M ost present-day airports represent first-thought solutions to problems involved in the housing of planes. From the viewpoint of planes’ landing and departing, the movement in and out of passengers, numerous handicaps and inadequacies are inherent, due to the casualness of the basic design. The better class of airports, however, have a semblance of organization in the grouping of the hangars;** nevertheless they are not forward looking. Aside from the fact that they are usually remote from the cities they serve and have inadequate means of transportation to and from them, they are adequate for the widely varying uses to which the present-day airport is put.
Owing to the circumstances surrounding aviation development, to-day’s airport is usually required to serve a number of different purposes. It furnishes a landing place for transport planes, mail planes, student planes, private planes, sightseeing planes, air meets, experimental and exhibition flying and manufacturing interests as well. Such control as is exercised is that of elementary traffic management.** Under the circumstances, the maximum of skill and of familiarity with the particular airport is required of the pilot to
avoid serious mishaps in landing or taking off. In the future, I believe the several purposes now served by one airport will be separated. Complications will be eliminated by diverting specific forms of flying activities to fields specially adapted to each.
arriving at minute intervals, and which will extend the commuting radius from forty miles to one hundred or one hundred and fifty miles, or more. Since aviation will ultimately occupy as strong a position in the transportation system as the railroads do to-day, airports will require for safe operation the same rigid, standardized control that is now characteristic of our important railway terminals. There will be the same rigid differentiation between freight (comprised of its four main pay loads: freight, express, mail, bag-
gage) and passengers. Every effort will be made to eliminate cross traffic between these two main divisions.
Future developments of flying equipment will eliminate or greatly minimize the number of days lost on account of inclement weather. Still in the infancy of flying, we see the elements as insurmountable. I have no doubt that science will disseminate fog, high winds and other natural phenomena which at present keep the plane on the ground and shake the public’s confidence in aviation as a dependable means of transportation; or science will make it possible to fly through them with the same degree of safety as in clear, calm air. Moreover, some means of plane control, which is entirely automatic, will largely eliminate the human element and make flying as safe as railway travel is to-day, with its electric-block-system control. The next few years are bound to bring a new concentrated fuel that will require much less space and have a great deal more energy. Whether or not it will be of a combustible nature is a matter for the chemist.
When these developments occur, flying will not be limited to the adventurous few but will be the logical way to go to and from New York, St. Louis, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, or even between Philadelphia and New York, 69 • LAMBERT-ST. LOUIS MUNICIPAL AIRPORT: plan which are only ninety miles apart. The saving in time is tremendous, the fares nominal, the scenery incomparable, the air clean; hours are reduced to minutes and miles to feet.
Due to the nature of the airplane, which depends
upon speed for buoyancy, it requires a smooth runway on which to develop sufficient speed to take off and on which to lose speed after landing. Runway distances are shorter now than formerly, due to better plane and motor design, and other devices such as slotted wings and brakes. Shorter runways may be expected in the future, but until the plane is developed which can take off from or land in a restricted area by action similar to that of a helicopter, considerable areas will be required for landing fields. Even autogiro planes, on scheduled flights, must be provided with an adequate and not inconsiderable area in order to land and take off under varying conditions with safety.
This contingency necessitates the removal of the field from the strictly metropolitan areas to adjacent sections where land is less expensive. Thus communication with the city becomes a major problem. If we are not to lose much of the time gained in flight, rapid transit facilities must be provided. But rapid transit facilities to and from airports are provided only when the amount of traffic warrants it. This volume of traffic requires that all but strictly commercial flying be eliminated from the field. When this occurs, the airport will cease to be the center of miscellaneous air activities and become strictly a terminal for air travelers under systematic schedule and control similar to our railroad terminal depots.
Flying equipment, the property of the public carrier, will eventually be manufactured and tested in a plant entirely distinct from the terminal field. Air meets, private planes, sightseeing and student planes, dirigibles, experimental and exhibition flying, will be relegated to other fields. Facilities for mail and express planes, since they come under the head of commercial aviation, must be provided by the air terminal.
To-morrow’s transport plane will probably have the capacity of the average railroad car of to-day. If we assume that the number of air passengers in
the future will approximate only one tenth the number of rail passengers to-day, the coming air terminal will be confronted with the problem of dispatching a number of planes sufficient to accommodate five hundred passengers (approximately the number carried by a train of ten cars) simultaneously. It is said that a train leaves the Pennsylvania Railroad Station in New York every minute. Obviously, with their present facilities, no airport could load and dispatch planes on any such schedule with equal efficiency and ease to-day. Most airports have but one loading point to which all outgoing planes taxi to receive their passengers. A schedule of a plane a minute would mean that a plane would have to taxi up, load fifty passengers and their baggage, taxi out and take off all in one minute — a physical impossibility under present arrangements.
