IT is no bad thing to sit back periodically and try to get a general view of the position we have arrived at. AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING has attempted to do this from time to time by publishing articles of a general character on some particular aspect of aeronautics in which a survey was made of the state of existing knowledge. The advantage of summaries of this nature is that they bring to the notice of a wide circle the information that is available for engineers and designers—we are writing, at the moment, of articles on research work—so that they may know with some precision where they stand. They also have the benefit, as we have been told on several occasions, from the author's point of view of forcing him to clarify his ideas. There is no more healthy mental occupation than the setting down in black and white of all that one knows on a particular subject. It is amazing how inchoate ideas, previously only half‐formed in the brain, prove to be when an attempt is made to put them in orderly array for others to read—and criticise. All except perhaps the most logically‐minded will find at once how ignorant they actually are; and the forced reference to notebooks and data may well show that previously formed views were based on wrong premises or on unwittingly prejudiced views. Isolated trees which have begun to assume a disproportionate importance in the mental landscape recede into their proper place as part of the general wood, when they are viewed again with the telescope, as it were, reversed. These surveys also have the advantage of providing a platform or landing for rest and reflection before starting on a fresh stage of progress, while they serve to bring out any gaps that may exist in the coherence and sequence of previous investigations.
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