National Geographic : 1943 Jul
American Wings Soar Around the World AP from Press Ass'n Like Criminals in a Patrol Wagon, Japanese Prisoners on a Transport Hide Their Faces As the American M.P . holds machine gun ready, members of the ship's crew peep from the cabin. The captives are Navy and Air Force men taken in the Solomons. Headquarters wants to question them. teca vines and sucked water from the stems. Although snakes were a constant menace, monkeys proved the biggest pest, bedeviling the workers in many ways. For revenge, monkey meat appeared on the menu as an experiment. The engineer's diary records: "Monkey meat is plenty tough, but oh the spareribs!" For 22 days the 104 workers toiled in the jungle heat, hewing a mile-long runway out of the dense matto. Then the repaired bomber went roaring down it and into the air again, bound for the African front once more. The plane had used for ninety seconds the strip that took three weeks to complete. Although plane crashes and casualties are bound to occur, ATC operations have a re markable record for safety. For example, the four months which ended January 31 saw ATC fly more than 4,000,000 miles in Africa alone, carrying 21,300 passengers without the loss of a single plane or injury to a single passenger. In the whole of 1942, 99.7 per- cent of all planes accepted for domestic or foreign delivery by ATC reached their desti nations safely. During one recent month-the heaviest to date in ATC records for the delivery of air craft-the plane losses en route to their desti nation amounted to only four-hundredths of one percent of the planes flown. Not a single plane has been lost on the hazardous Pacific routes by enemy action, although the Japa nese have tried more than once to interfere. However, ATC flyers are well trained in what to do if they find themselves in trouble, and forced-landing techniques have been worked out for virtually all types of terrain. For a jungle, the procedure is to come in with gear up and full flaps down, landing nose high in heavy growth for its cushioning effect. For water, it is gear up and no flaps, lest they give the plane a diving motion. Beaches re quire no special procedure-gears and flaps down as for a normal landing-but belly land ings are obligatory in the desert.