A main guiding light of a quarter of a billion candle power.

Eight large lights of five thousand candle power, which light all the buildings in the aerodrome, as well as a strip of five hundred metres in front of the buildings.

Three Neon lights installed above the observation tower forty-five metres high. They are of 7200 candle power, and blink the letter B in Morse for Berlin during the night.

proceeding so fast that it is difficult to prophesy what the Berlin Terminal Station will be like in a year's time. To-day it is a hive of industry day and night, for it is the greatest airway junction in Europe. As passengers arrive you see them consulting the time-tables to see when their connection leaves for cities some hundreds of miles away.

Here it is that we shall get the best view of the Luft Hansa fleet, for all roads lead to Berlin sooner or later.

Thirty red lights showing the bound- Day and night passengers to Malmö aries of the aerodrome.

A red light under the wind-direction sign aboveground.

Special landing lights are installed. Of these there are four green, twelve white, and four red at twenty metres distant on a four-hundred-metre course. These are laid out according to the wind to enable pilots to land in the right place. Pilots must begin to taxi into position by the green lights, and must come to a stop by the red lights.

The hotel in the new buildings at the back of the observation tower is nearly finished and will be opened shortly. There will be four great terraces on the roof to enable the public to watch the movements of the air liners. Special measures are being taken to keep incoming and outgoing passengers separate, and the public is not allowed in the aerodrome. The letter and parcel mail offices are elaborate, and there are special late post boxes for all the cities in Europe.

At the extreme left of the hangars is an open-air café, which is crowded with sight-seers in summer. A new concrete road about a quarter of a mile long has been built from the main entrance of the aerodrome to the Tempelhofer highway, while the Underground is building an aerodrome station to bring people from the centre of the city to the aerodrome in just over ten minutes.

As at Hamburg and Munich, work is

and Copenhagen travel in a large Albatross, a machine constructed in Berlin, and fitted for the night journey with sleepers. Its sumptuous cabin holds eight people comfortably. The two pilots are divided from the cabin by a small partition, in which there is a little trapdoor of glass, so that communication may be easily established. The chairs have high backs of great comfort, which are let down at night to form beds. There is no congestion, and each passenger has ample room. Behind the main cabin are the lavatory and the baggage compartments.

The Rohrbach is a wonderful new machine, which made its maiden journey to Croydon some days ago. It is all metal, nearly all the German airplanes are all metal now, with three large but almost silent engines, so that noise is greatly deadened for the pas


[ocr errors]

The three-engined Junker, another all-metal machine, is a triumph for the German constructor. It is equipped with double control and with wireless telegraph and telephone. The operator, quite distinct from the mechanic, travels behind the partition in the main cabin, and is in touch with land every few minutes of the journey.

The description of so many machines may tire the reader, but the Luft Hansa is by no means satisfied, and legion are the new types under construction.

G-31 is the name of a new all-metal Junker, with three Junker L-5 engines, each of 280 horsepower. This machine is now making its trial flights, and will probably be put into service next spring. It is the acme of luxury. There are three comfortable cabins. One is a smoking compartment, the German must have his cigar at all costs, - the second is a nonsmoker for ladies, and the third is a sleeper. It is similar in some respects to the G-24, but has a load of seven thousand kilogrammes and a cruising speed of 185 kilometres an hour. It is being built at the Junker works at Dessau.

The giant Dornier Wahl and Super Dornier Wahl flying boats are being built at Friedrichshafen.

I hurried to the Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin in time to catch the 10.50 plane for Munich. I found half a dozen machines on the ground, all with their engines roaring. Next to a G-24, making a terrible row with its three powerful engines, I discovered my little fourseater Fokker with the notice 'BerlinLeipzig-Nürnberg-München' hung on the side of the fuselage. I jumped into the only available place, and we took off at 10.51.

I found myself seated next to a German count who spent his life wandering round Europe by air. 'We have you all beat,' he said, puffing meditatively at his cigar. In a few moments we were circling over Berlin, and my guide was pointing out the buildings of interest with as little concern as if we had been seated in a Pullman train, although the pilot was turning his machine at an almost vertical angle.

There are miles of dull country as flat as a pancake between Berlin and Leipzig, but the fields were bathed in sunshine. Seventy minutes later we sighted Leipzig aerodrome, a great field full of scurrying rabbits who appeared terrified as we taxied to the land

ing stage. This is an important junction for Cologne in the West and Prague and Vienna in the East. My count was off East, and his place was taken by a German with long hair and a violin. At 12.10 we were off again, leaving Leipzig behind. Little by little the flat ground gave place to hills and rivers, with tiny picturesque German farms dotted to right and to left. On a fine day the country round Nuremberg is a wonderful sight from the air.