It is essential that passengers be kept isolated from the whirling propellers while the plane is standing or idling, as the blades are practically invisible and to be struck by them means instant death. The control of passengers in present-day airports in this respect is dependent upon the alert supervision of the field attendants. This responsibility is handled in an informal way which lessens rather than enhances that feeling of security and safety so evident in present-day railway travel and so essential to air travel.
The seeming haphazard nature of present-day airport operations, in contrast with the dignity and solidity manifest in the architecture and operating methods of railroads, is one of the handicaps commercial aviation must overcome before the confidence of the public in air transportation can be fully established. To-day, the confusion is such that passengers from an arriving plane find themselves mingling and jostling with baggagemen, postal employees, mechanics, guards, and pilots. In connection with the casualness of to-day’s airport facilities may also be noted the lack of provision for loading and unloading planes in inclement weather.
In the air terminal I have designed, I have, I believe, overcome the major airport conditions that are subject to criticism. I have taken advantage of the fact that we are free to look ahead and plan for impending developments. As the object of the design is to eliminate shortcomings that exist in connection with airports to-day, while providing for the future, the primary objectives, when stated, appear as the reverse of the criticisms already noted. For reasons already indicated, I have excluded from this terminal all аёпа1 activity except the scheduled transportation of passengers and the handling of mail and express by heavier-than-air craft. Both аёпа1 and vehicular traffic are accommodated with safety and flexibility and without confusion.
The Air Terminal is approximately one mile square.70 The Lambert-St. Louis Municipal Airport** occupies approximately nine tenths of a square mile.
It consists of a landing field thirty-six hundred feet square, with a hard, smooth, dustless surface, which does not become soggy or slippery when wet, and can be readily cleared of snow. On four sides it is surrounded by repair and storage hangars, mail, express, and passenger slips. These, to the limit of the airport property, at least eight hundred feet in each direction, definitely control the height of obstructions. There are no landing strips as the field is an ** all way ” field, suitable for landing or taking off into the wind from any direction.7’ Surrounding the field is a taxi strip of concrete four hundred feet wide.7, P On this planes taxi to their unloading slips or from their loading slips to their take-off position.71’4 The entire field is used exclusively for taking off or landing, and all planes must taxi to the surrounding strip before changing direction.
Illuminated boundary markers, which are set around the inside edge of the taxi strip, raised slightly above the field and hooded for proper visibility in the manner of traffic lights, mark the limit of the landing field.74 Red and green lights designating the safe landing and take-off area are automatically
controlled by the illuminated wind tee, located in the center of an illuminated circle at the center of the field, to enable the landing pilot to determine the limits of the safe landing area and the direction of the wind. Horizontal traffic is controlled by red and green lights, hooded, so as to be visible in a horizontal direction only and are controlled from the wind tee and the control bridge.71’14
This system contemplates that all traffic shall move in a counter clockwise direction around the field, the take-off area showing red to the air and the landing area showing green. In case of difficulty in any part of the field, the whole system can be switched red as a signal for all planes on the ground to stop and all planes in the air to remain aloft.
Flood lights are placed on all four sides of the field and are controlled by
the wind tee, to furnish illumination from the side rather than directly ahead or behind the incoming or outgoing planes. The flood lights, spaced about one hundred and twenty-five feet apart, are placed on the hangars which surround the field. They are focussed so as to confine the rays of light to a height of six feet. Each bank of – flood lights has sufficient power to illuminate the entire width of the field. Thus, planes or other objects on the field are readily visible from all directions and no elongated shadows are thrown on the field. In the event of the failure of any flood-light unit, there still is sufficient illumination for safely landing and taking-off.
The control bridge,7J’N including the radio, meteorological offices, and traffic control office, is located above the roof terrace, on the field side of the terminal building.75’* This position gives a clear view of the entire field. A ceiling projector and revolving beacon are located at the tops of the two towers which project above the control bridge.
The height of all buildings facing the field is less than one seventh the width of the taxi strip. Flood lighting of the facades and of all structures adjacent to the field to the same intensity as the field reduces glare and permits the pilot to maintain his perspective and judgment of distance. Electricity for illumination and power in the various departments of the port is generated at a centrally located power house71’* and distributed underground from a transformer station71’1* located between the repair shops and terminal building. All flood lighting is controlled by a phott^lectric system which automatically maintains a constant intensity.
