Orville’s Aviators

Outstanding Alumni of the Wright Flying School, 1910–1916


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SKU: 9780786442270 Categories: ,

About the Book

The six pioneers profiled here were promising graduates of the Wright Brothers’ School of Aviation, which flourished in Ohio from 1910 to 1916. These airmen fairly represent their 113 fellow alumni in their all-consuming love of flying.
The pilots are Arthur L. Welsh, a Russian immigrant who rose to become Orville Wright’s chief instructor; Howard Warfield Gill, heir to an international tea dynasty; Archibald Freeman, whose flour-bag bombing of Boston Harbor won him attention as an early exponent of the supremacy of air power; Grover Cleveland Bergdoll, whose promise as a pilot quickly soured; George A. Gray, whose marriage resulted in an extraordinary husband and wife exhibition team; and Howard Max Rinehart, aerial mercenary, international racing competitor, Wright test pilot, South American explorer, and co-owner of one of America’s premier charter services.

About the Author(s)

John Carver Edwards served as university archivist at the University of Georgia before retiring in 2000 as special projects archivist. He has authored dozens of historical articles, scores of book reviews, and three previous books: Patriots in Pinstripe: Men of the National Security League (1981), Berlin Calling: American Broadcasters in Service to the Third Reich (1991) and Airmen without Portfolio: U.S. Mercenaries in Civil War Spain (1997). He is a book reviewer for Library Journal.

Bibliographic Details

John Carver Edwards
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 195
Bibliographic Info: 49 photos, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4227-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5303-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Introduction      5

1. Arthur L. Welsh: The Wrights’ Peerless Salesman of Flight      15

2. Howard Gill: Baltimore’s Privileged Birdman      41

3. Arch Freeman: Pioneer Flying’s Man Friday      61

4. Grover Bergdoll: Early Aviation’s Loose Cannon      75

5. George Gray: Flying the Resort Circuit      95

6. Howard Rinehart: Orville’s Favorite      123

Epilogue      157

Appendix A: Wright Timeline      163

Appendix B: Wright Aircraft      167

Appendix C: Students of the Wright Flying School      172

Bibliography      175

Index      187

Book Reviews & Awards

“Edward’s research, based on meticulous study of primary sources, marks him as very much an expert on early aviation…will be most valued by serious aviation history buffs”—Library Journal; “well-illustrated…a good picture of the accomplishments of aviators during this time. Recommended”—Choice; “interesting…a solid job…well-researched…enlightening…tables are very useful…an outstanding look into the very early years of aviation…detailed research…this book is definitely worth reading for both pleasure and learning”—Air Power History; “anyone interested in the early era of flight will be pleased with this volume…deals with subject matter that has received scant attention”—Aviation History; “excellent…interesting…the author has gone to great lengths to make his accounts as complete as possible. There are lots of good flying stories and narrow escapes and the coverage of the subjects’ private lives is also thorough.”—Aeroplane; “fascinating…informed and informative, deftly written and superbly documented…a seminal work of superb scholarship and highly recommended for personal reading lists as well as academic and community library Aviation History reference collections”—Midwest Book Review; “fills an oft overlooked niche in aviation history with clarity and insight. Edwards’ solid research and unpretentious readability satisfy and intrigue. For flight buffs and casual passengers. Orville’s Aviators proves a worthwhile read”—Phi Kappa Phi FORUM; “an enjoyable read that will add to your knowledge of America’s pre-war aerial efforts. Recommended”—Over the Front: The League of World War One Aviation Historians; “follows the lives of six of the 113 graduates of a flying school in Dayton, Ohio, opened by the Wright Brothers in the early days of aviation…[the author is] a skilled practitioner of the art of collective biography”—The Wofford Bookshelf; “must reading for everyone who loves heroic figures.”— Ralph S. Cooper, Owner/Webmaster, Early Birds of Aviation, Inc.