The half dozen pioneer flyers profiled here were all promising graduates of the Wright Brothers' School of Aviation, which flourished at Simms Station near Dayton, Ohio, from 1910 to 1916. Though they came from dissimilar backgrounds, taken collectively these airmen fairly represent their 113 fellow alumni in their all-consuming love of flying; superb knowledge of the aircraft of the day; a shared dash of sardonic fatalism in an otherwise optimistic outlook on life; gritty persistence; and, absolute devotion to their instructors and the Wrights. The pilots profiled are Arthur L. Welsh, a Russian immigrant who rose to become Orville Wright's chief instructor and salesman to the rich and famous; Howard Warfield Gill, scion of a respected Baltimore family and heir to an international tea dynasty; New York native Archibald Freeman, whose flour-bag bombing of Boston Harbor in 1912 won him national attention as an early exponent of the supremacy of air power; Grover Cleveland Bergdoll, whose early promise as the United States' most celebrated amateur pilot all too quickly devolved into a charge of draft evasion and flight from his native land; George A.
Gray, whose unlikely marriage to a Virginia blue-blood resulted in one of the most extraordinary husband and wife exhibition teams ever; and, Howard Max Rinehart, aerial mercenary, international racing competitor, Wright test pilot, South American explorer, and co-owner of one of America's premier charter services. The book gives a fascinating account of six remarkable aviators whose place in the history of flight has been sadly overlooked. Appendices provide a timeline of the Wrights from 1900 to 1948, a guide to thirteen Wright aircraft, and a complete list of students of the Wright Flying School.
Publisher: McFarland & Co Inc