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Aircraft (Supply Of Dope)

Volume 83: debated on Wednesday 21 June 1916

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether the War Office or the Royal Aircraft Factory made considerable quantities of a dope known as D.94, and sold such dope to private manufacturers of aeroplanes; whether such dope is poisonous and injurious to the user; whether the War Office or Royal Aircraft Factory issued instructions to manufacturers of aeroplanes practically compelling them to use dopes of Royal Aircraft Factory manufacture; whether any manufacturers of aeroplanes protested against the use of such dopes as causing illness and, in some cases death of the women using them; whether such dope proved less efficient than the non-poisonous dope obtainable in the open market; and whether the War Office or the Royal Aircraft Factory are still endeavouring to sell dopes to aeroplane manufacturers?

At the end of 1915 competitive tenders were invited from all trade dope manufacturers for the supply of 18,000 gallons of dope to Royal Aircraft Factory formula D.94, and as a result an order was placed for 18,000 gallons. This dope was intended for sale to trade contractors for aeroplanes. D.94 dope contains a smaller percentage of the poisonous ingredient tetrachlorethane than two other of the principal trade dopes. As experience has shown that the dope and varnish used in the past has not proved satisfactory under service conditions, it was decided in October, 1915, to provide for the compulsory use in all new Army aeroplane contracts of dope 94 and varnish V.114, manufactured to Royal Aircraft Factory specification and under Royal Aircraft Factory supervision. Contractors were, however, allowed on existing orders to continue the use of the dopes they were then employing. There is nothing to show that the dope to Royal Aircraft Factory specifications causes illness to a greater degree than other dopes, and its small percentage of tetrachlorethane renders it less liable to do so. The answer to the fifth part of the question is in the negative. Analytical tests are now being carried out by the Aeronautical Inspection Department and trade contractors are allowed to use any dope which proves satisfactory under these tests.