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Overview

The illustrated history of the 20th century's most compelling invention.

Powered flight freed humanity from earthly constraints and revolutionized the world in countless ways — technologically, militarily, sociologically, economically and politically.

Aviation Century The Early Years covers the period from 1900 to 1939, exploring the eternal fascination with flight, the events surrounding the Wright brothers' and other flying pioneers' adventurous first flights, the dramatic development of military aviation brought about by the First World War, and the rise of commercial aviation. This volume of the Aviation Century series also looks at the great individuals who created the world's aviation industries, including Santos-Dumont, Farman, Bleriot, Caproni, Curtiss, and AV Roe.

Top aviation photographer Dan Patterson's photographs of preserved and restored aircraft in museum and private collections combine with rare archival photographs to make this the best book on early aviation available anywhere.

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Editorial Reviews

American Reference Books Annual, Volume 35 - Jim Agee
The excellent and knowledgeable narrative is matched by a truly exceptional collection and arrangement of art, including photographs, drawings, museum pieces, travel posters, family memorabilia, and more... an excellent general history of aviation.
Aviator Magazine - Garth Eichel
Many gems to be found... An excellent reference book... What makes [this book] truly stand out is the remarkable collection of aviation photographs by Dan Patterson... If you enjoy ogling airplanes, this book is sure to satisfy.
COPA [Canadian Owners and Pilots Association] - Bob Merrick
A nicely written, superbly illustrated story... abounds in fascinating text and vivid pictures... a splendid Christmas gift for any aviator.
Victoria Times-Colonist - Rebecca Wigod
Sweeps across the history of powered flight... Ron Dick writes grandly but without hyperbole.
E-Streams - Mary O'Dea
Engagingly written, and the images... can best be described as an experience... the book tells a great story... complex and rich in technical detail, and comprises numerous intertwining trajectories... a fine piece of work.
Aviation History - Walter J. Boyne
Both Dick and Patterson are extremely knowledgeable about aviation history, and they have used that in-depth understanding... [They] clearly spend hundreds of hours observing and reproducing rare original photos. These look as bright and pristine as if they were taken yesterday... I believe it is just the result of the extraordinary care taken in the research effort... intelligent collaboration.
Booklist / RBB - Gilbert Taylor
A photographic treasure for aerial aficionados... Infused by the author's piloting outlook, this high-quality album will extend its appeal beyond browsers to flyers themselves.
Richmond Times-Dispatch - Ann Lloyd Merriman
A gallery of aviation greats.
EAA Sports Aviation
Expertly written... heavily illustrated... you'll find plenty of fascinating text and photography to pique your interest.
Children's Literature
On December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the Wright brothers staged the first successful flight of a heavier-than-air aircraft. That test flight opened the curtain to a century in which air travel became a common feature of daily life. In The Early Years Ron Dick and Dan Peterson kick off an ambitious five-volume history of aviation in the twentieth century. In this exhaustive work the authors combine a highly detailed and well-researched text with an array of breathtaking illustrations. Indeed, it is often the illustrations featuring period photographs and drawings that capture the reader's attention to the highest degree. Here, the story of aviation's initial evolution is presented in three distinct parts. First, the creators of this fascinating book recount the pioneering efforts of aviators such as the Wright brothers, Louis Bleriot, and Gianni Caproni. Then, the authors turn their attention to an extensive recounting of the role aircraft played in the fighting of World War I. Finally, the authors' focus on the emergence of commercial airlines during the all too brief inter-war period. In each of these three chapters the authors show both a steady literary hand and an eye for exciting detail. This is the story of fighter pilots, barnstormers, and those men and women who were internally driven to overcome mankind's inability to take off and fly. Their story is a brilliant one and it is quite well told in this impressive volume. 2003, Boston Mills Press, Ages 14 up.
— Greg M. Romaneck
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550464078
  • Publisher: Boston Mills Press
  • Publication date: 10/4/2003
  • Series: Aviation Century Series , #1
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 11.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Air Vice-Marshal Ron Dick served with the Royal Air Force for 38 years, flying 60 different types of aircraft. He has co-authored five books with Dan Patterson, including Hurricane, Lancaster, Messerschmitt Bf 109, and American Eagles. He lives in Woodbridge, Virginia.

