that the United States should not manufacture and send over for
overseas service a pursuit plane or bombing plane. ^ In other words,
when the then pitiful condition of this country as to its aircraft service
is presented to the representatives of the aircraft service in the United
States they simply admit that the country did not produce pursuit
planes â€” that it did not produce bombing planes. And so that on the
particular request of our -allies that course was pursued.
So that is the excuse and explanation which is given for the con-
dition the country finds itself in to-day.
I make that statement in order that you ma^ see what position
the representatives of the aircraft service appear in.
Now, I want to ask you, Doctor, whether you took up with the
War Department the question of the manufacture of a bomoing plane,
and whether your company was in position to produce bombing
machines for overseas service ?
Dr. Christmas. Here is some information as to Gen. Geoi^e O.
Squier, April 7, 1918, about bombing planes, giving the full explana-
tion of it all, in which I call attention to Class B and Class C, and I
had also Class A, which I have not got here.
Class C represented a bombing plane with a span of 100 feet across
the wings, with an area of 2,000 square feet, and 1,200 horsepower.
That machine had a capacity for speed of 107 miles an hour, and it
carried gas and oil from 4 to 6 hours, which was in excess of that
required. It had a complement of 4 men, 3 machine guns^ and 1
rapid-fire gxm, and was controlled by 2 aviators. This machme had
6 controls to keep its integrity on a par â€” that is to say, 4 manual
and 2 automatic â€” and it was armored around vulnerable parts.
The price of that machine to the War Department was $80,000.
Class B had a span of 120 feet. The area of this plane was 3,000
square feet, and the horsepower 1,800; the speed of this machine was
105 mUes an horn*, with a gas and ou complement of 4 to 6 hom*s.
This machine had 4 machine guns and 2 rapid-fire guns. Its arma-
ment and equipment were practically the same as Class C, except
the armament and equipment was heavier. The price of that machine
as given to the Government was $120,000.
En^and, France, and Italy were begging their engineers to get out
bombmg machines, because they would be the determining factor
in this war. They knew that these large bombing machines could
stop this war, and they were using every means in their power through
their engineering force to develop these bombing planes, and they
were accomphslung results; but we were absolutely doing nothing.
The type of mawiine which I last called the attention of the War
Department to was what I call class A. This machine is of 30 tons
capacity, including its own weight. It has four engines of 1,000
horsepower each, or 4,000 horsepower altogether, with a speed of
115 miles. It has 26 guns on it; 22 machine guns and 4 two-pound
rapid-fire guns, with a crew of 28 men. This plane was a true oattle
plane in every sense of the term. It was so situated in its com-
plement of guns that there was not a blind zone on the machine
whatsoever. Its gun platform as technically understood â€” ^by this is
meant that the machine is so stable and so large that thq gunner can
take deliberate aim and accomplish results such as he could not get
in a smaller tvpe of machine.
These small scout machines or other machines attacking this battle
plane would have no possible chance with it, because this type of
plane could outrange every other type known, and it is yet much in
advance of any that Italy has pro&uced, or Endand, although Italy
and England aie fast approaching this size. Their last edition is
a Handley-Paige of 126 leet spread.
Mr. Maoee. What tonnage capacity is that machine ?
Dr. Chkistmas. That is about 12 tons, I should say.
254 WAR EXPENDITURES.
Mr. Magee. How large a crew ?
Dr. Christmas. That has a crew of about 5, 1 thmk. The advan-
tage that I called the War Department's attention to wasahigh-cUÂ»
battle bombing plane was, on accoimt of its outranging other planes
it could at its leisure shoot other planes to pieces before they could
get in range. Besides, the gun emplacement and equipment herein
described â€” this plane had a compartment or nest of 40 bombs
weighing 200 pounds each, which could be released at once, or sin^y.
All the control mechanism of this plane is made electrically operated
and also manually operated. Eyer^ precaution possible has been
taken to guard against possible accident under shell fire and under
attack of any description.
Mr. Magee. Do you think the production of that kind of a plane
is feasible ?
Dr. Christmas. That machine can be put in production so easily
that after the first one has been built, that is to say, the forms and
templets have been made, that they can be very rapidly turned out.
Mr. Magee. What leads you to that conclusion ?
