Reach for the Skies: Ballooning, Birdmen, and Blasting into Spaceby Richard Branson
Bestselling author and billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson has always been obsessed with the skies. To promote a new Virgin Airlines route, he became the first man to water ski behind a blimp. His Virgin Galactic venture will soon/b>
One of the world's most famous business leaders (and a well-known avian fanatic) explores the pioneers of flight.
Bestselling author and billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson has always been obsessed with the skies. To promote a new Virgin Airlines route, he became the first man to water ski behind a blimp. His Virgin Galactic venture will soon offer ordinary people the opportunity to experience spaceflight aboard the first commercial spaceliner, SpaceShipTwo.
In Reach for the Skies, Branson examines the history of aviation over the last two hundred years, putting the spotlight on trailblazers such as:
*Tony Jannus, who made the first ever commercial flight over Tampa Bay, Florida, in 1914.
*Leo Valentin, the "bird man" who jumped from 9,000 feet wearing a pair of wooden wings in the 1950s.
*Steve Fossett, who broke 130 world records in planes, balloons, and airships.
The pioneers of flight-not just the world-famous Wright Brothers, but also lesser known visionaries and dreamers-made it possible for any of us with the desire and the commitment to reach for the skies ourselves.
A quirky, eclectic history of great flights, from balloons to space shuttles—with some generous plugs for the author's own Virgin company.
Billionaire Branson (Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur, 2010, etc.), founder of Virgin Group, is a pilot and visionary in his own right, as he reminds us liberally throughout this lively, selective history of man's attempts to take to the skies. The author likes nothing better than a story of someone willing to try what others say can't be done, and he sprinkles his work with these inspiring tales, more or less chronologically: Master inventor Daedalus flew successfully out of King Minos' labyrinth and reached Sicily, while his unfortunate son, Icarus, didn't make it; the Montgolfier paper-manufacturing family engineered the first unmanned balloons in the late 18th century, followed by a host of subsequent lighter-than-air record-breakers, mostly French; gliders modeled on the wings of birds were perfected by Otto Lilienthal and others, until the Wright Brothers and mechanic Charles Taylor added the engine to activate propellers. Branson admires such daredevils asManfred von Richthofen (aka the Red Baron) and entrepreneurial pilot Howard Hughes, as well as bold ladies like Florence "Pancho" Barnes, but he's also interested in the physics of flight, offering brief disquisitions on the working of wings, the function of the jet stream and what the "sound barrier" means. But the author is especially fascinated by the evolution of the airline industry, its character largely shaped by the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation, the growth of Pan Am Airways and how the Internet has vastly altered the airline landscape. He also shares some of Virgin's cutting-edge designs and prospects for spaceship flight.
In contrast to Martin van Creveld's polished, staidAge of Airpower (2011), Branson is above all enthusiastic about his subject and forward-seeing.
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Penguin Group
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 5 MB
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Meet the Author
Sir Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group. With around 200 companies in more than 30 countries, the Virgin Group has now expanded into leisure, travel, tourism, mobile, broadband, TV, radio, music festivals, finance, health, and renewable energy. Branson’s autobiography, Losing My Virginity, and his books on business, Screw It, Let's Do It and Business Stripped Bare, are all international bestsellers.
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