There have been numerous despairing surveys recently calling attention to the careless, inefficient, and indifferent treatment which the aeroplane has received in this country and contrasting it, amid gloomy forebodings, with the giant strides taken in this field by Europe. Admittedly the pessimists have facts to uphold the contrast. France is blessed with eight companies which handled about fifteen thousand passengers and thirty tons of express and mail in the year just passed, and by means of government subsidies even managed to make both ends meet. But America has only her mail planes, a few private companies operating for the most part as novelties around Atlantic City and Palm Beach, and no subsidies whatever. Indeed, our appropriations for aviation last year were about one-third the amount spent by England and France.
But it is a long lane that has no turning. The enthusiasts now have a slight ray of hope at least, for "the gentleman from Massachusetts" has introduced into the Senate a resolution calling for investigation of the need for a United States Aeronautical Academy; and confessedly proposes to found one corresponding to Annapolis and West Point.
The idea is a novel one and comes out of an apparently clear sky, yet there is much to be said in its favor. Unquestionably aviation is capable of far greater development both in war and peace; and to judge from the "London-Paris parlor planes" and the proposed New York-Chicago express service Kipling's "With the Night Mail" may become an accomplished fact long before the dates set in the story. In any case, whether founded or not, the proposed school for pilots should serve to arouse considerable interest and turn the public eye up to the air.