FOR reasons that are very largely obscure, though in some directions the underlying causes were patent to the discerning, the announcement of the completion of “R 101” was received with a torrent of vilification and misrepresentation from the less responsible organs of the British Press; which was renewed when those responsible took the very natural precaution of awaiting favourable weather before attempting to take out of her shed an entirely untried vessel, and attaching her to an equally untried mast. The value of these attacks may be gauged from the fact that they ceased immediately on the completion of a straightforward flight of 300 miles, during which, owing to the presence on board of a number of passengers, no attempt was made to carry out any tests involving stresses in the structure. So far as any technical data on the success, or otherwise, of the many experimental features of the airship are concerned, it can only be said that judgment must inevitably wait on the completion of the series of trials—such as turning circle, rudder swinging, and speed—which have not yet been begun. Since we are aware, from the experience of a technical contemporary, that anything that is written about this airship is liable to be distorted in order to provide fuel for attacking her designer, it may be well to state that this plea for suspension of judgment does not imply any misgivings: it merely means that it is impossible for any opinion of value to be formed until—as in the case of any other engineering structure—proper scientific tests of it have been made.
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