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Foundations of Russian Military Flight, 1885–1925

James K. Libbey
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Binding:Hardback
Published:May 15, 2019

Foundations of Russian Military Flight focuses on the early use of balloons and aircraft by the Russian military. The best early Russian aircraft included flying boats designed by Dimitrii Grigorovich and large reconnaissance-bombers created by Igor Sikorsky. As World War I began, the Imperial Russian Navy made use of aircraft more quickly than the army. Indeed, the navy established a precursor to the aircraft carrier. The Imperial Russian Army came to respect over time the work of aircraft that evolved from reconnaissance and bomber to fighter planes. Over 250 army pilots during the war received awards of high distinction for their wartime flights. After the 1917 revolution, both the new Bolshevik government and the reactionary White forces created air arms to combat each other. In the 1920s, the Soviet Union and Germany negotiated agreements that allowed Germany to violate the Treaty of Versailles by building military aircraft and training German military pilots in the USSR. This provided the Soviet Union access to the latest aviation technology and prevented them from falling too far behind the West in this crucial sphere. 

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Product Details
  • Subject: Aviation
  • Hardback : 264 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1682474232
  • ISBN-13: 9781682474235
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 18.88 oz
Praise
  • "Professor James K. Libbey's detailed examination of the roots and formative years of Russian aviation is a definitive history of how Russia became an aviation nation. Tracing the interplay of technology, doctrine, political and military decision-making, and operational experience from the pre-"Great War" era through the Russian Civil War and into the early interwar years, Libbey corrects the historical record, dismissing long-held myths and misapprehensions, thereby presenting the best researched, most cogent, and most thorough examination of early Russian military aviation that has yet appeared. Engagingly written with grace and insight, this is an outstanding, authoritative, and much-needed book that fills a too-long-extant gap in Russian aviation historiography. It resonates with particular significance today." —Dr Richard P Hallion, aerospace historian and member, Board of Trustees, Florida Polytechnic University
  • “James K. Libbey has selected one of the most overlooked components of early military aviation and done it with his usual comprehensive, competent, style. Two revolutions were occurring at the same time, that of military aviation and the creation of the Soviet Union. Libbey’s excellent research shows how a new industry was born when government backing was not only uncertain, but often counter-productive. This is one for everybody’s private library!” —Walter J. Boyne, Col, USAF; designated nuclear test pilot, former Director of National Air & Space Museum, founder Air & Space Magazine, founder Military Channel, author of 61 books
  • “In 1911, the Russian government purchased a Bleriot monoplane for testing with the aim of adding an aerial arm to the military. This farsighted move mirrored the tsarist regime’s drive to adapt to modern technology. Many significant and innovative steps followed. The subsequent triumph of the Bolsheviks in 1917, however, set the stage to for the new communist regime to obscure this effort and to foster the false notion that Russia was a technological backwater prior to the Soviet era. James K. Libbey in his authoritative Foundations of Russian Military Flight, 1885-1925 corrects this widely held myth. In fact, the Soviet drive to gain parity (if not supremacy) with the West in flight technology pivoted on the baseline advances of the late tsarist period. Libbey’s account of this formative period is welcome. The narrative is highly readable and filled with many surprises. The book arguably is a milestone with its exhaustive research and insightful interpretation of a key episode in the air age.” —Von Hardesty, Ph.D Former curator, National Air and Space Museum, author of numerous books and articles on the evolution of Russian aeronautics, including Red Phoenix Rising, an authoritative account of the Soviet Air Force in World War II
  • "A well researched and well-written account of an aspect of Tsarist Russia's history that has been relatively ignored by historians. Libbey's study makes a significant contribution to the history of military aviation during World War I and provides a foundation for understanding the evolution of aviation in the postwar Soviet era." —Stephen G. Craft, Professor, Security Studies & International Affairs, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

James K. Libbey is professor emeritus at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where he taught aviation history and Russian-American relations. His numerous publications include articles in such journals as Aviation History, American Aviation Historical Society Journal, and Russian History, as well as aviation related entries in reference works such as Air Warfare. Six of Libbey’s seven previous books deal with Russian personalities or the economic and political relations between the United States and Russia.

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