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Learning from History
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SPINS WERE A ONE TIME THING IN 1914; ...Buying the Farm; ...How we got patterns A and B; ...Holding Patterns(IFR);...Why We Squawk; Absolute Altitude; ... WHY PILOTS WALK FUNNY; ...Shirt tails; ...Society of Automotive Engineers; ...Johnson Bar; Trim Tab Inventor...Pitot tube inventor; ...Famous Firsts; ...Names and What; ... Wifferdil; ...Hundred Octane Aviation Fuel; ...Autopilot called George; ...Windsock; Buchannan Field; Associated Airport; Teaching 30-years Ago; ...What's new; 521 Maintenance; The Development of Aviation; ...Radio Q-History; Phillips Head Screws: Compass; Phonetic Alphabet and Time Zones; Different Miles and How They Came to Be; ...Its About Time E6-B; Plotter; Flaps; Why the ILS Came Late; ...Horsepower; ...WWI Aviation Web Site; ...Dayton, Ohio the Birthplace of Aviation; ...WWII Kamakazi Statistics, ...Santos-Dumont; ...Electronic Navigation History; ... Historical Questions Looking for Answers;
SPINS WERE A ONE TIME THING IN 1914
An unheralded aviation pioneer is British scientist, F. A. Lindemann. "The Prof", as he was known, led a very checkered scientific and social career from early WWI through WWII. He was an "idea man" and advisor to Churchill for thirty years. He was a social butterfly and a scientific gadfly in the opinion of more capable scientists. However, his place in history could well lie in aviation and you never heard of him?
Born of German/American parents, he spoke heavily accented mumbled English. He knew all the "right" British nobility and used their influence to gain both position and prestige. In 1914 he attempted, but failed because of eyesight, to join the Royal Flying Corps. He then used influence to join the scientific staff of the Royal Aircraft Factory.
In 1914 the "spin" was the most dreaded unintentional flight occurrence which resulted in accidents. More to be feared than the more frequent landing accidents. At least, landing accidents could be explained. Once an aircraft was in a spin there was no way out of it. The spin turns would increase in speed until the ultimate crash. All flight instructors warned, "Get into a spin; get killed". Lindemann initiated a study of the instrument readings and pilot procedures that seemed to cause the stall/spins occurring during turns.
A letter to his father said, "Nobody can make out quite what happened." Lindemann could find no apparent pattern as to when a stall or a resulting spin might occur. A British naval pilot was said to have recovered from a spin. If not known if Lindemann used this event to develop an explanation, a theory, about spins. While never publishing his study results, Lindemann gave many oral accounts of his findings.
The spin frequently occurred when the aircraft stalled in other than an absolutely level condition. If one wing dropped any effort to raise it would cause the other wing to flip over uncontrollably. Even at high speeds, a tight turn might cause one wing to flip over and cause a spin. Without any flight skills, Lindemann had worked out in theory the probable forces which, caused and existed in a spin. He also figured out, in theory, the control movements required to counteract these forces.
His study showed that any instinctive response would not work. The rudder must be held fully against the spin while the nose was kept pointed toward the ground. You could not pull back on the stick until the spin stopped and flying speed was gained. His theory also seemed to indicate that during the recovery the wings of the plane could be pulled off. The way Lindemann used to test his theories was somewhat akin to a medical researcher doing a self-inoculation for a deadly disease.
He insisted that further study to prove the theory required that scientists fly. He worked through and around the bureaucracy, used influence, memorized the eye chart for his "blind" eye and learned to fly "poorly". One 1914 flight of uncertain date justifies Lindemann's place in history. One Fall day, he discussed his theories on spin recovery and the planned experiment with observers at Farnborough Aerodrome. He would be using a B.E.2 aircraft of most uncertain flight characteristics. The fragile airframe was held together by a maze of wires and struts that maximized a power off vertical speed of about 90 mph. He told them he was planning to do a deliberate stall spin. He certainly must have said his good-byes. He departed and climbed for many minutes. Far below, the observers saw him reach what must have been the B.E 2's service ceiling of 14,000 feet. They saw the spin well before they heard the cessation of engine noise.
Lindemann now began to test his theory. He pulled the power, slowed the plane and entered into a stall. He held the stall until the left wing dipped and the right wing flipped up for the spin entry. A deliberate entry into a maneuver from which no one had previously recovered and few had survived. A maximum test of accountability and courage.
Lindemann held the spin, intentionally or otherwise, until it was fully established and then he initiated his unique recovery. A deliberate application of control forces never before applied. He put in full opposite rudder. Nothing happened. He waited. Still nothing happened. He applied forward control pressure. He had already fallen thousands of feet with no control effect discernible. Was his theory going to fail at this critical moment? But the rudder was starting to have an effect. The spin was slowing and finally stopped. From the vertical, but without the spin Lindemann now had to complete a recovery. Survival demanded that the pull out would not remove the wings from the fuselage. Slowly, carefully the nose rose and as it rose the aircraft slowed thus easing the stress on its components. The first intentional spin and recovery. All that and survival. Enough?
One such experiment and proof would have satisfied most people, but not Lindemann. He climbed back up to altitude and did the spin and recovery in the other direction. A theory twice applied and proven to be a life saver. From that day on, a pilot's education has not been deemed complete without spin training. (Except, of course, in the U.S. by the FAA).
The British had a military secret. It combined two of the very best qualities of military combat. Deception and survival. A British pilot, when out-numbered or fearing for his life, could deliberately enter a spin. To the enemy such a maneuver was not survivable. The Germans would circle and wait for the inevitable crash of their `kill'.
Imagine their chagrin, when the British plane would level out close to the ground and scoot to safety. Indeed, the spin was often used in WWI as a deliberate escape maneuver. It wasn't long before the Germans discovered the deception and began to follow spinning planes all the way to the ground. It is not known how the Germans gained the secret of spin recovery. Pilots are known to brag about their flying exploits while talking flying with other pilots.
Most great aircraft flights recorded in aviation history are about distances, speeds and kills. Why not a special "save" category for Lindemann along with Immelman? But again, wouldn't your entering his name into your memory and applying his theory and practice to your own "Lindemann" spin recovery be sufficient.
An aside: In WWII Lindemann served as Churchhill's scientific advisor. He stood alone against all other British scientists in his contention that the greater military potential lay in infra-red than in radar. He lost the contest in WWII and radar saved Britain. In 1990, Lindemann was partially vindicated. Desert Storm would not have been possible without infra-red. A little known man of his time and ahead of his time.
Buying the Farm
According to my great uncle who was a combat infantryman in the American Expeditionary Force, France, 1918, and took part in the historical St Mihiel Offensive and the Battle of the Argonne Forest, the term "Buying the farm" was around during the war. (My father got the Silver Star during that battle. Gene) He stated to me that it originated from the fact that when a U.S. soldier was killed in action, his life insurance payoff by Uncle Sam was sent to his next of kin. This was often a suffivient amount to pay off the mortgage on house or farm, hence "Bought/Buying the farm".
"Bought the farm" was a contemporary phrase to U.S. servicemen in the Great War, prior to the barnstorming period of the 1920's. Further, as you probably know, most of the 'Barnstormers' were ex Air Service pilots who no doubt were already familiar with the phrase from it's wartime origins.
In the `20s' barnstormers
would travel the countryside to small cities and set up an "airplane
ride" concession from some farmer's field. The pilot was
expected to reimburse the farmer for any crop damage that occurred.
When a pilot incurred a fatal accident he was deemed to have
bought the entire farm.
How We Got Pattern A and Pattern B (IFR)
These patterns have been for many years a part of the Instrument Flying Handbook as among the first lessons in acquiring the aircraft control required for instrument flying. Prior to WWII few aircraft were equipped beyond an airspeed indicator, compass, altimeter, and at most a needle and ball.
