Will There Be a Plane
in Every Garage?
Will The Postwar Planes Be Like?
The personal plane of the postwar era
will not be a super-duper Buck Rogerish aerial jalopy, capable of flying in any
direction. What you can expect is a sound, simple, and safe airplane, built along
the lines of the “grasshoppers” and “flying jeeps” now
being used by the British and American armies for liaison work and artillery spotting.
It will be like the Taylorcraft, Aeronca, Stinson, Fairchild, and Piper Cub planes
which were popular before the war, but will carry the latest improvements that
have been learned from wartime experience.
These aircraft will combine
as high performance as is consistent with reasonable safety, comfort, and cost.
They will be practically foolproof, but not darn-fool proof.
postwar plane for private use will not be much harder to fly than an automobile
is to drive—although the differences probably will always be considerable.
Most private planes will probably be about 20 feet long and stand 6 to 10 feet
high. They will have single air-cooled engines averaging about 65 to 75 horsepower
for two-place and 125 to 250 horsepower for four- or five-place planes. They will
be capable of climbing about 1,000 feet in 60 seconds, yet may be landed at safe,
slow speeds. Most of the postwar family planes will have four seats, since the
public seems to favor that number of accommodations.
All plastic or none?
Many of these planes will have features that are new to the light-plane field.
For instance, they may have retractable landing gear that increases the speed
of the plane as much as 20 to 30 miles an hour, permitting the use of lower horse-power
engines; sound-insulation in the cabin to reduce the noise from the motor and
permit conversation without shouting; controlled cabin heating; plastic domes
and larger side windows, giving the pilot and passengers an unrestricted view;
streamlined fuselages to conform with easy airflow; and perhaps tricycle landing
Postwar private airplanes will be made of plastic-bonded veneer,
plywood, aluminum, or fabric. Molded plastics and other types of plastics developed
in the war may possibly find their way into a number of private plane models.
The widespread use of plastics in these light planes will depend, however, upon
the size of the market, since plastic dies and molds are expensive. Unless the
production is high, it will be cheaper to use some other material. Some think
that plastics will reduce the cost of airplanes; others doubt this.
familiar solid wood propeller is cheap and lightweight. It will be standard equipment
on most of the private airplanes. However, variable pitch, automatically controlled,
metal propellers will be available to those who can afford them.
planes will probably be of three general types, each designed for a particular
group of private flyers and built to meet their requirements.
will be airplanes of conventional design but with greatly improved reliability
and performance. These private aircraft will carry from two to eight passengers,
and travel at speeds of from 90 to 200 miles an hour, with a cruising range of
400 to 600 miles. Some of them will have twin engines, but the majority will be
single-engine planes. In price, they may range from $1,500 to $20,000. These planes
will be ideal for the live-wire aviation enthusiasts who use their planes for
sport, recreation, or business.
Next, there will be medium-priced, medium-performance
“armchair” planes. They will be slower and less maneuver-able, but
simpler and safer to fly. This type of plane was developed before the war, and
is designed for the average amateur aviator, who is less interested in the finer
points of flying than in getting about for a Sunday spin or a short cross-country
trip. These planes do not stall or spin. They get their spinproof characteristics
through “two control” operation, instead of three. This means that
the ailerons and rudder controls are synchronized and rudder pedals eliminated.
Equipped with tricycle landing gear, they are easy to get off the ground and to
land. Aircraft of this type will carry two or more passengers at speeds of from
90 to 140 miles an hour. They will probably cost from $1,500 to $10,000—with
the great majority of the planes at the lower price levels.
A modern version of the airplane which Orville and Wilbur Wright flew at Kittyhawk
may be offered on the postwar private plane market. This is the pusher plane,
on which the propeller faces to the rear, behind the pilot and passenger cabin.
There are no engines or propellers out front to hinder the view when flying, and
the danger of someone getting tangled up in the whirling propeller blades when
the plane is on the ground is greatly reduced. In other respects—performance,
construction, and cost—the pusher plane is quite similar to the conventional
planes just mentioned.
you are nautically minded, you’ll probably have your eye on a flying boat
or an amphibian plane. Amphibians have the advantage of being at home on land
or water. This gives the owner a wider choice than a land plane does of home,
base and places to visit.
Although they are more costly than land planes
of corresponding power or capacity, all-metal amphibians may prove popular with
men who use their planes for business trips. The higher cost may be justified
by the plane’s utility value.
Most amphibians will have two motors,
cruise at around 140 miles an hour, and fly as high as 15,500 feet. The cabin
of one of these planes will be the miniature of a big airliner cabin, accommodating
a pilot and several passengers. There will be ample space for baggage, salesman’s
sample cases, or what you will. In fact, it would be possible for one man to set
up housekeeping in the cabin.
Landplanes, like those mentioned above,
can readily be converted into seaplanes by taking off the landing gear and substituting
pontoons or floats. Although floats are not cheap, a converted landplane is less
expensive than an amphibian.
The unfamiliar types
will be the more revolutionary types of aircraft. These include helicopters, jet-propelled
planes, rocket ships, and cars that fly or roadable airplanes with folding or
detachable wings which are at home either in the air or on the ground. Engineering
problems still remain to be solved before these new types can be offered to private
airplane buyers. It is probable that at least five or ten years will pass before
any of this group finds widespread use.
For many years aeronautical engineers
and designers have been toying with ideas for an automobile that can fly or a
plane that can be driven along highways. Eventually this very desirable hybrid
may be born. To date, however, the results have been contraptions that were neither
very good automobiles nor very good planes. In roadability, comfort, and safety
they did not meet automotive standards. The extra weight of four wheels, power
transmission, and other parts needed for ground travel seriously handicapped their
performance in the air.
