Flight training the Wright way

WrightFlyer

The Wright brothers are well known as scientists, inventors, builders and flyers — and they became international celebrities in 1909 with record-setting flights in Europe and America.

Less well known were their efforts as flight instructors and flight school creators. They began flight instruction in Europe. Later back home, they trained aviators for their exhibition team, for the military and, as interest in aviation grew, they opened flight schools for civilian pilots. [Read more…]

Rules of the road

Figure 1

At the close of 1927, 1,572 pilots had been licensed and 2,573 others had applied for licenses. Additionally, 681 aircraft had been licensed for interstate commerce, and 908 aircraft had been assigned identification numbers. There were also 2,218 applications for license and identification of aircraft awaiting action.

It was at this time that the Department of Commerce issued its first Air Traffic Rules, as required under the Air Commerce Act of 1926. [Read more…]

Pilot reports: The beginnings

the 1938 Luscombe 8 (N22013) is courtesy of Ty Sundstrom and was taken at Tehachapi, CA.

“After running the motor a few minutes to heat it up, I released the wire that held the machine to the track, and the machine started forward into the wind,” reported Orville Wright in the December 1913 issue of Flying magazine.

Though possibly not the first pilot report in an aviation journal, it sure is a pilot report about the oldest aircraft.

Though flight test articles became a common feature of general aviation magazines in the 1960s and on, these pilot reports on performance and handling of aircraft were rare before World War II. The emergence of flight test articles on new private aircraft owe their origins to two magazines: The Sportsman Pilot and Air Facts. [Read more…]

The advent of the light twin

Photos by Meg Godlewski

With the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, the prohibition on the production of civil aircraft was rescinded. Many articles published that year were harbingers of the post-war boom expected for the general aviation industry. Indeed there was a huge boom in production — general aircraft production went from 1,946 in 1945 to an unbelievable 33,254 in 1946.

This was truly the golden era of light aircraft production. But it was a short-lived one as the market rapidly went sour as returning GIs and the public were struggling with other demands. Sales in 1947 fell to around 15,515 airplanes, and by 1949 had plunged to 3,500.

But out of this post-war bust would come a boom in a new category of general aviation aircraft — the light twin. [Read more…]

Air boating

AirBoat

Many non-aviation magazines were swept up in the growing interest in aviation that was accented by the exploits of World War l military aviation. These included COUNTRY LIFE, LITERARY DIGEST and MOTOR BOATING.

In fact, Motor Boating took aviation as its own and christened it “Air Boating” in a monthly series starting in February 1918.

“Air Boating has passed the experimental stage,” the magazine’s editors stated. [Read more…]

Max Conrad: The early years

Conrad with his Piper Aztec prior to takeoff
from Winona, Minnesota on November 30, 1969 on his historic
34,000 mile Round-the-World, over both poles flight.

When he died in 1979, Max Conrad was known the world over as the “Flying Grandfather.”

A long-distance record breaker in light aircraft, most notably the Piper Comanche, Max was generally credited with more flying time than any other pilot — more than 50,000 hours. In 1954 he flew solo, non-stop from New York to Paris to deliver a Piper Apache, the first such flight since before World War II.

[Read more…]

Around the world solo in a Bluebird

Flight&FlyersBruceWeb

Born Mildred Mary Petre in November 1895, the Hon. Mrs Victor Bruce made her name during the 1920s and ’30s as a record breaker on land, sea and in the air.

She first came to notice by way of several motoring records. In 1929 she turned her attention to the water and gained records for crossings of the English Channel. In 1930 her fame soared when she undertook the first solo lightplane flight around the world.

[Read more…]

Around the world solo in a Bluebird

Flight&FlyersBruceWeb

Born Mildred Mary Petre in November 1895, the Hon. Mrs Victor Bruce made her name during the 1920s and ’30s as a record breaker on land, sea and in the air.

She first came to notice by way of several motoring records. In 1929 she turned her attention to the water and gained records for crossings of the English Channel. In 1930 her fame soared when she undertook the first solo lightplane flight around the world.

[Read more…]

Mountain high

All the companies that had a part in the 1933 British aerial expedition to Everest used the success of the mission for advertising. This advertisement lauds the achievement of the Bristol Pegagus engine used on the Westland biplanes.

April 4, 2013, marked the 80th anniversary of the successful aerial assault on Mt. Everest undertaken by two Royal Air Force pilots, David Fowler McIntyre and Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, flying modified, open-cockpit, Westland biplanes to an altitude of 30,000 feet.

It was a triumph for aviation, [Read more…]

Getting airborne: Early flight training

Brookins

Flight training in the United States before 1914 went from a do-it-yourself — build a machine and try to learn to fly it — endeavor to a growing system of flight schools across the country.

The first organized flight instruction was by the early manufacturers of aircraft, such as the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss.

[Read more…]