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: Wright Brothers Flyer to Juan Trippe's Pan Am

After selecting one of the sound and music segments below, click here to view accompanying photo gallery.

Often memories are best recalled through association with sound and music. It is with that belief that the edit extracts, all relating to flight, were assembled. Some may be of use or interest as background to the Romance of Flight. Others may bring back memories of individual flight experiences or help to better understand the mostly chronological progression of flight with which they might be associated. Each of attached segments is mostly identified with periods in the chronology of development of flight:



Flight to Kitty Hawk and World War I

World War I, Barnstormers, Speed Kings

Commercial Flight 1930's

World War II

Commercial Aviation 1945 to Jet Age

Commercial Jet Travel through 747

Flight to the Moon and Stars

Romance of Flight Home Page

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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