Unlocking The Sky

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Oct 13, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
6 Reviews

Unlocking the Sky tells the extraordinary tale of the race to design, refine, and manufacture a manned flying machine, a race that took place in the air, on the ground, and in the courtrooms of America. While the Wright brothers threw a veil of secrecy over their flying machine, Glenn Hammond Curtiss -- perhaps the greatest aviator and aeronautical inventor of all time -- freely exchanged information with engineers in America and abroad, resulting in his famous airplane, the June Bug, which made the first ever public flight in America. Fiercely jealous, the Wright brothers took to the courts to keep Curtiss and his airplane out of the sky and off the market. Ultimately, however, it was Curtiss's innovations and designs, not the Wright brothers', that served as the model for the modern airplane.

  

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Review: Unlocking the Sky: Glenn Hammond Curtiss and the Race to Invent the Airplane

User Review  - Keith Slade - Goodreads

Not bad account of Curtiss and his competition with the Wrights in early American aviation. Read full review

Review: Unlocking the Sky: Glenn Hammond Curtiss and the Race to Invent the Airplane

User Review  - Matt Harris - Goodreads

Interesting book challenging the Wright Brothers' claim as the true inventors of the airplane. If nothing else, Glenn Curtiss was a great pioneer and hero in his own right. The book significantly dims my view of the Wright Brothers and portrays them as pretty bad people. Read full review

Contents

PROLOGUE LANGLEYS FOLLY
1
THREE AMERICA OR BUST
60
FOUR CAPTAINS OF THE AIR
81
SEVEN SKY KING 144 PART III WARPED WINGS
169
EPILOGUE ALL BUT THE LEGACY
223
APPENDIX A PARTIAL LIST OF INVENTIONS BY GLENN CURTISS
231
Copyright

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Page 21 - To those who are born in the early morning the sunrise is the time of youth. They die of old age while its beams are yet gathering force, and only their descendants live on to midday: while it is another race which sees the sun decline, from that which saw it rise.
Page 53 - and I said then, and I believe still, it was one of the grandest sights, if not the grandest sight, of my life. Imagine a locomotive that has left its track, and is climbing up in the air right toward you—a locomotive without any wheels, we will say, but with white wings instead
Page 55 - I believe no financial profit will accrue to the inventor of the first flying machine, and that only those who are willing to give as well as to receive suggestions can hope to link their names with the honor of its discovery. The problem is too great for one man alone and unaided to solve in secret.
Page 19 - the engine working perfectly, but there was something wrong with the launching. The rear guy post seemed to drag, bringing the rudder down on the launching ways, and a crashing rending sound, followed by the collapse of the rear wings, showed that the machine had been wrecked in the
Page x - will bring nothing but good into the world, that it shall abridge distance, make all parts of the globe accessible, bring men into closer relation with each other, advance civilization, and hasten the promised era in which there shall be nothing but peace and goodwill among all men. —OCTAVE
Page 9 - I have brought to a close the portion of the work which seemed to be specially mine: the demonstration of the practicability of mechanical flight,
Page 9 - For the next stage, which is the commercial and practical development of the idea, it is probable that the world may look to others.
Page 8 - This has been done: a ‘flying machine: so long a type for ridicule, has really flown; it has demonstrated its practicability in the only satisfactory way—by actually flying, and by doing this again and again, under conditions which leave no doubt.
Page 105 - more securely by air than by water and with a velocity of from 20 to 100 miles per
Page 9 - that the head of the most prominent scientific institution of America believed in the possibility of human flight.

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About the author (2009)

Seth Shulman has worked for two decades as a writer and editor specializing in issues of science, technology, and the environment. His work has appeared in Nature, Discover, Smithsonian, Rolling Stone, Technology Review, and the Atlantic Monthly, among many other publications. He is the author of three books, most recently Owning the Future. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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