At Nuremberg, another important junction, we changed airplanes, and had twenty minutes for lunch. The sun shone brighter than ever as we took off, and the country became more beautiful every mile. Soon we rose abruptly, climbing finally to a height of 1300 metres, to find a sea of flaky white clouds like a carpet far below obscuring all scenery. The sky above was deep blue, while the sun was shining as brightly as ever. For an hour we traveled without finding a single hole in the cotton wool below. The pilot seemed to be enjoying the exhilaration of the flight, and brought us to Munich, where the sea of snow ended as if by command of the Luft Hansa. It was 3.50 exactly. We were on time to the minute, and the journey of 526 kilometres had taken us exactly five hours.

Munich has a comparatively small airport as far as buildings are concerned, but it is destined for a great future. There is an exhibition in the city where nearly ninety architects have submitted plans for a new aerodrome to be built on the present site.

The architects evidently think that three million marks is all the money in the world, for their plans for the most part are on a scale never before seen for an aerodrome. The winning design was crowned with a laurel wreath, and it provides for spacious offices, vast hangars, meteorological and observation towers, and wonderful waiting

rooms. Munich is a little jealous of Berlin, and means at all costs to have the second-best, if not the finest, aerodrome in the world.

Leipzig will probably follow these plans with slight alterations and amendments, and build the aerodrome by degrees over a period of four or five years. It is not only important as being the chief flying centre for all Southern Germany, with tentacles to Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Vienna, but also prides itself as being the chief town in the neighborhood of important constructors, such as Dornier and Zeppelin, which are both to the south at Friedrichshafen, four hours distant by railway.

Luft Hansa has a capital of twentyfive million marks. Its financial resources are made up of (a) a subsidy from the Reich, amounting next year to about five million dollars; (b) passage money; (c) parcel and letter rates, as well as ordinary freight; and (d) the organizations represented by the board of directors of the company.

Let us, for a moment, examine this board of directors, for it affords one of the most important side-lights on the whole scheme of Germany's air domination. Upon it will be found the greatest bankers in Germany, the chief burgomasters of the most influential towns in the country, as well as kings of industry whose names are household words all over the world.

Dr. von Stauss, director of the Deutsche Bank, is chairman of the Company. Herr Heck, the great industrialist of Dessau, is vice-chairman. The list that follows is quite incomplete, but it contains some of the important names which show the tremendous effort that Germany is making to conquer the air: Dr. von Finck, of the Bank of Munich; Herr Jacob Goldschmidt, chairman of the board of directors of the Darmstadter Bank; Dr. Harter, director of

the Commerz and Privat Bank; Herr Nathan, director of the Dresden Bank; such industrialists as Dr. von Siemens, of the world-famous electrical and engineering firm; Dr. Stimming, directorgeneral of the Norddeutscher Lloyd; two directors of the Disconto Gesellschaft; Dr. Schwab, the steel magnate; Herr Louis Hagen, the great Cologne industrialist; the chief burgomasters of Cologne, Essen, Leipzig, Bochum, Munich, Frankfort, Mülheim, and Erfurt; Herr Blum, Minister in Bavaria; and ministers in the Governments of Saxony and Prussia.

These representative names indicate that the Luft Hansa is no ordinary company. No wonder that its power is almost despotic and its influence farreaching. It is not the single effort of one individual corporation striving for trade, but the concerted interests of a whole country attempting to radiate power throughout Europe.

A giant air liner capable of carrying a hundred and thirty passengers and a crew of thirty-five at a speed of 320 kilometres an hour has been planned by Dr. Rumpler, the famous German designer, who was responsible for so many fighting machines during the Great War. Everybody will remember the Taube airplane used by German pilots. The Taube was only one of the many fighting machines designed by Dr. Rumpler, who gave me a special interview at his sumptuous offices in Berlin. 'Commercial flying must look to the great air liner capable of carrying a hundred passengers or more under luxurious conditions,' said Dr. Rumpler. 'I have been working for five years on such a design. At last I am able to give you the complete details of this air liner which I hope will shortly be built. The design is entirely novel. There will be ten water-cooled engines each of a thousand horsepower, and the passengers' quarters, saloons, promenade decks,

[blocks in formation]

"The total weight of the machine with its load of passengers and freight will be 120 tons, and the weight of the machine alone fifty tons. It will take two years to build, and should cost about one million dollars. The cruising speed of the machine will be 320 kilometres an hour and the petrol consumption three thousand litres an hour, which works out at about one litre per kilometre per engine.

