The experiences of the author in flying over an air-mail route are graphically portrayed. Although general practices hold for all routes, each route is said to present its own problems; special methods used in flying between any two points are not entirely effective in flying between any other two points.
Conditions along the New York City-Cleveland route are therefore described and such topics as lights and beacons, terminal fields, emergency landing-fields, and the various aids in locating the position of the airplane when the beacons are obscured, are discussed. Among these aids are the general appearance of cities and the direction of their main streets, large factories, blast-furnaces, amusement parks, lighted railroad trains, automobile headlights on main highways, railroad roundhouses, mountains, and rivers.
In nightflying, much depends on the airplane, which must meet definite requirements. These include stability which is very important when flying by instruments, maneuverability, slow landing-speed, rapid climb, long cruising-range, and the capacity for carrying an ample supply of fuel.
Special night-flying equipment that is essential comprises navigation lights, headlights and parachute flares. When nothing is visible outside the ship, straight flying demands the use of certain instruments, which are grouped in the center of the instrument-board so that they all can be seen at once, namely, the compass, the turn indicator, the bank indicator, the altimeter which also serves as a barometer, an air-speed indicator, and a tachometer. The function and method of operation of each of these instruments is explained.
Various means of overcoming the difficulties due to bad weather and the hazards that are most prevalent in each of the four seasons are outlined; the problems arising from fog are said to be the most important in the summertime, while the most serious of all is caused by the formation of ice upon the wires, struts and fabric of the airplane.