For the Greatest Achievement: A History of the Aero Club of America and the National Aeronautic Association

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The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is the oldest national aviation organization in the United States. Founded in 1905 as the Aero Club of America by a group of forward-thinking businessmen - including John Jacob Astor, Phillip T. Dodge, and William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. - eager to promote the development of the then-radical technology of powered flight, the NAA has seen its mission, its membership, and its mindset evolve over the decades. Originally formed to promote the safe, scientific development of ...
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Overview

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is the oldest national aviation organization in the United States. Founded in 1905 as the Aero Club of America by a group of forward-thinking businessmen - including John Jacob Astor, Phillip T. Dodge, and William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. - eager to promote the development of the then-radical technology of powered flight, the NAA has seen its mission, its membership, and its mindset evolve over the decades. Originally formed to promote the safe, scientific development of aviation in America, the club certified pilots and issued flying licenses for more than twenty years before the U.S. government assumed this responsibility. Equally important, the Aero Club/NAA has served the United States as the national representative to the Federation Aeronautique Internationale since the club's founding. NAA members lobbied for legislation to make flying safe and practical and pressured Congress to allot funds to develop an air force before the military was interested in doing so. These contributions and the unwavering belief in the importance and future of aviation led the way for today's military, sport, and commercial aviation industries. For the Greatest Achievement chronicles the history of the NAA - and thus the history of aviation in America - from the first balloon flights, the initial controversy over what transpired at Kitty Hawk, and the barnstorming of the "Gypsy" stunt fliers, to the buildup of America's air forces through two world wars, the race into space, and the explosion of new aviation technologies on the eve of the twenty-first century. In sidebars throughout the book, Bill Robie highlights winners of the Collier Trophy - America's most prestigious aviation award, presented annually "for the greatest achievement in aviation in America." Sixteen pages of vintage photographs also trace the progress of America's aviation heritage. The book presents the most comprehensive list ever published of early aviation license hold
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Surveys many of the key events in aviation history, but the focus is on the organizations and their membership, and the intent is not a comprehensive survey of American aviation history. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560981879
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1993
  • Pages: 378
  • Product dimensions: 6.27 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 1.36 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Men of Wealth, Influence, and Ability: Founders of the Aero Club and Flight before the Wrights 1
2 Promoting the Development of the Practical Flying Machine: The Debut of the Aero Club and Its First Aviation Exhibit 9
3 Endorsing the Wright Brothers: The Aero Club's Early Support for the Fathers of Powered Flight 15
4 Society's Scions and Spherical Balloons: Early Flight Experiments Conducted by Club Members 21
5 National and International Flight Competition: The Beginning of International Competition for Superiority in the Air 27
6 Mechanical Flight: Introducing the Public to the Airplane 37
7 Bringing Order to the Air: Promoting Flight and Flight Safety 47
8 The Curtiss v. Wright Dilemma: The Influence of the Wrights' Patent Suits on American Aviation Development 59
9 Sportsmen Pilots and Sideshow Fliers: How the Aero Club Dealt with Early Attempts to Exploit the Airplane 71
10 The Wings of War: American Aviation in World War I 79
11 Times of Change: The Demise of the Aero Club of America 93
12 A New Beginning: Founding the National Aeronautic Association 103
13 The Golden Years: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Lindbergh Era and Over-the-Ocean Air Racing 119
14 The Turbulent Thirties: American Aviation Survives the Great Depression 129
15 A United Front: The New NAA Organizes for War 143
16 The Postwar Years: Private Aviation's Boom and Bust and the Cold War's Chill 157
17 Renaissance in the Air: The National Races and International Competition 173
Postscript - A Return to Its Roots: The NAA from the 1960s to Today 195
Afterword - The Future of the NAA: A Forecast from the President 219
App. A. Recipients of the Robert J. Collier Trophy 229
App. B. The Gordon Bennett Cup for Gas Balloons 237
App. C. The Wright Trophy 239
App. D. The Brewer Trophy 245
App. E. The Elder Statesmen of Aviation Award 253
App. F. Founding Members of the Aero Club of America 257
App. G. Pioneers of American Aviation: Aero Club of America License Holders (1905-1919) 259
App. H. Presidents of the Aero Club of America (1905-1922) 307
App. I. Certificate of Incorporation of the Aero Club of America 309
App. J. National Aeronautic Association of Officers (1922-Present) 311
App. K. Mission Statement of the NAA 319
App. L. Articles of Association of the National Aeronautic Association 321
Notes 325
Bibliography 361
Index 369
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