'I am negotiating at the present time with several firms, both at home and abroad, for the building of the machine, which will be of duraluminium, with steel for the essential parts. The wing span will be 94 metres, the length 39 metres, and the height 9.20 metres. The benzine tanks will have a capacity of fifty thousand litres.

'I have secured patents for all the different parts of the machine. The rooms for the passengers are placed in the front of the wings. The armchairs can be transformed into beds, and in order to deaden the noise of the engines the passengers' rooms are separated from the engine-room by a wide passage. There will, of course, be a dining-room and a smoking-room. The captain's and officers' quarters will be in the centre of the wings. There will be also a projecting part for the pilots, who will thus have an unlimited view.'

Dr. Rumpler's position in German aviation circles is so eminent that his new design is attracting tremendous attention. Junkers are also contem

plating the construction of a monster airplane, but this firm considers that progress should be made by a less startling leap. It is accordingly building what will be known as the J-1000, with ample accommodation for thirty passengers. Work on this is already far advanced at Dessau, and the airplane will be handed over to Luft Hansa.

The next two largest machines are the Dornier Wahl and the Superwahl. Both these have British engines. The Wahl, with two 360-horsepower RollsRoyce engines, is now in service between Stettin and Stockholm. The Superwahl is completing its last trials before Luft Hansa is ready to start its Marseille Barcelona daily service this summer. The full route of this new line will be Berlin, Stuttgart, Basel, Marseille, and Barcelona. The Superwahl is fitted with two Rolls-Royce 650horsepower engines, and there is accommodation for twenty-five passengers, two pilots, and a wireless operator. Trial trips on Lake Constance have proved successful.

Konigsberg is at present the winter permanent station of the busy BerlinDanzig-Konigsberg route. This summer it was the halfway house between Berlin and Moscow. Under that arrangement the German Luft Hansa flew a daily return service to Konigsberg which connected up with a Russian Deruluft route Konigsberg-Moscow. The special German all-metal sleeper left Tempelhofer Feld at 1 A.M. to connect with the Deruluft machine that reached Moscow at 5.30 in the evening of the same day.

This branch of the line in turn served as a connection with the Russian Dobrolet line between Moscow and Turkestan, and with the Russian Ukrovosduchputz line flying between Moscow and Odessa. All these lines over Russian territory, including the

route Konigsberg-Moscow, temporarily ceased operations at the end of November, owing to the rigor of the Russian winter.

This week M. Fette, the Russian director of the Deruluft, suddenly arrived in Germany. I had the good fortune to meet him, and persuaded him to unfold his plans to me. "The present fleet of the Deruluft, a German-Russian concern, is composed of eight Fokker F. W.'s, with one 360 Rolls-Royce engine apiece, two Grulich VI's, and one L. V. G. 220 Benz,' he said. 'Five of these Fokkers are at present in Konigsberg, while the rest of the fleet is at Moscow. All this is going to be changed. I have come to arrange the purchase of a number of powerful three-engined airplanes for the Konigsberg-Moscow route. Next year we intend to fly all the way to Berlin, and for this it will be necessary to have comfortable sleepers. I have not yet quite decided what machines will be most suitable. Our plan is to run daily services summer and winter.

"The German Luft Hansa will probably continue an independent service to Konigsberg, although our line, as I stated before, is run in conjunction with theirs. The Deruluft is much used by German business men, and is always crowded. We are firmly convinced that we shall be able to do without any Gov

ernment subsidy within a period of from three to four years.'

Next spring, therefore, Europe will wake up one sunny morning to find the new summer Luft Hansa map. The German flag will be carried to Copenhagen and Malmö, to Amsterdam on the west and Moscow on the east. Southwest there will be the great new line Berlin-Basel-Marseille, and there you will find the greatest of all flying sea boats, the Superwahl, lying at anchor in the French harbor with the German flag flying at the helm, waiting to take its twenty-five passengers and crew to Barcelona on the Spanish coast.

Is the Luft Hansa a potential military organization? Is Germany seeking to evade military control by this wide commercial undertaking?

It is impossible to give a direct answer to these questions. I am convinced that the main objective is purely commercial. Germany realizes the enormous gains to be reaped by owning the premier commercial company in the world, not only because this undertaking hopes to become self-paying, and therefore of the greatest benefit to the company, but also because it will benefit the cities owning the aerodromes; and she knows also that her trade will increase as foreign governments and firms realize the reliability of German engines and airplanes.

« ElőzőTovább »