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"Aviation as college sport" is the plea made by Mr. Laurence L. Driggs, President of the American Flying Club, the organization which conducted the recent New York-Toronto and transcontinental races. Predicting that in no very distant time colleges will officially take up aviation as a recognized sport, Mr. Driggs urges that "in the meantime every encouragement should be given these enthusiastic airmen of the colleges who hold their first aeroplane contest on May 8 at Mineola, Long Island."
"Fully nine-tenths of the American aviators who helped to drive back the Hun," writes Mr. Driggs, "came from the colleges. These were the first to leap forward to offer their services--none were conscripted. To this most hazardous arm of warfare the boys from the best families in America gave their intelligence and determination, with the result that American aviators won the respect of friend and foe alike.
"Aviation gives us the swiftest mode of transportation ever known to mankind. No bird that flies can soar so high nor fly so fast. From the aviator the scientist has learned about the temperature above, about the gale that blows eastward at terrific speed seven or eight miles above the sea, about the pressure to human heart and tissues which high altitudes bring. From the aviator the world has learned that armies on land and navies at sea have met their master. The next great conflict between nations will be decided by their superiority in the air.
Airplanes Have a Commercial Future.
"In commerce, the motor truck has opened up great territories to business by means of good roads. Like arteries these highways now pulse with the flow of commerce which feed and strengthen the life blood of the nation. Airplanes will extend by their swiftness of travel, these commercial territories,--requiring only terminal landing fields instead of the expensive communicating highways. This means of communication will increase real estate values, save huge sums where time is money, and will multiply one resource of that nation that intelligently develop it.
"If such importance to our national welfare attaches to aviation, how can the colleges of America fail to cultivate and improve its application? What new science ever dawned upon our horizon with equal opportunities? Why delay a study of its possibilities when delay hampers our commercial development and at the same time menaces our national defense?
The Coming College Sport.
"Every human soul is thrilled by the spectacle of an aeroplane cleaving through the skies. As a sport, its devotees place it high above the earthly pleasures of football or rowing. But it has not yet found its place among the recognized college sports of American universities. Annual college contests in the air bid fair to rival in interest and excitement the popular field sports of yesterday. The pioneers in this movement are undergraduates at Harvard, and already, within a year after doffing their flying uniforms for college robes, they have won a score and more of College Flying Clubs to their plan. Several universities in America have established schools of aeronautics.
"Eventually these departments will design and build aeroplanes in their own laboratories. Then will come a famous struggle between college aviators that will interest the public and the college authorities while at the same time healthily developing the science of aviation in legitimate manner at our seats of learning in America.
"In the meantime, every encouragement should be given these enthusiastic airmen of the colleges who hold their first aeroplane contest on May 7 next, at Mineola, Long Island. The 'Safety First' principle is the basis of this proficiency contest. Upon its successful issue, many interesting improvements may be built. The personnel of the contestants is chosen from a group of men who form the greatest fraternity in the world--a group which shoulder to shoulder faced the constant menace of hazardous flights over enemy territory and amid a thousand dangers. Their present problem is to convert their fellows to a recognition of their plans to create a college movement to help our national defense, which in the doing will assist to crown college aviation as the Peer of American college sports.
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