Nineteen new "safety booths," installed in New Jersey plants of the Propeller Division of Curtiss-Wright Corporation, keep operators in cool comfort while turning out difficult and dangerous propeller finishing jobs. Air conditioned to carry off harmful dust particles, the cubbyholes are arranged in series with one man to each unit.
Petite periphrastic Madame Chiang Kai-shek, whose recent speaking tour sent civic leaders and reporters scurrying for dictionaries, added to her unorthodox expressions during a visit to the Sperry Gyroscope company last month. Studying the manufacture of automatic pilots, searchlights, directors, and Klystron tubes which serve China, Madame Chiang startled Reginald E Gillmor, Sperry prexy, by declaring, "I never knew machinery could be so beautiful."
Required reading for all army personnel on flying duty who hold aeronautical ratings, is the new, simplified Pilot's Information File, 240 pages of all the basic regulations, facts and figures a flyer must know. Before each flight, such men must certify that "they have read and understand all instruction and information contained in PIF." To keep pace with new rules and equipment, the Safety Education Division of the AAF Flight Control Command has published the book in loose-leaf form. Necessary revisions are being published on a daily basis, an up-to-date table of contents will be issued every three months. Every pilot in the continental US gets one.
On their thirty-sixth natal day, the USAAF birthday celebration consisted of pounding harder at the Axis and Tojo. A major birthday wish shared by the Air Corp and civilians alike, is a quick finish and not a photo one. World's most powerful air team, born on August 1, 1907, was comprised of one captain and two enlisted men. The original order states that the aeronautical division was created to "study the flying machine and the possibility of adapting it to military purposes." Seven months later, Army requested a plane "which could fly a maximum of forty miles an hour and be able to carry two men whose combined weights would not exceed 350 lbs." Far cry from today's expenditures, two such flying machines, the report concluded, would put the USA ahead of any foreign power at a cost of $45,000.
Unburdened by endowments, caps and gowns, diplomas and other fancy academic trimmings, an American Air Force fighter group in New Guinea is brushing up on English, math, under professors who are always willing to excuse students for call to battle. Favorite subject, incidentally, is letter-writing.
The manufacturers found the way to turn out Flying Fortresses in quantity, and the Army is finding the assembly route in turning out Flying Fortress pilots. The broad new transitional method of changing the student pilot from two-engined trainers to the biggest flying battleship, requires that a pilot first prove he's capable of handling the immense ship, even before he's sent to operational school. Already a commissioned officer, he's still subjected to more flying instruction, more ground school. Finals consist of a ten-hour long-range mission, including day and night sky work, partly under poor weather conditions just fitting the boys for the real thing that's bound to come.
Pilots of North American's A-36 have coined their own name for the swift little plane that flooded the skies during the charging of Sicily. It's the Invader and they hope to make the nickname stick as the battle line rolls north into Germany.
Widely circulated by news services, reproduced in the Douglas Airview, flashed momentarily to thousands of newsreel addicts, this picture evoked little if any particular comment. It is, however, the most important single picture made in the course of President Roosevelt's visit to Mexico late in spring. The model plane presented to Roosevelt by executives of the Douglas plant in Tulsa, is actually the seventh combat plane in the Douglas lineup against the Axis. Apparently, military censors permitted its wide circulation on the assumption that the model reproduced the Douglas A-20 Havoc. No desktop destroyer or presidential bauble, however, the ship shown in the picture is the successor to the A-20 series. That it offers little solace to Schicklgruber is apparent in the extremely long nacelles, dorsal and ventral turrets. Aviation enthusiasts agree that these nacelles must house something bigger than announced two-row radials, that the depth and position of these turrets will hardly accommodate individual gunners.
The Mustang is a competent fighting ship these days. Now equipped with four 20-mm cannon, she's extra effective can explode locomotives, destroy small merchant ships, and her fighter quality hasn't been impaired one iota.
En route to England, after strafing the French coast, flak struck the control cables of a B-17 and her pilot gave orders to lighten ship in order to make a sea landing close to shore. Busy tossing everything overboard, when Focke-Wulfs swooped down, two wounded gun sergeants heat off the enemy, stood at their posts until Myrtle could make a successful sea landing. Credit goes to Staff Sergeant Edward Clements and Technical Sergeant Edward Maslowski.
Newest wrinkle in aiding air-swinging paratroopers to find supplies at night in enemy territory, are lightweight, weather resistant Tenite plastic lamps. Attached to the small parachute each paratrooper wears, the light flashes automatically as the chute opens, is so tough that bumpy landings cannot break it. Enabling the 'chutist to see various packages of provisions, first aid supplies, weapons, he's not required to have cat eyes as he lands on the Sicilian coast.
Developing nocturnal eyesight is prime requisite for AAF pilots who are now required to have three hours of night flying. Given during the seventh training week, instruction includes two hours in dual flight, one hour of solo. Purpose of extra training means more efficiency when the pilots climb aboard the B-17s and P-38s.
American youth will welcome Wallis Rigby's new book, Easy to Build Models of Warplanes of the World, which includes cut-out materials for sixteen accurate scale model, six shelf models in full-color battle camouflage, ten flying models of the world's most famous fighting craft. Rigby has designed, built wood, metal, and plastic models, flown them in international competition.
Already terrorizing Axis cities and pilots, Boeing's Flying Fortress has recently added new talents to its tactical equipment. The B-17 now parades external bomb racks which boost bomb capacity to a ten-ton peak. These fork-like racks rest on the bottom of the fuselage near the wheels, are utilized in limited range operations.
If, and when, North African Arabs come to the US, they're going to find this country one big Texas. An air force squadron of Texans has passed the word around that our national anthem is "Deep in the Heart of Texas", that the world's most beautiful girls reside in the Lone Star state, and that the other "47" are just assisting our southern neighbor in winning this war.
Super-secret fighter planes, designed to meet tomorrow's combat conditions, have started rolling off assembly lines to take their place in the stepped-up Allied aerial offensive. VP of WPB, Charles E Wilson declined to reveal any details, acknowledged that these new sky battlers combined new design and modification of existing craft.
This column was originally published in the September, 1943, issue of Air News magazine, vol 5, no 3, p 39.
Photo is not credited, but the article attributes it to Douglas.