A hospital71’0 is adjacent to the flying field. Four fire stations and ambulance stations71’517 are located on the cross axis of the field in the mail and express depot and between the two groups of repair hangars. This distribution permits of rapid aid in an emergency. An eighty-foot automobile road71’0 completely surrounds the field, so that in case of accident ambulances can reach the hospital710 without the necessity of disrupting traffic on the field or taxi strips.
To the right of the field, viewed from the terminal building, are located the repair hangars.72’* Here, 64 planes of 110 feet wing spread, and 2 of 210 feet wing spread can simultaneously undergo incidental repairs or major overhauling. These hangars are so arranged that when repairs are complete any plane can be removed without disturbing any other plane. It can then taxi under its own power to the storage hangars on the opposite side of the field from the terminal.72’T The storage hangars provide facilities for storing 120 planes of 110 feet wing spread and 6 planes having a spread of 210 feet. Here also, out of the weather and free from tampering, are housed planes held in reserve for rush periods. Each plane is easily accessible at all times.
Incoming and outgoing slips for express and mail planes7,’v are across the field from the repair hangars. Incoming planes land into the wind and proceed directly into the incoming slips from the taxi strip. Each incoming plane is assigned, by a system of lights and semaphores, to a particular slip into which it taxies and comes to rest, facing the circulation space behind. Mail or express from these planes is conveyed by underground tunnels to the depot located midway between the incoming and outgoing slips.72U
Facilities for fueling and minor servicing are provided in both the incoming and outgoing slips.7I’Q The plane crew looks after this routine while loading or unloading is in progress.74 The express or freight plane making only a transient stop loses no time in refueling. Separation of the air express, freight and mail planes from the passenger traffic eliminates the confusion incident to handling them together and permits better supervision and control over mail shipments.
It is the opinion of some air transport companies, which at present carry
both express and mail in the same planes with passengers, that these services will not be entirely separated. Until the volume of both mail and passenger traffic warrants it, such a division will, of course, not be economical. It is reasonable to assume that in the future, as facilities for the safe and scheduled transport of mail are developed, the bulk of all interstate mail will be carried by plane. Hence we have set aside four incoming and four outgoing slips adjacent to the express depot for the exclusive use of mail planes. In this building, we have allotted sufficient space for sorting and distributing the mail. One starting slip adjacent to the eleven passenger slips is reserved for the exclusive use of mail and express planes, so that their movements come under the same single control as all other traffic on this field.
The passenger terminal71’* is located at the side of the field adjacent to the main highway71’* and the rapid transit electric lines.71’1 The circulation of motor-car transportation in connection with the terminal is so arranged that taxis,71’*1 buses,7,’J and private cars71’*1 travel, in the congested areas, in only one direction. Where cross traffic is necessary, generous curves and clearances are provided to permit the rapid movement of traffic in every direction. Major provision for vehicular and rapid transit traffic has been made on the assumption that pedestrian traffic will be negligible, since the field is located at some distance from the metropolitan center. In this respect, the air terminal differs from a railroad terminal, in connection with which, owing to its bulk, pedestrian traffic is of primary importance.
The terminal has four covered platforms at which incoming taxis discharge their passengers.71’*1 Two additional platforms are provided for private automobiles. At each of these platforms eight cars may unload simultaneous-
ly. These platforms are connected with the outgoing side of the terminal by moving walks in an underground passage.72Y Two loading platforms three hundred feet in length are provided for buses in front of the terminal building on either side of the main highway.7J’J These platforms are also connected with the terminal by moving walks in underground passages7J’Y which also extend to the railroad and subway lines/ ‘L From the bus and railroad tunnels one enters directly into the main concourse of the terminal building,7,‘Y which is three hundred and fifty feet in length by one hundred and fifty in width, with a ceiling height of eighty feet. The moving sidewalk deposits the passenger at the entrance to the tunnel for outgoing planes. To the right are located the outgoing waiting room, merchandise shops, the tunnel from the incoming taxi platform, hospital, telephone and telegraph booths. To the left are the ticket offices and outgoing baggage room.72‘R
Passengers about to embark present their tickets at the entrance of the outgoing tunnel where, at the proper time, they are conveyed by a moving walk to the slip in which their plane is berthed.7,’Q Upon showing their ticket, they take an elevator to the ground level and board the plane by means of a cantilevered gangway74 which is adjustable to any size or type of plane. This system provides a double control: it prevents passengers from boarding wrong planes and eliminates the danger of their entering a plane while it is in motion. There are ten passenger slips accommodating planes up to 110 feet wing spread and one accommodating planes up to 210 feet. An outgoing plane taxies into the baggage side of an outgoing slip (from its previous position in an incoming slip or a storage hangar) upon signal from the control tower. Here it is loaded with baggage by means of a mechanical conveyor,74 K
fueled and given final inspection simultaneously, the whole operation to b completed within ten minutes.
