Wings of War: An Account of the Important Contribution of the United States to Aircraft Invention, Engineering, Development and Production during the World War

By Theodore Macfarlane Knappen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
BEFORE THE WAR

THE heavier-than-air flying machine was invented in America. It was used and applied elsewhere. The Wright brothers first flew in a self- propelled airplane, at Kittyhawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1902. Sixteen years later, the birthland of the airplane, drawn into the vortex of the very world war the Wrights believed the airplane would make impossible, when sufficiently developed and multiplied, was woefully lacking in knowledge of the science and art of aeronautics and aircraft manufacture.

When the Germans struck their sudden and treacherous blow in August, 1914, they had 1200 military airplanes, France had 300, England 250. The United States had practically none. Three years later when the war engulfed us we still had practically none. There was not a man in the American army who had ever flown in a fighting 'plane of any sort, unless possibly as a guest;

-7-

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