SOME weeks ago we attended a reception held to announce details of the third Glass Age Development Committee scheme, a city‐centre terminal in London for aircraft capable of vertical take‐off and landing. The Glass Age Development Committee is a body set up by Pilkington Brothers Limited to sponsor architectural solutions to some of the planning problems of the next generation or so. The difficulty with any such scheme is to formulate what are likely to be the requirements and conditions of so many years ahead, so that a realistic solution may be worked out. In this case the Committee has performed a valuable service in stimulating interest in this problem. In giving terms of reference to their architect, Mr James Dartford, they have had to make a number of assumptions about the pattern of air traffic operations in the future, and in particular in about the year 2000, at which time this project is envisaged as coming into being. At a more detailed level Mr Dartford has also had to lay down various conditions, and a list of references consulted in this process was given. Probably no two people would agree as to what conditions were likely to be operating so far ahead. What were the more far‐seeing people of 1914 predicting about the air transport operations of today, and how far have any of their views been confirmed? Until the first world war nobody thought of the aeroplane as much more than a very pleasant toy. During and immediately after the war more or less regular flights between, for example, London and Paris, were being made, but few people could have forecast the developments made possible by such things as wheel brakes and concrete runways. Past experience would suggest that we are more likely to underestimate the pace of future development than to overestimate it. Yet, it always seems that in progress of this kind it is the unexpected aspect which advances rapidly, whereas what seem at the time to be the most spectacular lines of development come to little. Probably the advance in the volume and the speed of air transport, and the increase in complexity of aircraft, have exceeded all expectations of that time, while such very serious problems as traffic control, crew fatigue, structural fatigue owing to the long lives of modern aircraft, and the difficulty of arranging efficient transport between the centres of big cities and the airports, were probably not thought of at all.
CitationDownload as .RIS
MCB UP Ltd
Copyright © 1957, MCB UP Limited