroeder wind of equal velocity exists that at Dayton, Ohio, on February 27, would be of paramount value to 1920, when he westbound aerial traffic in like cir- altitude recordestablished the world's under the most dracumstances. The only way to dis- matie circumstances. This record, cover this theoretical wind is by since officially verified and corrected means of altitude test flights. by the Bureau of Standards, is placed at 33,000 feet. of Safety The second advantage of altitude This record of Major Schroeder's, attempts, was fiying is one of safety. The aver¬ like all other altitude extreme hardage airplane has a gliding angle of accomplished under e'ght to one. Consequently a ma¬ ship. The most noteworthy attempt chine flying at an altitude of 40,000 ever made was that of James *eet (approximately seven miles) Glaisher, the celebrated English would be able to glide fifty-six miles aeronaut, and Henry Tracey Coxbefore landing. Therefore in the well, his companion, on September 5, event of engine trouble while flying 1862. On that. date Glaisher ascendat that elevation the pilot would ed from Wolverhampton, England, have below him a clear sweep of in a free bailoon, and rose so rapidly was quickly rendered wrntory covered by a circle one that Coxwellfrom lack of air. The hundred and seventy miles in cir- unconscious cumference wherein to choose a suit- record goveming this bailoon ascent abie landmg field. In other words, is not very accurate, owing to the altitude is to the aviator in trouble hardships experienced by Glaisher, ttactly what sea. room is to the who retained just sufficient consciousness to pull the rip-cord of the mariner in a storm. Such are the general advantages bailoon before he succumbed to the °f high aititudes in flying. The dif- combined effect of bitter cold and bcuIties that must be overcome in lack of oxygen. It is believed, how¬ ^¦huut such aititudes will have a ever, that the bailoon reached an Mofound and lasting miiuence upor; altitude of 35,000 feet. .uture aircraft construction. How difficult it is to fly at high Although man has only succeed- altitudes is clearly demonstrated by ed m just penetrating the belt of nature. The largest bird in existatmosphere between six and ten ence at the present time is the South tt'les above the surface of the earth American condor, which has a wing he kite experiments have taught a spread of about nine feet. This bird ° about the conditions that exist nests in the Andes at altitudes of lftere- We know that the sea of 16,000 feet, and on one occasion was lr wk'ch moves in long, observed by Humboldt to be fiying *ayea at such tremendous sweeping over Chimborazo at an altitude of speed is Ntterly cold. We knpw that six 23,000 feet, That is about the uha-
feet Its proper
atmosphere. portion of Major Schroeder's account that has not been printed before will best iliustrate the use of altitude flying and the difficulties that are encountered in reaching the edge of the carth's atmosphere. Foilowing his record-breaking flight, when he became unconscious at 33,000 feet, and fell like a plummet for 30,000 feet before he regained consciousness and control of his machine, he said: "I am not actually engaged in alti¬ tude flying for the sake of breaking records. As a matter of fact, as test pilot at McCook Field, it is my duty to fly high and explore the altitudes for scientific data regarding the trade winds that scientists have long
At 18,000 Fortunately for him. the rent experiences extreme diffi- in his parachute was near the vent culty in breathing, owing to the at the top and did not seriously afof the
functioning. Rapidly and dizzily he fell, while the pain from his wounded arm numbed him through. For 15,000 feet he fell in a semi-stupor. Then the denser air reacted upon him and brought him back
At 2,000 feet he debated in his mind the advisability of reltasing the second parachute which was
on his back, but by carefully measuring the rate of his descent with objects on the ground he
operating successfully. He finally landed safely.
