by Peter C. Conrad
We can look into a clear summer sky to watch a jet mark the distance with a vapour trail without a thought of that time before aircraft was invented. It was 1910 when the men and women lined up along the grass at the summer fair to see a machine that was said to be able to fly for the first time. Such claims of miraculous flights were widely doubted. Those people could not be blamed for doubting that flight was possible. The aircraft were small, resembling kites more than a machine that could transport people into the sky.
Flying is an amazing story of progress and adventure. The tiny kitelike machines that flew at the summer fairs of 1910 and 1911 led to heavier machines that dominated the sky during the First World War, flew across the Atlantic, explored the arctic, transported cargo into the high north, and became an important means of travel across Canada.
This creative non-fiction book is about the spirit of these early years of flying. The stories of the first experimental flights and the people who flew these machines are an intriguing one.