Achieving Flight: The Life and Times of John J. Montgomery

Archway Publishing
Free sample

Most Americans are aware that the Wright brothers had been the first to fly a powered Flying Machine in 1903. But John J. Montgomery was the first to fly a glider of his own design in 1883, a full twenty years before the Wright brothers.

Achieving Flight, by John G. Burdick and Bernard J. Burdick, provides an historic and scientific assessment of the role of John J. Montgomery (1858-1911), one of Californias own, in the early years of flight in America. It tells the story of Montgomery, an eminent scientist whose achievements in aeronautics and electricity have largely been forgotten. This biography narrates how, during his days as a student at St. Ignatius College, he was fortunate to be instructed by some of the most renowned Jesuit scientists ousted from Europe, earning a masters of science degree in 1880. The Burdicks also provide a critical analysis of Montgomerys prescient understanding of aeronautics relative to other practitioners and researchers prior to, during, and after his time.

Noting Montgomerys importance in aeronautical history, Achieving Flight reviews his significant accomplishments in having his pilots fly successfully in high air (up to 4,000 feet, being lofted there by a hot-air balloon), but also evaluates the scientific correctness of his ideas, which were decades ahead of the times.

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About the author

John G. Burdick earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Santa Clara University. He’s a retired US Army counterintelligence officer who served in Vietnam and a high school teacher at Watsonville, California. He lives in Pacific Grove, California.

Bernard J. Burdick earned a PhD in high energy physics from Case Western Reserve University and worked as a research scientist for MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Nichols Research Corp., and Torch Concepts. Retired, he lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Visit them online at

www.AchievingFlight.com.

John G. Burdick earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Santa Clara University. He’s a retired US Army counterintelligence officer who served in Vietnam and a high school teacher at Watsonville, California. He lives in Pacific Grove, California.

Bernard J. Burdick earned a PhD in high energy physics from Case Western Reserve University and worked as a research scientist for MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Nichols Research Corp., and Torch Concepts. Retired, he lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Visit them online at

www.AchievingFlight.com.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Archway Publishing
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Published on
Oct 27, 2017
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Pages
548
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ISBN
9781480850811
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Science & Technology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In the waning days of the 19th century and on the eve of a new technological era, French, English, and American inventors (as well as a host of charlatans, stuntmen, and profiteers) were racing to be the first to achieve powered, heavier-than-air flight. At the center of this activity were two little-known bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio — Wilbur and Orville Wright.
This highly regarded volume, considered by many to be the definitive study of the Wrights, tells the full story of the brothers' lives and works: from their early childhood and initial fascination with flight, through the years of experimentation with gliders on the sand dunes of Indiana, to the exhilarating days on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where they perfected the design for the initial flyer, culminating in the historic first flight in December, 1903, at Kitty Hawk. The book also relates in detail the bitter patent fight and exhausting legal battles that followed as well as Wilbur's untimely death and Orville's later years.
Author Fred Howard, an expert on early aviation technology and member of the team that edited a multi-volume edition of the Wright brothers' papers for the Library of Congress, is uniquely qualified to tell this story. He not only provides a remarkable account of the brothers' enormous achievements, but has also captured the spirit of an extraordinary era, paying tribute to the contributions of such legendary aviation pioneers as Octave Chanute, Samuel Pierpont Langley, Glenn Curtiss, Alberto Santos-Dumont, Louis Blériot, and many others.
Unparalleled in its scope and colorful depiction of the Wright brothers and their times, this authoritative and thoroughly entertaining work will thrill and delight aviation buffs, students of American history, and anyone fascinated by the early days of flight.
The Wright brothers have long received the lion’s share of credit for inventing the airplane. But a California scientist succeeded in flying gliders twenty years before the Wright’s powered flights at Kitty Hawk in 1903. Quest for Flight reveals the amazing accomplishments of John J. Montgomery, a prolific inventor who piloted the glider he designed in 1883 in the first controlled flights of a heavier-than-air craft in the Western Hemisphere.

Re-examining the history of American aviation, Craig S. Harwood and Gary B. Fogel present the story of human efforts to take to the skies. They show that history’s nearly exclusive focus on two brothers resulted from a lengthy public campaign the Wrights waged to profit from their aeroplane patent and create a monopoly in aviation. Countering the aspersions cast on Montgomery and his work, Harwood and Fogel build a solidly documented case for Montgomery’s pioneering role in aeronautical innovation.

As a scientist researching the laws of flight, Montgomery invented basic methods of aircraft control and stability, refined his theories in aerodynamics over decades of research, and brought widespread attention to aviation by staging public demonstrations of his gliders. After his first flights near San Diego in the 1880s, his pursuit continued through a series of glider designs. These experiments culminated in 1905 with controlled flights in Northern California using tandem-wing Montgomery gliders launched from balloons. These flights reached the highest altitudes yet attained, demonstrated the effectiveness of Montgomery’s designs, and helped change society’s attitude toward what was considered “the impossible art” of aerial navigation.

Inventors and aviators working west of the Mississippi at the turn of the twentieth century have not received the recognition they deserve. Harwood and Fogel place Montgomery’s story and his exploits in the broader context of western aviation and science, shedding new light on the reasons that California was the epicenter of the American aviation industry from the very beginning.

When Amelia Earhart disappeared on July 2, 1937, she was flying the longest leg of her around-the-world flight and was only days away from completing her journey. Her plane was never found, and for more than sixty years rumors have persisted about what happened to her.
Now, with the recent discovery of long-lost radio messages from Earhart's final flight, we can say with confidence that she ran out of gas just short of her destination of Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean. From the beginning of her flight, a series of tragic circumstances all but doomed her and her navigator, Fred Noonan.
Authors Elgen M. and Marie K. Long spent more than twenty-five years researching the mystery surrounding Earhart's final flight before finally determining what happened. They traveled over one hundred thousand miles to interview more than one hundred people who knew some part of the Earhart story. They draw on authoritative sources to take us inside the cockpit of the Electra plane that Earhart flew and recreate the final flight itself. Because Elgen Long began his own flying career not long after Earhart's disappearance, he can describe the equipment and conditions of the time with a vivid first-hand accuracy. As a result, this book brings to life the primitive conditions under which Earhart flew, in an era before radar, with unreliable communications, grass landing strips, and poorly mapped islands.
Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved does more than just answer the question, What happened to Amelia Earhart? It reminds us how daring early aviators such as Earhart were as they risked their lives to push the technology of the day to its limits -- and beyond.
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