During WWII the gyroscopic instruments began to be installed on all training aircraft. However, the use of these instruments was sadly neglected for two reasons. First, the instructors had mostly learned during an era of `seat of the pants, wind on the cheek' flying. Secondly, they were placarded to be caged during maneuvers. Until shortly before the end of the war, instrument instruction, was most cursory. A pilot would often be sent overseas with fewer than ten hours of instrument flight instruction and perhaps another ten in a Link Trainer.
Hundreds of pilots were lost because instrument skills were thought to be exclusively an airline pilot skill area. Airlines, viewing schedules as profits, had moved ahead in training and instrumentation. A good case could be made for the statement that more pilots were lost in WWII due to weather flying than due to combat. Hard at work to correct this situation was a Joe Duckworth. He learned to fly at Kelly field in the late twenties. As a reservist he flew with Eastern Airlines and had acquired thousands of hours of instrument time and an understanding of the importance of instrument flying. Shortly before the war began Duckworth returned to active duty. He was assigned as director for training at a multi-engine facility in Mississippi. Duckworth found flying was being taught as though there were no gyroscopic instruments.
Combat returns were indicating that weather constituted a life and death hazard comparable to combat. Duckworth initiated an instructional program which first evaluated flight instructors and secondly standardized teaching programs. The most immediate result was a 40% reduction in night flying accidents. The relationship between the absence of visual reference at night and instrument flying was quite apparent to Duckworth. "Needle, ball, and airspeed" was the original instrument system. From this, with the invention/installation of the artificial horizon and directional gyro, Duckworth developed attitude flying instruction based upon a scan of the full panel of instruments. The pilot first needed to learn to fly the aircraft performance envelope using the instruments. Then these skills were applied to the flight maneuvers required to fly the radio range stations of the day. To train pilots in flying this way Duckworth devised the "Pattern A", "Pattern B", and the "Vertical S". Duckworth had found a system that would enable survival in weather.
Next he developed a program for instructors. Their enthusiasm and acceptance of the attitude flying system soon began to be felt and heard throughout the training command. A head to head competition between the worst of Duckworth's students with the best of the "needle, ball and airspeed" students was held. The results convinced, General Hap Arnold the commander of the Air Force, to open an Instrument School just for instructors. Col. Duckworth became the commander of the base and its program. For the last two years of the war flight instructors were sent to Duckworth from all parts of the training command for a months duty. These instructors in turn would return to base and establish training programs for more instructors. By the end of the war no pilot was graduated from the Air Force Training Command who was not proficient as an instrument pilot.
The shape of the holding pattern was based upon a requirement that older gyro instruments be allowed to settle down in a turn. The one minute straight legs gave the gyros the time to settle down before beginning another turn. A holding pattern of continuous turns would cause precession and unreliable indications.
Why We Squawk
During WWII the British developed a top secret 10" x 10" x 10" radar transceiver. It would respond to a radar interrogating signal by responding with a coded transmission. A code would allow the land based radar station to distinguish British from German aircraft on their radar screen. The radio also contained an internal thermite bomb which, when triggered by an inertial switch (crash), would destroy the interior of the set. This was supposed to prevent German discovery of the codes. (A reverse ELT?) The British code named the system Parrot. The United States Army Air Forces version of the system was called IFF, for Identification Friend or Foe.
As with many WWII developments, the IFF system was designed to prevent a clever German ruse. The Germans were following the night bombers back to England. German aircraft would join in the stream of returning British bombers. They would wait until the bombers were most vulnerable, just prior to landing, and then shoot them down. Parrot allowed detection of these German aircraft since their (primary) return would not have a distinctive code.
To control the operation of the airborne coded set to the best advantage, the ground based radar station would radio instructions regarding the operation of "Parrot". The aircraft would be directed to "squawk your parrot", meaning to turn on the set for identification; or to "strangle (not kill) your parrot" as a directive for turning the set off. The power of the transponder signal would often hide other targets.
The only vestige of this that remains today, other than the entire ATC system itself, is the term "Squawk", as an ATC directive for operation or code for the transponder. Old time ATC controllers may still have you "strangle" your parrot (x-ponder)
Today the transponder usually has a four position switch; off, stby (standby), on (mode A), and alt (altitude Mode C), a test button, and ident (identification) button, a response light, and four selector switches with numbers from 0 to 7. Certain aircraft letters and numbers cannot be reproduced but frequently the discrete code can be seen to represent a specific aircraft due to their similarity.
ATC has a system by which the code used on the transponder shows a specific type of operation. Operations such as VFR without advisory, VFR with advisory, IFR, specific airport operation, TCA, ARSA, Local IFR, Tower enroute IFR, X-country IFR, emergency, hijack, and radio failure all have differing first two digit codes which tell ATC controllers your situation.
There are 4096 possible code selections on a transponder from 0000 to 7777. This is a Base 8 number system which is used by computers as a short method of storing Base 2. Base 2 is the number system of computers.
The four places of the transponder from right to left are 1's, 8's, 64's, and 512"s. We know it is a base 8 because the highest digit is 7. The eight possible digits are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Counting in Base 8 proceeds as follows: Base 10 Place Values 512 64 8 l equivalent
0 0 0 0 = 0
0 0 0 1 = 1 (1 one)
Set as transponder to code numbers. 0 0 0 7 = 7 (7 ones); 0 0 1 0 = 8 (1 eight, no ones) ; 0 0 1 1 = 9 (1 eight and one one) to 0 0 7 7 = 63 (7 eights, 7 ones); 0 1 0 0 = 64 (1 sixty-four, no eights, no ones) ; 0 1 0 1 = 65 (1 sixty-four, no eights, one one); to 0 7 7 7 = 7 sixty-fours, 7 eights, and 7 ones) 448 + 56 + 7 ones =511; to 7 7 7 7 = 4095; 4095 added to 0000 makes the possible 4096 transponder codes. More than you ever wanted to know?
Emergency 7 7 0 0 = 4032 in base 10
Nordo 7 6 0 0 = 3968
Hijack 7 5 0 0 = 3904
VFR 1 2 0 0 = 640
Absolute altitude is obtained by the use of radar. The first radar altimeter was the A/N 718. I worked with it during WWII. It consisted of two one-foot long antennae that were placed about 20 feet apart under the wings on each side of the aircraft fuselage. This was a frequency modulation system, which transmitted a burst of radio energy to the ground through one antenna and picked up the burst echo from the ground on the other antenna. During the transmission period the frequency was undergoing a constant rate of change in microseconds. The receiver measures the frequency change difference between the first burst and the frequency when it returns to the aircraft receiver. This amount of change is recorded and displayed in feet on a circular cathode ray-tube display. I would suspect that the ground proximity warning system (GPWS) system used on airliners works much the same. Doppler radar uses frequency modulation today but to my knowledge this was the first practical use of FM technology.
Ever wonder why propeller pilots walk funny? They do. The P-factor explanation from the instructors handbook tells the instructor how to explain this to the student. It has nothing to do with how much liquid consumed? Part of the difficulty comes from having two or more generations of pilots, none of whom have had the opportunity to drive a team of Missouri Canaries. Mules that is. This educational and experience deficiency can be partially overcome while explaining the P-factor. Thereby leading to the ultimate answer of the initial question.
Start with an airplane which has the training wheel under the nose. A Cessna 152 will do. With all three wheels on the ground the student should be carefully walked around the propeller to note that, when the aircraft and propeller is horizontal, the blades each form approximately an 11 degree angle in pitch from the vertical. The airplane should be imagined as a wagon and the painted tips of the blades as harnessed to two mules of identical size and strength. In this configuration the wagon (airplane) would be pulled straight ahead until made to gee or haw. Gee meaning right and haw meaning left. O.K. so far?
Now have the instructor hold the aircraft tail down while the student observes the angle from vertical the pitch of each propeller blade. The left blade is near vertical while the right blade has doubled its angle. Now the airplane/wagon suddenly has two completely different mules. The left blade mule becomes of donkey size or less while the right blade becomes a dray that once pulled a beer wagon. Now which way will the wagon, nee airplane, go? Will it gee or haw?
