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The Mastery of the Air   By:

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THE MASTERY OF THE AIR

By William J. Claxton

PREFACE

This book makes no pretence of going minutely into the technical and scientific sides of human flight: rather does it deal mainly with the real achievements of pioneers who have helped to make aviation what it is to day.

My chief object has been to arouse among my readers an intelligent interest in the art of flight, and, profiting by friendly criticism of several of my former works, I imagine that this is best obtained by setting forth the romance of triumph in the realms of an element which has defied man for untold centuries, rather than to give a mass of scientific principles which appeal to no one but the expert.

So rapid is the present development of aviation that it is difficult to keep abreast with the times. What is new to day becomes old to morrow. The Great War has given a tremendous impetus to the strife between the warring nations for the mastery of the air, and one can but give a rough and general impression of the achievements of naval and military airmen on the various fronts.

Finally, I have tried to bring home the fact that the fascinating progress of aviation should not be confined entirely to the airman and constructor of air craft; in short, this progress is not a record of events in which the mass of the nation have little personal concern, but of a movement in which each one of us may take an active and intelligent part.

I have to thank various aviation firms, airmen, and others who have kindly come to my assistance, either with the help of valuable information or by the loan of photographs. In particular, my thanks are due to the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service for permission to reproduce illustrations from their two publications on the work and training of their respective corps; to the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain; to Messrs. C. G. Spencer & Sons, Highbury; The Sopwith Aviation Company, Ltd.; Messrs. A. V. Roe & Co., Ltd.; The Gnome Engine Company; The Green Engine Company; Mr. A. G. Gross (Geographia, Ltd.); and M. Bleriot; for an exposition of the internal combustion engine I have drawn on Mr. Horne's The Age of Machinery.

PART I. BALLOONS AND AIR SHIPS

I. MAN'S DUEL WITH NATURE II. THE FRENCH PAPER MAKER WHO INVENTED THE BALLOON III. THE FIRST MAN TO ASCEND IN A BALLOON IV. THE FIRST BALLOON ASCENT IN ENGLAND V. THE FATHER OF BRITISH AERONAUTS VI. THE PARACHUTE VII. SOME BRITISH INVENTORS OF AIR SHIPS VIII. THE FIRST ATTEMPTS TO STEER A BALLOON IX. THE STRANGE CAREER OF COUNT ZEPPELIN X. A ZEPPELIN AIR SHIP AND ITS CONSTRUCTION XI. THE SEMI RIGID AIR SHIP XII. A NON RIGID BALLOON XIII. THE ZEPPELIN AND GOTHA RAIDS

PART II. AEROPLANES AND AIRMEN

XIV. EARLY ATTEMPTS IN AVIATION XV. A PIONEER IN AVIATION XVI. THE "HUMAN BIRDS" XVII. THE AEROPLANE AND THE BIRD XVIII. A GREAT BRITISH INVENTOR OF AEROPLANES XIX. THE WRIGHT BROTHERS AND THEIR SECRET EXPERIMENTS XX. THE INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE XXI. THE INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE (Con't.) XXII. THE AEROPLANE ENGINE XXIII. A FAMOUS BRITISH INVENTOR OF AVIATION ENGINES XXIV. THE WRIGHT BIPLANE (CAMBER OF PLANES) XXV. THE WRIGHT BIPLANE (Cont.) XXVI. HOW THE WRIGHTS LAUNCHED THEIR BIPLANE XXVII. THE FIRST MAN TO FLY IN EUROPE XXVIII. M. BLARIOT AND THE MONOPLANE XXIX. HENRI FARMAN AND THE VOISIN BIPLANE XXX. A FAMOUS BRITISH INVENTOR XXXI. THE ROMANCE OF A COWBOY AERONAUT XXXII. THREE HISTORIC FLIGHTS XXXIII. THREE HISTORIC FLIGHTS (Cont.) XXXIV. THE HYDROPLANE AND AIR BOAT XXXV. A FAMOUS BRITISH INVENTOR OF THE WATER PLANE XXXVI. SEA PLANES FOR WARFARE XXXVII. THE FIRST MAN TO FLY IN BRITAIN XXXVIII.THE R.F.C. AND R.N.A.S. XXXIX. AEROPLANES IN THE GREAT WAR XL. THE ATMOSPHERE AND THE BAROMETER XLI... Continue reading book >>




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