The Leading Edge

Walter J. Boyne, Author Stewart, Tabori, & Chang $29.95 (231p) ISBN 978-0-941434-93-5
In this beautifully illustrated book, Boyne surveys ""the frothing brew of innovation'' from the Lilienthal glider experiments down to the present day of military, commercial and general aviation, then takes an informed speculative look into the hypersonic future. He is almost as interested in the ``artist-inventors'' themselves as in their inventions, many of whom are unknown to the public: Charles Kirkham, a seminal figure in the development of the aircraft engine, for instance, and Frank Whittle, who conceived the idea of combining a turbine with a compressor to create the jet engine. Several pages are given over to the ultralight movement, including Paul MacCready's gossamer-winged, human-powered vehicle (with its ``aesthetically dreadful airframe''), and there is a chapter about designs that turned out to be dead ends despite embodying crucial elements of the leading edge of flight. Many of the 175 photos appear here for the first time. Boyne is director of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian. BOMC premier selection. (October 16)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1986
Release date: 09/01/1986
Hardcover - 232 pages - 978-0-89660-020-1
Paperback - 978-1-55670-016-3
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