Straight & Level 5 August

Send for the swat team
Our recent story about German research agency DLR’s work on assessing the effect of insect contamination on wing leading edges reminded Richard Chandless of a tale told to him by Arthur Luscombe about famous Supermarine test pilot Jeffrey Quill.
During the initial flight testing of the Spitfire manufacturer’s Swift jet, it was discovered by Luscombe, the flight engineer, that an erratic second take-off had been the result of the leading edge on the maiden flight acquiring a film of squashed insects.
In those make-do-and-mend days, the pair came up with an instant solution.
“Thereafter,” says Richard, “All the Swift’s flights were started with brown paper taped over the leading edge, and with a length of string running from inboard to outboard with one end in the cockpit. Once safely through the layer of insects Quill would pull the string, which would bear the brown paper, which would duly vanish into the slipstream.”
He concludes: “Just shows DLR are getting there a bit late.”

Flight Daily Snooze
Delighted to see our daily being repurposed usefully on a sultry day at Farnborough.


New high for PR
Every day, Budgie journalists’ inboxes bulge with irrelevant fluff and tedious twaddle from the public relations industry, so full marks to Houston PR for announcing its rebrand with a charmingly pointless missive entitled: “Not urgent: world’s highest press release”.
There’s a link to a short YouTube video of a press release pinned to a camera-equipped hot air balloon which rises to the edge of space.
Insert your own joke about hot air,” it helpfully adds. View it at

Are you sitting uncomfortably?
Is this Airbus’s strategy to win Ryanair from Boeing?
Toulouse’s boffins have submitted a patent application for maximising capacity on low-cost airline routes of less than 2h. A cabin configuration would have passengers perched side by side on bicycle-style saddles.
The “seating device”, says the application, “comprises a backrest which describes a circular translational movement towards the front and upwards of the device when the seating device is brought to the retracted configuration. A seating structure is provided comprising a bearing piece on which are fixed, side by side, a plurarity of seating devices with reduced bulk.”
Seems a long way from the airframer’s campaign for standard 18in seats on all airliners.
And now that Ryanair has gone all cuddly, not even one that Michael O’Leary might stand for, we suspect.


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