A preliminary inspection had previously been given on the baggage side of the incoming slip to determine the extent of service needed. A final inspection is given on the baggage side of the outgoing slip. After the final inspector’s approval is given, a rolling metal door74’2 separating the baggage from the passenger side of the slip is raised, permitting the plane to taxi into a position where passengers may board it, and the next plane taxies into the baggage side.74Q Passengers are not permitted to enter the loading slip until the plane and the gangplank are in position. Then the gates at the tunnel level are opened and passengers board the plane in a clean, dry, heated enclosure.
At the expiration of its ten-minute loading time, the gate is closed, the hangar doors are opened, the plane taxies out onto the strip adjacent to the field and from there to its take-off position. Planes are scheduled to leave each slip every ten minutes. Thus, using ten or twelve outgoing slips, a plane a minute may be dispatched in a most orderly fashion with ample time for servicing (or replacement by another plane) and loading of baggage and passengers.
Arriving at the terminal by plane, the passenger debarks in a covered slip7I Q and proceeds by stairs or elevators to the tunnel level where he rides on the moving walk to the terminal building.72’* Here he proceeds without interruption to the taxi,73’M or to the bus,73’1 or railway tunnel.73’1. An incoming waiting room with telephone, telegraph and radio facilities is located conveniently between them. Information booth and ticket desks are in the center of the concourse.
While the passenger is on his way through the passenger tunnel, his baggage has been unloaded from the plane and transported to the underground baggage room, which is located between the incoming and outgoing tun-
77 • ROTARY AIRPORT: HARBOR PLAN DESIGNED BY NORMAN BEL GEDDES 1930
nels72R in the terminal building. Here it is checked out or other disposition arranged for. If his baggage is subject to customs, he enters the customs in
spection room from the main concourse. Baggage is issued directly into this space from the baggage room.
All immigration facilities, including a waiting room, medical examination and public health offices, travelers’ aid booth, and other departments incidental to this government function are provided.
Restaurant and quick-lunch bars are located on the concourse level. Those who wish to dine more leisurely, or to celebrate the arrival or departure of friends, find a large restaurant, with salon and ample observation pavilions over the main concourse/3’* It is reached by elevators from the concourse level.
The underground moving-walk system joins the terminal with the office building/2’" the hotel/2’F the garage and automobile parking area/2’11 the pilots’ club72G and the hospital/2’c
Air terminals of this nature, with refinements and conveniences exceeding those indicated will, I believe, be a feature of our principal cities within ten years. Eventually every large city that is now an important rail center — excluding those which are strictly freight centers — will be obliged to organize air-terminal facilities more or less in the manner indicated and approximately on the same scale. The outstanding feature of this project is that it looks ahead. The plan can be developed by stages, as every airport should be. The main requisite is for sufficient thoroughness in terms of to-morrow’s developments, so that displacement of buildings will be unnecessary.
the Rotary Airport designed especially for New York City.
To merely suggest the idea of locating a floating airport anywhere in the
navigable portions of New York Harbor, with its tugs, lighters, barges, fer
ries and sight-seeing boats, brings endless protest from the owners and operators of these harbor craft. Nevertheless this location is ideal for such an airport in terms of proximity to the financial center, unobstructed landing area, relatively stable and uniform winds, excellent land transportation facilities, and lack of interference with vessels of deep draft.
Southwest of Battery Park,7< s between the Aquarium and the Staten Island
Ferry slips, is an area of water having an average depth at low tide of about twenty-six feet which, while adequate for the small harbor craft, is too shallow for the deeper draft vessels such as liners and warships. This area is large enough to permit a floating landing strip, equal in area to seven New York City blocks, to turn on a pivot located at its approximate center without
projecting into either the North River channel77V or the channel between Governor’s Island77’* and the Battery. The battleship in illustration Number 83 is exactly in the center of the channel, while the liner is in the conventional path taken by ships leaving the North River. This illustrates the ample clearances which are possible with the landing deck in its prevailing wind position.
When aviation assumes the important position in our transportation system which it is destined to occupy, the necessity for adequate and convenient airport facilities immediately accessible to New York’s business districts77’w will offset to a large degree the objections which now confront the idea of an airport adjacent to the Battery.
