Synopses & Reviews
The inside story of how people invented and refined the airplane.
Who were aviation's dreamers and from where did they draw their inspiration? What lessons did inventors learn from birds, insects, marine mammals, and fish that helped us fly? How did the bicycle lead to the airplane, and hot water heaters to metal fuselages?And who figured out how to fly without seeing the ground, setting the stage for scheduled airline services in all weather conditions?
In this entertaining history of the jetliner, Jay Spenser follows the flow of simple yet powerful ideas to trace aviation's challenges. He introduces us to pioneers across continents and centuries, sheds new insights on their contributions, and evokes those key moments in history when, piece by piece, such innovators as Otto Lilienthal, Igor Sikorsky, Louis Blériot, Hugo Junkers, and Jack Northrop collectively solved the puzzle of flight.
Along the way, Spenser demystifies the modern jetliner. From wings to flight controls to fuselages to landing gear, he examines the parts of the airplane to show how they came into being and have evolved over time. The Airplane culminates in a discussion of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and explores the possibilities for aviation's future.
“A smart …history of a thrilling machine all too often taken for granted.” Publishers Weekly
“This is a written like an episode of the old TV show Connections, and is just as entertaining.” Sacramento Book Review
“An engaging text…The lively writing and the number of photographs set it above many of its competitors.” Library Journal
“A story with a new character and a new engineering problem on every other page, each served with a sense of delight in ideas that sent humanity aloft.” Seattle Times
The Airplane by aerospace industry writer Jay Spencer, former assistant curator of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum and the Museum of Flight in Seattle, is the definitive history of how we invented and refined the amazing flying machines that enabled humankind to defy gravity. A fascinating true account certain to enthrall and delight aviation and technology buffs, The Airplane is lavishly illustrated with more than 100 photographs and is the first book ever to explore the development of the jetliner through a fascinating piece-by-piece analysis of the machinery of flight.
About the Author
Jay Spenser has spent a lifetime studying aviation as a museum curator at the National Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Flight, and as an aerospace industry writer. He is the co-author of 747 and lives in Seattle, Washington.