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When the China Clipper shattered aviation records on its maiden six-day flight from California to the Orient in 1935, the flying boat became an instant celebrity. This lively history by Robert Gandt traces the development of the great flying boats as both a triumph of technology and a stirring human drama. He examines the political, military, and economic forces that drove its development and explains the aeronautical advances that made the aircraft possible. To fully document the story he includes interviews with flying boat pioneers and a dynamic collection of photographs, charts, and cutaway illustrations.
This is a very technically oriented account of the development of the famous flying boats that were all the travel rage in the 1930s and 1940s. I would have liked to have seen more photos of the interiors of these fascinating planes, but the author, who is a pilot himself, throws in lots of solid aeronautical facts about their technology. He also includes biographical material about the early aviation legends like Igor Sikorsky, colorful Juan Trippe and, of course, the inimitable Howard Hughes. You really have to be a techie or an aircraft buff to like this book. The cover, by Dong Kingman, is a little masterpiece of his delightful east/west painting style.