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National Aviation History Month

November is National Aviation History Month. From pioneers of flight, like the Wright Brothers, to lesser-known figures such as Bessie Coleman (the first African American woman to be awarded an international pilot license), to those who currently take to the skies (and beyond), there are countless examples of those who made an impact on aviation history. Dating back to the Middle Ages with kite flights and tower jumps to the present’s supersonic flights, humans around the world have long attempted to do the “impossible.” Let’s look at what our collection has to offer about the brave men and women who dared to fly.

Beginnings of Flight

The Genesis of Flight: The Aeronautical History Collection of Colonel Richard Gimbel by Colonel Richard Gimbel
The Rocket Man: And Other Extraordinary Characters in the History of Flight by David Darling

Early Twentieth Century

Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies by Lawrence Goldstone
Empires of the Sky: Zeppelins, Airplanes, and Two Men's Epic Duel to Rule the World by Alexander Rose
Black Wings: Courageous Stories of African Americans in Aviation and Space History by Von Hardesty
Race to Hawaii: The 1927 Dole Air Derby and the Thrilling First Flights that Opened the Pacific by Jason Ryan
Amelia Earhart: The Thrill of It by Susan Wels
Atlantic Fever: Lindbergh, his Competitors, and the Race to Cross the Atlantic by Joe Jackson
Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History by Keith O'Brien

World War II

The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Katherine Sharp Landdeck
A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-torn Skies of World War II by Adam Makos
Race of Aces: WWII's Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to Become the Master of the Sky by John R. Bruning
Chasing the Demon: A Secret History of the Quest for the Sound Barrier, and the Band of American Aces Who Conquered It by Dan Hampton

Mid-Twentieth Century and Beyond

Shoot for the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11 by James Donovan
The Hunter Killers: The Extraordinary Story of the First Wild Weasels, the Band of Maverick Aviators Who Flew the Most Dangerous Missions of the Vietnam War by Dan Hampton
Topgun Days: Dogfighting, Cheating Death, and Hollywood Glory as One of America's Best Fighter Jocks by Dave "Bio" Baranek
Jet Age: The Comet, the 707, and the Race to Shrink the World by Sam Howe Verhovek
Stealth: The Secret Contest to Invent Invisible Aircraft by Peter Westwick

Have you ever wondered what it’s like in the cockpit? Check out the links below for virtual tours and 3D models of famous planes, shuttles and modules, along with online exhibits:

Sources & Links
Flight: the complete history of aviation by R.G. Grant
Flight and Flying: A Chronology by David Baker
Distinguished African Americans in Aviation & Space Science by Betty Kaplan Gubert

- by Isabel, Ewing Branch

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