Crossing the Transatlantic
In the early 1900’s the aviation industry was experimenting with a lot of different concepts. Heavily loaded planes had been causing serious problems during take-off, especially on long range flights when flying at extremely high speeds. In order to fix this problem, Major Robert Mayo of England came up with an ingenious solution. He designed a new airplane that was simple and effective. A piggy-back arrangement comprising the Short S.21 Maia (bottom) and S.20 Mercury (top) flying boats, designed for long-distance transatlantic flights. The larger airplane could carry the smaller one to an altitude of about 10,000ft before it was launched. The larger plane was named “Mayo Composite” after its inventor Robert Mayo.
To ensure that the smaller plane was attached firmly to the larger one, a special strut was fitted onto it. The four extremely powerful engines of the large Mayo Composite Aircraft ensured that the smaller plane could reach the high altitudes that it was meant to safely and securely. The two aircrafts were to be separated in mid-air and to prevent the smaller airplane from pre-launching, its controls were locked.
The Mayo Composite Aircraft could take-off from water with minimum speed. The larger plane helped the smaller plane during takeoff and allowed the smaller aircraft to make a non-stop journey from Southampton in Britain, to New York. The smaller plane could cruise at a range of 3,800 miles at 180mph and it could be loaded to its maximum of 20,500 pounds including mail, cargo and fuel. Modern mechanic issued a cover of the flight trails of the aircraft being conducted and illustrated the aerial landing the way it would appear to the spectators. Though this is common place today, it was a significant invention back in 1938 when the aviation industry was still very young.