Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/819

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Popular Science Monthly
239 Fourth Ave., New York
Vol.9 December, 1917 $1.50
No.6 Annually

Fishing for Birds of Prey in the Air

The possibilities of a new sport suggested
by the killing of birds by flying machines

By Carl Dienstbach

WHAT is the speed of a bird? Mr. H. H. Clayton, of Bluehill Ob- servatory, saw wild ducks flying at a height of 958 feet. He was at the time engaged in measuring the height and velocity of clouds and was able to estimate the speed of the birds as nearly forty-eight miles an hour. Prof. J. Stebbins and Mr. E. A. Fath made careful observations with the telescope and found that birds pass at rates varying from eighty to one hundred and thirty miles per hour and these were

minimums. Heavy _

bomb-dropping air- planes travel at the rate of ninety miles an hour and fast fighters at nearly one hundred and forty miles. Clayton's ducks were poor air- planes, as flying speeds go. Is it any wonder, then, that even a fast bird should be overtaken in its flight by a still faster machine and killed in an aerial rear-end collision?

It is*a wonder that birds are not more often overtaken as was the unfortunate creature which, as our photograph shows, was caught in

airplanes connected by a long wire, and enmesh the condors and eagles that soar over inaccessible mountain peaks? That ought to be a fascinating sport. Great birds of prey are fighting creatures. Ved- rines found that out some years ago when he flew across the Pyrennes. He was' actually attacked by eagles and had to shoot them with a pistol.

The sport is all the more possible when it

is considered how dependable is the modern

fast flying machine. Chavez, the first man

who ever flew across

Underwood & Underwood

An eagle caught and bracing of a modern

a military flying

machine. With its wide expanse of super- posed wings, criss-crossed with stay-wires, a biplane is not unlike a very wide-meshed net. That being the case, why should it not be possible to trail fine piano-wire nets, spread by small kite-buoys between two

the Alps, was killed in some unknown manner as he de- scended into Italy. But the modern fly- ing machine is more powerfully controll- ed and has a more dependable motor than the airplane in which Chavez made his tragic flight. Witness the daily performances of Aus- trian and Italian avi- ators in flying over the dizzy peaks of the Austrian battle- grounds. Vedrines' experience shows that an eagle regards an airplane much as a dog an automobile — something not to be frightened at but to be challenged.

Think, too, of the possibilities of cap- turing with a net whole flocks of game ducks and geese as well as wild pigeons. Even the use of hook, line and bait, as well as of the net, appears feasible in the air.

held fast in the wire airplane in its flight