For nearly two years a lithe, quick-moving, tousle-headed U. S. citizen has been nosing around Europe's airways, his half-hostile eyes alert to see every new aviation development. Anxious to honor the world's most famous flyer, foreign governments and companies withheld little from Colonel Charles Augustus Lindbergh, reserve Army flyer and unsalaried technical adviser of Pan American Airways. Returning fortnight ago "for Christmas," Colonel Lindbergh landed with probably more complete information of Europe's air plans, particularly those of Imperial Airways, than any individual on this side of the Atlantic. Last week, after three days of conferences with Colonel Lindbergh in Manhattan's Chrysler Building, Pan American Airways quickly called for bids on plans made last April for up to twelve Yankee Clippers of breath-taking size stipulated that preliminary general descriptions and sketches be submitted to Colonel Lindbergh by March 15 next year.
P. A. A. wants from the eight leading U. S. firms that build big airplanes a machine delivered within three years that will fly 5,000 mi. non-stop at 200 m.p.h. at altitudes up to 20,000 ft. and carry a payload of 25,000 Ib. in which is included full day and night accommodation for 100 passengers, crew of 16, mail, baggage and express. Six months from now if Colonel Lindbergh and P. A. A. are still interested, $35,000 will be allotted to cover the cost to the builders of further estimates. As nothing a third the size has ever been constructed in the U. S., airmen last week dazed themselves with such speculations of the completed ship as its wing spread, 200 ft.; fuselage, 200 ft. by 25 ft.; weight, 200,000 Ib. with six engines each 2,000 h.p. Only the memory of P. A. A. and Colonel Lindbergh's plans for the first Clipper six years agothen dubbed "impossible" and called the "flying miracle"^saved the idea from being utterly fantastic.