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*****= An all-time favorite
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*        = Good, with reservations


***The Wrong Stuff?

Attempts at Flight Before [and After] the Wright Brothers

by Phil Scott

Reviewed May 25, 2004.
Hylas Publishing, Irvington, New York, 2003.  220 pages.

Here’s an entertaining and amusing book.  It shows pictures of attempted airplanes that didn’t quite work as intended.  The author begins with Da Vinci’s Great Bird, pictured as a model, and Henson’s Aerial Steam Carriage, built in 1842.  He goes all the way up to the NASA/Ames AD-1 jet with a swiveling wing that flew but was never developed further.

Some interesting concepts were tried!  One man’s idea ended up making him the father of hang gliding, even if it didn’t quite work for landing space capsules as he had intended.  I like the Aerocar myself.  What a charming idea—fly to work, then fold up the wings of your Aerocar while you drive around, and attach them again at the end of the day to fly home!

This is a fun book to browse through.  It’s more of a picture book than a text book, and you’ll be amazed at the imagination of mankind!

Copyright © 2004 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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