Aviation Century The Golden Age

Overview

A pictorial history of aviation between the World Wars.

Aviation Century The Golden Age is filled with tales of romance and adventure, of daring and bravado, as pilots break records, astound the public and prepare for war on a global scale. Their achievements became the stuff of legend, and their aircraft revered artifacts of a Golden Age.

Between the World Wars a new wave of aviation pioneers took the technological advances forged in the heat ...

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Overview

A pictorial history of aviation between the World Wars.

Aviation Century The Golden Age is filled with tales of romance and adventure, of daring and bravado, as pilots break records, astound the public and prepare for war on a global scale. Their achievements became the stuff of legend, and their aircraft revered artifacts of a Golden Age.

Between the World Wars a new wave of aviation pioneers took the technological advances forged in the heat of battle and applied them to aircraft in exciting new ways. An unprecedented growth in the manufacture of affordable light aircraft occurred, providing ambitious, extraordinary individuals with the means to conquer the sky.

Aviators raced to be the first to fly over oceans, cross jungles and ice caps, look down on the continents' highest peaks, and travel distances faster than ever before. Many aviators died trying to achieve aeronautical immortality.

Aerial daredevils entertained a wide audience through flying circuses and air shows. The spirit of adventure thrived after World War II with larger air shows and more thrilling aerobatics.

In this book Dan Patterson's photographs of preserved and restored aircraft in museum and private collections are combined with rare archival photographs.

Forewords for Aviation Century The Golden Age are by aviation legends Alex Henshaw and Tom Poberezny.

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Editorial Reviews

Austin American-Statesman
Great stories and gorgeous photos of planes.
— Jeff Salamon
Booklist
Any readers interested in the history of flying will treasure these profusely illustrated books.
— George Cohen
EAA Sports Aviation
Expertly written... heavily illustrated... you'll find plenty of fascinating text and photography to pique your interest.
E-Streams
One of the best... the perfect gift for any aviator or aviation buff.
— Angela Titone
Aviation History
Superb offering... a rare and remarkable accomplishment.
— Walter J. Boyne
Choice
Informative, readable treatment of an unusually colorful era... well-chosen photos and illustrations are effectively integrated into the text... Recommended.
— R.E. Bilstein
E-Streams - Angela Titone
The competition for aviation readers is bigger than ever, but Ron Dick's The Golden Age is one of the best of those volumes, and the perfect gift for any aviator or aviation buff. It is oversized, but not too big to curl up in a chair to read.
Austin American-Statesman - Jeff Salamon
Great stories and gorgeous photos of planes.
Booklist - George Cohen
Any readers interested in the history of flying will treasure these profusely illustrated books.
Aviation History - Walter J. Boyne
Superb offering... a rare and remarkable accomplishment.
Choice - R.E. Bilstein
An informative, readable treatment of an unusually colorful era of aviation history... well-chosen photos and illustrations are effectively integrated into the text... Recommended.
Library Journal
Aviation historian Heppenheimer (First Flight) begins with those aerial enthusiasts who predated the Wrights and ends with the deployment of Predator drones in contemporary Afghanistan and Iraq. Along the way his coverage includes the flying advances achieved during World War I, the postwar beginnings of civilian passenger service, the contributions of such aviation theorists as Billy Mitchell, two decades of barnstorming and air racing, and the impetus given to aviation as a result of Lindbergh's transatlantic flight. Later sections cover the significance of Allied air power's technological evolvement in winning World War II, the emergence of the jet age, and the use of laser-guided bombs, cruise missiles, GPS-based guidance systems, and JDAM bombs on the modern-day battlefield. Heppenheimer's narrative is well written and effectively highlights the largely black-and-white illustrations of aircraft and corresponding personalities. Although the photographs included are representative, subject specialists may argue that too many have been previously published. In 2003, Aviation Century: The Early Years chronicled aviation history's pioneers and planes. The series now advances with The Golden Age, the rapid development of aviation in the 1920s and 1930s, and World War II. Understandably, there is overlap between Heppenheimer's work, on the one hand, and Dick (American Eagles) and Patterson's two serial installments on the other, but where the Heppenheimer deserves credit for being comprehensive, the latter books succeed owing to their factual detail and eye-catching layouts. Dick's text carries the reader from the antics of the wing walkers and aerobatic pilots of the day to the sheer persistence of such distance flyers as Charles Lindbergh and the crew of the Southern Cross. The vying aircraft in these contests are captured in all of their antiquated beauty. The World War II volume begins with the Battle of Britain and concludes with the Japanese surrender following the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Patterson's (Hurricane: RAF Fighter) color photography combines with works of contemporary aviation artists to depict aircraft vividly from all major theaters of war. All three histories are recommended for aviation, transportation, and military collections and larger libraries generally.-John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Cleveland Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550464092
  • Publisher: Boston Mills Press
  • Publication date: 11/6/2004
  • Series: Aviation Century Series , #2
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 11.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ron Dick served with the Royal Air Force for thirty-eight years, retiring as an Air Vice-Marshal. During his career, he flew sixty different types of aircraft, accumulating over 5,000 hours of flight time. In addition to the five-volume Aviation Century series, he has co-authored five other books with Dan Patterson. He lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Dan Patterson is the recipient of the first annual Combs Award, presented by the National Aviation Hall of Fame and business aviation legend Harry Combs to honor a photographer's contribution to the preservation of America's air and space heritage. Patterson's images are featured in fourteen books. He lives in Dayton, Ohio

