Aviation Century: War and Peace in the Air

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9781550464306: Aviation Century: War and Peace in the Air

The closing volume of an internationally acclaimed series.

"Any readers interested in the history of flying will treasure [this series of] profusely illustrated books."
- Booklist

War and Peace in the Air, the final book in the acclaimed five-volume Aviation Century series, explores the influence of aviation in the major wars and minor conflicts since World War II. The authors also examine the dangers of flight, including airborne disasters, accident investigations and threats from terrorism, and speculate on the myriad ways in which aviation will change in the near and far future. Included are:

  • The introduction of the jet engine and the changes it brought in training, logistics and administration
  • Improvements in weaponry, avionics and aircraft systems in the transformation of basic bombers and fighters
  • The history of flight safety, from the first air fatality in 1908 to the disaster-prevention tactics introduced to defeat modern terrorist threats
  • Profiles of 21st century aircraft, plus the future in aviation -- including collision avoidance systems, computer-driven air-traffic control, and the return of supersonic travel.

Rare archival photographs and newly photographed color images add to the entertaining and informative text. All the current photographs have been shot on site or in museums, collections or the field.

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

About the Author :

Ron Dick has lectured and written extensively on aviation history. He served with the Royal Air Force for 38 years, retiring in the rank of Air Vice-Marshal, and now lives in Virginia.

Dan Patterson is the recipient of the first annual Combs Award honoring his contribution to the photographic preservation of America's air and space heritage. He lives in Ohio.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. :

Photographer's Preface
Dan Patterson

This final volume of the Aviation Century series brings to a conclusion more than eight years of shared work to create a history of aviation in the 20th century. Ron and I have adhered to our original outline as much as we thought possible. Where we have strayed from our plan has been into territory we did not even know about when we began. But we planned our travels and schedules with enough "wiggle room" to be able to react to and take advantage of great things that we knew would happen along the way, even if we didn't know where or when or how we would discover them.

Many of these serendipitous sidetracks have been associated with one of the overriding goals of our project, and that was to record a human history, especially by making portraits of a real cross section of the individuals who have been wrapped up in this amazing century of aviation history. Some of these portraits were arranged in advance, some only after many letters, emails and telephone calls. In most cases, once we got through the gate, the people we wanted to include in this project were happy to do whatever they could for us and ended up fascinated with what we have accomplished.

The "sidetracks" have brought to our project some memorable treasures: Larry Pisoni in Vezzano, Italy (World War II), the Polish warriors in Warsaw (World War II), Contessa Caproni in Rome (The Early Years), Mike Novacell (Wings of Change and War and Peace in the Air) and Neil Armstrong, a man who walked on another sphere a long way away and refers to himself as "just another aviator" (Wings of Change). Their faces -- their expressions, the way they lift their chins, the gleam in their eyes -- tell many stories. The portraits of the survivors of early flight have been most sought after, offering through their eyes an invaluable window into the time period when anyone could climb into an airplane and do something no one had ever done before. Alex Henshaw is one of those people (The Golden Age) and at this writing is still among us and continues to share his considerable accumulated wisdom.

We also decided to invite our colleagues who not only photograph aviation but also paint, illustrate and sculpt new visions of this rich history to participate. Those artists we asked gladly and graciously added to this body of work, allowing us to see moments in time whose only record is in the memory of the participants, in the recollections of someone waiting on the ground, or in a military debriefing, or a smudged carbon in a dusty folder. These talented friends have added their personal vision to this project, and this series is better for it.

At the end of the day -- in this case, the conclusion of this adventure -- it is really all about flying. Amanda Wright Lane wrote about what her uncle Orville thought about seeing the Earth from above in her foreword to Aviation Century The Early Years. For me, flying solo -- alone in the sky -- there is always a connection to the pioneers of flight. Once you get away from the airport and have the airplane trimmed for straight and level flight, once you've pulled the power back to cruise and leaned out the fuel mixture, you can look around and connect with those pioneers. The early fliers were flying solo as well. It's fun to imagine the moment when they became comfortable enough in their "aeroplane" to consider where they were and what they could see from above.

The relevance of this endeavor will take some time to sink in. As far as our initial goal, to make a history of aviation that had not been done before, we are pleased with the results. The scope of the project became wider and more far flung than either of us imagined, but our flexibility allowed that to happen, along with our very understanding and professional colleagues at Boston Mills Press. Personally, this has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am just starting to come to grips with what it will be like to not have this as an excuse to not mow the lawn.

Dan Patterson
Dayton, Ohio
January 2006

--

Introduction
Air Vice-Marshall Ron Dick

In 1997, Dan Patterson and I agreed that we would make the effort to put together a history of powered flight's first hundred years. The premise of the book was to be that aviation had changed the world more than anything else in the 20th century, and its pages were to tell the stories of the people involved as well as tracing the development of their flying machines. Given the immense scope of the project, and the knowledge that we could not really do it justice even if we produced a whole library of books, we knew that we would not have the luxury of delving into minute detail on every aspect of flight. Nevertheless, we set out to give at least some idea of how human flight had changed everyday life -- technologically, militarily, economically, sociologically and politically.

At first, the plan was to pack all that material into one very large book. It became apparent that, unless it was to be sold with a wheelbarrow, that was impractical. The Aviation Century series of five volumes seemed to be a far better idea. It allowed us to stick to the original concept without compromising, while designing each book to be capable of standing alone. To ensure that the books would be as rich in content as possible, the text had to be comprehensive, it had to be well illustrated by archive images and the work of distinguished aviation artists, and it had to feature new color photography by Dan, including portraits of the people of aviation, both the famous and those with humbler aeronautical associations.

If we had grasped the true enormity of the task we had set ourselves when we began, we might have been persuaded to settle for something less demanding. The Aviation Century project has consumed a large part of our lives for eight years and taken us to nine countries. The text and captions comprise some half a million words, and Dan's cameras have captured thousands of images, with the work being done in the world's great aviation museums and with aeronautical organizations great and small. In the process, we have been privileged to meet many of the celebrated aviators who made the history recorded in these books, and we have talked to hundreds of people who may not be so well known, but whose enthusiasm for flying is an essential part of the aviation world. It has been a wonderful experience, so much so that it almost demands a book about doing the books.

This final volume of the series is arranged in three main chapters and an epilogue. Chapter 1 picks up the story of military aviation after World War II, and traces the revolutionary effects of the jet age on air-power doctrine. Everything about air forces changed with the introduction of the jet engine, not only equipment and operations but also training, logistics and administration. Aircraft played vital parts in the endless succession of major wars and minor conflicts that took place in various regions of the world after World War II, and the importance of planning and waging successful air campaigns grew as the decades of the 20th century passed. It could be claimed, however, that the significance of the particular airframe used actually declined. In between the World Wars, aircraft often reached obsolescence only a year or so after joining front-line squadrons, and the early years of the jet revolution also saw rapid equipment changes. By the end of the century, things had changed. Air forces found themselves still flying many machines designed thirty or forty years before. Some new types were introduced, but for the most part increased capability came not from new aircraft but from improvements in weaponry, avionics and aircraft systems. The successors of the basic bombers and gunfighters of the 1950s were transformed by such marvels as GPS (Ground Positioning System), FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red), stealth technology, and precision weapon

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