Dan Patterson is one of the world's leading aviation photographers. His images are featured in 12 books including Cockpit, Gunner, Lancaster, Messerschmitt Bf 109, Spitfire, Hurricane, and American Eagles. He lives in Dayton, Ohio.

Amanda Wright Lane is the great-grandniece of Orville Wright.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Foreword by Amanda Wright Lane
Foreword by Contessa Maria Fede Caproni di Taliedo
Introduction by Air Vice-Marshal Ron Dick
Photographer's Preface by Dan Patterson

Chapter 1 — Early Powered Flight: 1900 to 1914

Chapter 2 — Aerial Warfare: 1914 to 1918

Chapter 3 — Commercial Aviation Develops: 1918 to 1939

Chapter 4 — Great Names

Bibliography
Index

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Preface

Introduction
Air Vice-Marshal Ron Dick

The 20th century was preeminently the era of aviation. Beginning with the first successful powered flight of the Wright brothers in 1903, aviation progressed, in little more than one human lifetime, until aircraft reached into every region of the globe. The effects of their operations were felt in one way or another by all people no matter where on Earth they lived. Human accomplishments in the air irrevocably changed the world's societies in countless ways — both for better and for worse.

In historical terms, human aviation is a relatively recent phenomenon. At the dawn of the 21st century, people still lived who were alive when the Wright brothers first flew. Despite its relative youth, however, most of us tend to take the consequences of flying for granted and give little thought to how very different our world would be if human flight had remained in the realm of dreams, where it had been for thousands of years. Aviation's social, political and economic effects, and the consequent changes brought about in the way people think and behave, are countless and all-encompassing. It would be difficult to do justice to the subject of aviation in a complete library of books, let alone a series of five.

In this first volume of Aviatoin Century the story begins with a look back at man's eternal fascination with flying, before reviewing the achievements, thoughts and aims of early aviators and the reactions to their efforts of those still anchored to the ground. The ideals framed during the early days of flying did not always coincide with later developments; events often led airmen in directions other than those intended. In 1917, for example, Orville Wright remarked ruefully, "When my brother and I built the first man-carrying flying machine we thought that we were introducing into the world an invention which would make further wars practically impossible." The Schneider Trophy is another example. It was originally conceived before World War I as a competition to encourage the development of aircraft capable of operating quickly and safely across oceans. Those qualities of range and seaworthiness were progressively set aside as it grew into an outright trial of speed, which in turn had an effect on the course of World War II.

The first steps in the evolution of aircraft as weapons, both before and during WWI, often drew criticism from officers in the established services. As air combat began and tactical doctrines for aircraft were devised, opinions changed, and the operational concepts of both armies and navies inevitably were affected. The idea that air power had a strategic dimension grew to influence not only the size, shape and role of air forces in general, but also political thoughts and decisions, the results of which were felt by the populations of every continent. British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin's remark in 1932, that "The bomber will always get through," reflected a widely held belief and, even though it was unsupported conjecture, it drove policy.

The interwar years were also notable for the rise of commercial aviation, starting with early adventures in mail delivery. The growth in the demand for passenger services and the subsequent struggle for commercial viability by budding airlines gave the first hints of the very real changes these developments would bring about in the way people travel and conduct their business. In this golden age of flight, great names emerged. Air power strategists followed the ideas of Trenchard, Douhet and Mitchell. Aircraft industries were founded by Donald Douglas, Geoffrey de Havilland, Igor Sikorsky, Gianni Caproni, Willi Messerschmitt and many others. Trailblazers such as Charles Lindbergh, Wiley Post and Charles Kingsford-Smith,
and record breakers, among them Sadi Leconte, Francesco Agello and John Macready, all brought their imagination, flair and courage to the business of continually expanding aviation's possibilities, reaching for goals that grew greater with each passing year, set by the faster, higher and further demands of those who flew.

