Fantastic Flights: One Hundred Years of Flying on the Edge

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Overview

On December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the course of human history was forever altered when Wilbur and Orville Wright flew the first successful airplane. Since that momentous flight, one hundred years of remarkable achievements have pushed the envelope of human flight. Crossing oceans and continents, circling the world, breaking sound barriers, and even flying into outer space, aviation has truly taken us where no human has gone before.

Patrick O’Brien’s impeccable...

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Overview

On December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the course of human history was forever altered when Wilbur and Orville Wright flew the first successful airplane. Since that momentous flight, one hundred years of remarkable achievements have pushed the envelope of human flight. Crossing oceans and continents, circling the world, breaking sound barriers, and even flying into outer space, aviation has truly taken us where no human has gone before.

Patrick O’Brien’s impeccable research and dazzling illustrations bring to life the most fantastic flights of the twentieth century—one hundred years of flying on the edge.

Describes seventeen twentieth-century historic flights and their pilots, from the Wright brothers to those of the space shuttles.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On another popular nonfiction topic, Patrick O'Brien's Fantastic Flights: One Hundred Years of Flying on the Edge, follows the stories of 17 historic 20th-century flights. Beginning with the Wright brothers' 12 airborne seconds at Kitty Hawk ("First Flight"), he chronicles such feats as Lindbergh's solo cross-Atlantic flight, Amelia Earhart's disappearance while attempting to circumnavigate the globe, the lunar landing of the Apollo's Eagle module and Pathfinder's trip to Mars. O'Brien's watercolor and gouache paintings celebrate the ships and their navigators. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In double-page format, with an illustration of the airplane under discussion on the left and a double column of information on the right, O'Brien informs readers of landmark flights of the last century. Each right hand page is also bordered with specifications for the particular plane, of length and wingspan, and an interesting tidbit or two. Covered are Cal Rodger's ill-fated, cross-country flight on the Vin Fiz in 1911; John Alcock and Arthur Brown's first trans-Atlantic flight in 1919; Richard Byrd's flight over the South Pole in 1929; Lindbergh's more famous trans-Atlantic flight 8 years after Alcock/Brown's; Wiley Post; the Hindenburg; Earhart's last flight; the mammoth Spruce Goose of Howard Hughes; and on to supersonic flights, jets, rockets, the pedal-powered gliders, and the Mars landing. This is a good compact overview of the ways flight has changed, as well as an introduction to aviation pioneers and their accomplishments. Endmatter includes a "Where Are They Now" section telling where readers can see the original aircraft and a bibliography, including three Web sites. Endpapers show the 17 flight vehicles to scale in relationship to each other, a nice touch that readers will study. There is no index but the information is easily locatable, given the book's format. 2003, Walker & Company, Ages 8 to 12.
— Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-An introduction to 17 flying machines, from the earliest planes to the modern Mars Pathfinder. Each entry covers a spread, with a picture illustrating the flight facing a page of text; a sidebar with a diagram of the airplane, spacecraft, or dirigible; and a few added details. The entries cover well-known flights and events, such as the Wright brothers' flight, the Spirit of St. Louis's flight over the Atlantic Ocean, Chuck Yeager's supersonic Glamorous Glennis, the Apollo 11 flight to the moon, and the space shuttle Columbia's maiden voyage. Other entries include the cross-country flight of the Vin Fiz, the Floyd Bennett trip to the South Pole, Wiley Post's round-the-world flight in the Winnie Mae, and the Lockheed Electra of Amelia Earhart. The text is concise and readable; the colorful illustrations depict inspiring views of the planes and spacecraft in flight. An appendix chronicles the ultimate fate of each machine and the endpapers compare the relative size of these vehicles in scale outlines of each. An informative and attractive work, comparable in quality and visual appeal to O'Brien's The Great Ships (Walker, 2001).-Jeffrey A. French, Euclid Public Library, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
O'Brien describes 17 historic 20th-century flights in chronological order. A double spread for each has a full-page illustration, a page of concise description, and a sidebar with line diagrams, statistics, and interesting facts. From the Wright brothers and the Hindenburg to the Supersonic X-1 and the Pathfinder landing on Mars, the focal point is on the planes first and the pilots second. The photo-realistic watercolor-and-gouache illustrations are portraitures of the planes, the sidebar diagrams interestingly compiled on the endpapers in proportional scale. Back matter provides a bibliography and the location of where the planes are now; all but five are in museums. A fascinating aerial view of the progression of flying machines, both well- and little-known. Add this to the hangar full of aviation books this year. (Nonfiction. 7-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802788818
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 7/28/2003
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.32 (w) x 8.74 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick O'Brien is the author and illustrator of nine books for children. He dreamt up the concept of dinosaurs in spacesuits many years ago, but it was the irrepressibly zany mind of Kevin O’Malley who finally created the interstellar hero Captain Raptor. Patrick O’Brien lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife and son.

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