EVERY day, in every way, aeronautics becomes more and more abstruse. We imagine that very few of our readers but shared our own ignorance of the extreme complication of the new regulations introduced by the Federation Aéronautique Internationale covering attempts on altitude records. There are even, doubtless, many who, like ourselves, were not even aware that new regulations had been introduced. This is only one of the many examples that could be quoted of the increasing specialization that is gradually encompassing, we had almost written “smothering,” aviation. The day of the individual with encyclopaedic knowledge is long since departed. It seems strange now to recall the days when it was possible to visit, say, Brooklands and watch some pilot, such as Hawker, climb into the cockpit of his machine with a recording barograph on his knee, or suspended by a cord round his neck, and gradually disappear into the blue until his machine became a speck just visible through binoculars. To watch the aeroplane gradually get larger and larger as it circled round and slowly came down to land on the precise spot from which it had taken off a few minutes earlier. To rush up to the pilot and almost snatch the barograph from his hands in order to read the height attained, which was duly announced as the new record.
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