This first volume of the Aviatoin Century series closes with a look at some of the great men who pioneered the world's aviation industries. Further volumes take the story of human flight through the era of exploration and adventure to the dramatic rise of air power in World War II and beyond. The revolutionary impact of turbo-jet engines and the explosion of commercial air transport after WWII are covered, as are private flying and gliding, air shows and museums, rotary wings, lighter-than-air, flight safety, and aeronautical research and development.

Looking back on the Aviatoin
Century
, there can be no doubt that human flight and its multifarious effects changed the way people live their lives in every part of the globe. Politics, trade, travel, warfare — all these things and many more were transformed in only a hundred years. The world became a smaller, more convenient and more dangerous place than it was before the Wrights had flown. Aircraft, with all their blessings and their curses, shaped the 20th century and left an indelible mark on the history of our planet.

Ron Dick,
May 2003

Photographer's Preface
Dan Patterson

On the title page of this first volume of Aviatoin Century is the famous photograph of the first powered flight of the Wright brothers' airplane. There were three other flights made that day in 1903, and all of them were also photographed, but none of them was so dramatic. As Ron and I have worked on this project for the past five years, I have had a lot of time to consider this photograph. After all, the Wrights were also the first aviation photographers, so their work in photography was also the beginning of my profession.

A photograph by its nature captures a moment in time, freezing for that instant all of the elements in front of the lens. This remarkable image has captured more. Look at the photograph and divide it in half, top and bottom, first just beneath the Flyer and then reverse that, the Flyer and the sky.

Consider the scene on the sands of Kitty Hawk that morning. It was cold, really cold, and windy. Orville and Wilbur decided that this was it, the morning they would fly. They put up the signal flag on top of their shed to summon the men of the Life Saving station to come to the two wooden buildings, to help them get their machine out and ready to fly. There the small group assisted the Wrights in hauling the flying machine from the hangar to the 60-foot launching rail. They placed the Flyer on top of the cradle, which ran on bicycle hubs, at the south end of the track.

Look carefully at the bottom half of the photo. You can see the outline of the lower right wing in the sand, surrounded by hundreds of footprints, the footprints of the Wrights and of the others as they readied the machine to fly. From that mass of overlapped prints some significant footsteps emerge.

In all of the prints along the trailing edge of the wing, Orville's are there, as he climbed onto the wing, around the wires and the propeller chains, and as he settled onto the lower wing, next to the engine. Orville's footprints also appear in the lower right corner, along with another set, those of Lifesaving Crewman John T. Daniels. Orville set up his camera and focused it where he and Wilbur had figured the Flyer would take off. He asked
Mr. Daniels to stand behind the camera and trip the shutter when the Flyer left the track. Those footprints leading to and from the bottom right of the photo are Orville Wright's.

The final set of footprints are those of Wilbur Wright, who stood at the wingtip of the Flyer and steadied it as it gathered speed, moving down the track. They emerge from the mass of overlapping prints, a lone track of steps that stop at the point the Flyer took off. These footsteps significantly cross over the two halves of the photograph. The footprints in the sand, the outli

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction
Air Vice-Marshal Ron Dick

The 20th century was preeminently the era of aviation. Beginning with the first successful powered flight of the Wright brothers in 1903, aviation progressed, in little more than one human lifetime, until aircraft reached into every region of the globe. The effects of their operations were felt in one way or another by all people no matter where on Earth they lived. Human accomplishments in the air irrevocably changed the world's societies in countless ways -- both for better and for worse.

