Glenn Curtiss beat even the Wright brothers (who sued him bitterly) to get pilot's license No. 1 in America. He teamed with Alexander Graham Bell, helped develop the moving wing part known as the aileron, introduced tricycle landing gear, made the first airplane sales, and turned aeronautics into a multimillion dollar business. His innovations ranged from the Curtiss Pusher to the hydroaeroplane, the flying boat, and the Curtiss Jenny. Curtiss, his engines, and his airplanes dominated the world of early aviation on this side of the Atlantic. Glenn H. Curtiss: Aviation Pioneer charts Curtiss's breakneck course across two continents, North America and Europe, setting speed and distance records, experimenting with military applications, always striving for a safer, faster airplane. Fostering both water flyers and shipboard landing, he became the Father of Naval Aviation. But even the skies were not wide enough for the busy brain of Curtiss. Glenn H. Curtiss: Aviation Pioneer also tracks his dizzying ride from a village bicycle shop to record-smashing motorcycle races, futuristic travel trailers, and city building in the Florida land boom.
A classic biography returns to print after 60 years! Although the Wright Brothers are remembered for performing the first human flight, Glenn Curtiss stands as the most important aviator in American history. Like his friend Alexander Graham Bell, Curtiss was a master inventor as well as a daredevil. He won the first airplane race in history (the 1909 Gordon Bennett Cup), and he was the first pilot to take off from and land an airplane on the deck of a ship. He invented the twin flying boat, which became a mainstay for the Allies during the First World War, and his NC-4 Flying Boat performed the first transatlantic flight in 1919—eight years before Charles Lindbergh's flight. Curtiss planes eventually trained 95 percent of all American pilots in the first half of the 20th century. Fans of aviation, history and compelling biographies of famous Americans such as Howard Hughes will be delighted to read about Glenn Curtiss.
There's no question that Glenn Curtiss was one of the most significant figures in the early development of motorcycles, aviation, and engine development. This book will take you on a journey through both his life and his innovative technological developments.
And what a life it was. Descriptions of this man prove to be contradictory and controversial. He was quiet, yet dashing. Kind, yet stern. Uneducated, yet a technological and entrepreneurial pioneer. He began his inventing career by building and racing motorcycles, while creating new internal combustion engines, then moved on to work with dirigibles, airplanes (particularly seaplanes), community development, and travel trailers. In the end, Glenn Curtiss - a man respected by contemporaries for his character - went to his grave accused of fiduciary irresponsibility and patent theft. His bitter patent disputes with the Wright Brothers leave many wondering whether Curtiss should be seen as a hero or a villain when his place in history is considered.
Hell-Rider to King of the Air examines Curtiss's life, career, and accomplishments in an engaging and accessible way, so that readers can answer that question for themselves.
In this biography, William F. Trimble examines the pioneering work of Glenn Curtiss and his role in the origins of aviation in the U.S. Navy in the years up to and through World War I. A self-taught mechanic and inventor, Curtiss was a key figure in the development of the airplane during the early part of the century and his contributions to aviation are well known. This book s careful examination of his partnership with the Navy breaks new ground in revealing significant new details of his contributions. Curtiss s links to the Navy came as result of aviation advocates within the Navy, chief among them Captain Washington I. Chambers, who recognized that the Navy had special requirements for airplanes and their operations, and for aviators and their training. Curtiss helped meet the special requirements of the service for aircraft, particularly those with the potential for operating with naval vessels at sea or in conducting long-distance flights over water. He also was instrumental in training the first naval aviators. Curtiss and the Navy continued their collaboration through World War I, reaching a climax in 1919 with the first transatlantic flight of the famed Navy-Curtiss NC flying boat. This book addresses the broader implications of the Curtiss-Navy collaboration in the context of the longstanding trend of government-private cooperation in the introduction and development of new technologies. It also explores the interactive dynamics of weapons procurement and technological change within a large and entrenched bureaucracy and helps lay to rest the persistent myth that the Navy resisted the introduction of aviation
The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies
Author: Lawrence Goldstone
Publisher: Ballantine Books
From acclaimed historian Lawrence Goldstone comes a thrilling narrative of courage, determination, and competition: the story of the intense rivalry that fueled the rise of American aviation. The feud between this nation’s great air pioneers, the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss, was a collision of unyielding and profoundly American personalities. On one side, a pair of tenacious siblings who together had solved the centuries-old riddle of powered, heavier-than-air flight. On the other, an audacious motorcycle racer whose innovative aircraft became synonymous in the public mind with death-defying stunts. For more than a decade, they battled each other in court, at air shows, and in the newspapers. The outcome of this contest of wills would shape the course of aviation history—and take a fearsome toll on the men involved. Birdmen sets the engrossing story of the Wrights’ war with Curtiss against the thrilling backdrop of the early years of manned flight, and is rich with period detail and larger-than-life personalities: Thomas Scott Baldwin, or “Cap’t Tom” as he styled himself, who invented the parachute and almost convinced the world that balloons were the future of aviation; John Moisant, the dapper daredevil who took to the skies after three failed attempts to overthrow the government of El Salvador, then quickly emerged as a celebrity flyer; and Harriet Quimby, the statuesque silent-film beauty who became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. And then there is Lincoln Beachey, perhaps the greatest aviator who ever lived, who dazzled crowds with an array of trademark twists and dives—and best embodied the romance with death that fueled so many of aviation’s earliest heroes. A dramatic story of unimaginable bravery in the air and brutal competition on the ground, Birdmen is at once a thrill ride through flight’s wild early years and a surprising look at the personal clash that fueled America’s race to the skies. Praise for Birdmen “A meticulously researched account of the first few hectic, tangled years of aviation and the curious characters who pursued it . . . a worthy companion to Richard Holmes’s marvelous history of ballooning, Falling Upwards.”—Time “The daredevil scientists and engineers who forged the field of aeronautics spring vividly to life in Lawrence Goldstone’s history.”—Nature “The history of the development of an integral part of the modern world and a fascinating portrayal of how a group of men and women achieved a dream that had captivated humanity for centuries.”—The Christian Science Monitor “Captivating and wonderfully presented . . . a fine book about these rival pioneers.”—The Wall Street Journal “[A] vivid story of invention, vendettas, derring-do, media hype and patent fights [with] modern resonance.”—Financial Times “A powerful story that contrasts soaring hopes with the anchors of ego and courtroom.”—Kirkus Reviews “A riveting narrative about the pioneering era of aeronautics in America and beyond . . . Goldstone raises questions of enduring importance regarding innovation and the indefinite exertion of control over ideas that go public.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The story begins in the fall of 1915, on the cusp of America's entry into World War I. Aviation giant Glenn Curtiss sought a location where pilots could train and aircraft could be tested year-round, and he found it in the warm winds and waters of Newport News, Virginia. There, daring young men and women in their flying machines flew on to fame and into history with their record-breaking flights and the tragic losses that were inevitable in early flight. Join military historian Amy Waters Yarsinske as she uses rare vintage photographs and a deft hand to narrate this astounding and often forgotten period in aviation history.
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