Dr. Christmas. Because the engineering principles involved in this
machine are well known to all engmeers. Inere is not any happv-gp-
lucky mechanical devices there. The parts are macroscopic in
character; the driving mechanism is well known in automobile
practice. The body of fuselage is made round for the purpose of
strength and invulnerability of attack, and the parts of the gun em-
placements are so situated that no blind zones are discernible in the
machine at all. There is no point of the compass but what at least
four guns can be brought to bear on the enemy.
Another thing to 'sraich Mr. McCorry has just called my attention
is very, very important: The type of bombing plane which the Allies
have Drought out placing the engines on the wings, which makes
them exposed to tne enemies' fire. Outside of that, if anything
should happen to strain or break the wings, it would entirely put
the machine out of commission, because the engines are placed on the
wings and the machine would collapse. In this type of machine
every bit of machinery, the driving mechanism and everything is
inside of the body of the machine, where it should bo, and thus is
protected from enemy gunfire.
Mr. Magee. Have you produced an observation machine ?
Dr. Christmas. Our purpose up to the present time was to produce
a pursuit plane for the avowed purpose of driving the enemy off the
field, which could be done only by a pursuit plane. The observation
plane would be of no service whatsoever after the Hun had been dis-
placed, because that was the purpose of the planes in the banning.
The observation plane is a very small plane, which re.juires no special
speed and it only recjuires another seat.
The pursuit plane is the highest type of plane we know anything
Mr. Magee. What do you designate the type you are ))roducing
Dr. Christmas. We are at present developing machine for com
mercial purposes, on account of the enormous demand.
Mr. Magee. What do you call them; are they observation planes t
Dr. Christmas. Yes; we call them an observation plane.
Mr. Mace. And not particularly a military plane?
Dr. Christmas. No; but the best observation plane I have found
to be a .'^-place machine. That I called the War Department's
attention to, that the 2-place machine did not have a sufficient
number of men to properly make the observation. I made the point
that the planes should have a driver who should do nothing whatso-
ever except drive the machine; that there should be a photographer
who did nothing but take photoeraphs; and that there should be a
third man who should be generd observer â€” all three of those men
should be independent of one another. The Curtiss Co. developed a
2-place observation machine, as they call it; but it was not anything
different from any other type they had been using, and because it
was a 2-place machine they determined to use that 2-place machine,
and it failed.
Mr. Magee. I take it, that in your judgment, there epsted through-
out the war an aircraft problem ?
Dr. Christmas. Absolutely.
Mr. Maoee. There is no question in your mind about thati
Dr. Christmas. None whatsoever.
Mr. Magee. Do you know anything about it â€” who had any
knowledge of it ?
Dr. Cecristmas. The only tangible thing I can say in that regard,
Mr. Chairman, is that men come to us and tell us all sorts of stories
about what thej have heard and found out, but they are not wiUing
to come here with me to Washington and tell what they know.
Mr. Magee. If you have any Knowledge from your own observa-
tion and experience, what improvements there should be, the com-
mittee would hke to have it.
Dr. Christmas. From what I have qbserved by close examination,
from the way I have been treated, both in this city and other places
and in Dayton, it is my candid opinion that the automobile interests
got together and just concluded here was a whole lot of monev, and
they proceeded to take advantage of the situation and build air-
planes at the smallest possible cost to themselves and at the highest
possible price they could sell them to the United States Government,
the result being a disbursement of the taxpayer's money and bond
buyer's money and no results whatsoever. 1 think that was brought
out pretty well in the Hughes investigation. Mr. Hughes, in some
of his statements, made it plain that he beheved such a thing existed.
Mr. Magee. It has been stated that after airplanes had been
ordered sent abroad, the order was revoked, and they were sent to
the flying fields in this country. Do you know anything about that ?
Dr. Christmas. I have no personal knowledge of that, only the
evidence of men who have seen such action. There is a man right
now in my oflBce, Lieut. Hosp, who was stationed at the EUington
Field, tola me that machines were dehberately put out in the field
in the weather for the purpose of destroying them, so far as he could
Mr. Magee. The weather affected the motors and the instruments
on them ?
Dr. Christmas. Yes, sir* and after they had been there a certain
length of time they would be considered inoperative, out of date,
obsolete scrap and thrown aside, some of them without ever having
been flown at all. That was to stimulate the buUding of more
machines of the same type and character.
