National Geographic : 1918 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE in the early dawn, the Austrian and Ger man planes come to bombard our open cities and barbarously to destroy the art treasures of Venice, of Padua, and of Verona, then it is that our courageous combat pilots mount at once to the sky and, with firm hand and stout heart, meet and bring down the invaders-as, for instance, Major Baracca, who brought down 30 of the enemy's machines, and Colonel Piccio, who brought down 20. The achievements of Italian aviation during the last three years have not been confined to the theater of war. Its pilots recently have established new world rec ords for non-stop flights, for speed and altitude. The plaudits of the Allied na tions recently sounded for an Italian aviator, Captain Laureati, who piloted a Sia plane from Turin over the Alps, across France and the English Channel to London, a distance of 700 miles, without alighting; but this di-tance record was almost immediately eclipsed by the same pilot, with another non-stop flight of 1,004 miles, from Turin to Naples and re turn. Another Italian aviator, Lieuten ant Guidi, established the record for highest flyer of the world when he took his machine to a height of 26,400 feet, five miles above the earth and more than two miles above the summit of Mont Blanc, the loftiest mountain of Europe. Sergeant Stoppani, piloting a one-seater fighting airplane, type "Savoia-Verdu zio," on the 28th of September, 1917, left Turin at 2.45 p. m., crossed the Apen nines to the sea, and, following the shore line, arrived in Rome at 5.35 p. m., cover ing a distance of 390 miles in two hours and fifty minutes and at an average speed of 138 miles an hour. These achievements are indicative of the place Italy is expected to take in the development of aviation when the world is once more at peace and men's minds may turn with confidence to the produc tive pursuits of transportation and inter national commerce. THE ITALIAN RACE WHILE most of America's air men will probably see service above the battle-line which ex tends from the North Sea across Bel gium and France, they will not be for getful of the superhuman skill, daring, and self-sacrifice of their allies beyond the Alps, the intrepid Italians, whose country produces no coal, no steel, and food insufficient for her needs, yet has managed for nearly three years to main tain her armies against the ceaseless ham mering of Austrian and German guns. Italy, the mother of civilization, of art, and of science, and the cradle of intel lectual liberty, began fighting the invaders from the North a thousand years before the discovery of America. She has given to the world Marcus Aurelius and Dante, Columbus and John Cabot, Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo, and in more recent days Volta, Galvani, Garibaldi, Verdi, and Marconi. Just as the New World was given to civilization by her two great navigators, Columbus and Cabot, so the infinite realms of space were revealed to man through the gift of the telescope from Galileo, that monumental genius who also helped to perfect the compound micro scope which has made modern medicine and modern chemistry possible. Like wise it is Marconi's gift of wireless telegraphy which makes the observation airplane a truly potent factor in battle. One of the marvels of human history is this extraordinary Italian race, that for 2,000 years has blessed the world with one succession of geniuses-musicians, authors, creators of inspiration and ad vancement-from which all other peoples have benefited. THE EDITOR.