Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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.


Click to order.

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!