Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/94

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78

��Popular Science Monthly

���J Press Illus. Serv.

Two extremes in airplane types — the big bomb-carrier and the fast single-seated fighter. See key diagram below

��DIRECTIONAL RUDDER

���AUXILIARY REINFORC- ING STRUTS TO HELP SUPPORT AILERONS

��REINFORCEMENT ON

LOWER PLAIN TO

SUPPORT WEIGHT OF

BOMBS

��LANDING GEAR IN DU- PLICATE TO SUPPORT GREAT WEIGHT

��MINIMUM OF STRUTS

FORMING TRIANGLE

AND DISPENSING WITH

SOME WIRES

��of the war — monoplanes with tractor pro- pellers, biplanes with both tractor and pusher propellers, machines with and with- out streamline bodies, fast racers, and slow, cross-country flyers. One would suppose that the military brains of Europe would have foreseen that some effort would be made to beat off a prying airscout. That it was foreseen, the rather crude anti- aircraft artillery evolved before the war proves; but.no one could foresee how combats at a height of ten and twenty thousand feet would be fought, or how a machine should be designed for effective fighting. Maneuvers in time of peace may teach much, but blank cartridges can never teach as much as cold lead.

First of all, it was discovered that for bombing raids, for reconnaissance and for fighting, different types of machines must be employed. Your bomb-carrier cannot be much faster than ninety miles an hour — slow ,as speeds go nowadays. Such craft must be protected by fast fighting'machines during a long over-land flight to some hostile railway junction which is to be wiped off the map. Your scout and artil-

��lery-fire control machine must stay aloft for hours; it must carry much fuel; there- fore, while it may be faster than a bomb- carrier, it cannot be designed for high speed.- Slow machines must be protected from attack on overland journeys by fast fighters. And so the fighting machine was evolved — a marvelously swift machine, making as much as 130 miles an hour and as quick as a dragon-fly in darting and twisting about. Reconnaissance, artillery-control ma- chines, fighters — all are armed with ma- chine guns. But only the fighters, single and double seated, are built specifically for combat. The others fight only when they must — in some situation of dire necessity.

How a Difficult Problem Was Solved

There was no fighting in the air during the Tripolitan and Balkan campaigns; but in this war there was air fighting almost from the beginning. At first rifles and pistols were used. They proved worthless. A machine-gun alone could be used effec- tively, something that would squirt death like water from a hose. But the use of a

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