May 18, 2012

Collection Name: Drachen Foundation Collection

Collection Number: 2483

Post Type: Book

This item was entered by Matthew Sutton. They assume full responsibility for all content.

Artist or Author: Percy B. Walker

Creation Year: 1971

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ISBN: 0-356-04696-6 Language: English Description: This is the first authoritative history of
the early development of flying in Britain,
under the aegis of what was to become the
Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farn-
borough, written by one of Britain's
leading aeronautical experts. It traces the
story from the early development of
military balloons, in which Britain led the
world, and which were successfully used
in the South African War in 1899, through
the prolonged military experiments with
man-lifting kites on land and at sea,
including the glider- and motor-kites which
were recognisable forerunners of modern
aircraft, to the building of such celebrated
airships as Nulli Secundus in 1907 and
Colonel Capper's "Baby".

Serious without being solemn, Percy
Walker's scholarly account ranges from
the technical methods of construction of
these early flying machines to the conflicts
between the policy-makers in Whitehall'
and the boffins at Farnborough. But at
the centre of his story are the pioneers
who made flying possible, and Percy
Walker's book will evoke admiration for
their courage and inventiveness-as well
as amusement at their many undignified
vicissitudes, set-backs and minor disasters.

Most colourful of the personalities in the
saga was Samuel Franklin Cody, a cowboy
and rodeo rider from Birdville, Texas,
who set up a successful vaudeville company
in England. Though illiterate, he com-
posed a long-running show called The
Klondyke Nuggett, and also found time to
play a leading role in the designing and
flying of both kites and airships at
Farnborough. He asked the Admiralty for
25,000 Pounds for the patent on his man-lifting
kites, and was offered 100 pounds; but the War
Office gave him officer-status at Farn-
borough, a salary of 1,000 pounds a year, and
free fodder for the white horse which was
his preferred method of transportation.

283 pages

Geographic: United Kingdom

Materials: Paper

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