256 WAB EXFBNDITX7RES.
Mr. Magee. What, in your opinion, if I may ask you, Doctor,
would be an efficient remedy to promote efficient air service ?
Dr. Christmas. There is but one solution to it, and that is intelli-
gent cooperation and coordination of certain men in this country
who are entirely capable and able of giving to this country the first
type of airplane in the world to-day without question.
Mr. Magee. What means would you suggest to bring about the
Dr. Christmas. A complete reorganization in the Air Service.
That Air Service should be organized from the beginning â€” I mean by
by that, that there should be a secretary of the Air Service, and he
should be a man of efficient, executive ability and practical sense,
and have complete control of the situation.
Mr. Magee. What do you mean by that, that there should be a
department of the Government devoted to the air service ?
Dr. Christmas. Yes, sir; a cabinet member, who should be a man
of high education, as far removed from possible political influence as
Mr. Magee. Have the responsibility concentrated somewhere ?
Dr. Christmas. Exactly so, and he should be a man, as I said
before, particularly well Qualified for his. work; that is to say, he
should be a man oi high eaucation and high cultivation.
Mr. Magee. Is there any other fact which, in your judgment,
would be of interest and benefit to the Government that has not been
enlisted from you, which you desire to state to the committee ?
Dr. Christmas. Yes, sir; I positively declare that the present type
of airplane as used by the United States Government can not be made
satisfactory by any circumstances however favorable.
Mr. Magee. You mean the De Haviland 4 ?
Dr. Christmas. Yes, sir; it can not be improved. There is not a
type of machine that the Government uses to-day that can be im-
proved one particle in its flying qualities or ability.
Another thing, a type of machme such as I am describing can not
be improved of the size of this bombing machine, because it reprc^nts
a parallel truss. That machine [indicating] is built on the cantilever
truss principle. If it was necessary to do so, we could build a canti-
lever machine a thousand or fifteen hundred feet across the wings.
A parallel truss machine is limited to a very short span, and for that
reason alone it could not be developed into a large commercial or
militaiy operating machine.
Mr. Magee. How does the speed of your machine compare with the
German Fokker ?
Dr. Christmas. The German Fokker was a type of plane which
was gotten out for specific purposes; that is to say, it was a pursuit
fightmg plane pure and simple, and the prime factor in the designer's
mind was speed. If they could design a plane which was even one
mile faster than the Alhes' nlane, it would certainly succeed in shoot*
ing the Allies' planes from tne sky, because they could out maneuver
them. The type of plane as represented there by the Christmas
Bullet, our latest proauction, is at least from 45 to 55 miles an hour
faster than the fastest plane the Germans have ever developed.
Mr. Magee. How fast a plane do you claim that your company can
Dr. Christmas. We can produce a machine, under normal condi-
tions, which will fly 175 or 180 miles an hoxir; under favorable condi-
tions, with the necessarv equipment, of course, we can develop
planes that will fly 200 miles an hour; in fact, we have designs coming
on for that very purpose.
Mr. Magee. How nigh in the air?
Dr. Christmas. What you mean, technically, is ^'ceihng"?
Mr. Maqee. Ordinarily, how hign do you say that your machines
could travel at the rate of 155 or 200 miles an hour ?
Dr. Christmas. The fastest height that you can fly a machine is at
the height of under 5,000 feet. When you get higher your speed
decreases. But on account later development in the carbureter
it has been found that by feeding an extra amount of oxygen to the
engine the full liorsepower of the engine can be developed.. Under
those circumstances, at a height of 18,000 or 20,000 feet, the plane
would possibly &y 250 miles an hoxir.
Mr. Magee. "What speed has the Spad, ordinarily?
Dr. Christmas. The Spad has a speed of 122 to 127 miles an hour.
Mr. Magee. And that of the Nieuport?
Dr. Christmas. About the same. They did reach a certain point
where the resistance curve in the design crosses the engine power
curve. After that, putting on more power and changing the machine
does no good.
Mr. Magee. What is the greatest speed of your machine, according
to your observation ?
Dr. Christmas. About 200 miles.
Mr. Magee. An hour?
Dr. Christmas. Yes; I wish to bring up something here which is
very important: On account of the inemcient wing design of the
present type of machine â€” that is to say, the type of machine which
is being used by the Army and Navy â€” it can not carry a very great
load; the wing design is so poor that it is inefficient in carrying a Toad.