In historical terms, human aviation is a relatively recent phenomenon. At the dawn of the 21st century, people still lived who were alive when the Wright brothers first flew. Despite its relative youth, however, most of us tend to take the consequences of flying for granted and give little thought to how very different our world would be if human flight had remained in the realm of dreams, where it had been for thousands of years. Aviation's social, political and economic effects, and the consequent changes brought about in the way people think and behave, are countless and all-encompassing. It would be difficult to do justice to the subject of aviation in a complete library of books, let alone a series of five.

In this first volume of Aviatoin Century the story begins with a look back at man's eternal fascination with flying, before reviewing the achievements, thoughts and aims of early aviators and the reactions to their efforts of those still anchored to the ground. The ideals framed during the early days of flying did not always coincide with later developments; events often led airmen in directions other than those intended. In1917, for example, Orville Wright remarked ruefully, "When my brother and I built the first man-carrying flying machine we thought that we were introducing into the world an invention which would make further wars practically impossible." The Schneider Trophy is another example. It was originally conceived before World War I as a competition to encourage the development of aircraft capable of operating quickly and safely across oceans. Those qualities of range and seaworthiness were progressively set aside as it grew into an outright trial of speed, which in turn had an effect on the course of World War II.

The first steps in the evolution of aircraft as weapons, both before and during WWI, often drew criticism from officers in the established services. As air combat began and tactical doctrines for aircraft were devised, opinions changed, and the operational concepts of both armies and navies inevitably were affected. The idea that air power had a strategic dimension grew to influence not only the size, shape and role of air forces in general, but also political thoughts and decisions, the results of which were felt by the populations of every continent. British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin's remark in 1932, that "The bomber will always get through," reflected a widely held belief and, even though it was unsupported conjecture, it drove policy.

The interwar years were also notable for the rise of commercial aviation, starting with early adventures in mail delivery. The growth in the demand for passenger services and the subsequent struggle for commercial viability by budding airlines gave the first hints of the very real changes these developments would bring about in the way people travel and conduct their business. In this golden age of flight, great names emerged. Air power strategists followed the ideas of Trenchard, Douhet and Mitchell. Aircraft industries were founded by Donald Douglas, Geoffrey de Havilland, Igor Sikorsky, Gianni Caproni, Willi Messerschmitt and many others. Trailblazers such as Charles Lindbergh, Wiley Post and Charles Kingsford-Smith, and record breakers, among them Sadi Leconte, Francesco Agello and John Macready, all brought their imagination, flair and courage to the business of continually expanding aviation's possibilities, reaching for goals that grew greater with each passing year, set by the faster, higher and further demands of those who flew.

This first volume of the Aviatoin Century series closes with a look at some of the great men who pioneered the world's aviation industries. Further volumes take the story of human flight through the era of exploration and adventure to the dramatic rise of air power in World War II and beyond. The revolutionary impact of turbo-jet engines and the explosion of commercial air transport after WWII are covered, as are private flying and gliding, air shows and museums, rotary wings, lighter-than-air, flight safety, and aeronautical research and development.

Looking back on the Aviatoin Century, there can be no doubt that human flight and its multifarious effects changed the way people live their lives in every part of the globe. Politics, trade, travel, warfare -- all these things and many more were transformed in only a hundred years. The world became a smaller, more convenient and more dangerous place than it was before the Wrights had flown. Aircraft, with all their blessings and their curses, shaped the 20th century and left an indelible mark on the history of our planet.

Ron Dick,
May 2003

--

Photographer's Preface
Dan Patterson

On the title page of this first volume of Aviatoin Century is the famous photograph of the first powered flight of the Wright brothers' airplane. There were three other flights made that day in 1903, and all of them were also photographed, but none of them was so dramatic. As Ron and I have worked on this project for the past five years, I have had a lot of time to consider this photograph. After all, the Wrights were also the first aviation photographers, so their work in photography was also the beginning of my profession.

A photograph by its nature captures a moment in time, freezing for that instant all of the elements in front of the lens. This remarkable image has captured more. Look at the photograph and divide it in half, top and bottom, first just beneath the Flyer and then reverse that, the Flyer and the sky.

