Gann traces the development in American of the commercial use of airplanes through the early days of airmail, air cargo, and the first passenger airlines. He takes the reader aboard such planes as the United Air Lines Boeing 40-B-4 delivering newspapers to the ranger station in Oregon; the 'Flying Brooklyn Bridge,' the 1936 Condor for which pilots developed an almost maudlin affection; the 'Tin Goose,' Ford's incomparable trimotored 4A-T; the incredible DC-3, which has cruised every sky known to mankind, and many others...
Internationally, there are stories of Aeropostales' flights across the Andes and in Saint-Exupery country; Sabena in the Congo; Imperial Airway's deluxe flights in Scipios when Britain ruled the skies; BOAC's Lockheed, known as 'Bashful Gertie,' which shuttled bravely from Scotland to Sweden for essential ball bearings during WWI; and other aeronautic history.
Little known anecdotes about legendary fliers abound -Juan trippe & Glenn L. Martin; Charles Lindbergh; Prof. Hugo Junker; whose firm built4,832 'Iron Annies' in Germany; and Count von Zeppelin.
The final chapter finds the author back in a DC-3 after 19 years, this time piloting the Savaii from San Francisco to Apia in Western Samoa, with a crew of three.
A dossier of the planes, in the order of their appearance in the narrative, appears at the end of the volume, with vital statistics on span, power, passenger load, gross weight, range, cruising and landing speeds.
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