Accidents in 1954 The impression left in the minds of the public by widespread reporting of airline accidents, particularly in Britain, may well be that 1954 was "a bad year" from this viewpoint. Such an impression would, in our view, be false. According to our own provisional calculations, fatal accidents to scheduled passenger flights occurred at an average rate of once in 15 days in 1954; there were 24 accidents in which a total of 478 passengers lost their lives. During that same twelve-month period the airlines operated more than 180,000 flights daily and safely transported more than 58m passengers.

Growing Pains Not many years ago the airline industry was a promising but sickly infant which, financially speaking, needed pampering to keep it alive. Today the need for subsidy has been greatly reduced; in place of the infant we find a still more promising and healthier-looking youth - but one liable to outgrow his strength. The airline business, more than any other, is based on optimistic planning - on the assumption that more passengers will be carried next year, and still more the year after. This expansion is not achieved without effort, though it is all too easily taken for granted. Airlines can be sure of attracting more passengers only by offering more frequent, more comfortable, faster and - above all - cheaper services.

Now the SeaMaster Wholly new in concept is the Martin XP6M-1 SeaMaster four-jet flying-boat, designed primarily for minelaying and photographic reconnaissance with the U.S Navy. The turbojets, paired above the wing, are Allison J71s, probably of some 10,000 lb thrust apiece, augmented by afterburning for takeoff. Speeds of over 600 m.p.h. are possible, and normal cruising speed is quoted as 40,000ft. Mr. James H. Smith, Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air, apparently had aircraft of the SeaMaster type in mind when he said recently: "With perhaps half a dozen seaplanes, a single tender, and a pair of tanker submarines, we could provide an integrated force that an enemy could not ignore."

Saucer Stopped The Avro "flying saucer" project is now known to have been abandoned, owing to the very heavy expense of developing the idea, coupled with the possibility that the final design would not represent any great improvement over conventional aircraft.

Source: Flight International