Gilbert, James.


1st ed., 1975. 192 pp., frontis., + photo-ills., + ills. D.j., 25 x 20cm. V.G. This book traces man’s more misguided attempts to fly from the earliest centuries onwards. A selection of aviation’s most ill-conceived projects are examined as proper historical studies and while their creation affords a great deal of humour, at the same time the author respects the tragedy which sometimes went with it. The book contains portraits of some remarkable personalities including Lilian Bland who built her Mayfly in 1909 using a whiskey bottle for the fuel tank while the engine was fed through a detested aunt’s ear trumpet. Henri Mignet and his amazing Flying Flea was the cause of the home-made plane craze of the 1930’s and the tragic history of the R101 airship, built in the 1920’s by Britain’s first Labour government, is related along with more recent projects.

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