More often than not our last two generations of student pilots will chose the wrong direction. The odoriferous experience of mule driving having been denied them. Using the wing struts to move the airplane should show the student the error of his ways. Then it follows as the night the day that in a climb attitude an appropriate application of right rudder is needed to keep the airplane on the straight if not narrow. Whatever it takes to prevent a "haw" Which, of course, leads us in the great cyclonic circle to the answer of the initial question. It takes a lot of "Gee" Leg to prevent a "Haw".
There has been a long tradition in aviation related to cutting off the shirt tails of newly soloed student pilots. One story has it that the practice began because of the student need to clean his goggles.
Pilots had scarves to use in keeping their goggles clean but the student had to use a shirt tail. The cutting of the shirt tail was giving the student the symbolic scarf of a pilot.
At one time trainers were two place tandem seat airplanes. The instructor sat in the back seat. Some trainers had a speaking tube that worked so that you could hear
It was noisy in the airplane and the instructors learned that the way to get the students attention and direct him was to reach under the panel and yank on a shirttail!
At student solo, the removal of the shirt tail, eliminated the way the instructor used for directing the student. The student was now a pilot and didn't need the jerking on a shirttail to fly.
of Automotive Engineers:
In 1917 the SAE had an Aeronautical Division which diagrammed and identified the stick controls and rudder used to control aircraft. Altitude Control diagrammed the forward and back movement of the stick to give up-down control through elevator movement. Balancing Control diagrammed the left/right sides of machine down by means of side movement of stick through aileron movement. Right and Left Control was done with the feet through rudder movement. SAE had merged with the Aeronautical Society in 1916 and has been instrumental in setting government standards for aircraft construction, maintenance and safety.
The Johnson Bar
One unlikely aircraft feature was derived from the steam engine. The Johnson bar was used to control the amount of steam and hence the power of the engine. The Johnson bar is a term used to describe the long handles used in earlier Cessnas and nearly all Pipers to operate the flaps. The term has also been used with reference to the bars used on Mooney aircraft to hand operate the manual gear.
Trim Tab Inventor
Also known at the servo trim was invented by Anton Flettner, a German aeronautical engineer. He worked for the Zeppelin Company in Germany. (Will try to find out if his invention installed on Zeppelin before airplanes.) Came to U. S after WWII and worked for Navy. Died 1962.
First gyroscopic instruments were test flown on blimps.
First reversible propellers were installed on airships.
Pitot Tube Inventor
The pitot tube was invented by Francais Pitot, a French physicist and dentist born in 1695. His tube was first used to measure water flow. It measures the difference between ambient and dynamic pressures. Only the very, very old or very, very new aircraft do not use a pitot tube to determine airspeed. The pitot tube measures only pressure. There is no air movement through the pitot tube.
Doppler frequency change
Mach speed of sound
Pitot speed tube
Venturi suction tube
Newton laws of motion
Celsius metric thermometer
Kelvin absolute scale
Hertz frequency cycle
Kollsman altimeter window
Esnault-Pelterie Joy stick
Hugh Robinson, Aviation pioneer invented basic aircraft arresting gear system for carrier landings. First used landing on a ship in San Francisco Bay after takeoff from shore.
Seat belts were first adopted in 1913 when W. D. Billingsley was ejected from a Wright seaplane from1600' AGL.
In the 1920's Maj. William C. Ocker and Capt. Carl J. Crane did pioneering work toward instrument flying and developed an instructional curriculum
David McCampbells was the first naval aviator to land on an aircraft carrier at night.
Chandelle is French from montrer en chandelle, which means climb around a candle.
Pilots carrying mail had to be armed en route by order of the U.S. Postal Service in the 20s and 30s.
Barry Schiff thinks that pilots sit on the left because of ships passing left side to left side. This is not so. The left to left passing of ships came from ancient times when the right side of the ship used a protruding steering oar called a steerboard. The left to left passing protected this particular oar which was also under the captain's direction. Captains to this day have their post and cabins on the right side of ships.
January 25, 2004
Barry Schiff wrote:
From your web site:
"Barry Schiff thinks that pilots sit on the left because of ships passing
left side to left side. This is not so. The left to left passing of ships
came from ancient times when the right side of the ship used a protruding
steering oar called a steerboard. The left to left passing protected this
particular oar which was also under the captain's direction. Captains to
this day have their post and cabins on the right side of ships."
Nevertheless, ships do pass left to left (whatever the original reason for
this might have been). According to the U.S. Navy, the tradition for pilots
sitting on the left originated with this tradition for the very reason that
it is easier for pilot to see one another that way. BWTFDIK?
My wife says that I will argue with God, too.
"Barry Schiff thinks that pilots sit on the left because of ships passing
left side to left side." My argument is about why 'captains' sit in the left seat of aircraft, not aircraft passing aircraft as do ships..
Long before side-by-side seating ever existed you will see in old
pictures and movies that the pilots seated in tandem still 'mounted' the
aircraft from the left side.
With tandem seating there is no visual advantage to either side. I just viewed a foot high stack of aircraft picture books and found very few pictures showing pilots in the process of boarding an aircraft. Those that I did find (5) were all on the left side.
The airplane pilot on the left side derived from the need to mount a horse from the left side in order to maintain an effective sword hand while mounting. Cavalry men were the first who were volunteered into becoming pilots. Hence, the left side mounting of aircraft from habit. Hence, left patterns. Left or right patterns made no 'visual' difference to tandem seating. The first side-by-side seating involved only passengers and gradually grew into two side-by-side pilots as well. It was not until side-by-side seating of pilots you had to determine who was PIC by the seat occupied. By tradition and habit, the guy who boarded or sat on the left won.
Honored to have received an email from you,
Helicopter 'captains' sit on the right. Igor Sikorsky self-taught himself to fly his design of a controllable helicopter in a single-centered seat.. When it came time to teach others, he used a side-by-side seating configuration. As the PIC he chose to sit on the left side as was typical in aircraft.. Therefore all of his students had to learn from the right side. So when they became instructors in helicopters, they followed Sikorsky and taught from the left side. The dictum holds true, you tend to teach as you are taught.
Term coined by Charles Willard in 1910. "The air was as full of air pockets, as a Swiss cheese is full of holes."
An international convention Paris in 1919 assigned the letter N to all U. S aircraft. N was selected because of the Curtiss NC-4 that first flew across the Atlantic.
The term `hop' meaning a local flight came from abbreviated log book entries in WW-1 for "high operational patrol".
First stall strips were used by Messerschmidt.
What is peculiar about the space shuttle orbiter's landing gear? It cannot be retracted.
Leonard M. Greene invented the stall warner prior to 1950.
First bomb dropped from an aircraft was in 1910 at Tanforan
Racetrack near San Francisco.
First aircraft carrier takeoff occurred in San Francisco Bay.
First pilots license was issued to Glenn in 1911. Prior law was that of gravity.
First airmail flight and delivery was between Petaluma and Santa Rosa. Three emergency landings enroute.
First gyroscopic attitude indicators were tested on Blimps.
Mayday is the English word that sounds just like the second French word of the phrase "venes m'aider", which means "come help me".
Hangar--Comes from the French word 'hangar' meaning shed or outhouse
I'm told that "wolferdale" is an aviation (perhaps military aviation) term meaning a 270 turn. Is this correct?
Never heard of the term. Would appreciate any verified use of term for my oddities file. I'll shoot it into the newsgroups for a check.
"Michael A. Pilla" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: wolferdale
Gene, You're probably referring to "Wifferdill" or "Whiferdill"; I've seen both spellings. It is the English term for either an Immelman turn or a Chandelle turn, IIRC.I.e., a one-half loop followed by a roll at the top (180o) for the Immelman and a sharp pull up, rolling, maximum performance turn (also 180o) for the Chandelle. I wish I had my flight maneuver manuals with me; could give you the precise definition.
