Almost everyone has heard of Kitty Hawk and seen the iconic picture of the Wilbur brothers' first flight. One would think that such a ground-breaking achievement would accelerate the pace of technical breakthroughs in aviation. But, as Lawrence Goldstone's interesting book explains, progress was to be had only in fits and starts.
For one thing, not many were convinced that the future of aviation was in "heavier-than-air" flight ("heavier-than-air" machines use aerodynamic displacement achieved by some kind of motor to realize lift as opposed to "lighter than air" crafts which use the principles of buoyancy to the same effect. Airplanes are part of the former while hot-air balloons and dirigibles comprise the latter group). The second reason for the halting progress was a protracted patent fight that proved distracting to the creative process. It is this court battle that ...
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