Aeroplanes 1907-1918

On December 17, 1903 the Wright Brothers made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air machine in South Carolina, USA. Development over the next 5 years was constrained by the early engines but by 1909 radial engines stimulated a burst of development – especially in France. In May the first air race, the Prix de Lagatinerie, was held at Port-Aviation south of Paris. In July Blériot crossed the English Channel winning £10,000; in August the Grande Semaine d’Aviation de la Champagne meeting at Rheims, France demonstrated the coming-of-age of aviation. The Gordon Bennet, Schneider and other trophies and competitions escalated the competitive instinct of the early aviation pioneers. The potential was soon noticed elsewhere. In 1910 the Aéronautique Militaire in France became the world’s first “air force”. The German army began training airmen in July 1910 and created the Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches in April 1911. The same year the Committee of Imperial Defence in London recommended the formation of a flying corps. By the end of 1912 the Royal Flying Corps had 300 officers and 36 aircraft.

The prints measure 48 cm wide x 34.5 cm high (19 ″ x 13 ½ ″). Minor variation in size is possible based on the actual guillotine cut made by the printer over 50 years ago. Shown here are photographs which have been carefully corrected to remove most distortion. Published in 1962 by © Hugh Evelyn Limited, London; drawn by Roy Cross.

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