The worst condition of the port is when the wind is sweeping down Manhattan towards the deck, a condition which rarely exists.*0 Even then, when planes have to rise over the building towers, we find very few towers projecting above the seven to one ratio7*’7* which the Department of Commerce has determined as the angle of safe glide and rise; and those which do fortunately group themselves to form definite lanes with large clearances over the greatest wing spreads.
As a possible solution to the airport problem New York City will ultimately face, I have designed this floating airport for the accommodation of land planes. It is a large deck fifteen hundred feet long by seven hundred and fifty feet wide and consists of a continuous strip twice doubling back upon itself to make three spaces separated by three-foot curbs. The traffic through these strips is one of continuous motion. One strip is for landing,*,K the middle one is a taxi strip,**’L and the third is a take-off strip.*1’*1 On the top of the dividing wall are mounted green and red boundary lights*4 N visible from the air, while the entire deck is flooded with light from the two passenger shelters located at the end of the landing strip and at the start of the take-off strip.*1’*1
Mounted on the roofs of these shelters are the identification beacons and fog – penetrating signals.8,’P
Passengers, arriving by plane, taxi to the end of the incoming strip,7tK where they debark into a low shelter,83’* from which stairs lead down to the incoming waiting room located beneath the deck. A suspended passenger tunnel84C leads from this waiting room to the terminal hall84’G situated at the center of the structure surrounding the deck pinion.83"13 This space consists of a hollow reinforced concrete cylinder fifty feet in diameter, containing a passenger elevator84"* giving direct access to the shuttle tunnel.84" The tunnel is fifteen feet below c the bottom of the harbor and eight hundred feet long. It has a moving walk to take passengers ashore to the tunnel entrance building,83A which connects with the street level by elevator where passengers may take taxi, surface car, elevated, or subway.
The weight of this floating airport is supported by columns upon ballasted buoyancy tanks. 3"R These tanks, located below the portion of the water disturbed by surface waves, keep the deck level in all weather, the waves passing easily around the columns and under the bottom of the deck structure. The landing deck rotates with the wind to give ideal landing and take-off facilities. This rotation is accomplished by motor-driven marine propellers located at the extremities of the long axis of the deck below the water surface. Inasmuch as the starting switches of these propeller-motors are controlled by
a remote wind-indicator,,J’Q they are fully automatic. The deck with its definite traffic lanes is constantly held in the best position and there is no confusion to landing planes. To facilitate the easy rotation of the deck, the float tanks"‘R are streamlined.
Provision is made for the four-foot tide fluctuation by making the top of the pivot, J D the elevator landing, which appears as a stationary disc in the center of the terminal hall.,4G As the level of the terminal hall fluctuates with the tide, the passengers reach the stationary landing by means of a tide – compensating platform.,4’F This platform is a series of circular steps concentric about the elevator.,4E The various levels of the steps compensate the changing heights of the tide. Beneath the center taxi strip are tanks for refueling planes. The airport, however, is essentially a transient port and refueling and repair work are services offered only in an emergency and at an increased price.
Aviation, the world over, is progressing almost entirely on a purely mili-
87 • DO-X: SECTION DESIGNED BY CLAUDE DORNIER 1929
tary basis. Government cooperation is from this standpoint and is the outstanding handicap in the development of commercial aviation. With the expansion of aviation from the commercial standpoint security, economy and comfort, which are the principal factors from the public’s standpoint, will develop to a point now unthought of.
More people have been accused of being fools regarding aviation than for any other reason within our time. Both of the Wright brothers were
• 0 Keystone View
spoken of as such. In 1910 the State of Missouri nearly passed a bill making any aviator who flew at an elevation of one thousand or more feet guilty of attempted suicide. In 1912 Captain Nestereff, a military engineer of the Russian Imperial Air Force, made the first loop in a plane, after having carefully figured it out on pa – 68 • DO-X. INTERIOR DESIGNED BY CLAUDE DORNIER 1929
per. He did it for no other reason than as a scientific experiment in which he believed to the extent of risking his own life. Upon his landing, superior officers placed him under arrest and he was courtmartialed. The charge was that an officer of the Russian Army should not foolishly risk his life but should save it for his country in time of war. Captain Nestereff was killed in action in 1914.
For a number of years I have been working on plans for a big plane. It is not" big ” for the sake of being big but for other factors which will be apparent as I describe it. It is my firm belief that this is in no sense a mad or fool-
89 • AIR LINER NUMBER 4 DESIGNED BY NORMAN BEL GEDOES 1929 AERONAUTICAL ENGINEER OTTO ROLLER
ish idea but sound in every particular. It represents my idea of what the intercontinental air liner of 1940 will be like.
