A remarkable story filled with dreamers, inventors, scoundrels and pioneering pilots, First to Fly recounts North Carolina's significant role in the early history of aviation. Beginning well before the Wright brothers' first powered flight in Devil Hill in 1903, North Carolinians laboured at the cutting edge of aviation technology from the late 1800s through World War I. North Carolina was a launching ground for real and imaginary ballooning adventures as early as 1789. Powered experiments, including what seems to have been America's first airplane, gained momentum in the late-19th century. Tar Heel mechanics and inventors also built a dirigible and, arguably, the world's first successful helicopter. Tom Parramore's account of the Wright brothers' experiments and turn-of-the-century Dare County provides new information on the crucial role of Outer Bankers in ensuring Wrights' success. Without their aid, he argues, it is unlikely that the miracle of flight would have been first achieved in 1903 - or in America. After 1903, growth in the new aviation industry, spurred by World War I, outpaced North Carolina's ability to play a major role. But the state produced some of the most notable airmen and women of the era, furnishing hundreds of pilots to the war effort.
|Publication date:||31st March 2003|
|Author:||Thomas C. Parramore|
|Publisher:||The University of North Carolina Press|
|Categories:||Aerospace & aviation technology, Aircraft: general interest, History of engineering & technology, History of the Americas, Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,|
THOMAS C. PARRAMORE is professor of history emeritus at Meredith College in Raleigh and author, most recently, of Norfolk: The First Four Centuries.More About Thomas C. Parramore