Aviation: The Early Years chronicles the first years of manpowered flight in photographs, from the end last century to the era of the great Zeppelins. Within the space of a few years at the turn of the 20th century the world shrank.
Vast distances were traversed by air, technology raced ahead and whole new concepts of human activity became possible., It was a time of high excitement and experimentation – and from the start the camera recorded it.
This is the story of the pioneers and adventurers who extended the boundaries of human achievement: from Alberto Santos-Dumont, the Wright Brothers, Henry Farman, Louis Blériot and the Baroness de Laroche through to Charles Lindbergh and Amy Johnson.
Their success did not, however, disguise the more sinister consequences of aviation - total war, including casualties beyond the battlefield - made possible by aerial bombardment. Illustrated with over 450 photographs from Getty Images including man - newly rediscovered pictures.
Of all the great steps in mankind's progress, from the wheel to the printing press, the sailing ship to the computer, few have had such an enormous impact as aviation. Aircraft have shrunk the world, ended the isolation of cultures, invigorated trade and human communication; they have also created a terrible new dimension to warfare. Within the first 30 years of the 20th century - a blink of an eye in the magnitude of human existence - man mastered movement through the one basic element hitherto denied him - the air.
Aviation has developed so dramatically from its beginnings that it is hard to imagine that people alive today can still remember the very first flying machines, so fragile that death was only a gust of wind or broken wing spar away.
But the dawn of aviation is one major human achievement that does not require imagination. Running parallel with it was the science of photography, which recorded aviation almost from the start. With the exception of balloonists such as the Montgolfier brothers in 1783, photographers have captured every aspect of aviation's progress. Indeed, photography and aviation have often justified each other. Without seeing photographs of Otto Lilienthal flying a glider in McClure's Magazine in 1894, for instance, the Wright brothers might never have taken to the air.
Seeing from the air what cannot be seen from the ground has always been one of the best reasons for aviation. The military possibilities were identified as early as 26 June 1794, when a Revolutionary French captain helped General Jourdan's Army of the Meuse defeat the Austrians by observing their deployments from a balloon. When Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (Nadar) took a series of photographs from a balloon high above the Arc de Triomphe in Paris in 1858, the value of aerial observation was proved to all. It was hard work, however: Nadar produced his somewhat murky image on a collodion wet plate, stripped naked to save weight, concealed behind a dark curtain in the basket of the tethered balloon.
But photography progressed much faster than aviation. By 1903, the date of the Wright brothers' first controlled powered flight, Julius Neubronner in Germany had built an automatic camera so small it could fit onto the chest of a pigeon, anticipating remote-controlled spy planes by almost 75 years. The same year, also in Germany, Alfred Maul fitted a camera into the nose-cone of a rocket that rose to 2,600 feet in eight seconds and – on its way down by parachute – exposed the glass plate by timing device. [..]
1 The Dream Unfolds
2 On a Wing and a Prayer
3 Show and Tell: The Adventurers
4 A Technological Revolution
5 World War I
6 The World Shrinks: Aviation's Second
7 Air Comes into its Own
8 Air Power Reveals its Promise
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ISBN : 3-8331-2560-8
EAN : 9783833125607