Could it be "whifferdill"? I used to fly with an
ex-usaf cfi, and he used that term to describe any of several
"playing-around" maneuvers (wing-overs, steep turns,
Hundred Octane Aviation Fuel
Early fuel had low anti-knock ability. This came along with a widely variable quality standard which, like wine, were
identified by their place of manufacture. Fuel of the 1900-1910 would have had an octane rating of about 40 had such a rating existed. Fifty octane was achieved in the 1920's. By definition knock occurs after the spark; preignition occurs before the spark. In 1912 the difference was recognized in England and determined to be related to the chemistry involved.
In WWI the blending of benzol and gasoline at one to four would prevent knock. This was only a stopgap with many engine damaging negatives. A DELCO scientist found that ethyl bromide in combination with tetraethyl lead when added to gasoline would prevent plug fouling and valve erosion. Engine knock was never effectively studied until high-speed cameras were able to photograph the ignition of fuels inside a cylinder. Full understanding of fuels was not achieved until the 1990's when even faster photographs became possible.
Knock and preignition were once considered one and the same. In 1917 they were distinguished. Additives were used to control knock but costs and side effects were often prohibitive to future improvement. Finally in 1921 tetraethyl lead was found along with a bromide to give antiknock improvement without damage to the spark plugs. By 1930 octane rating had reached 87 at high power. To maintain a standard each fuel batch had to be blended and mixed according to the time of year and the source of the base oil. By 1934 100 octane fuel was being produced that gave a 30% increase in engine power with no increase in engine temperatures. This industrial prescience assured U.S. fuel dominance during WWII.
A one-cylinder engine was created to test the effects of variable
compression. This made it possible to test various fuels for
their anti-knock capability. Initially heptane was found to be
bad and toluene best. By 1926 iso-octane was found to be appreciably
better and a range of anti-knock capability was created with
heptane at zero and iso-octane at 100 Iso-octane was both expensive
and hard to produce. Knock was never fully understood until internal
engine photos at 400,000 frames per second and computer simulations
in the 1990's. Interestingly of all machines, only airplanes
have their own fuel
In 1930 the military specified that aviation fuel would be 80/87. The fuel had two octane ratings. The 87 was for full power rich operations while for leaned cruise 80 was the norm. This dual octane continues to exist even today. In the late 1930s light weight and compact engines were being developed with compression ratios that required fuels not subject to detonation. 100 octane began as a scientific curiosity by blending 70 octane with chemicals such as tetraethel lead and hydrogen to get the higher octane.
By 1934, Shell oil came up with a way to make 100 octane aircraft
fuel. Jimmy Doolittle played a significant part in this new development.
The increase in octane resulted in a 20% reduction in specific
fuel consumption. In the late 1930s lightweight and compact engines
were being developed with compression ratios that required fuels
not subject to detonation. 100 octane began as a scientific curiosity
by blending 70 octane with chemicals such as tetraethyl lead
and hydrogen to get the higher octane.
In 1938 an alkylation process by Humble Oil greatly increased the possible production of 100 octane. Cold acid alkylation made it possible to raise 1943 production of 100 octane to 15,000,000 gallons per DAY! However, full power engines still encountered detonation. The solution was to use fuel additives that would become effective at full power operations but at lower powers were adjusted to lower octane. 100/130, 91/95, and 80/87 aviation octane fuels became the norm. In 1942, by accident, water injection became a method of increasing spurts of an additional 30% power. Octane was later changed into a Performance Number. PN number 300 was created but never used because of jet engine development.
By mid-1940 all British fighters were converted to operate on 100/130. This change allowed manifold pressures to be raised from 42 to 54 inches. This gave every engine an effective 30% increase in power. In the U.S. 115/145 was developed at the end of the war and continued in use into the 1960's.
In 1938 an alkylation process by Humble Oil greatly increased
the possible production of 100 octane. Cold acid alkylation made
it possible to raise 1943 production of 100 octane to 15,000,000
gallons per DAY! However, full power engines still encountered
detonation. The solution was to use fuel additives that would
become effective to prevent detonation at full power operations
but at lower powers were adjusted to lower octane. 100/130, 91/95,
and 80/87 aviation octane fuels became the norm.
The fuels used by the Air Force over the objections of the War Department gave at least 20% more power, 6% more speed and 505 better climb speeds using existing engines. The Navy had made the transition by 1938. England was able, using U.S. 100 octane fuel, to get 1700 h.p. From the Merlin as opposed to 1000 h.p. previously. At the start of WWII the U.S. was producing 24 million gallons of 100-octane fuel per month. Using the military fuel, commercial airlines were able to cut takeoff distances 45%, gain a 20% increase in range. The economies of flying were greatly increased. It wasn't until 1942 that the distinction of octane change with changes of engine power became fully appreciated. The 80/87 and 100/130 numbers of today's fuels reflect this discovery. High-octane fuels allowed engines to be leaned for more economical operation and longer range with no increase in temperatures. Water injection allowed even more power over the short term.
The cost of avgas is less dependent on the price of crude oil than on the production process associated with adding manufactured chemicals like aviation alkylate and toluene. Other factors that influence avgas prices are special shipping and handling requirements, environmental pressures, FBOs, and state and federal taxes.
When autopilots first became available, there happened to be a saying, "Let George do it", which was part of a wartime poster that said, basically, that you couldn't do that- you had to do it yourself, or no one would do it. The "Let George do it" attitude was something to be stamped out during the WWII war years, you see...The autopilot was the only "George", or "the other guy", that you could legitimately delegate to. Thus, using the autopilot became "letting George do it".
The word sock is from the colloquial French meaning close in or conceal. When an airport was `socked in' the windsock was taken down and its removal meant that the airport was closed. The first lighted windsock was offered by the Heath Company in its 1928 catalogue. Wind socks come in various sized determined by the amount of wind required to fully extend it.
Field (at Concord, California)
Within the immediate vicinity of Buchanan Field, Concord CA there have been over seven airports over the years. One of the very first was a company strip in the flatlands just north of the Mallard reservoir. This was used by Tosco refinery officials during the twenties and thirties. Another was on the Martinez shoreline between the railroad bridge and the train station. There was also a small private strip along the hillside north west of downtown Clayton. It was private and depending on winds and density altitudes you had to decide on whether to take off over or under the power lines to the west. Been there done that.
More famous was Mahoney Field approximately located where the Concord BART station is now. It was 1200' long and unpaved. The local businesses leased the field for commercial flights in 1920 to a one-plane airline that flew hotel customers from San Francisco to cities in the Central Valley and Los Angeles. The Curtiss Eagle tri-motor flew the route daily from May to near the end of June. Operations stopped when the plane crashed. No further use was ever made of Mahoney Field
The U.S. Mail service had a reliever airport at Concord to be used when Crissy Field at the San Francisco Presideo was socked in by weather. Service began in 1924 and continued until Mills Field (SFO) opened in 1927. Air mail from Concord would be re-routed via truck, train and ferryboat to S. F. Even with perfect connections this would add an additional two hours to the delivery time. This unnamed field was without designated runways at the northeast corner of West and Clayton Road in Concord. With the diversion of the mail service this field was a minimum service facility used by private aviation until Sherman Field somewhere near where the WWI Monument stands in Pleasant Hill offered both fuel and repair service beginning in the 1930's. The Pleasant Hill Subdivision of Sherman Oaks is all that remains as a memory of this airport that closed when Buchannan Field was released as war surplus in 1946.
Buchannan Field began with a slightly more than 400 acre purchase of farmland in 1942. Federal funds were used and two 5000' runways with large cement end pads were constructed with standby pads for the use of P-39 fighters. With an additional 120 acres the Military Transport Command based C-46 transports as a service and training facility. Total WWII cost of the field was over thirteen million with the county spending about a half-million.
