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3N THE WiliS OF Till mm.
I. T .HITTING THE CLOUDY : TRAIL. FUOHT GF THE BHISTGL eS-PLAHE. TOIALSmAT BELMONT.
, (By. Our -Aerial Representative.)
We left Perth' yesterday afternoon at 2.30, o'clock— Mr. Smith (manager here ? for the Bristol Aeroplane Co.), Mr. . -Hammond (chief pilot), Mrs. Smith,. and (Mrs. Hammond, and press representatives— encased in a bound ing motor-car, and' we hit out for the Belmont Racecourse. The day -was hot,, close, and. unplea sant; in' fact, we thought it was quite
the, day for an aerial flight. But Air man Hammond was dissatisfied: 'Too gusty,' : said he, sniffing impatiently; 'it blows about 20 miles an hour for a minute..pr two.vand - then -.blasts -, along at about 35 or 30. ' Too treacherous! No, I don't believe in taking unnecesr sary.-;cKan.ces.' By 'this time we had arrived at the racecourse, .and the buzz waggon hav ing been safely hitched to the nearest post, we made our' way to where' the Bristol biplane was stabled in an im provised 'hangar.' . There she sat a bewildering fantasia of wings, planes, and manifold wires,' vyhich crossed1 and re-crossed the me chanism like' wheel-tracks on a busy street- -section. Without her motor and propeller , she ' looked like a- graceful butterfly transfixed 'fby.'the pin of an omnivorous natural ist. Mr. Hammond leant affectionately on her frame work, and. casually strok. ing the Egyptian cotton which forms the covering of the planes, he told us something that was doar £o his heart. Be it known that Mr. Joseph Ham mond-is- a certificated Pilote-Aviateur of the most .finished style, and is never content; to be near the ground. . He 'made what must be a record for
French schools of aviation 'by qualify ing' ::; for : his pilot's certificate in a period of 10 days. He was born at Feilding,1 New Zealand, and educated at Wellington' University, and then went to Australia. From* this occupa tion he turned to gold digging in Klondike, and trapped in- Alaska. 'For some ^ix months -after this,. he- toured in the United States as a cov/boy in the.. famou8'-- show of ^Buffalo' Bill. Dur ing;, his latest residence in Australia, he has been enga'Stjd-in the most fear some and -hazardous occupation' of all — that', of/ trying to pick ?? winners ? at the recent Christmas and New Tear race meeting. 'See that- motor there?' said .Mr. Hammond, pointins to a queer angular contraption of , iron and' steel, V'you ?wouldn't- think that cost £525 delivered in London, would , you?' We certainly did nqt. 'That's .what seems, to me ;. to . bs absurd ., In the conditions imposed by the ; ? Commonwealth .Government who, in '?,'! offering, a prize for an Australian machine, ^demands that the' motorinust bo mado locally. Why, even the
English can't make motors — they have 'to1 be- imported from Fi-ance.' Then Mr. Hammond talks of. the Present and the Great To Be. Ho out lined the possibilities of the air ma chine- when once, automatic stability ?had 'been obtained. He showed. how, ?having subjugated the elements '.'.of i earth, fire, and water, man, [ 'sighing for. other. worlds. to conquer,1.' essayed the sovereignty, over the air, and -by the intrepid exploits of men like the late Hon. C. S. Rolls, Hubert Latham, Claude Graham-White, Louis- Paulham, Glenn Curtis,s,.,and. others, 'lords of the lion heart and eagle eye,' have g-one far towards the attainment of what was deemed the impossible. '' - Puck's boast in -the : 'Midsummer Night's Dream': — 'I'llput a girdle round the earth In forty minutes,' was, iii Shakespcare'9 clay, a fanciful conception. The wnndprs of wireless' and aviation hayemade it quite a pos sible reality. It is only a question of establishing a sufficient number of 're fitting stations for a girdle to 'be
cinctured round the globe by the aerial modeof locomotion. By the way, it was interesting to note that the very machine ire were inspecting was flown by 'Mr. Lorraine, actor-aviator, some months, ago in England, in a -series 'of experiments in wireless telegraphy. 'This machine,' said Mr. Sydney Smith, 'can be fitted with wireless, so that messages can' be transmitted from the. machine to the ground at distances up to 10 miles. There is no receiving apparatus, however.' \ During the long wait, while the mechanics *were trying to rig the pro peller and motor, Mr. Hammond talked of the absorbing fascination.' 'and glamor of — Sailing with supreme , dominion ?Through the nzure deep of air; and, the exhilarating sense of persona! freedom and of mastery over the infinite. 'What gives ,mev confidence?' an swered; he. 'Why, I gain confidence in the same way as a successful bil liard-player obUins ? the se/ise of touch, in '., the , same way as 'the 'swimmer learns the art .of aquatic equilibrium. It was' when. I. got the fee'l of the air that I got confidence.
