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Aviation: From Curiosity to Reality

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Aviation: From Curiosity To Reality explores the development of aviation from da Vinci, Samuel Langley, the Wright brothers, and William Christmas (the third American to fly) and others.



Man has dreamed of flying for hundreds of years. The artist da Vinci drew a flying machine in 1490; in 1889, R.J. Spalding patented a bird suit to help him fly; and in 1906, Traian Vuia built an “aeroplane automobile” that hopped. Learn about early aviators including the Wright brothers, William Christmas and Bessie Coleman, etc. Read about the thrill of flying with barnstormers, wing walkers, Charles Lindbergh and the New York City Air Police.

Aviation: From Curiosity To Reality has 80 illustrations, experiments for the reader to conduct, a time line of firsts in aviation, and patent applications.

2 reviews for Aviation: From Curiosity to Reality

  1. John Browne, author of The Story of Ravensworth: a history of the Ravensworth landgrant in Fairfax County, Virginia (2018); companion website; maps author of Braddock’s True Gold: 20th Century Life In The Heart of Fairfax County (2006)

    What boy or girl doesn’t dream of flying, gazing down on the earth from the cockpit controls of an airplane or space capsule? Inspired by America’s early space program, retired history school teacher Mary Lipsey explains the principles of flight in her book Aviation: From Curiosity To Reality. Learn how early pioneers of aviation studied birds and experimented with new technologies as they competed to be the first to fly. Then in 1903, a few days after Samuel Langley failed to lift off, Orville Wright flew 120 feet and modern aviation was born. Mary Lipsey recounts inspiring feats of the pioneer inventors and daring first aviators, and suggests guides for readers eager to learn more about aviation.

  2. Suzanne Levy, Retired Virginia Room Librarian FCPL (Fairfax County Public Libraries)

    An interest in Dr. William Christmas, aviation pioneer, led to her first book, “A Christmas Flight: Aviation Pioneer Dr. William Christmas”. Ever the teacher, Mrs. Lipsey decided to expand her research into a book on aviation history for young people. Her new book is well documented and illustrated and, while still centered on Dr. Christmas, shows how he fit into the history of aviation. With a connection to Fairfax Station and the mid-Atlantic area, it is a good starting point to learn more about the early days of aviation.

    I particularly enjoyed the graphics, which are crisp and sharp and highlight the text. Two comparison charts, “Aircraft Designed by Professor Samuel Langley, the Wright Brothers, and Dr. William Christmas” and “Christmas’s 1938 Battle Airplane Compared to the 2015 US Air Force Stratofortress” help the reader to see how his ideas compared to those of other pioneers. Sketches of several lesser known aviators, including women, information on design, engineering, barnstormers, and expanded uses of aircraft up through drones, should interest young scientists and encourage them to learn more about flying.

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