The County, in order to promote development of the field,
has entered into 50-year lease agreements that must be the 'sweetest'
deals in the history of the county. Insiders have been able to
lease and use property with only a 1% average increase in payments
to the county per year. To my knowledge one hangar group of offices
more than make the county payments from just one rental, all
the others are gravy. The county operation of the airport would
not stand a close investigation as to the differing long-term
treatment of the insiders and outsiders at the airport. All airport
security is paid for by the individual tie-downs. Businesses
Associated Airport(Two mile final into CCR 19R)
Clyde as it exists now is two small rows of homes along one side of a railroad spur track and Port Chicago Highway.. I was once a shipbuilding town in WWI and a part of the Port Chicago Ammunition Depot of WWII. Clyde once had an airport.
The airport was part of the Avon Refinery complex once owned by Associated Oil Company. It was built on McNear land. near what is now Mallard Reservoir. McNear once owned all of the land along the Carquenez Straits as well as much of Sonoma County. The land that McNear didn't own, belonged to the government.
The field itself was an X with a north-south 1800 food sod runway and the east-west runway 3006 feet of oiled sod as well. The airport comprised 249 acres airport half bordered on the northeastern corner of the Mallard Reservoir. Frank Buchanan, namesake of Concords present airport flew homebuilt gliders off these runways. The field featured 150 foot wide runways with floodlighting for night landings by prior arrangement.
In 1930 an airshow celebrating completion of the Martinez/Benecia bridge featured stunt flying by Paul Mantz (Flight of the Phoenix) before 8000 weekend celebrants. Another show in 1931 was called a 'circus'. In 1934 hard times closed the field for all time.
The following is a 'Preliminary Talk Notes' that I made early on in my instructing career. Going over them was of interest to me and perhaps you I made them on a 2 x 5 note pad apparently before intercoms and headsets in G.A. aircraft. I am pleased to have shared with so many, these ideas. I have found them valuable and worthy of passing on. Hard to realize the these few words have grown like Topsey.
Unlearning pre-conceptions of power, airspeed, and aircraft attitudes
Controlling instinctive reactions
Apprehensions related to clouds, ground, height, hills, turbulence, and statistics.
Every student has a unique learning curve with plateaus of non-progress.
Most students will make normal mistakes. Every student will create unique ones.
Instructor will create mistake situations for student who has trouble making mistakes.
Every mistake has value, you will learn from it or live to repeat it.
Know when not to fly due to health, weather or aircraft.
Learn to use the indexes of flight related to throttle, trim, flaps, banks and aircraft attitude.
Being on time, notice if canceling or late, scheduling frequency for results.
The instructor will set and raise the performance standards.
A student failure is an instructor failure
The way you are first taught is the way you will remember and react in an emergency. (Applies to childhood as well.)
Unlearning a first taught incorrect procedure is VERY difficult.
You will never be asked to perform an unsafe maneuver don't do one on your own.
Don't believe that you can't be taught judgment you can with proper exposure.
Re-teaching and re-learning is the most difficult of learning processes.
Your instinctive 'emergency' reflex is usually the wrong thing to do.
Instructor will try to anticipate and tell you about the most common mistakes.
A student is always different and creative in making new uncommon mistakes.
There is a range of errors that are initially acceptable as learning experiences.
As maneuvers become more difficult the range of acceptable errors becomes smaller.
Do not let your learning expectations interfere with my teaching. My expectations give enough trouble.
This instructor does not 'yell', as we fly your hearing improves. (Before intercoms)
Your expectations as a student will not be met. They turn into anxieties.
Anxieties over solo, money, fatigue, or family cause a 50% student dropout rate.
In the beginning
Your greatest problem will be an initial sense of being overwhelmed with material.
Your emotional and intellectual stress will not decrease until the sixth lesson.
Use of trim
How to use the trim wheel...why I say you have hold of the aircraft tail.
Finger and thumb only on yoke
Watching the nose
Left turning tendency explained. Instructor always monitors rudder use.
--Every departure and arrival will be from a different direction. You will become familiar with the area without the use of a sectional.
--The second lesson will introduce Dutch rolls with proficiency by the 7th lesson.
--All training turns will be in 30-degree banks for at least 90 degrees. We will maintain Vy airspeed and use turns to gain altitude.
--Leveling off requires acceleration and pre-planned trim movement. Use of measured amount of flaps requires pre-planned trim movement.
--All airwork lessons will depart upwind. Descents are made with power reduction since we have trimmed already for level flight.
--Stalls will be walked and talked through prior to departure. All initial stall entries are gentle while holding heading and altitude.
--By the sixth lesson... you will realize how much the same all the lessons are.
Use of tape recorder
Reduces concern about remembering, eliminates note taking. (Wear ear plugs)
Use tape playback to improve basic radio procedures and understanding.
Who you're talking to
Who you are
Where you are
What you want
It is important that you verbalize, not just think, before keying the mike.
Practice getting ATIS on phone until you get it all the first time through.
If using a hand mike, hold it to you lips to eliminate side noise.
Always practice with the mike to your lips.
Initial mike fright is normal. Going to visit the tower is a big help.
Visit every ATC facility you can at every opportunity.
An open door is not an emergency.
Reasons for Flying
Costs and times required getting to remote places for recreation
Maintaining proficiency will equal cost of learning to fly.
Weight and Balance will become an ongoing problem.
Required and recommended reading
Navigational devices and charts
Review of early lessons after solo with emphasis on crosswinds.
With so much history in the past I would like to take you into the future:
I am most proud of my older son who has been the prime project developer of a system that is used world wide by the U.S. and its allies for complete coordination of their naval and military activities.
Click on any point as the top left of a new map and another point as the bottom right corner of the new map. This will give you a higher resolution map of a smaller area.
Click Map Options; Click on center; Pick any point of the new map that you want in the center of your screen and click on it.
Click on any two points on the map and you will get a bearing/range chart as well as a line on the map. Have fun. Play around with the other maps. You are now at the very cutting edge of progress.
This is just the beginning of the next generation of navigation. With transmitting GPS units you can be within four seconds of real time position and movement of the sender. I plan to blame ELVIS on my wife. Now I know why I have a trasmitting ELVIS on my leg.
MY son is now listed as a Chief Scientist of Information Technology of a
sub-division of Northrop Grumman.
During WWII one of the very first airborne radar sets from England was code-named the 521. Aircraft using this set were equipped with a set of Yagi transmitting and receiving antennae projecting forward on the wings. The Yagi was named after its Japanese inventor and would be easily recognizable even today in those areas that use housetop antenna instead of cable for TV reception.
This set consisted of a set of components consisting of a combination transmitter/receiver, a box that contained the circuits that made the pulse waves to be transmitted and the timing circuits used to present the signals on the cathode ray florescent screen. The radar operator had to use a scale on the screen to determine the distance from transmitter to target by halving the time of the transmitted wave and reception of the echo. By watching the movement of the target 'blip' on the screen it was barely possible to determine the size and speed of movement of the target relative to the transmitting aircraft.
I had occasion to take a training flight out of Boca Raton, FA using such a set in a Lockheed Hudson bomber that had been returned from Britain as war weary. It still had the bullet holes to show why it was put out to training pasture. It had the 521 installed and was being flown for training purposes. While I was being trained as the operator, the pilot asked if I had a target and if I could provide any identification for him.
Fact is I had seen the target, I had no idea as to what it was but was able to give distance as approximately thirty miles. It was a large target but too slow for an airplane and too fast for a ship. I was invited into the cockpit to see a blimp on anti-submarine patrol out by the Bahamas. As I returned to my position I found that the set had failed. It was then that I learned about 521 maintenance.
The various components of the 521 were interconnected with cables and 'cannon-plugs' that consisted of male and female components that went into each other and were tightened into position by screwing a threaded cover over the connection. The back of each box could have any where from three to six cables installed so as to feed the required power and signals to each component. The cannon-plugs were a frequent cause of electronic failure due to corrosion and aircraft vibration that affected the connections.
