Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies
On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright piloted the first flimsy airplane on a series of wobbly flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The longest flight lasted 59 seconds and covered 852 feet. In 1904, they contacted a patent attorney to patent their invention. The application was filed that March and would set the course of American aviation for the next 13 years. In 1908, Glenn Curtiss piloted his first plane, called the June Bug. Curtiss would soon establish himself at the fastest man on earth and in the air. Wilbur Wright would spend the rest of his life fighting in court to protect the patent on his airplane, insisting that all future airplanes modeled their aircraft from the Wright Brothers Flyer.
This is a well-written narrative of the early years of flight. The competition between the Wright Brothers and Curtiss was a new wrinkle in this history of which I wasn’t aware until I read this book. I feel the Wright Brothers could be considered by some as greedy businessmen who wished for total recognition and complete remuneration from competitors who flew aircraft, even if those planes were designed and built by others. I highly recommend this well researched book.