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considering.- For they have each and all felt sdme time OF other that deadly
grip of drowziness.
Sang the Ancient Mariner, in Coleridge's famous poem:
"""OsIeepF It is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole.
To Mary Queen the praise be given;
She sent the gentle sleep from heaven
That slid into my soul."
But our modern mariner, Lieutenant Porte, sailor of the Atlantic skies,
has no such pleasant praise for "beloved" sleep. It is to be hia worst enemy,
more like an evil siren, luring him to
destruction, than nke a gift front
Sleep, evoked by the glare of sun
on water, by the rush of wind, by the
monotonous rhythmic music of th
motors, may rise treacherously over
him, grip him in her magic spell, drug
him bring him to his death!
It will be a mighty fight that lieu
tenant Porte rnust wage against that
In other respects he is fairly se
cure. The marvelous engines of his
trans-Atlantic airboat have stood
their test to perfection and have
shown that, under all the strain of
the first 20-hour lap in the-long flight,
they will race faithfully with never a
The America has shown that she
can carry more than a sufficient sup
ply oFpetroI for the first stage of the
journey. She is wonderfuly stable,
and Porte is expert enough birdman
to triumph without doubt over any
air-pockets, "soft-spots" or cross
currents that he may encounter.
There is very little danger of
storm. He will pick his day for
starting and will complete his first
flight within twenty-four hours. At
this time of year captains of ocean
liners will tell you they can count on
the sea being unruffled as a mill
pond, not for the few hours Porte will
be in the air, but for days on end.
The America has already proved its
ability to weather the minor storms
which its pilot may encounter.
In fact, from the mechanical point f
of view, success of the great flight is
practically assured, and it might be
safely, predicted, today tnat the year
1914 will see the trans-Atlantic air
voyage, which in spectacular daring
and world-interest excels any deed
ever undertaken by man, accomplish
ed were it not for the ONE peril of
For twenty hours the trans-Atlantic
flyer must stay wide awake.
Through all that time he must keep
every muscle active,, every nerve
alert, his mind constantly concen
trated on his compasses and mechan
ism, "making continual effort to de
tect "and adapt his plane to every lift
of the air currents. . That tense men
tal activity alone would be sufficient
to produce overpowering fatigue.
But through all those endless
hours there will be humming accom
paniment to the "call of mental fa
tigue, the deadly monotonous drum
ming of the engine, beating eternally
against his ears 'like a seductive lull
aby! That this is the real and worst
peril, frequently felt, all birdmen will
testify. The. most striking instance
of it is told by the great English avia
tor, Claude Grahame-White.
Grahame-White recently rose with
a passenger who proved to be insane.
The man began to struggle and kick,
and in a few moments would surely
have grappled with the pilot and cap
sized the machine. But the opiate
influence of the rush of wind and the
hum of the motor had its inevitable
effect. The madman gradually be
came subdued, fell asleep as heavily
as though chloroformed, and was still
in that state when the pilot descend
ed and lifted the erstwhile madman
from the machine.
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