It did not take experienced operators long to uncover the practical solution to cannon-plug failures. All it took was for the operator to lean back in his seat and lift his feet in such a way as to allow you to give a component a good kick with the bottom of your heavy G.I. shoes. This corrective action came to be known as 521 maintenance among airborne radar mechanics and operators. On occasion, I used 521 maintenance on later model airborne radar sets with the B-29s in India. With the miniaturization of electronics political correctness made such kicking inappropriate. Use your hand.
Progress in aviation has been a dynamic proof of the Chaos theory. Government in all its forms as perceived by the individual as a financial source, a leading force, or negatively regulation entity has played a major role in the growth of aviation. The higher education has been primarily directed toward practical engineering. The great leaps forward have been by the dreamers who have scorned the limits of the universities. Radical innovations have been resisted mostly because of cost. Individuals with limited resources have initiated innovation. Once initiated, then and only then, do the financing, time and facilities become available. More often than not the originator gets little recognition as the second or third facilitator wins all the marbles.
Innovation has pauses, spurts failures and successes. Innovation requires considerable luck, faith, persistence, patience and leadership. Major aeronautical achievements very often had to wait while a related field played catch-up. The Wrights had to wait for an engine, engines had to wait for anti-knock fuel, communications had to wait for vacuum tubes, radar had to wait for the magnetron, navigation had to wait for the chronometer and GPS. Materials were improved and made possible better reciprocating engines and eventually via turbo-charging the jet engines as we know them.
The irrationality of government and military to resist change often resulted in blockages that took twenty years to remove. The Congress passed a bill in 1926 that prevented the funds of the government to be used for airport improvements. It was not until 1938 with the threat of universal war that the law was revoked. The antagonism between the major divisions of the U.S. military would prevent development that might benefit another service. That improvements were made often required interpersonal alliances between disparate personalities, institutional alliances between traditional opponents, and invisible infrastructure of materials and testing.
Of the visible infrastructure the most evident would be airports. The creation of airports in the U.S. is a mix of all the best and worst in what is America. As mentioned before Congress withheld federal funds. Little by little local communities found space near town that could be used. 1923 Pittsburgh wanted an airport but the selected area brought the very first resistance group of an Academy and a Country Club. The post office wanted to institute airmail service and were prepared to pay for it if only the cities would create airports. Cities, anxious to get into the game bent the rules to buy or lease airport space. Any field could be called an airport.
The military and postal service wanted airports throughout the U.S. It was Lindbergh who did for aviation what Tiger Woods has done for golf. When Lindbergh made a tour of the country every city wanted to have an airport for him to visit. An entire memorabilia industry grew up around Lindbergh. I recently visited a private home in Illinois that had an entire study made up such memorabilia. Museum quality and quantity. States passed enabling acts that allowed cities to build and support airports. Evasions around congressional restrictions made reclamation funds available to build airports where water existed. Lawsuits against city owned and built airports failed to halt development. The use of federal funds gave the power to regulate. Depression fed WPA projects built bridges and airports. By 1939 airports were a war preparation priority. Today, all major airports are owned and operated by cities.
The Q codes were developed when communications wasn't as good as now, and Morse code was till the norm.
It was a lot easier to shorten things down, made life a lot easier on the wireless operators if they only had to send a few letters rather than a whole sentence, and also was less likely to be misinterpreted. Anyway, the Q stood/stands for question, and NH stands for Nil height. In Europe an ATIS will always include QNH and QFE. If you set the QNH, you can report your SL as "altitude QNH", whereas if you report QFE it will be understood you are reporting height above field elevation. Understand that QFE derived from Q code Field Elevation hence QFE
John Henry Phillips, of Mass. patented his double slotted screw in 1932. The very similar Reed-Prince screw is not approved for aircraft, whereas the Phillips is. The Reed-Prince head is an imitation Phillips that is designed to eject the screwdriver when pressure is sufficient to break the head of the screw. Inside the slots of the Phillips are some multiple ramp angles that will cause the screw driver to lift out before you can break off the screw head. The Phillips greatly increased production because the screw could be balanced on the screw driver prior to insertion.
The ancients recognized the pole star as being a constant reference for determining direction. The Norsemen in the 11th century used a needle of magnetic iron inserted in a straw and floated on water to point to the pole star. Petrus Peregrinus de Maricourt invented the pivoted floating compass with lubberline and sight for bearing. The modern compass is little more than one hundred years old.The compass card, due to wind rose origins is older than the magnetic needle. Names of the cardinal compass points are from the ancient terms for wind direction.
Variation was understood by 1800 as a problem. Edmond Halley at end of 17th century mapped lines of variation and drew isogonic lines (lines of variation) on his maps. George Graham showed that variation was subject to diurnal (seasonal) changes with variation being less in winter.
John Smith wrote about deviation in 1627 by John Smith. He saw it as a problem encountered through use of metal nails in his compass box. Captain. Mathew Flinders in 1801-2 found way to correct by use of "Flinder's Bars as did Lord Kelvin through use of Kelvin spheres. Placement of soft iron spheres at sides of compass could be used to correct deviation.
The magnetic compass depends on the horizontal component of the earths' magnetic field. The directional properties of the lodestone were known to early man. The term magnet comes from the name of a region in southern Europe which was a major source for lodestone. The development of the magnet grew form a floating needle in a straw, to the needle in a cork, a pivoted needle, the pivoted card, the pivoted card in a bowl, to the use of gimbals, and finally the liquid chamber with a pivoted card.
Compasses were in use as early as the 12th century but their operation was imperfect and not fully understood. About 18090 Mathew Flinders discovered a solution to the problem of local attraction. Deviation as used in aviation. Flinder's Bars, large masses of unmagnetized iron, are universally used on ships. In 1838 Sir G. B. Airy used magnets and iron to neutralize effects of iron ships.
The initial dry card compass was developed by Lord Kelvin who determined that a cards steadiness depended on the natural period of vibration of card and needle. A light card with a heavy rim was suspended by a pyramid of threads to a central pivot point. This produced a steady card. The use of a liquid float chamber with the buoyancy of the magnet and card only slightly less than weight to reduce fraction. The liquid has a dampening effect as well.
The development of the gyro compass began in 1851 when Leon Foucault used suspended cannon shot on a long wire pendulum to show the rotation of the earth as well as the inertia of the free swinging ball. By 1852 he had created the gyroscope but had trouble applying continuous power. By 1900 the electric gyroscope was invented by both Elmer A. Sperry and Anschutz-Kampfe of Germany. By 1911 gyro compasses were in use soon to be followed by gyro repeaters (selysn(sp) units) flux-gate compasses and gyro pilots..
alphabet and Time Zones
In 1914 the U.S. Army adopted a phonetic alphabet but Spanish pronunciations created problem In 1927 a worldwide agreement of words and spelling was reached but some words were uncommon. In 1952 an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) alphabet was made using Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog but it too had problems. The current alphabet was adopted in 1956.
Related to this 1996 version are the names of the time zones around the globe. Alpha time zone begins 7.5 degrees west of Greenwich, England and extends to 22.5 longitude westward. Each successive 15-degrees of longitude is given a alphabetic name. Eastern time is named Echo and Pacific time s Hotel. Even during daylight savings time the names remain the same. All aviation time is referenced to Zulu. Zulu time is relative to the sun, the exact same moment all over the world is recorded by clock time in Greenwich. Why Greenwich? In 1735 John Harrison, a carpenter designed an accurate chronometer. By knowing just when noon occurred in Greenwich with the chronometer, a navigator could use an astronomical table to determine his longitude.
Miles and How they Came to Be
Under the Roman Empire, Rome became the center of the western world. All roads led to Rome and all distances were measured from Rome. The distances were based upon one thousand Roman paces of the Roman soldier. A Roman pace is equal to two of our steps and very near 64 inches. The Latin for a thousand paces is 'mille passus' from which we derived the word mile.
Many different miles of differing length .have existed from the old London mile of eight furlongs. This was measured by German 'feet' but at the time of Queen Elizabeth a shorter foot was used giving a distance of 5280 feet. which is now the statute mile.