One of the most practical ideas advanced in this
field has been an automobile, which looks more like a plane fuselage on wheels
than a present-day car, fitted with detachable wings, which can be stored at the
airport, leaving the car free to be driven home.
Sunday supplement airplanes
If private airplanes could take advantage of all the technological advancements
coming out of the war, the result would probably be a craft driven by a stream
of gas at speeds as high as 550 miles an hour. It might recall fantastic Sunday
supplement pictures of future planes.
It would be a jet-propelled plane,
looking something like a cross between the P-38 Lightning and the P-40 Warhawk.
It would be equipped with electronic anticollision devices and television screens
that would make possible a perfect three-point landing in dense fog. It would
have a push-button radio for instrument flying. The plane would accommodate four
persons in comfortable chairs, whose positions could be adjusted to suit the passengers’
Such a plane, with possibly an engine instead of a jet-propelled
unit, seems to be what the American public dreams of in peacetime private planes.
Its cost, however, would place it well beyond the reach of all except the most
What’s the truth about helicopters?
Right about here someone usually asks, “What about helicopters?”
The helicopter has a future, there’s no doubt about that. Its basic principle
has been demonstrated to be feasible. Recognized authorities agree, however, that
certain engineering problems remain to be solved before a practical helicopter
can be put on the market for family purchase. This will require perhaps ten years
of research and development, perhaps less. At any rate, don’t expect to
go down and pick out your helicopter on V-Day—engineers have a lot more
work to do on it before it’s ready for merchandising.
can be either a useful everyday convenience or a luxury—depending on where
you live. If your home is in a suburban or rural district, the helicopter can
take you to and from work daily in comfort and with speed. You won’t get
tied up in a traffic jam or have to stop for red lights or wait for a ferryboat.
You will not need an elaborate landing field. Any level plot of ground 50 feet
in diameter will suffice. This plot need not be adjacent to your helicopter garage.
It can be several blocks away, for it is thought that helicopters will be built
so that they can be driven along streets for short distances. Naturally, if you
live in a city or congested area you will not find everyday use for the helicopter.
You might use it for pleasure trips over the week end or holidays. In this case
your helicopter will be a luxury.
Will helicopters replace small planes?
the standpoint of operating economy, the helicopter has every advantage over conventional
airplanes of like size. The owner must be willing, however, to forego speed for
low operation cost. While the helicopter can be used for cross-country travel,
it moves through the air at comparatively slow speeds-the top being about 150
miles an hour. The conventional private plane will get you over long hops faster.
Today, the best engineering brains and powerful financial interests are pushing
the development of the helicopter. It is impossible to predict what the outcome
Luxurious cabin furnishings, upholstered seats, roll-down windows,
and most of the conveniences found in the better automobiles will probably be
incorporated in the helicopter. Four-passenger helicopters, completely furnished,
and equipped with 300- to 400-horsepower engines, will sell for around $10,000.
The nominal price tag on the two-passenger utility helicopter has been estimated
to be about $5,000. If there is a big demand for the “flying windmill”
the price may go even lower.
In addition to small, private-model helicopters,
larger ones capable of carrying 40 persons, powered by 2,500-horsepower engines,
and with rotors (the windmill-like propellers overhead) that cut 70-foot arcs,
are in the realm of possibility.
The biggest technical problems that hold
back the development of the helicopter are: vibrations of the rotors and of the
smaller propeller on the tail; the automatic stability of the craft; and the speed
and load in relation to the horse-power required. It is also said to have poor
performance at high altitudes.
Is it easy to fly a helicopter?
The experts disagree on whether helicopters are or will be easy for ordinary persons
to learn to fly. On the one hand are the manufacturers, one of whom has announced
postwar production of a helicopter sedan that he says will be easier to operate
than many automobiles. Another, while he doesn’t think helicopters will
be any easier to fly than standard planes, believes that any good motorist can
learn how to do it.
This second manufacturer points out that the beginner
need lift the machine only a few inches off the ground at first in order to move
around slowly and cautiously. In this way he can gain skill and confidence gradually
and without risk.
On the other side of the argument are such men as Grover
Loening, chairman of the helicopter committee of the National Advisory Committee
for Aeronautics. According to Mr. Loening, the helicopter is an even more professional
apparatus than the airplane. He believes that for the next few years it will be
limited to use by professional pilots and aviation companies. “It is not
at all a vehicle to be placed in the hands of the public,” Mr. Loening contends,
and he states that helicopters are hard to learn to fly.
he predicts, will be bought by companies who will hire pilots to fly them for
exploration work and to carry personnel and goods to inaccessible places. The
United States Coast Guard is almost certain to have over 90 percent of its future
air fleet in the form of helicopters.
Will the helicopter replace the
The helicopter will do many things that it is impossible for
a car to do, and it will do many things that the car can do, only much better.
It can land almost anywhere, even on swampy marsh land or on water (with rubber
bag floats). Where it can’t land, as in thick forests or on rough, rocky
terrain, it can hover in mid-air a few feet over the spot and lower a rope ladder
by means of which you can reach the ground.
On the other hand, it would
not be practical for you to jump into a helicopter and flit down to a newsstand
a few blocks away to pick up a Sunday paper. You’d be better off using an
automobile on such a trip through city streets. The auto and the helicopter supplement
each other very well. You can use your car in crowded congested urban areas and
your helicopter for all other travel.
cost, which would you rather have, a conventional airplane, a helicopter, or a
flying boat? Why? Should the helicopter be limited to usage by professional pilots?
Do you think that the helicopter will replace the automobile? Private plane? If
you knew that you would have to wait five years before you could buy a helicopter,
would you invest in a conventional airplane in the meantime or wait until the
helicopter is ready? |
Is Buying a Plane Just Like Buying a Car?