In the meantime, however, Madar. having troubles of his own. He was 20.000 feet above the earth in
found that the torn parachute
He had looked around as Bottreii was caught in the propeller blasi and had observed his comrade of Winds blown "I succeeded in locating one series chine. through the tail of his maHe had seen the tail tom of trade winds at a height of 30,000 bodily off and then fall away from feet. These winds blow always the machine. For a few minutes he from west to east at that height, circied around watching his comrade They attain great rates of speed, dangling at the end of the parachute ranging from 100 to 300 miles an until he was hour. At the peak of my climb, operating all convinced that it was right. where I hung with slight upward Pilot's Predieament progress for fifteen minutes, I found the winds blowing toward the east Then he turned his mind to his. at the rate of 230 miles an hour. I own problem. He was in a predica* had started thirty miles west of ment that needed quick and accurate Dayton. My machine had a speed of thinking. Suddenly he made up his 120 miles an hour, and as I steered mind to a plan of action. He could westward I was literally traveling not turn the machine to the right or the left, because he had no rudder backward twenty miles an hour. "The temperature at the peak of He decided, therefore, to use his the climb was 60 degrees below zero ailerons for the descent. These are Fahrenheit. The. center section of the little wing flaps on the edges of my machine was coated an inch thick the wings that tilt the wings over with ice. The exhaust from the when a turn is being made at full motor sprayed fumes of carbon speed. Throwing his machine over into a monoxide gas over me, and it was this I was breathing continnally, gentle bank with the aid of his along with the oxygen out of my ailerons he began a series of wide oxygen tank. I had set out with sweeping circles, tilting the nose slightly downward in such manner three hours' supply of oxygen. "I have not been able to figure that his descent was very gradual. just exactly what the roof of the In this manner after about two world really is. I think it possible hours maneuvering he finally sucto go much higher, and possibly ceeded in bringing his machine safehigher than 48,000 feet, which scien- ly to earth on a field a few miles tists believe is the ultimate ceiling away from his own landing ground These are two of the outstanding of the world. (Ceiling is an expressive term used in aeronautics to experiences in altitude flying and designate the highest altitude any they illustrate the difficulties connected with it. They show some of particular airplane can reach.) the "During my visit to the altitude comethings that have to be overbefore man can accommodate of 33,000 feet I could see the earth himself to flying high. Together plainly. In fact, I could look on with Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West the other test flights they show necessity of complete protection Virginia.all from the same spot. Dayton down there, six miles below, from the bitter cold and the rarity looked exactly the size of a news¬ of the atmosphere. In addition t<*. the variable pitch paper. I knew it was Dayton, because I could recognize the race- propeller and the turbo-booster, air track. I was fifty miles from Cin- craft engineers have already turned their attention to other needs ir; cinnati, which I could see plainly. aircraft design for Parkersburg, W. Va., was about 200 The conviction has altitude flying. steadily grown miles on the other side. Richmond, Va., was just directly back of me, that such machines must be desome fifty miles west. I looked for signed with an airtight cabin as pro the Great Lakes, but could not make tection for the pilot and passengers This cabin will be fitted with suitthem out." able triplex glass windows, and the A Parachute Mi?hap persons inside will breathe oxygen Perhaps the most thrilling and ifrom special tanks. The oxygen hair-raising experience in altitude will in all probability be carried in flying was experienced by two $?rmy iiquid form and released gradually sergeants at Dayton on June 29 last The cabin will protect them from year. On that date Sergeant Ralph the deadly poisonous carbon monBottreil was taken up in a Le Pere oxide fumes emitted by the engine fighter, the same type of machine exhaust.
believed existed miles above the earth.
establish a world's record for para¬ chute descent. The machine wras piloted by Sergeant Strong B. Madan. Bottreil was in the rear cockpit with two regulation parachutes strapped to his shoulders. It had been arranged that Madan would signal him when he thought they had reached sufficient height to make the record. The Le Pere climbed steadily for an hour, and at 20,000 feet Madan gave the
by Major Schroeder,
In addition to this, there is a steadily growing conviction that the internal combustion engine is no* fitted for aircraft work, and Bcientists are looking around for some other form of engine that will b«> more reliable; and will not need air as part of its fuel. From the military point of view. high altitude flying is of parnmoun; importance. A recent official builetin issued by the I'mted States Army air service had this to say: "Future wars, sheuid there be sigoial. Bottreil climbed up out of his any, will be fought in the "air to b cockpit and stood momentarily on great extent. Anti-aircraft gun.« the top of the fuselage, fumbling will have reached a greater degree with the release strap of his para- of efficiency and development thar. chute. In some way or other he in the World War. did not have a proper balance, and "The military value of the super the air blast from the propeller .charger (turbo-booster) will be,very caught him and literally blew him great. It will considerably lncrease away. As ne fell his body struck the speed of airplanes at high alt;the tail of the machine and broke tudes, and enable them to travei off the rudder, which fell to the much more rapidly as far as comearth. The blow ripped Bottreii's Iparative ground speed is concerned. flying suit at his shoulder, severely "For the commercial aeronaut;lacerated his arm, and fractured cal world the use of the superchargone of the bones; it also tore a er will be advantageous in ecaJsling hole in his parachute. the heavy paasenger airpian*. *» In this condition he was thrust over the highest mountains or into space 20,000 feet above lh* jclimb thunderstorms with the use of
icomparatively iow-powered engines.