The first paths for ships were called Porotan Charts. These were lines drawn across the Mediterranean between the coastal ports. Where many of these lines crossed the mapmakers would draw wind roses. The wind rose initially varied but settled on the eight points. The predecessor to the compass rose and our eight-wind direction terms.
Thales of Miletus (640-546BC) made a gnomonic projection (use of shadows) of the region where he lived. Hipparchus in the 2nd century BC had used sterographic (showing heights) and orthographic projections (perspective). Eratosthenes in 3rd century BC calculated the size of the earth circumference to be 24,000 miles. He developed a 16 point wind rose and use of 'degree". He also wrote a description of known world.
Ptolemy, a 2nd century Greek, made a world map and made a world size error when he calculated size of world's circumference to be only 18,000 miles. Jean Picard did not correct this until 1669, 200 years after Columbus. Eratosthenes' calculations had been lost to the western world. Ptolemy used the first conic projection plane map with the top as north. This made possible drawing of rhumb (one direction) lines from point to point on the globe. He devised the 60 minute and 60 second divisions of the 360 degrees in a circle. A mile at sea, on this world of Ptolemy, was essentially equal to a mile on the land. The length of a statute mile was 1000 (mille, from the Latin) Roman paces. A Roman pace is two of our steps. Each Roman road had occasional small obelisk statues placed to indicate the distance from Rome much as Mexico today does from Mexico City. Hence, statute miles.
A 1466 Chart of Nicolaus Germanus divided the degree into 60 equal spaces called miles. This was based upon an earth of 18,000 mile circumference and gave us a nautical mile the same length as a Roman statute mile. Other cartographers including Hipparchus and Mercator gave us a world with an overlying grid with numerical markings of longitude and latitude. Gerardus Mercator (Gerhard Kremer), Flemish, in 1569 drew world globe map with 180 degrees E/W longitude 0 to 90 N/S latitude. He made errors which were corrected by Edward Wright who published the computations required as "Meridional Parts" and made this knowledge universal. In combination, we now had a world, which could be mapped in degrees of longitude and latitude. Each degree of longitude had divisions of 60 miles equal to a statute mile and each mile was again divided into 60 units called minutes and each minute was again divided into 60 units called seconds.
This was the kind of map and scale used by Columbus. The navigators
of his time had not the timing device to make possible the exact
determination of longitude. The best 15th Century data available
to Columbus came from Ptolemy. The error by Ptolemy directly
resulted in Columbus' declaring that he had reached and was exploring
India. Columbus thought he had sailed through enough degrees
of longitude to reach India. He may well have, had the world
been 18,000 statute miles in circumference.
When the world was computed to be 24,000 statute miles in circumference all the degrees and their divisions were longer and did not conform. More accurate computation of the world's circumference kept changing and finally came to 24,902 statute miles. The circumference of the earth has always been measured as 21,600 nautical miles (360 degrees X 60 nautical miles per degree). However, the individual nautical mile has ballooned by nearly a third through this recalculation of the earth's size. The Nautical or Sea Mile is the length of a minute of latitude. The U.S. Nautical Mile at one time was 6,080.27 feet. This figure was revised to 6,076.i feet/ This came to be know as the International Nautical Mile. The British use the Admiralty Mile of 6,080 feet. Some countries still use the 1929 International Hydrographic Bureau mile of 6,076.097 feet. The Geographical Mile uses the Equator as a great circle and a minute mile is 6,087.1 feet long. For many of the same reasons the U. S. has failed to convert to metric, later cartographers decided to use statute miles for land and the expanded nautical mile at sea.
Now we can see the background for the difference between nautical and statute miles and Columbus' reasoning. We have Columbus sailing around an earth at least 1/3 larger than he was led to believe. Based on available knowledge Columbus was quite justified to assume that he had actually reached and explored India.
For the navigator, it is very important that distance only be measured along the lines of longitude, which has evenly spaced tick marks throughout. The elongated orange peel appearance of the region between lines of longitude means that various latitude lines will have tick marks at differing intervals although always 60 ticks per degree. Only at the Equator do the tick marks correspond to the size of those along the lines of longitude.
Johann Henrich Lambert from Alsace devised the Lambert conformal conic projection in which the line you draw is the way you go. This is the charting used on aircraft. As with any flat map of a round surface it has areas of inaccuracy. Sectionals are most inaccurate (stretched) in the six inches at the top and bottom. The center ten inches of the sectional for 5 inches up to five inches down from center is somewhat contracted in size.
A sailing ship's speed over a nautical a mile was, historically, measured by means of a knotted (knots) rope tied to a log. A sand filled timing glass would be used to measure the time from leaving the log dead (much as a dead man might appear) in the water (dead reckoning) and the number of evenly spaced knots passed along the rope. All of this would be recorded in the logbook. Since the chronometer was yet to be invented, sailors had no way to determine longitude except by this dead reckoning. Within crude limits, speed and compass indications could be used to determine estimated distance and estimated longitude. Magellan in 1519 had access to charts, globe, theodolites, quadrants, compasses, magnetic needles, hourglasses, and timepieces. He was unable to determine exact longitude.
An 18th Century a chronometer (weighed over 36 pounds) was first used to get longitude. A chronometer differs from a clock or watch because it has a temperature adjustment for greater accuracy. Captain Cook in 1768 had three different clocks for his voyage. In 1779 he sailed with 4 chronometers and a nautical almanac which enabled him to determine longitude.
The very first effort to make a calculator was financed by
the British to make the making of the nautical almanac easier.
The effort was stopped when the mechanical calculator was only
a year from being completed. The original design was completed
in 1991 and found to work accurately. Interesting to speculate
where the world would be had it been completed in the 1700s.
The complete story of the chronometers and the
failure of the British to follow up with a 'computer' is in a small book "Longitude" now available as a pocket book.
30 years ago I knew a pharmacist who spent his evenings at
an all-night pharmacy working out prime numbers on rolls of butcher
paper with a pencil. Did we miss a 300-year head start on computers
by so little?
Revolutions per minute - rpm First counted by paddle wheel ship captains._____________________
The E-6B was more created than invented by Phillip Dalton in the early 1930s. It was initially called "The Dalton Dead reckoning Computer" . The exact derivation of E6B is not known but the E-6B has become the generic name for a vast number of similar devices, which include a circular slide rule and a sliding wind angle ground speed plotter. The Dalton E-6B was developed from a large shipboard device for handheld use aboard aircraft. My first E-6B, which is still in the family, is from WWII and made of solid brass with enameled engraving. A quality piece. Plastic E-6Bs became common later in the war. Aluminum and cardboard came later as the E-6B became obsolete with the advent of electronic E6Bs.
Dalton invented several flight computers before the design that we all know so well, but they were NOT derived from a shipboard device. (A much earlier - 1917 - very popular flight computer was, however, so it's easy for people to think all F/Cs came from marine usage. Some of the navigation principles are the same, of course.)
His "Model J" was first bought in quantity by the
US Army Air Corps in very early 1940, I believe, and it was given
the designation of a navigation device "E" along with
the "-6B". Even though there was an "E-6A"
made, a very real possiblity is that the "6B" was arbitrarily
settled on because that was the British/Canadian/ Australian
prefix for aerial navigation devices. (e.g "6B/245"
for one example RAF flight computer)
The first aircraft plotter was invented by a Naval officer named Weems. He adapted the much larger shipboard plotter into a plastic model which was like a ruler with an arc of 180-degrees in the center. The ruler itself had measures for the WAC and sectional charts in both nautical and statute miles. A post-WWII improvement was to make a rotating azimuth dial with arrows indicating the route direction. Until recently all plotters were of a plastic that would be destroyed by heat. Protect any plotter from the sun.
"Plain flaps were first used on the S.E.-4 biplane built by the Royal Aircraft Factory in 1914..." "The single slotted flap was developed around 1920 independently by three different people in different places...G.V. Lachmann, a young german pilot...Sir Frederick Handley Page in England...O. Mader, an engineer working for Junkers in Germany."
