With air travel a regular part of daily life in North America, we tend to take the infrastructure that makes it possible for granted. However, the systems, regulations, and technologies of civil aviation are in fact the product of decades of experimentation and political negotiation, much of it connected to the development of the airmail as the first commercially sustainable use of airplanes. From the lighted airways of the 1920s through the radio navigation system in place by the time of World War II, this book explores the conceptualization and ultimate construction of the initial US airways systems. The daring exploits of the earliest airmail pilots are well documented, but the underlying story of just how brick-and-mortar construction, radio research and improvement, chart and map preparation, and other less glamorous aspects of aviation contributed to the system we have today has been understudied. Flying the Beam traces the development of aeronautical navigation of the US airmail airways from 1917 to 1941. Chronologically organized, the book draws on period documents, pilot memoirs, and firsthand investigation of surviving material remains in the landscape to trace the development of the system. The author shows how visual cross-country navigation, only possible in good weather, was developed into all-weather “blind flying.” The daytime techniques of “following railroads and rivers” were supplemented by a series of lighted beacons (later replaced by radio towers) crisscrossing the country to allow nighttime transit of long-distance routes, such as the one between New York and San Francisco. Although today’s airway system extends far beyond the continental US and is based on digital technologies, the way pilots navigate from place to place basically uses the same infrastructure and procedures that were pioneered almost a century earlier. While navigational electronics have changed greatly over the years, actually “flying the beam” has changed very little.
Clarence “Cap” Cornish was an Indiana pilot whose life spanned all but five years of the Century of Flight. Born in Canada in 1898, Cornish grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He began flying at the age of nineteen, piloting a “Jenny” aircraft during World War I, and continued to fly for the next seventy-eight years. In 1995, at the age of ninety-seven, he was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest actively flying pilot. The mid-1920s to the mid-1950s were Cornish’s most active years in aviation. During that period, sod runways gave way to asphalt and concrete; navigation evolved from the iron rail compass to radar; runways that once had been outlined at night with cans of oil topped off with flaming gasoline now shimmered with multicolored electric lights; instead of being crammed next to mailbags in open-air cockpits, passengers sat comfortably in streamlined, pressurized cabins. In the early phase of that era, Cornish performed aerobatics and won air races. He went on to run a full-service flying business, served as chief pilot for the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, managed the city’s municipal airport, helped monitor and maintain safe skies above the continental United States during World War II, and directed Indiana’s first Aeronautics Commission. Dedicating his life to flight and its many ramifications, Cornish helped guide the sensible development of aviation as it grew from infancy to maturity. Through his many personal experiences, the story of flight nationally is played out.
Author of six earlier books about United States railroads, John F. Stover packs this narrative history with careful scholarship and colorful description which will appeal to the railroad buff and the professional historian, as well as to any reader who wishes to travel with the "Mother of Railroads" through an exciting period in United States history.
Beginning with the first Indiana canal effort in 1804, this narrative deals with the half century of canal agitation in the valleys of the Wabash and Whitewater rivers. The rising tide of enthusiasm for internal improvements reached flood stage in the mammoth system legislation of 1836, which provided for a network of canals throughout the state, and for several turnpikes and a few railroads as well
Purdue University has played a leading role in providing the engineers who designed, built, tested, and flew the many aircraft and spacecraft that so changed human progress during the 20th century. It is estimated that Purdue has awarded 6% of all BS degrees in aerospace engineering, and 7% of all PhDs in the United States during the past 65 years. The University’s alumni have led significant advances in research and development of aerospace technology, have headed major aerospace corporations and government agencies, and have established an amazing record for exploration of space. More than one third of all US manned space flights have had at least one crew member who was a Purdue engineering graduate (including the first and last men to step foot on the moon). The School of Aeronautics & Astronautics was founded as a separate school within the College of Engineering at Purdue University in 1945. The first edition of this book was published in 1995, at the time of the School’s 50th anniversary. This corrected and expanded second edition brings the School’s illustrious history up-to-date, and looks to Purdue’s future in the sky and in space.
In the early 1940s, prior to the United States' entry into World War II, through the joint efforts of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, British soldiers were sent to the United States for flight training. This collection gives first-person accounts of the men who learned the art of flying in a place far from their homeland -- Florida. The stories provide a wonderful contrast between the two cultures and are told in the voices of British cadets, American cadets who trained with them, instructors, and other individuals who welcomed the British cadets into their homes and lives.