Our planes carry a very, very much higher load. For instance, that
Christmas Bullet, with only 200 horsepower, can carry a load as high
as 15 pounds to the square foot.
Mr. Magee. How many persons are required operating that
Dr. Christmas. One or two.
Mr. Magee. You make both one and two seaters ?
Dr. Christmas. Yes; one, two, three, and five seaters. With a
load of 13 pounds to the square foot, the Bullet succeeded in leaving
the groimd in one or two of our tests at about 75 yards. It has a
lower landing speed than any machine in existence, which is a very
necessary thmg in military operations as well as in civil operations.
Mr. Magee. Are there any further facts that you want to tell the
committee? If not, I will turn you over to my colleague, who
probablv desires to ask you some questions.
Dr. C&iRiSTMAS. These planes that come from my designs, I want
to say, with half the horsepower can cairv more loads than other
machmes. As an illustration of that, the Ourtiss Wasp, which had a
horsepower of about 450, succeeded in flying 151 miles an hour with
400 horsepower. Our machine with 200 horsepower succeeded in
flying 40 miles an hour faster than that â€” ^with half the horsepower.
258 WAB EXPEi!n>rnjRES.
Mr. Lea. In your judgment, is the greatest opportunity for the
development of the completed airplane m the engme or in the plane
Dr. Christmas. Answering that question critically, I would say
that both developments are necessary, but more particularly in the
plane, because with a stated horsepower you can get certain results.
good or bad, as regards the design of the plane.
Mr. Lea. As I understand your criticism of the airplane, it is
fundamental rather than in detail ?
Dr. Christmas. Yes; exactly.
Mr. Lea. That the principle on which the airplane is made is
mechanically not justified ?
Dr. Christmas. It is totally unjustified, because t];iere is no simu-
lation of nature for that design.
Mr. Lea. And the main advantage that your plane gains over the
principles of the ordinary plane, as I understand it, is to conform to
the prmciple of the bird in flight ?
Dr. Christmas. Exactly.
Mr. Lea. Will y;ou explain how you get that condition in your
plane? The flexibility, as I understand it, is the feature of it?
Dr. Christmas. Yes. In the parallel truss machine, as exhibited
here in this type [e^^hibiting picture on cover of Scientific American],
you will notice that these planes are parallel to one another, and that
IS why we call it a paraJlel; and they have struts in here [indicatingl,
which are braced together with crossed wires. The parallel truss is
such an inefficient truss that it has to take away from the cantilever
some of its features to be mechanically strong enough to hold itscJf
These wires [indicating] have a tremendous resistance. These
struts have a tremendous resistance. You would be astounded to
learn of the resistance of these wires to the passage of the machine
through the air, which is so great that it represents a flat surface of
about 4 inches in breadth, because the wire is vibrating this way
[illustrating] and the width of that disturbance is as tmck as the
vibration of the wire.
To get an efficient machine, even allowing that this parallel wing
design is to be left as it is, if this were omitted you would get a vwy
mucn higher speed machine. But on account of this stiff wine drag-
ging through the air like it was being dragged through sand or throng
some element which stuck to its win^ â€” tne reason lor that is because
a wing does not move and will not r^eve itself to the passage of these
wind currents, don't jou see? If you then design a wing which
closely simulates the bird's wing, which is flexible, then that wing will
form or shape itself in the slip stream or air current, and produce the
best lift and drift qualities; that is to say, the lift itself and the drift
means forward motion of the machine.
Mr. Lea. So, if I get your argument, the fundamental advantage
to be gained by your plane is to reduce the opposition of the air ?
Dr. Christmas. Exactlv.
Mr. Lea. And you would gain that in two ways; one is by decreas*
ing the surface that meets the air 1
Dr. Christmas. Exactly.
Mr. Lea. And the other is by increasing the flexibility of your
Dr. Chkistmas. Exactly; this flexibility allowing the wing to exactly
fit itself into the various inequalities of the air which attacks the
wings. This is very clearly demonstrated when the bird is flying,
indeed, you can see the bird's wings doing that.
Mr. Lea. What is the mechanical construction of your wings that
permits the flexibility ?
Dr. Christmas, lltie wing is built out of a combination of lami-
nated wood and steel â€” ^high grade, spring steel.