Why the ILS Came Late
For many years the search was on for a zero-zero system. This has only in the recent past become possible. Once a 200-foot minimum was accepted as the best available things began to improve.
In 1918 the first marker beacon was demonstrated. In the early twenties the first four-course radio range was demonstrated. This could get you from point to point but not on the ground.
In 1928 the concept of an ILS with the heavy equipment on the ground and the indicators in the airplane was accepted.A cooperative effort by the Guggenheim Foundation used Jimmy Doolittle to contact the Sperry Gyroscope Company to get them to develop two needed instruments. Sperry created an artificial horizon (Now called an attitude indicator) and a gyrocompass (Now called a heading indicator) which gives precise and easily determined information. Doolittle used a localizer beam to guide him to the airport and a fan-marker as a means for determining distance from touchdown. The last remaining necessary instrument came from the Kollsman Instrument Company. In August of 1929 Kollsman perfected a barometric adjustable altimeter that gave vertical information within 20 feet. At the end of September
Doolittle flew a localizer approach to touchdown
At the same time a high frequency glide slope beam was being developed at College Park, Maryland which by 1931was blended into a three element landing system consisting of a localizer, marker beacons and glide slope. Marshal S. Boggs made a blind landing on a runway whereas Doolittle had landed on a large field. Boggs' localizer was accurate
to 20' at the threshold. The glide slope was accurate to five feet when 30' above the ground. Boggs made over 100
such landings but always with a safety pilot. Jim Kinney took over for Boggs who was killed while on vacation. Kinney completed the first IFR flight from takeoff to landing by flying in clouds from College Park to Newark. Lindbergh made two ILS approaches using a safety pilot. The project was killed in 1933 by the withdrawal of federal funds due to the depression.
When the federal government dropped the ball the airlines were interested but an ILS system cost over sixteen thousand dollars and $600 more to equip an airplane. Then when the expensive airmail contracts were canceled, the U.S. Army began flying the mail. In five months there were 66 accidents. Then the government became interested in a landing system, not the ILS, but an NDB system with markers. Using this system Lt. Al Hegenberger made the first solo blind landing ever at McCook Field Ohio. Because of Hegenberger this system became the government's favored system and it was so primitive that it could be federally financed because it was not an airport improvement. The airlines were unhappy, knowing that the ILS was waiting in the wings.
TWA developed and tested a high frequency ILS system in Germany but again it was not precise enough for the airlines. In 1935 some scientists who had left the previous government ILS started their own company and developed a portable ILS that could be moved from runway to runway. This system was supported by and adopted by the Navy for land use.
In 1934, United Airlines acquired the original Newark ILS equipment and moved it to Oakland, CA. This was installed
as a permanent ILS as modified in 1936. In March of 1936 R.T. Freng in a Boeing 247 flew an autopilot coupled ILS approach. Over 3000 such approaches were flown over the next two years. Other airlines, and the military services
When five airline crashes occurred in December the government initiated a well financed airport modernization program. In 1938 the first passenger-carrying airline landed at Pittsburg, PA using the ILS in actual conditions. The first United-Bendix ILS systems were installed at Burbank, Oakland, Kansas city, Chicago, Cleveland and Newark. In June of 1938 the 1926 was erased from the books. However, before WWII began only one government installed ILS existed. During the war eight civil airports and 29 army fields got ILS installed. During the war the military favored the Ground Controlled Approach system which was radar controlled from the ground. This system is expensive and manpower intensive. The ILS finally won out but only as a low approach landing system. I have read of one instance where the portable version of the ILS saved a C-46 on one engine in a Himalayas airport of northern India during WWII.
James Watt of steam engine fame came up with the term horsepower as a measure of engine power. Once horsepower is the power required to raise 330 pounds verftically 100 feet in one minute. Horses were used to lift loads out of mines, hence the definition.
WWI Aviation Web Site (flight instruction, too)
Dayton, Ohio the Birthplace of Aviation
1918 Charles F. Kettering, founder of Delco and National Cash Register, built the 'Bug'. It was a small plane for carrying explosives for a certain engine time before shedding its wings. The first 50 cruise missiles were too late to be used in WWI.
Orville Wright helped. Kettering in creation of the first practical retractable landing gear, closed cockpit, cantilever (no exterior support) wing structure and a flight-adaptive airfoil a la F-104.
McCook field of Dayton was place, during 1920's, of first high-altitude flights with propellers, engines, superchargers, oxygen use, pressurized cockpit, G-LOC (loss of consciousness) force studies, oxygen pressure suits and rocket aircraft design.
1932 Captain Hegenberger made first radio aided solo blind instrument flight to a landing at Wright Field.
The Stearman-Hammond was the first full sized remotely controlled aircraft (Hiller Museum San Carlos and a propeller over my fireplace.
--A First: In 1908 Henry Farman circled Europe and coined the term ‘aileron’.
WWII Kamikazi Statistics
--1228 suicide missions
--34 ships sunk
--288 ships damaged
--15,000 casualties with 1/3 killed.
American Aviation Statistics
–The Japanese do better on ships than the Americans
--American aviation kills and injures far more than do the Japanese.
Santos-Dumont flew a combustion engine powered balloon before 1900. His aircraft was so difficult to fly that he could not use his pocket watch so the first wristwatch was created in Paris by Louis Cartier for his use. Of interest is the fact that my 2003 jeans still have a pocket watch pocket. It is possible that his suicide was due to depression over the military use of flying machines in 1932.
I fought the celestial vs electronics battle through most of WWII. I was with the B-29s initially in India as radar bombardment mechanic. I had learned LORAN at Boca Raton, FL and it became my duty to try to keep the APN-4 in my group (468th) operational. The set was in two units each the size of a 19" TV. 80 vacuum tubes made it operate until higher altitudes caused electrical malfunctions. Only good for 600 miles at night in the best of conditions. Reliability always in doubt due to tube failure, vibration of connections, corrosion and operator skills..
The Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) of WWII had eight codes in a 10"x 10"x 10" case which also included a thermite inertial bomb to destroy the interior on crash impact. British code name was "Parrot" which is why we still squawk. We now have our transponder soon to be all Mode S to tie in with the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and Traffic Information Service-Broadcast (TIS-B) which will give you all the information that ATC now has and spells the doom to RADAR as we now know and use it.
By ship to Tinian in the Pacific. Assigned to 58th Wing Training center to teach LORAN. New B-29s coming over with APN-9 which was only the size of one 19' TV and ‘only’ 40 tubes.. New planes were taken over by senior officers and older planes assigned to new arrivals. Result was that I was given the job of training old navigators on the -9 and the new on the -4. As a Corporal instructor I ranked my students none of whom wanted to learn about something they had previously learned not to trust. Tough teaching assignment but made me want to become a teacher.
Much of the 1400 mile flight to Japan was at lower levels with stations on islands like Ulithi. Good LORAN range and accuracy. Flights required passage through weather fronts that reduced use of celestial navigation and increased reliance on electronic. We even had first inertial systems which read out longitude and latitude as an odometer in the newer planes.. My plane has a hard-wired LORAN the size of cigar box. Last military LORANs were in the APN-30s. Still celestial ruled with electronics a step-child category.
At the end of the war I was seeing the birth of DME as the slant range to a
bomb release point. RNAV as used to put bearing and distance to radar visible
target to hit non-radar target. Even the first German radio controlled bomb
was instrumental in sending me to India as a replacement.
At war's end I was operator/mechanic of a supersonic bombardment simulator that had the Nagasaki chart installed for practice bombing runs in the immediate vicinity of Nagasaki. Device used tank of water with underwater maps made of sand and beads to give radar-scope pictures of Japan by using a vibrating underwater crystal to send to scale transmissions and echoes back to the scope.
Questions Looking for Answers
I wonder why early English and American aircraft propellers turn in different directions?
History of navigation
Navigation required to get across the room
DR required at night
Kinds of navigation
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Continued on 6.38 Learning More from History