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Climatology and An Abandoned Flying School

Nature volume 101, pages 247248 (30 May 1918) | Download Citation



THE Times of May 20 contains a summary of the third report of the Select Committee on National Expenditure, which gives the material facts about the abortive scheme of the War Office to establish at Loch Doon, Ayrshire, a large school for the training of airmen in gunnery. It is a striking and very expensive example of that incoherence or lack of co-ordination under stress against which the discipline of science as a part of education should be our safeguard. In 1916 the Air Board wanted an aerodrome for special purposes, and found a site at Loch Doon which would fulfil their requirements provided that a peat-bog on the western side of the lake could be drained and certain engineering work carried out on the eastern side. Taken independently, both these conditions could be satisfied, and operations were set on foot. By May, 1917, the estimated cost was 350,000l.; afterwards, large further sums were being asked for to complete the scheme; but, though each item had been separately satisfied, the object was not achieved. The climatic conditions were quite unsuitable for a training school, the local “bumps” were a great drawback for the special purpose of the aerodrome, the conditions of the surrounding area placed intolerable restrictions upon its use, and, on account of the increased speed of flight, the engineering works were already out of date. In January, 19.18, the Air Council decided to cut the loss and abandon the scheme.

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