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Chasing Icarus: The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Forever Changed American Aviation

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Chasing Icarus - Shary Bartlett

In 1910, the year of the events in Gavin Mortimer's "Chasing Icarus," airplanes were still such novelties that there was no universally accepted term for the people who flew them. Among the choices were "birdmen" and "jockeys," but "pilots" had yet to be borrowed from the world of the barge and riverboat. Mortimer's tantalizing subtitle, "The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Forever Changed American Aviation," sets up the three events that pilot his book: The dirigible "America" took off from in an attempt to make the first airborne crossing of the Atlantic; a great race called the Gordon Bennett International Balloon Cup started from St. Louis; and aviators vied to outperform one another in flying stunts above Belmont Park in . This confluence of events seems to have brought aviation to a kind of critical mass, with reporters and pundits predicting a glorious future for flying machines in both sports and warfare, though not, apparently, in transportation.

In 1910, the year of the events in Gavin Mortimer's "Chasing Icarus," airplanes were still such novelties that there was no universally accepted term for the people who flew them. Among the choices were "birdmen" and "jockeys," but "pilots" had yet to be borrowed from the world of the barge and riverboat. Mortimer's tantalizing subtitle, "The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Forever Changed American Aviation," sets up the three events that pilot his book: The dirigible America took off from New Jersey in an attempt to make the first airborne crossing of the Atlantic; a great race called the Gordon Bennett International Balloon Cup started from St. Louis; and aviators vied to outperform one another in flying stunts above Belmont Park in New York. This confluence of events seems to have brought aviation to a kind of critical mass, with reporters and pundits predicting a glorious future for flying machines in both sports and warfare, though not, apparently, in transportation.

Book Review: 'Chasing Icarus' by Gavin Mortimer

  • ^ Mortimer, Gavin. 2010. Chasing Icarus: The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Forever Changed American Aviation P.59.
  • Chasing Icarus by Lula Hattaway - issuu

    In 1910, the year of the events in Gavin Mortimer's "Chasing Icarus," airplanes were still such novelties that there was no universally accepted term for the people who flew them. Among the choices were "birdmen" and "jockeys," but "pilots" had yet to be borrowed from the world of the barge and riverboat. Mortimer's tantalizing subtitle, "The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Forever Changed American Aviation," sets up the three events that pilot his book: The dirigible America took off from New Jersey in an attempt to make the first airborne crossing of the Atlantic; a great race called the Gordon Bennett International Balloon Cup started from St. Louis; and aviators vied to outperform one another in flying stunts above Belmont Park in New York. This confluence of events seems to have brought aviation to a kind of critical mass, with reporters and pundits predicting a glorious future for flying machines in both sports and warfare, though not, apparently, in transportation.

    "Just about the only word not deemed appropriate was pilot," writes Gavin Mortimer in his new book, "Chasing Icarus: The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Forever Changed American Aviation." He uses records and news accounts to re-create an era, a transformation in public outlook and a singular breed of men who all too quickly passed from the scene.