The plane that the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk a few years back was little more than a box kite.” Compare the earliest biplanes with to-day’s of the comparatively same wing spread, and there is one noticeable difference — weight. The ratio in size and bulk of the wings, fuselage and motor has changed considerably.” This difference will be still further accentuated as intercontinental aviation develops. Ships, railways, and automobiles have developed similarly. Size will provide safety, and space (which is size) will make travel by airplane as comfortable as travel by steamship.
The largest heavier-than-air craft built and successfully flown to date is the DO-X.*‘ She has a wing spread of 157 feet, a length of 131 feet, a height of 33 feet, and her normal weight in flight is 48 tons. The ship is 3 decks high,*7 and although she has successfully carried more than HO people at
one time, this is several times her capacity in terms of sleeping space and comfort.” Considerable progress in аёпхЗупагтсв has been made since Doctor Dornier built her, with the result that the next airship as large or larger will be a great improvement over the DO-X.
As a premise, one must accept the fact that the air liner I am going to describe will fly, and fly just as readily as any other plane. In fact, I have every reason to believe that it will fly much more smoothly than any plane that has yet been built, if for no other reason than because of its enormous size.
In this undertaking I have associated with me Doctor O. A. Roller, as аёгопатка1 engineer. Doctor Roller is responsible for the design of over two hundred different airplanes, including the famous Phalz plane used so extensively by Germany during the World War. His fourteen years’ association with the аёгор1апе industry include three and one half years with the German Government as chief engineer in charge of design and construction of airplanes for both the army and navy. He has developed very favorable airfoils for wings and pontoons; streamlines for fuselage; and without exception, all of his planes have flown successfully.
Air Liner Number 4 is a tailless " V ’’-winged monoplane, carrying (sleeping accommodations) a total of 606 persons — 451 passengers and a crew of 15 5. She has a total wing spread of 528 feet.” On the water she is supported
by 2 pontoons 104 feet apart, 23 5 feet long and 60 feet high.*0 Better to visualize the size of this plane, imagine that if it were possible to stand her upon one wing tip against the Washington Monument,4 she would lack only 23 feet of reaching the top. Or imagine that the Public Library was removed from its site in Bryant Park at Forty-second Street and Fifth Avenue, New York. The plane could then settle comfortably in the park with a clearance of about 3 5 feet all around.
The "V” of the wing encloses an angle of approximately 120° on the leading edge and 140° on the trailing edge. The wings taper from a chord width of 123 feet at the pontoon to 78 feet at the tip.*4 In thickness, the wing varies from 10 feet 6 inches at the tip to 22 feet at the center.*1 The auxiliary wing** located above the main wing is 180 feet in length by 54 feet in width — 23 feet longer than the main wing of the DO-X.*4 Other details of outstanding interest are as follows: Total power required, 38,000 horse power — 20 motors, each 1,900 horse power; maximum speed, 150 miles per hour; cruising speed, 100 miles per hour; landing speed, 72 miles per hour; normal flying altitude,
5,000 feet; absolute ceiling, 10,000 feet; time of climb to ceiling, 1 hour; speed at ceiling,
87/г miles per hour; cruising range without refueling, 7,500 miles; gross weight, 1,275,300 pounds; dead load, 662,600 pounds, which includes wings, pontoons, motors, tanks and fixed equipment; live load, 612,700 pounds, which includes fuel, passengers, crew, baggage, mail supplies and movable furnishings.
Originally, certain Chicago business men were interested in the possibility of constructing this plane with the idea of operating it between Chicago and London via the St. Lawrence River and Great Circle Route. Careful figures based on a detailed study of all factors involved indicate that the venture is practicable from a commercial viewpoint. The flying time of this plane between Chicago and Plymouth is forty-two hours. She is refueled in flight while passing over Newfoundland. She is able to make three crossings a week, due allowance being made for overhauling in port. This is a great advantage in competition with ocean liners, the fastest of which can make only one crossing a week.
The cost of building, equipping and furnishing a modern ocean liner approximates $60,000,000. Air Liner Number 4 can be built, equipped, and
DESIGNED BY NORMAN BEL GEDDES 1929 AERONAUTICAL ENGINEER OTTO ROLLER
furnished for approximately $9,000,000. Assume that after the air liner has made half a dozen successful round trips on schedule, she will thereafter be filled to capacity. Further, assume that the price per passenger will be the same as an average first-class steamship passage, say $300. Furthermore, realize that the accommodations of this air liner are equal in spaciousness and comfort to the most modern ocean liner. The revenue per trip from fares will then be $13 5,300 and for the three trips a week, $405,000. Mail $48,000 and baggage $17,000, giving a weekly gross revenue of $470,900. The cost of crew wages for the week will approximate $8,000; fuel and maintenance $121,500; supplies, food and other items, $10,000. Insurance, office rent, salaries and overhead $76,750; depreciation on plane based on only a three-year life, $57,700, which totals a weekly operating expense of $273,950. This shows a net weekly revenue of $196,950. The plane, therefore, returns 10 per cent on the investment and amortizes its cost in approximately three years, whereas, owing to greater original cost and higher operating expense, the modern ocean liner cannot pay for herself in many, many times this period.
