Ready for take-off
Boeing : the complete story
Alain Pelletier ; translated by Ken Smith.
Somerset, U.K. : Haynes Pub., 2010.
Founded in 1916, Boeing Commercial Airplanes is the premier aircraft builder in the USA and one of the biggest aerospace constructors in the world. To the man in the street Boeing is inextricably linked with some of the greatest names in aircraft design and construction: the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, the 707 (the USArsquo;s first commercial jet airliner), the revolutionary 747 lsquo;jumbo jetrsquo; and the massive B-52 bomber. This comprehensive and handsomely illustrated history of the lsquo;plane builder from Seattlersquo; includes details of every aircraft it has ever built, together with data charts and informative text boxes.
50 aircraft that changed the world
Ron Dick and Dan Patterson.
Erin, Ont. : Boston Mills Press ; Buffalo, N.Y. : In the United States distributed by Firefly Books, 2007.
Hundreds of new and archival photographs illustrate this selection of 50 influential aircraft. The book includes profiles of the plane, their pilots and designers and begins with the Wrights' 1905 flyer and goes to new stealth fighters.
Airplanes : the life story of a technology
Jeremy R. Kinney, in association with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC.
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2006.
The Wrights called it a "flyer," not an "airplane." Wiley Post's luck ran out in 1935, but first he wore the world's first pressure suit at about 50,000 feet. The first American turboprop airliner debuted in 1958, but dragged six years after the British. Kinney, curator of the Aeronautics Division at the National Air and Space Museum, covers the efforts of everyone from a hapless flying monk in Malmesbury in the 1100s, Newton (lift and drag), Smeaton (cambered wings) and the remarkable Cayley who had most of it figured out in the first half of the nineteenth century. He is careful to keep his narrative accessible to general readers and includes a manageable glossary and list of related reading. He rightly devotes substantial space to the contributions of military and commercial flight but also describes general aviation and the more recent advances in going higher, faster and farther. Annotation #169;2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

The lay of the land and its geographical location helped established the aviation industry in St. Louis. Wide-open spaces of public parks and farmland makes for perfect airfields. Its central location makes it easier for taking off and landings, not having to worry about mountains or large bodies of water.

The earliest recorded balloon accessions was in 1836 by Richard Clayton. He took off at an empty lot at Fourth and Market Streets. The first International Balloon Race was held in St. Louis in 1908.

During the 1904 World's Fair aerial contests were held for airships, flying machines, gliders and balloons with prize money offering $150,000.

In 1920 Albert Lambert purchased 160 acres of land known as Kinloch Field, for $68,000. He developed it into an airport and renamed it Lambert Field. He was the first person in St. Louis to receive his private pilot's license. He offered Mayor Victor Miller Lambert Field for the price he had paid for it. Lambert - St. Louis Municipal Airport became the first municipally owned airport in the country.

The Orteig Prize went "to the first aviator who shall cross the Atlantic in a land or water aircraft from Paris or the shores of France to New York, or from New York to Paris or the shores of France, without stop."

The flight of the century : Charles Lindbergh & the rise of American aviation
Thomas Kessner.
New York : Oxford University Press, 2010.
In late May 1927 an inexperienced and unassuming 25-year-old Air Mail pilot from rural Minnesota stunned the world by making the first non-stop transatlantic flight. A spectacular feat of individual daring and collective technological accomplishment, Charles Lindbergh's flight from New York to Paris ushered in America's age of commercial aviation.
InThe Flight of the Century, Thomas Kessner takes a fresh look at one of America's greatest moments, explaining how what was essentially a publicity stunt became a turning point in history. He vividly recreates the flight itself and the euphoric reaction to it on both sides of the Atlantic, and argues that Lindbergh's amazing feat occurred just when the world--still struggling with the disillusionment of WWI--desperately needed a hero to restore a sense of optimism and innocence. Kessner also shows how new forms of mass media made Lindbergh into the most famous international celebrity of his time, casting him in the role of a humble yet dashing American hero of rural origins and traditional values. Much has been made of Lindbergh's personal integrity and his refusal to cash in on his fame. But Kessner reveals that Lindbergh was closely allied with, and managed by, a group of powerful businessmen--Harry Guggenheim, Dwight Morrow, and Henry Breckenridge chief among them--who sought to exploit aviation for mass transport and massive profits. Their efforts paid off as commercial air traffic soared from 6,000 passengers in 1926 to 173,000 passengers in 1929. Kessner's book is the first to fully explore Lindbergh's central role in promoting the airline industry--the rise of which has influenced everything from where we live to how we wage war and do business.
The Flight of the Centurysheds new light on one of America's fascinatingly enigmatic heroes and most transformative moments.

Praise forCapital City:

"InCapital City, Kessner has achieved for his subject what James McPherson accomplished for the Civil War."
--Wall Street Journal

"Graceful and lucid."
-- Mike Wallace, co-author of the Pulitzer Prize-winnerGotham: A History of New York City to 1898

Charles Lindbergh, came to St. Louis and was offered a pilot job for the St. Louis to Chicago airmail route. After raising funds he entered the Raymond Orteig $25,000 Prize and on May 12, 1927, Charles Lindbergh departed St. Louis for New York to begin his historic, Trans-Atlantic, non-stop solo flight to Paris, France.

Adela Riek Scharr
and P-39 aircraft

A protégé of Charles Lindbergh, Adela Riek Scharr began taking flying lessons in 1935. In 1940, she became St. Louis Lambert Field's first commercial pilot, its first woman ground instructor, and its first woman female flight instructor. During World War II she was one of the first women to serve as a pilot with the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS).

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff