AirWorld's Early French Aviation 1905-1930

Author: Graham Simons




$24.95 from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 128 pages, 100 images, softcover, ISBN 978-1-52-675874-3

From time to time one finds a real gem when it comes to aircraft books. So it is with this one.

It is based on a lucky find, when the author came across several dusty volumes containing nearly 500 photos from the first decades of the 20th century. This was a time when aircraft of all sorts, including balloons and dirigibles were taking to the skies and shown in well thought out and fairly lavish expositions.

Anyone who reads about early aviation knows it was the French who embraced it more than probably any one else. It was the French who had the first free flight hot air balloon in the 18th century and the first to use hydrogen as a lifting medium. While they were not the first to fly a heavier than air airplane, they certainly became quite enthusiastic about them.

This book contains about a hundred period photos of some fairly fantastic designs, some of which flew but many of which did not. The book covers these aircraft and doesn't limit itself to land planes but includes water borne aircraft and dirigibles as well. You won't find 'the usual' in here as the author has wisely chosen to concentrate on the more interesting types. The vast majority of images are pre-WWI.

Each image has a considerable amount of information provided, even when little is actually known about the type. All of the images are well chosen and fairly clear. I did find that putting all the image prose centered on the page a bit disconcerting at first, but you do get used to it.

In all, it makes for an excellent read for early aviation fans and one you really should have on your book shelf.

December 2019

Review book courtesy of  Casemate Publishing, where you can order your copy of this and many other superb books and DVDs. You can get this particular book at this link.

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