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Foreword by Alex Henshaw
Foreword by Tom Poberezny
Photographer's Preface by Dan Patterson
Introduction by Air Vice-Marshal Ron Dick

Chapter 1
Military Aviation Between the Wars

Chapter 2
The Aerial Adventurers

Chapter 3
The Entertainers: Air Shows and Artifacts

Bibliography
Index by Subject
General Index

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Preface

Introduction

Air Vice-Marshal Ron Dick

"There was no time to aim carefully It was turn, attack, aim at the red circle, press the buttons, pull out, gain some height, turn back, get the next one in front of one's guns."
Günther "Franzl" Lützow, in an account of air combat during the Spanish Civil War, 1937.

This second volume of the Aviation Century series reveals the explosive development of aviation in the 1920s and 1930s. From 1918 onward, it became possible for the pure appeal of flying to the human spirit to be given wider expression. Flying ushered in the promise of three-dimensional freedom and challenged the adventurous to go ever faster, higher and further. Aircraft opened up new fields of exploration and brought the modern world closer to those living in remote areas. In some cases, the intrusion of the aircraft was far from welcome, since it came to enforce discipline among the unruly, or to change an ancient way of life forever. From the outset, the imagination of the general public was caught by the drama and romance of all this, and aviators' exploits often brought an element of excitement to the world's headlines.

For military aviators, the end of WWI proved to be a two-edged sword. Any post-WWI euphoria over the part played in the Allied victory by the air services was short-lived. Defense budgets were eviscerated and little money was available to continue the development of military aviation, particularly in the face of open hostility from the established services. For more than a decade, front-line squadrons everywhere continued to fly aircraft that strongly resembled those of 1918. Air power theories were expounded, and frequently accepted, but were unsupported by empirical evidence and were often proved unsound by the events of later years. In the 1930s,
people were forced to confront the unthinkable — the prospect of a second world conflict only two decades after the "war to end all wars." Military aviation belatedly attracted funds, and dress rehearsals in Spain and China pointed the way to the future of war in the air. Open-cockpit biplanes were replaced by fast, heavily armed, metal monoplanes with enclosed cabins, and the threat of air assault on civilian populations was seen to be terrifyingly real.

There were many barriers for aviation to overcome in the years immediately following WWI. Most people still thought of flying as a great adventure, something normal folks did not do. Aircraft were fearsome creations and those who flew them, military or civilian, were superhuman daredevils. The barnstormers, a host of newly trained ex-military pilots flying surplus military aircraft, encouraged this view. It helped them to earn a precarious living by thrilling the public with outrageous airborne stunts. The shows they gave grew in time into spectacular flying circuses, in the process introducing flying machines to a wider audience. Safety regulations eventually tamed the barnstormers, but air shows nevertheless became an established part of the world's aeronautical calendar, bringing together public entertainment and commercial activity.

One notable aspect of flight has always been its promise of increased speed. From the earliest days, racing aircraft against one another was a popular sport. Some races, such as the Bendix Trophy in the U.S. or the England-Australia air race of 1934, were flown over long distances, but other races were flown over closed circuits at low level, with crowds cheering below. Whatever its form, air racing provided a competitive spur that helped to encourage aeronautical development, both civil and military, between the wars.

For many fliers, demonstrating their prowess in front of an air show crowd was not nearly enough. Aircraft offered them the chance to reach other parts of the world quickly, and to penetrate unknown regions by jumping over previously impenetrable barriers. The 1920s and 1930s were the Golden Age of flight, when trail-blazing men and women accepted astonishing challenges, often in fragile machines of limited capability. Despite the hazards and the price paid in lost lives, oceans and continents were crossed, and the polar regions conquered. Global point-to-point records were set up by pilots of limited experience in light aircraft, using basic navigation aids and flying into regions where few people had seen a flying machine and facilities were scarce. The competition to be first or fastest was fierce, and many aviators died trying to achieve aeronautical immortality. Those who achieved their goal and lived to tell the tale gained international celebrity and became as well known as film stars and leading politicians. Their globe-circling efforts made the world a smaller place, bringing every human society within reach of every other.

As the 20th century progressed, the fabric of the aviation story grew ever richer, woven together with tales of brave or foolhardy fliers and patterned with designs of increasingly capable aircraft. A clear need emerged not only to record aviators' deeds but also to care for aeronautical artifacts — aircraft, flying clothing, maps, charts, propellers, navigation equipment, engines, photographs and so on.

The people and machines associated with human flight became the inspiration for thousands of books and limitless images, and museums were created to preserve the paperwork and hardware of aviation. Enthusiasts did their bit by restoring old aircraft to flying condition, making it possible for younger generations to experience the sights and sounds of an earlier aviation age.

