The Story of American Aviation

Aviation found me. It found me nearly fifteen years ago, sitting in class at the fire academy. Out of nearly 400 hours of training to become a firefighter in the state of Florida, aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) is covered for about fifteen minutes. But, it was in these few minutes that I knew I wanted to work in the aviation industry, and ARFF specialty field.  My first fire department job out of the academy was indeed an aircraft rescue and firefighting job, a career I continue to enjoy to this day. 

I am proud to be part of the innovative and storied history, and continuing advancements, of the aviation industry. In 1946, Jim Ray, captured this history in his well written and beautifully illustrated book, The Story of American Aviation. Seventy-four years later, it is my privilege to be part of the team that has brought this book back into print. I consider it an honor to have written the foreword to this new edition.

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Jim Ray described that his purpose for this book was “to trace the progress of aviation in America and to tell the story of the men and machines that have given this country supremacy in the air.” Those of use who are fortunate enough to work, play, or otherwise be involved in the aviation industry can consider ourselves part of this story, part of the tradition of men from all corners of the world who endured hardships, ridicule, injuries, and even death, to make flight possible. Our work everyday continues this mission!

In the concluding chapter Ray prophetically writes, “As a commercial transport, the airplane will also serve to keep the peace. Commercial airliners will make the world much smaller, and no nation will be a great distance from another. We shall all be able to travel by air to the most far-distant country in a matter of hours. All nations will be closer neighbors, and we shall all have a better understanding of our neighboring nations. The more we visit and mingle with the people of the entire world the more we can help to spread the doctrine of democracy of America. The airplane will play a great part in eliminating the greed and jealousy that breeds war. The young people of today will govern America tomorrow. The airplane will be the vehicle through which they will learn to know the peoples of the world. Through this better understanding America may always be the symbol of peace and prosperity.”

The Story of American Aviation shows us how we started and where we have been, however, this story is still being written. It was only through persistence that the Wright brothers were able to succeed where others had failed. It will be this same persistence that the miracle of flight, extending into space travel, will continue to be improved, developed, and the impossible to experience made possible. The miracle of flight continues its promise to take us ever farther and further!

What our readers are reading?

A few months ago we conducted our annual reader survey, and the results are in! Though I use the survey to collect data and measure multiple points there are three areas that I am primarily concerned with - what is your #1 challenge and what are the most valuable posts (MVP’s). It is the answer to these two questions that let me know how this blog can better serve your needs.

#1 Challenge:
The primary challenges stated are all related to the topic of education. The educational challenges are related to one of three areas:
  • Codes, standards, and compliance - knowledge and interpretation of current codes and standards, and how to properly apply them for compliance.
  • Fire protection systems - understanding the guidelines, references, and standards for system designs
  • Building owners - educating building owners on codes and standards, and the importance of compliance, and how to achieve buy-in.

The most valuable posts to our readers are ones that provide explanations and details for specific codes and code sections. A good example is these top viewed posts:

Consistent with the above, many readers stated a desire for training products. These products could include webinars, in-person classes, and courses that provide CEU’s. Moving forward we will potentially be developing content, products, services, and opportunities that fill this need.

This reader survey also asked about what other blogs readers were also reading.  Here’s the top four blogs and sites that were listed:

As always, thank you for being dedicated readers.  I am always open to feedback and requests. Feel free to contact me anytime!