Just at the moment when I realised that the air was as navigable as the earth and the sea, did I then know .that I .had the touch of the aviator.' 'What is the sensation like? 'Well, when you rise suddenly, it is just like gojng up in a lift. Ever- had any narrow escape.0? No, and I don't want any either. T 'am always too careful about tfco weather conditions before 'I go up.' - . During ;.the Ion1? and weary wait, the biplane, and' Mr: -v Hammond went through the process of photography. There Is a seat for a passenger ri'ght 'behind the pilot, and into this Mrs.
Hammond clambered at the .behest of the camera man.' The romantic^ side of' the' air machirieTwasTaf once' re vealed. The time will, surely come when the air-man Romeo will flyvyritn'. his Juliet into;,some quite urbarf-'Part of .' Mars, where nov irate ?'father'.'cbuld even trace them. 'A's Mr. and ? ilrs. Hanimohd- faced the -lens, the para phrased words of the old ditty came back to -us: — ? , ??'And. you'll look- sweet Upon the seat Of a biplane, built for' two.' Mrs.' Hammond Is a* plucky lady, ?quite' the right '? sort 6tl an aviator's better half. .. She is not nervous when her husband fties-Vnot a .bit .'In fact,1 she has gone 'up many times her self. ' . 'Was I frighte-ned?' laughed she. 'No, I have never been : frightened yet. People have often tried to scare me; but they've never succeeded.' Mr. Smith supplied some very, in teresting particulars of the bi-plane before us. , It rests' on two wheels, smaller than the wheels of a bicycle. The' length of the biplane from eleva
tor to tail is about 40ft., while it is about lift, high, and covers a- mea surement in width of about 34ft. The company at whose works, in Bristol, it was built is, it is stated, now supply ing a number o!£ machines to foreign' Governments, ''and Ihe object of , the Australian tour, and of a similar tour i now:, being' made in India, is topopu larise it for defence and ordinary pur poses.' The.'.mac.hine-caTries a Gnome engine, which is of 50-horse power, and weighs only . 1-finlb., and which is rsaid to be the lightest engine for' its horse power in the world. The -lightness of the machine may'-be' gauged when it is sta'ted that it 'weighs' in all only,J001b.) It is provided with two comfortable seats — one for the pilot, and another immediately ? behind ' for a passenger, although, when' -fitted' up for military; use, it provides 'more 'seating accom modation and a- greater capacity for fuel and oil. -The propellor, which ocr cupies a plaice behind ; -the pilot, is coupled on to the engine which moves it. The machine runs on the two small wheels until it attains ,a jspeed of about 30 miles an hour on the ground,' and in the air its movements rest. with the pilot. 'We'll take passengers' up tomor row, weather '' -permitting,' . -remarked Mr. Hammond, 'an dv we, give them-, a flight, the duration- of which will be in accordance with their desire and fee., No, there is no-danger. I wouldn't go up myself if there was?'
About seven o'clock, the 'biplane left ?the earth and skimmed along, 'pro- pelled by a wind, .15 miles an 'hour strong. It looked little different 'to what it appeared on the ground— Ex- cept that. 'height' made it smaller.'; 'But its evolutions fascinated one. T^itht the front elevators at different angles, thus offering a suitable resistance 'to' the wind, the machine rose, and rose, and rose, until she was many hundreds of feet above the racecourse. Then Mr. Hammond skimmed alo.rig with' horizontal elevators~-over the river anil over the ' secreation ground. And curiously. enough, a sreat grey-headed hawk rose from some adjacent marshes, and in its evolutions seemed to vie with the great and mysterious visitor from the masters of the air. We use the word t'curious' because il has ,been found tha't air navigation, has made its greatest advance towards
ictual mastery of the elements through i discovery by a ? German naturalist He found-'by a rigid comparison of, fcer- tain migratory birds' movements with Ihe weather map that their flights were invaria-bly started by winds emanating from two kinds of , air wheels, which meteorology dis tinguishes ' as cyclones and anti cyclones, -working together. . Therefore, it was curious and: singu lar yesterday evening to notice that when the biplane . swooped towards earth, the hawk folded ifs wings and dropped . like a bnljet- When the, machine skimmed the bird, just levelled; its wings and poised in . the air tin- a' graceful sublimity. . '/ After circling foV some time, and driving down'the wind1 at a rate' of about 60 miles an hour, the pilot aviator descended where he wanted to. with the greatest ease, anil the hawk precipitated itself away across the span of water towards the thick woods.