A pretty good book about aviation

Guest Ed Guest

My wife gave me a book about aviation recently (probably because I'm always running on about my flights in FS09). It is "Famous First Flights That Changed History." It is written by a father-son team, Lowell Thomas and Lowell Thomas Jr..

Most of you are probably too young to remember Lowell Thomas as a film maker, but when I was a kid he was very well known for making travelogue movies, and they were quite good. My dad used to take us to see them when we were too young for "grown-up" pictures, but they were interesting to him, as well.

The book begins with Bleriot's first successful flight across the English Channel in 1909, and each chapter is the story of another such historic flight. Several of the flights in this book are included in FS09's "Historic Flights" section, so you can have a go at them yourself. Alcock and Brown's 1919 first non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean in a Vickers-Vimy is among those, as well as the Smith Brother's flight from London to Melbourne, Australia, also in the Vickers-Vimy. If you think you're a pretty hot sim-pilot, try wrestling that slow-moving beast for a few hours, and see if you think you could fly it a couple of thousand miles. Or 12,000 miles, like the Smith Brothers.

Of course, Lindbergh's first solo flight across the Atlantic is included, another one that you can try in FS09. And from my experience, flying his plane makes the Vickers-Vimy look like a walk in the park. I tried the flight in FS09 beginning in San Diego, trying to fly to New York to begin the "Across the Atlantic" flight. I got about as far as the Arizona border and said, "To heck with this." Except I didn't say "heck." For the non-US readers, from San Diego to Arizona is probably about 200 miles (uh, ~300 km?), maybe less.

Probably my only regret about the book is that there is not much technical detail about the aircraft; it's mostly about the people involved, and their experiences in completing the flights. But then, you can get a lot of those details from FS09, so this book is a nice complement to the sim.

Wow, that sounded like an 8th grade book report, didn't it? And just like in 8th grade, I'm writing the report before I've finished the book! 😂


2 Responses

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

I remember reading his book(s) about his travels to Tibet, fascinating at the time.
Yes I did reports also. 😀


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CRJCapt Chief Captain


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