§ The total of flying hours during the year shows a marked increase. The total hours is 50 per cent. more than it was in 1922, which again was 40 per cent. higher than in 1921. Overseas show a still higher average. There they have been flying with better climates than we possess, as well as having more exacting duties in this matter. In India the actual increase in flying hours is nearly 100 per cent. Moreover, the ratio of accidents is, I am pleased to be able to say, steadily falling. For 1923 the hours flown for each fatal accident were 54 per cent. higher than in 1922.
§ Mr. LEACH
No. Criticism is from time to time directed at us in regard to the number of men on the ground, as compared with the number of qualified pilots, and I want to say that an efficient ground staff makes for safety and confidence. Nothing could be more unwise and shortsighted than to reduce the ground staff below the point of technical efficiency. The inevitable result would be more accidents, and a loss of confidence by the flying personnel in the soundness of their machines. We take 2187 extraordinary pains in this matter, and we must continue to do so.