National Geographic : 1928 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE AN UNUSUAL GLIMPSE OF THE NITRATE PLANT AT MUSCLE SHOALS The airplane offers many advantages to the engineer, or to anyone wishing to get a complete picture of such a large project as this. Aerial mapping, surveying, and photography are already extensively used in many parts of the country. The planning of parks, laying out of new streets, and improvement of civic architecture are facilitated by means of the airplane. schedule made out before the tour began. The exception was at Portland, Maine (see text, page 7), which has been explained. Weather conditions were normal during the tour. We flew through fog, rain, snow and darkness as well as in clear weather. The total mileage covered by the Spirit of St. Louis was 22,350 miles. The ad vance plane flew 20,350 miles. This dif ference was caused by Colonel Lindbergh flying half an hour more each day to allow the advance plane to arrive ahead. The entire trip was made in 260 flying hours, or the equivalent of eleven days. The accompanying map (page 5) does not show where all of this mileage was obtained, for we seldom flew a straight course. On 192 occasions we zigzagged between stops to circle cities and drop messages. Other detours were for sight seeing. One fact impressed on us during the three months was the great advantage of the airplane over other forms of trans portation, especially in mountain country. Here the automobile and the railroad train must wind back and forth in order to negotiate the grades, or deviate to find passes. The airplane simply climbs up and flies across in a straight line. It needs no bridge to cross a river; it needs no road to get by a thick forest. All these things make the airplane a most natural means of transportation in mountainous and isolated parts of the country. It is, of course, a great time saver everywhere, but it should be of spe cial value in our larger, more sparsely settled States. Some day air tourists will follow many of the invisible air trails along which Colonel Lindbergh passed in his nation wide tour. They will look down upon the garden spots of America from comfort able air transports in which they will travel with the same feeling of safety as in railroad trains. To such travelers alone will come the fullest appreciation of this beautiful coun try of ours. Only from the air can one attain to a complete realization of the vastness of the continent, of its ever changing panorama, and of its thousands of beautiful scenes.