Mr. Lea. How does the weight conform to the wings of an ordi-
nary aeroplane 1
Dr. Christmas. The wing is heavier.
Mr. Lea. I am not findmg fault with your machine, but I just
want to get your explanation. Here you nave the wings [indicating
picture]; what width would that represent ?
Dr. Christmas. That is 28 feet.
Mr. Lea. And your only connection is here [indicating] at the
body of the machine ?
Dr. Christmas. Yes.
Mr. Lea. I assume that this construction would necessarily be a
good deal heavier here [indicating] than in double trusses ?
Dr. Christmas. Oh, yes; considerable.
Mr. Lea. And what would your wing weigh compared with the
'Dr. Christmas. It would be at least twice as heavy as a truss
machine, but the point you are raising is not only apphcable, but it
can be explained why I am able to give away all of that weight for
the strength, by statmg that that efficiency hft of that wing is away
in excess of the ordinary type of wing section.
Engineers have repeatedly said to us, '^ Why do you wish to make
a machine so strong?" "What is your idea?" I do not see why
they should ask a question of that sort, because I can not conceive
of an airplane being made too strong, because it is subjected to very
rough usage both on the groimd ana in the air.
Mr. Lea. You are the designer of this plane, are you ?
Dr. Christmas. Yes, sir.
Mr. Lea. Do you manufacture any engines ?
Dr. Christmas. No, sir; we do not manufacture engines. We will
go into the production of engines later on.
Mr. Lea. What kind of engines have you used in the tests made
by your machines ?
Dr. Christmas. The Liberty 6 engine, which the Government first
started to make, and also the HaU-ocott motor.
Idx. Lea. You used those two engines in the same type of machines ?
Dr. Christmas. Yes. The Hall-Scott motor is lighter than the
Liberty 6, and they developed 62 horsepower more.
Mr. Lea. The HaU-Scott is made in Oakland, is it not ?
Dr. Christmas. I think it is Berkeley, Calif.
Mr. Lea. I noticed in the Aerial Age here, on page 948, you give a
picture of a Bullet-Strutless and wireless biplane which makes a
speed of 170 miles an hour?
Dr. Christmas. Yes, sir.
Mr. Lea. To what elevation could that speed be made ?
Dr. Christmas. That is what we call ''ground elevation''; that is
to say, anything within 5,000 feet.
147165â€” l^-voL 1 18
260 WAK EXPENDITURES.
Mr. Lea. And where was the test made ?
Dr. Christmas. The test was made at Mineola, and it was made
also at Field No. 5.
Mr. Lea. Have you had any more favorable tests than that; that
is, that it would produce any greater speed ?
Dr. Christmas. Yes; our machine tnat you see represented there
[indicating] the last one we got out, has 220 horsepower Hall-Scott
motor in it, which is considerable faster â€” about 200 miles.
Mr. Lea. This 170-mile test was made with a Liberty motor?
Dr. Christmas. Yes, sir; with a 185 horsepower Liberty motor.
Mr. Lea. That is the smallest Liberty motor, is it ?
Dr. Christmas. Yes, sir. The Government went out of the pro-
duction of that motor. I asked Col. Vincent what the idea was.
"Well," he said, "I do not know," and he evaded the question aO
the time. I told him on accoimt of its being a tandem motor; that
is to sa^r, all the cylinders were in line [illustrating] and this wav
[iUustrating] a very narrow aspect machine could oe made which
would necessarily develop a high speed if properly designed. He
admitted that that was true, and he said that ne believed it was a
food thing to manufacture, but he said '*They had concluded" â€” ^I
o not know who '*they" were â€” that "they would not manufacture
any more." I really believe it was because it was such a close
imitation of the Hall-Scott motor that they concluded that they
would not give the Hall-Scott motor a chance to build it. They gave
the Hall-Scott motor very little work to do.
Mr. Lea. That is justyour conclusion of the matter, is it not ?
Dr. Christmas. No; dol. HaU told me that.
Mr. Lea. Ho is the manufacturer of the Hall-Scott machine ?
Dr. Christmas. He is the designer and also the manufacturer of
the Hall-Scott machine. The firm is the Hall-Scott Motor Co.
Mr. Lea. When was your company organized â€” the Cantilever-
Aero Co. ?
Dr. Christmas. Probably about a year ago.
Mr. Lea. Where was it incorporated ?