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Original Essays | June 20, 2014

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Centennial of Flight Series #4: Dreams of Flight: General Aviation in the United States


Centennial of Flight Series #4: Dreams of Flight: General Aviation in the United States Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

General aviation encompasses all the ways aircraft are used beyond commercial and military flying: private flights, barnstormers, cropdusters, and so on. Authors Janet and Michael Bednarek have taken on the formidable task of discussing the hundred-year history of this broad and diverse field by focusing on the most important figures and organizations in general aviation and the major producers of general aviation aircraft and engines.

This history examines the many airplanes used in general aviation, from early Wright and Curtiss aircraft to the Piper Cub and the Lear Jet. The authors trace the careers of birdmen, birdwomen, barnstormers, and others who shaped general aviation—from Clyde Cessna and the Stinson family of San Antonio to Olive Ann Beech and Paul Poberezny of Milwaukee. They explain how the development of engines influenced the development of aircraft, from the E-107 that powered the 1929 Aeronca C-2, the first affordable personal aircraft, to the Continental A-40 that powered the Piper Cub, and the Pratt and Whitney PT-6 turboprop used on many aircraft after World War II.

In addition, the authors chart the boom and bust cycle of general aviation manufacturers, the rising costs and increased regulations that have accompanied a decline in pilots, the creation of an influential general aviation lobby in Washington, and the growing popularity of “type” clubs, created to maintain aircraft whose average age is twenty-eight years.

This book provides readers with a sense of the scope and richness of the history of general aviation in the United States. An epilogue examining the consequences of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, provides a cautionary note.


Includes bibliographical references (p. [153]-168) and index.

About the Author

Janet Daly Bednarek received her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently an associate professor and chair of the department of history at the University of Dayton. She has worked with the Air Force History and Museum Programs and has written on urban and aviation history, including Americas Airports, the first title in the Centennial of Flight Series, published by Texas A&M University Press. She has written this book together with her husband, Michael H. Bednarek, who received his MS from the Air Force Institute of Technology. In 1988, he completed a twenty-year active duty USAF military career as an aeronautical engineer and program manager. He now works as an acquisition manager with Dynamics Research Corporation.

Table of Contents

From first seeds to early blossoms — The "Golden Age" : 1926-39 — For the duration : 1939-45 — Up from the ashes : 1945-80 — Dreams once again deferred : post-1980.

Product Details

Bednarek, Janet R. Daly
Texas A&M University Press
Bednarek, Michael H.
College Station
Aviation - General
United states
Private flying
Private flying -- United States.
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Centennial of Flight Series
Series Volume:
107-292no. 4
Publication Date:
6 bandw photos.
9.25 x 6.13 in 1.1 lb

Related Subjects

Transportation » Aviation » General
Transportation » General

Centennial of Flight Series #4: Dreams of Flight: General Aviation in the United States New Hardcover
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Product details 208 pages Texas A&M University Press - English 9781585442577 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. [153]-168) and index.
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