The plane carries twenty-six 1900 horse-power motors. Twenty of these are mounted in the auxiliary wing/1 The interior of this auxiliary wing is a thoroughly equipped engine room, with machine and repair shops, and carries the other six motors in reserve/7 All motors are mounted on wheel carriages, on tracks, so as to be interchangeable in flight, and easily moved from one location to another within the wing, when disconnected from the pro-
peller. By this arrangement it is possible to replace any disabled motor with a reserve motor within five minutes. The disabled motor is run over to the machine shop where it can be immediately repaired.
In spite of the immense size of the plane, it has not been necessary to depart from well-established principles in connection with the control mechanism. In this design the lateral control surfaces are located on top of the main wing near the tips. They appear as two large fins, twenty feet in height and thirty-five feet apart/0 Rudders are hinged by means of a knuckle joint to continue the streamline of the stab;l. zer and reduce air resistance. Ailerons for the vertical control and banking of the ship are located in the trailing edge of the main wing/0 They operate much after the fashion of similar mechanisms on conventional airplanes. All control surfaces are balanced to reduce the effort required to operate them.
In the design of this plane, two major elements have had foremost consideration: first, safety; second, comfort of passengers. Both of these factors have been solved mainly by her immense size. As regards the safety factor, it has-been possible to make elaborate provision. While twenty 1900 horsepower motors are required to raise her from the water, twelve are sufficient to fly her at cruising speed. Thus, counting the six reserve motors, she is equipped with more than twice as many motors as will be necessary after once
back of them are staterooms. The middle portion of Deck 4 L has the main kitchen, with its pantry, refrigerator and supply rooms. From this kitchen, food and supplies can be delivered to two auxiliary kitchens and twelve pantries on the various decks by means of fourteen dumb-waiters. The crew’s dining room is on this deck. The six motorized lifeboats previously referred to are carried on the stern of these decks, three on each deck.
No airplane or airship has yet offered to passengers comfort equal to that provided by steamship or even railway travel.” To-morrow’s air liner will offer facilities and comforts that are in every respect identical with those offered by the most advanced ocean liner. Passengers aboard this air liner are able to move about as freely as on an ocean liner, enjoying recreations and diversions similar to those to which seagoing passengers are now accustomed. The extent to which this is true appears, I think, if I indicate some of the main features that will be
found on the other decks.
The main lounge is forward on Deck 5.” Structurally, it is combined’
with the main wing and is located between the two pontoons. It is
one hundred and seventy feet long, sixty-five feet wide, and thirty-six feet or three stories high. In conjunction with other public rooms, such as the library and writing rooms, it accommodates, without crowding, more than the normal number of passengers aboard the plane.
The main dining room, with a seating capacity of two hundred and four persons, is situated to the rear of the lounge. From the main floor of the dining room a double staircase leads to the mezzanine level, where there are additional tables. Inset in one wall of the dining room is an orchestra platform. Three private dining rooms with a capacity of forty people are adjacent to the main dining room and pantries. For
94 – AIR LINER NUMBER 4: DECK 4L DESIGNED BY NORMAN BEL GEDDES 1929 AERONAUTICAL ENGINEER OTTO ROLLER
recreational purposes in the late evening, the dining room is designed to be transformed into a night club, seating three hundred persons and providing a dance floor for one hundred couples.
On either side of the dining room and connecting the main lounge are two large foyers. From these foyers a wide corridor leads to the sport and recreation decks, with an area of four thousand square feet, providing space for four deck tennis courts, six shuffle-board courts, six quoits, and other games/5 These decks are entirely enclosed in glass. The gymnasium, which is also on this level, is twenty by twenty-five feet, and is provided with showers and private dressing rooms. Adjacent to the gymnasium is a solarium for men and another for women, each equipped with sixteen couches and with the necessary conveniences, including masseur and masseuse. On this deck are also the children’s playroom, the doctor’s waiting and consulting room and nurses’ quarters, as well as the barber’s and the hairdresser’s shops. The main
bar on this deck has a counter forty feet long and tables in addition. Here, too, is a shop for the sale of miscellaneous articles such as passengers might wish to purchase in the course of a short voyage.
