France was the cradle of aviation. By the end of the 19th century she led the world in lighter-than-air flight. Any concern about heavier-than-air flight was dismissed as inevitable and France would achieve it in due course. It was thus a shock to national pride when Lilienthal began gliding in Germany and the Wright Brothers power-flew in America. But France lost no time in catching up and by the time Blériot bravely enquired ‘Which way’s England?’ she was ready to redress any perceived shortfall. Besides leading European aviation, France was the nation that named all the parts of an aeroplane with words many of which we still use everywhere today. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, remembered today for a Parisian landmark, was a pioneer aerodynamicist and opened the world’s first aerodynamic laboratory and wind-tunnel long before the First World War. France was also the first nation to stage air exhibitions. Unlike their counterparts in England, Germany and America, French designers were thoroughly entrepreneurial and tried a wide variety of adventurous styles from pusher to canard and monoplane to multiplane. However, when it came to the military use of aircraft, France was no better than the British. Despite a grand series of Concours Militaire, top brass endlessly arguing as to whatever use could flying machines be put other than observation! Sadly, everybody would learn only too soon! This set of pictures forms part of a unique collection of many hundreds of pictures, more of which I may show you on another occasion!
All these titles are A5 in size and comprise 32-pages offering on average 60 pictures each, all with extensive descriptive captions.
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