Books Received | Published:

(1) Airfare of To-day and of the Future (2) A Dictionary of Aircraft

Nature volume 101, pages 123124 (18 April 1918) | Download Citation

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Abstract

(1) THERE are two classes of aeronautical literature: books written by those who thoroughly understand their subject, and intended for the serious attention of those engaged in the industry, and books written to supply the popular demand for sensational literature on a new subject. The latter class generally show a lack of knowledge of the technical side of the subject, as is the case in the first of the works now under review. “Airfare of To-day and of the Future” is a jumble of ideas set down without attempt at law and order, and the technical matter is very often in serious error. For instance, the range of action of aircraft is stated to be about 150 miles, although the book bears the date 1917. The author has very hazy notions of stability, for he states on p. 19 that “in a cloud an aeroplane loses stability, which frequently ends in a nosedive”! The nose-dive is, of course, due to the pilot's loss of his sense of direction, and not in any way to changed stability of the machine. Further, on p. 22 we find: “The main condition that supplies stability to aircraft is ‘lift,’” a statement that surely needs no criticism 1 The author appears to possess a sense of humour, for on p. 13, after cautioning the reader against the erroneous expression “knots per hour,” he states that “a knot is equal to 6080 ft.” The photographs illustrating the work are passable, but the diagram on p. 83 is not. It purports to illustrate the trajectory of a bomb dropped from an aeroplane, but the tangent to the trajectory at the moment the bomb leaves the machine is vertical instead of horizontal! Such errors as those in the volume under review need stern criticism, as they are liable entirely to mislead the unsuspecting reader who takes up (the subject for the first time. Incidentally, there is scarcely a page of the book free from grammatical error.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/101123a0

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