Consider the scene on the sands of Kitty Hawk that morning. It was cold, really cold, and windy. Orville and Wilbur decided that this was it, the morning they would fly. They put up the signal flag on top of their shed to summon the men of the Life Saving station to come to the two wooden buildings, to help them get their machine out and ready to fly. There the small group assisted the Wrights in hauling the flying machine from the hangar to the 60-foot launching rail. They placed the Flyer on top of the cradle, which ran on bicycle hubs, at the south end of the track.

Look carefully at the bottom half of the photo. You can see the outline of the lower right wing in the sand, surrounded by hundreds of footprints, the footprints of the Wrights and of the others as they readied the machine to fly. From that mass of overlapped prints some significant footsteps emerge.

In all of the prints along the trailing edge of the wing, Orville's are there, as he climbed onto the wing, around the wires and the propeller chains, and as he settled onto the lower wing, next to the engine. Orville's footprints also appear in the lower right corner, along with another set, those of Lifesaving Crewman John T. Daniels. Orville set up his camera and focused it where he and Wilbur had figured the Flyer would take off. He asked Mr. Daniels to stand behind the camera and trip the shutter when the Flyer left the track. Those footprints leading to and from the bottom right of the photo are Orville Wright's.

The final set of footprints are those of Wilbur Wright, who stood at the wingtip of the Flyer and steadied it as it gathered speed, moving down the track. They emerge from the mass of overlapping prints, a lone track of steps that stop at the point the Flyer took off. These footsteps significantly cross over the two halves of the photograph.The footprints in the sand, the outline of the wing, the tools, the bench, the launch rail -- all represent time before flight. Wilbur's footsteps emerge from that time and cross over into the time of flight. Mr. Daniels tripped the shutter and captured the Flyer just a foot or two above the sand. In the background you can make out some shore birds who, before that moment, had the skies to themselves.

This volume and the ones to follow are about the top half of the photo, and how that moment changed our world forever.

Dan Patterson,
May 2003

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2003

    Spectacular 'Aviation Century'

    There are a lot of books about aviation's 100 year anniversary out there, but for me this is the one to get... It has stunning color photographs on nearly every page and an engaging text -- good for anyone who enjoys aviation. And it is great value when you see just how many large color photos from around the world are included. 'The Early Years' is volume 1 of 5 that spans 'The Aviation Century' -- I am looking forward to the next installment!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2003

    Aviation history come alive! - great read - beautiful photos of rare aircraft...

    The speed of technological change most people are familiar with today is related to computing. I am old enough to remember doing math calculations with a slide rule and am now writing on a laptop computer connected wirelessly to the internet! What I never appreciated was the similar speed with which aircraft changed the world once the Wright brothers solved the problem of controlled flight. Did you know they flew their first short hops in 1903, that the first plane took off from a ship in 1912, that the Capronis had multi- engined aircraft less than 10 years after the Wrights first flew and that the 12 passenger Goliath (looking more like a glorified railway car inside than an airliner) was flying as early as 1919? The text of this book, written by Air Vice Marshal Ron Dick, is an easy and informative read full of facts but sprinkled with human interest stories about the inventors, engineers and pilots that makes it a well balanced and enjoyable narrative. The book covers the early inventors and barnstormers, the First World War, commercial aviation (air mail and early airliners) and concludes with a section on great names in aviation history. Dan Patterson¿s spectacular color photographs of the aircraft and collections of period memorabilia from flying history collections around the world combined with historical photographs and paintings make this book a visual feast ¿ there are beautiful illustrations and photographs on almost every page. Since ¿The Early Years¿ is the first in a series of five volumes that will cover the full aviation century, this collection promises to be the definitive work on the subject and I recommend it to everyone interested in the history of aviation. This partnership has also written several other books and was commissioned to write the history of the US Air Force on the occasion of its 50th anniversary ¿ see also ¿American Eagles¿.

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