Realizing the Dream of Flight: Biographical Essays in Honor of the Centennial of Flight, 1903-2002, Edited by Virginia Dawson and Mark Bowles, hardcover (like new condition) (CD included)


While growing up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Milton Wright, The Wright Brothers Father, liked to purchase toys for his sons that he hoped would stimulate their imagination. One of the most memorable gifts was a toy helicopter. Though it was a simple device with a stick bound to a four-blade rotor set in a spindle, it had the intended effect it caused them to dream. Twenty-five years separated the gift of this toy and their invention of the airplane. If the first powered flight on 17 December 1903 represented a childhood dream realized, it was only the first step in the rapid evolution of the airplane from their flimsy kite-like contraption of wood and cloth to jet airliners and rockets in space. And, as extraordinary as the achievement of powered flight seemed in 1903, before the end of the century, space travel also would become a dream realized. Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin first circumnavigated Earth in April 1961, and, eight years later, American astronauts took the first steps for humankind on the Moon.

These essays in celebration of the Wright brothers' first flight 100 years ago grew out of presentations by a group of prominent scholars in 2003 at a conference sponsored by NASA. The volume focuses on the careers of some of the men and women who helped to realize the dream of flight through the atmosphere and beyond. These accounts are compelling because they examine the history of flight through the lens of biography. Collectively, these individuals helped to shape American aerospace history. There are obviously many other individuals that could, and arguably should, have been included in this collection, but we believe that the cross section of diverse individuals contained in this volume is important because it is symbolic of the dream of flight as a whole. These people all devoted their lives, and sometimes even sacrificed them, to the demands required for its realization. The technological potential first demonstrated by the Wright brothers enabled those who followed them to use flight as a means of racial uplift, gender equalization, personal adventure, commercial gain, military superiority, and space exploration. The history of flight is more than a story of technology; it had important cultural consequences as well, and these are some of the themes that the following biographies explore. None of the people in this volume were inventors like the Wright brothers, but their contributions to flight were nevertheless significant. They were daredevil pilots, entrepreneurs, business men and women, military strategists, and managers of large-scale technology who advanced the art, science, and business of air and space travel, often through sheer force of character.

Partial Contents:
Chapter 1 - Bessie Coleman: Race and Gender Realities Behind Aviation Dreams
Chapter 2 - She Flew for Women: Amelia Earhart, Gender, and American Aviation
Chapter 3 - Sharing a Vision: Juan Trippe, Charles Lindbergh, and the Development of International Air Transport
Chapter 4 - The Autogiro Flies the Mail! Eddie Rickenbacker, Johnny Miller, Eastern Airlines, and Experimental Airmail Service with Rotorcraft, 1939-1940
Chapter 5 - Donald Douglas: From Aeronautics to Aerospace
Chapter 6 - Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., American Hero
Chapter 7 - Curtis E LeMay and the Ascent of American Strategic Airpower
Chapter 8 - Willy Ley: Chronicler of the Early Space Age
Chapter 9 - Who Was Hugh Dryden and Why Should We Care?
Chapter 10 - Wernher von Braun: A Visionary as Engineer and Manager
Chapter 11 - Godfather to the Astronauts: Robert Gilruth and the Birth of Human Spaceflight
Chapter 12 - Celebrating the Invention of Flight in a Hands-On Way: Replicating the 1902 Experimental Glider Flights of the Wright Brothers.
332 pages; over a hundred photos, drawings, technical illustrations and charts.



Realizing the Dream of Flight: Biographical Essays in Honor of Centennial Flight

SKU: 5-095