Romance of Flight: From Wright Brothers to PanAm

Many still recall their first jet flight over a half century ago. Although the romance of flight may have diminished since, jet travel remains the quintessential massive technology in our lives. This course traces the path to that phenomenal paradigm shift when we could lift off and cross a continent in five hours or an ocean in just a few more.

To understand how, we will meet the aircraft inventors and their innovations like the Wright Brothers’ flyer, Donald Douglas’s DC3 and Whittle’s jet engine. We will see how World War I aviators opened a new theater of war above the misery of the trenches, and then became the barnstormers who introduced flight to the public. We will follow the careers of visionaries like Juan Trippe as he molded Pan Am’s Clippers into the world’s largest airline.

Along the way we will join pioneers like Lindbergh, Hegenberger and Hughes in their romance with new skies. We will see how the romance of flight culminated in the flying boats, 707’s and 747’s of Boeing. And finally we will conclude with an assessment of how in our world of airline deregulation, bankruptcies, security fears and Dreamliner glitches, the romance of flight might survive.

Romance of Flight Syllabus

Sounds of His tory of Flight

Lilienthal, Chanute, Wright

1909-1920's Barnstormers, Circuses, Races, World War I

Pathfinders and Airlines

Bill Boeing to 1935

Juan Trippe to 1945

Donald Douglas to 1971

Howard Hughes to 1966

Frank Whittle and Jet Engine to 1945

Juan Trippe and Boeing 707 and 747 to 1970

Airlines with Deregulation 1970 to Present

Romance of Flight Bibliography

Handeland Salute to PanAm

PanAm Photo Highlights


Breakthrough Industry Timelines

Other Industry Timelines

Technology Timelines

Inventors Hall of Fame Summary

Inventors Hall of Fame Detail

US Business Innovators

US Innovators, Builders, Business Hall of Fame

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