This volume of Aviation Century tells a tale of romance and adventure, of daring and bravado. Aviators shrink the world and prepare for war on a global scale. The stories of their achievements become the stuff of legend, and their machines are revered as artifacts of a Golden Age.

Ron Dick
Fredericksburg, Virginia
January 2004

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Introduction

Introduction

Air Vice-Marshal Ron Dick

"There was no time to aim carefully It was turn, attack, aim at the red circle, press the buttons, pull out, gain some height, turn back, get the next one in front of one's guns."
Günther "Franzl" Lützow, in an account of air combat during the Spanish Civil War, 1937.

This second volume of the Aviation Century series reveals the explosive development of aviation in the 1920s and 1930s. From 1918 onward, it became possible for the pure appeal of flying to the human spirit to be given wider expression. Flying ushered in the promise of three-dimensional freedom and challenged the adventurous to go ever faster, higher and further. Aircraft opened up new fields of exploration and brought the modern world closer to those living in remote areas. In some cases, the intrusion of the aircraft was far from welcome, since it came to enforce discipline among the unruly, or to change an ancient way of life forever. From the outset, the imagination of the general public was caught by the drama and romance of all this, and aviators' exploits often brought an element of excitement to the world's headlines.

For military aviators, the end of WWI proved to be a two-edged sword. Any post-WWI euphoria over the part played in the Allied victory by the air services was short-lived. Defense budgets were eviscerated and little money was available to continue the development of military aviation, particularly in the face of open hostility from the established services. For more than a decade, front-line squadrons everywhere continued to fly aircraft that strongly resembled those of1918. Air power theories were expounded, and frequently accepted, but were unsupported by empirical evidence and were often proved unsound by the events of later years. In the 1930s, people were forced to confront the unthinkable -- the prospect of a second world conflict only two decades after the "war to end all wars." Military aviation belatedly attracted funds, and dress rehearsals in Spain and China pointed the way to the future of war in the air. Open-cockpit biplanes were replaced by fast, heavily armed, metal monoplanes with enclosed cabins, and the threat of air assault on civilian populations was seen to be terrifyingly real.

There were many barriers for aviation to overcome in the years immediately following WWI. Most people still thought of flying as a great adventure, something normal folks did not do. Aircraft were fearsome creations and those who flew them, military or civilian, were superhuman daredevils. The barnstormers, a host of newly trained ex-military pilots flying surplus military aircraft, encouraged this view. It helped them to earn a precarious living by thrilling the public with outrageous airborne stunts. The shows they gave grew in time into spectacular flying circuses, in the process introducing flying machines to a wider audience. Safety regulations eventually tamed the barnstormers, but air shows nevertheless became an established part of the world's aeronautical calendar, bringing together public entertainment and commercial activity.

One notable aspect of flight has always been its promise of increased speed. From the earliest days, racing aircraft against one another was a popular sport. Some races, such as the Bendix Trophy in the U.S. or the England-Australia air race of 1934, were flown over long distances, but other races were flown over closed circuits at low level, with crowds cheering below. Whatever its form, air racing provided a competitive spur that helped to encourage aeronautical development, both civil and military, between the wars.

For many fliers, demonstrating their prowess in front of an air show crowd was not nearly enough. Aircraft offered them the chance to reach other parts of the world quickly, and to penetrate unknown regions by jumping over previously impenetrable barriers. The 1920s and 1930s were the Golden Age of flight, when trail-blazing men and women accepted astonishing challenges, often in fragile machines of limited capability. Despite the hazards and the price paid in lost lives, oceans and continents were crossed, and the polar regions conquered. Global point-to-point records were set up by pilots of limited experience in light aircraft, using basic navigation aids and flying into regions where few people had seen a flying machine and facilities were scarce. The competition to be first or fastest was fierce, and many aviators died trying to achieve aeronautical immortality. Those who achieved their goal and lived to tell the tale gained international celebrity and became as well known as film stars and leading politicians. Their globe-circling efforts made the world a smaller place, bringing every human society within reach of every other.

As the 20th century progressed, the fabric of the aviation story grew ever richer, woven together with tales of brave or foolhardy fliers and patterned with designs of increasingly capable aircraft. A clear need emerged not only to record aviators' deeds but also to care for aeronautical artifacts -- aircraft, flying clothing, maps, charts, propellers, navigation equipment, engines, photographs and so on.

The people and machines associated with human flight became the inspiration for thousands of books and limitless images, and museums were created to preserve the paperwork and hardware of aviation. Enthusiasts did their bit by restoring old aircraft to flying condition, making it possible for younger generations to experience the sights and sounds of an earlier aviation age.

This volume of Aviation Century tells a tale of romance and adventure, of daring and bravado. Aviators shrink the world and prepare for war on a global scale. The stories of their achievements become the stuff of legend, and their machines are revered as artifacts of a Golden Age.

Ron Dick
Fredericksburg, Virginia
January 2004

Read More Show Less

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