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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) (1:36 AM) , - In the very early stages of air development,, following faithfully the lead, as we always do, of Great Britain, the system was that only commissioned officers were permitted to fly. I should like to know from the Minister (Senator Pearce) whether we have got away from that, or whether that system still prevails - whether everyone who desires to learn the whole business is permitted to do so. Four years ago, probably, only commissioned officers were permitted to go up.

Senator Pearce - The mechanic goes up, and he is not a commissioned officer.

Senator GARDINER - But the mechanic is never permitted to have control of the machine.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is it not correct to state, not merely, that only a commissioned officer was allowed to take charge, but that when a man was fit to take charge of a machine, he became a commissioned officer ?

Senator GARDINER - That is just the question I wish to discuss. My idea of the use of the flying machine for war purposes is very much like my idea of the use of the quick-firing or heavycalibre gun, namely, that only a sort of exclusive class is to be permitted to Lake charge, in that they must bo commissioned officers.

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