Learn about Life in the 1920s

Everybody Up In The Air

ONLY TRIPLE-DYED SKEPTICS can doubt that transportation is taking to the air. At the All-American Aircraft Show in Detroit signs large and small indicated that we shall soon be looking upward for our traffic problems.

It is true that spectators did not visit the Detroit show in the spirit of potential purchasers, as they visit automobile shows. They preferred to stay outside and thrill at demonstration flights by famous aviators. There is still much to be accomplished before the airplane will be domesticated for general private use.

For one thing, prices will have to come well down within four figures. Appropriately enough, the Ford Motor Company makes overtures in this direction, announcing reductions ranging from $7,000 to $10,000 on its most powerful ships, and doubtless other makers will follow this lead. Noting that 104 kinds of plane were exhibited at the show, Mr. Ford predicted that before long aircraft manufacturers will consolidate and there will be fewer types—another move toward price reduction.

Furthermore, air travel must be made safer. To this end, the General Electric Company offers a miraculous device, invented by Dr. E. F. W. Alexanderson, by which pilots flying in blinding fog may be warned against colliding with obstacles on the earth's surface.

The question of making aircraft more practicable never ceases to interest the Government and the airplane manufacturers. The War Department has been conducting successful experiments with ethylene-glycol, a new cooling liquid which would permit radiators to be reduced to one fourth their present size. Taking a shrewd look ahead, the Post Office Department is considering flat roofs for new post offices to allow the landing of planes.

It is interesting to note that we lead all other nations in the production of aircraft; 4,600 American planes were built in 1928. While air travel for a number of years has been more general abroad than in this country, in the manufacture and marketing of planes American business methods make themselves felt. Already sport-model planes are being advertised directly to individual consumers. More or less complete air-consciousness cannot be far behind.

Source: Outlook & Independent - April 24, 1929