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April 07 , 2009

Reconsidering a Century of Flight


On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright soared into history during a twelve-second flight on a secluded North Carolina beach. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first flight, these essays chart the central role that aviation played in twentieth-century history and capture the spirit of innovation and adventure that has characterized the history of flight.

The contributors, all leading aerospace historians, consider four broad themes relating to the development of flight technology: innovation and the technology of flight, civil aeronautics and government policy, aerial warfare, and aviation in the American imagination. Through their attention to the political, economic, military, and cultural history of flight, the authors establish that the Wrights' invention – and all that followed in both air and space – was one of the most significant technologies of the twentieth century, fundamentally reshaping our world.

Supported by the First Flight Centennial Commission

The contributors are Janet R. Daly Bednarek, Tami Davis Biddle, Roger E. Bilstein, Hans-Joachim Braun, David T. Courtwright, Anne Collins Goodyear, Roger D. Launius, William M. Leary, David D. Lee, W. David Lewis, John H. Morrow, Dominick A. Pisano, and A. Timothy Warnock.

Tami Davis Biddle, Duke University
Roger E. Bilstein, Dripping Springs, Tex.
Hans-Joachim Braun, Universitaet der Bundeswehr Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany)
David T. Courtright, University of North Florida
Anne Collins Goodyear, Arlington, Va.
William M. Leary, University of Georgia
David D. Lee, Western Kentucky University
W. David Lewis, Auburn University
John H. Morrow, University of Georgia
Dominick A. Pisano, Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
A. Timothy Warnock, Air Force Historical Research Agency (Maxwell A.F.B., Ala.)
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