Deck 6 provides the mezzanine levels of the main lounge and dining room, a library, a writing room, and another private dining room for fourteen persons. The main promenade deck (Deck 7) is four hundred and fifty feet long and seventeen feet wide.** Running nearly the full length of the main wing on the forward side, with large windows of shatterproof glass along its entire length, passengers are provided
DESIGNED BY NORMAN BEL GEDDES 1929
with the same view and conditions as on the finest ocean liner. Besides providing ample space for passengers to stroll, it accommodates at the same time one hundred and fifty deck chairs. On this deck there is a veranda cafe with tables for ninety persons.’4 The main bar adjacent to the cafe accommodates forty standing at the bar and thirty seated at tables. This bar is equipped with a buffet kitchen and two pantries that connect directly with the main kitchen for convenience in procuring special dishes. On this deck are fourteen suites, consisting of living room, bedroom, and veranda.’4 Four of these suites have a living room, two bedrooms, and veranda. All have baths and closets. Most are provided with small foyers. All verandas are enclosed with shatterproof glass walls and ceilings. All floors, walls, and ceilings are made of sound-absorbent acoustic board.
On Deck 8, which protrudes forward, are the navigation bridge, chart room and the officers’ quarters. The Captain’s suite consists of a large draw-
96 • AIR LINEP NUMBER 4: DECK 7
ing-room, bedroom and bath. Adjacent to the bridge is the radio receiving and sending station. The office for the station is a separate room which connects with the public hallway. Officers’ quarters and passenger staterooms occupy the remainder of this deck.
As previously described, the interior of the auxiliary wing, which houses the engine room, machine and repair shop and motors constitutes Deck 9.57 Two elevators and two staircases for the use of passengers join Deck 2 to Deck 8.’1 In addition, there are two service staircases for the crew joining all nine decks. A telephone system throughout the ship connects every room. There are, of course, electric light and running water in all rooms.
There are eighteen single staterooms, eighty-one double staterooms, of which twenty-four have private baths, ten suites of three rooms each, ten suites of four rooms each, four suites of six rooms each. The suites have sleeping accommodations for from four to six persons. One hundred and nineteen sleeping rooms have outside windows. Sixty rooms are inside without windows, but are equally well ventilated. The entire ship is hermetically closed at all times and is air conditioned.
Each deck has two or more steward’s pantries, with direct dumb-waiter facilities from the main or auxiliary kitchens and with linen and other supply closets adjacent. The crew personnel, numbering one hundred and fifty-five, is sufficiently large to provide excellent service in every department. It con
sists of the following:
1 Baggage Master
2 Baggage Men
1 Chief Steward
1 Chief Dining-
2 Head Waiters 2 Wine Stewards
24 Waiters 7 Bus Boys 
1 Chief Bar Steward 6 Cooks 1 Nurse 1 Manicurist
9 Bar Stewards 2 Dishwashers 1 Gymnast 1 Children’s Room
1 Chief Deck 24 Room Stewards 1 Masseur Stewardess
Steward 16 Room Steward – 1 Masseuse 7 Musicians
6 Deck Stewards esses 1 Barber 1 Shop Attendant
1 Chef 1 Doctor 1 Hairdresser
This plane has been designed upon the basis of the latest developments in aviation known to-day. Every detail and every principle involved has been tested in one form or another. It is merely the combination that is new.
As to whether, exactly, this type of air liner is the next step in solving the problem of intercontinental aviation is beyond calculation. What can be reasonably anticipated is that a liner its equal in size, facilities, and comfort – will be a common means of intercontinental transit in the not very remote future. Whether the development of such liners will follow the identical trend I have indicated is problematical. I am inclined to believe that the principles I have followed will be utilized for a few years and that engineers will then have at their command new principles which will make possible further •advances and simplifications.
Air liners of a size that is not easily visualized to-day will eventually supplant ocean liners in intercontinental transportation of express traffic-passengers and mail, but not freight. No such radical departure from a long – established mode of transportation can occur without bringing enormous consequences in its train. In many respects, getting the world on wheels has changed the face of the earth. With the prospect of air liners spanning the oceans on scheduled flights, one need not peer very far beyond the horizon to detect other changes that are stimulating to contemplate. Intercontinental aviation will change the whole structure of present-day world metropolises. This is not at all an exaggerated view. Chicago, for instance, under influences that will arise concomitantly with intercontinental aviation, may easily become as much of a world metropolis as New York.