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Contact! - The Story Of The Early Birds #BABHRD0007
Contact! - The Story Of The Early Birds
Bonanza Books

The book, Contact! - The Story Of The Early Birds chronicles the many aviation developments of aeronautical history from the Wright Brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to the outbreak of World War I in 1914.  As the story unfolds, the author makes clear that the early aviators were as diverse in temperament as in background.  Collectively they were a fraternal order that risked their necks to win the accolades of their earthbound admirers.  In a rapid series of different flights, new marks for altitude, distance and duration were set in a few short years.  This era of aviation history begins with Orville Wright's first successful flight of a heavier-than-air airplane in 1903.  Inspired by the Wright Brothers, other inventive Americans like Glenn Curtiss began delving into the production of aircraft and engines.  Glenn Curtiss secured the financial backing he needed to continue the development of aircraft and engines by partnering with the likes of Alexander Graham Bell to form the "Aerial Experiment Association".  The purpose of this organization was to design and build a practical aircraft capable of carrying a man through the air on its own power.  Among Glenn Curtiss' early successes was the "June Bug", which won a prize by flying 1 kilometer in a straight line.  By 1906 the first official powered flight was made in Europe by a wealthy Brazilian named Alberto Santos-Dumont.  Among the other early European aviators were brothers Gabriel and Charles Voisin, along with, Louis Ferber, a French artillery corps captain.  In 1908, Henry Farman flew for the first time a heavier-than-air airplane around a closed circuit, proving to Europe that these new aircraft could be used in a controlled flight.  Louis Bleriot made the first flight across the English Channel in 1909.  This flight sent Europeans into a frenzy of excitement and from this point forward there was no turning back.  By 1912, the sensational exhibitions and flying circuses started by an American named John Moisant; the long-distance rallies that made flyers like Jules Vedrines world famous and the record-breaking speed performances had placed France at the forefront of aviation accomplishment.  Along with the many successes were the not so great early aircraft designs including: 1) The ornithopter flapping-wing machine; 2) The Helicopter; 3) The Gyroplane; 4) The aviette winged bicycle and 5) An early passenger aircraft developed by Igor Sikorsky.  In 1914, with the outbreak of World War I, flying for sport or for record taking was "eclipsed" by the use of the airplane in combat.  Much had been accomplished since the Wright Brothers first flight in 1903 and even greater aerial achievements were yet to come.  The major sections of "Contact! - The Story Of The Early Birds" are as follows: 1) Chapter One - The Early Birds; 2) Chapter Two - The Spreading Of Wings; 3) Chapter Three - Awakening In France; 4) Chapter Four - There Are No Islands Anymore; 5) Chapter Five - The Tournaments Begin, 87; 6) Chapter Six - 1911: Year Of Great Races; 7) Chapter Seven - Speed Is King; 8) Chapter Eight - Over The Waves; 9) Chapter Nine - Jesters Of The Air; 10) Chapter Ten - Eccentrics And Geniuses; 11) Chapter Eleven - War Clouds; 12) Appendices; 13) Selected Reading List and 14) Index.  In addition to an informative narrative, "Contact! - The Story Of The Early Birds" includes approximately 125 vintage black and white photographs.  This book is 263 pages and is in very good condition.  The author is Henry Serrano Villard with S. Paul Johnston (foreword).  Edition published in 1968.


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