High In Desert Skies: Early Arizona Aviation

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High in Desert Skies: Early Arizona Aviation by William D. Kalt III

In Arizona, this land of ancient footprints, cactus, dust and mud, where the first train arrived only 50 years earlier, Lindbergh's aerial visit carves the most significant notch in Southern Arizona's aviation belt to date. Events of the era. From a charlatan's playfield, as inventor S.P. Langley once observed, airborne antics blossom into a feasible means of locomotion which proves the most expedient and economical manner of human transport. A recognized military necessity, flying grows and ambitious business ventures in the face of winged-contraption fears grow to encompass grand swaths of America's commercial realm. These accounts of the people, events, airplanes, and airports that helped Arizona lead the way in the nation's aviation development color but a portion of the broad canvass upon which rests her tale. From hosting three of the nation's earliest air shows, to its central roles in early transcontinental and round-the-world flights, her contributions to the historical record stand tall. The U.S. Army Air Service launches route-mapping missions and recruiting efforts above her mountains and canyons, and Colonel Chas. A Lindbergh makes an historic visit. Thrilling aerial displays brighten lives, while Arizona inventors and World War I Aces help keep the aerial sport front-and-center. Aground, the lure of the heavens? Infinite possibilities fires action in community leaders who push toward safe landing places. Rough, undeveloped, and then, magnificent airports follow. Amid the milieu of the early 20th century's technological burst, come the hearty, the daring, the unwavering men and women of flying's first cadre. Those whose imaginings forge an unerring pathway to a future of which they could only dream. Through a maelstrom of difficulties and dangers they navigate the sky and their earthly admirers with equal, if varying aplomb. Only with increased motive power, cockpits free from the elements, and other subsequent advances does the aviator's task ease. The archives hold countless additional Arizona flying tales, each awaiting future revelation.

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