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The men who ventured into the air in the Navy’s first frail aircraft were not only daring-they had vision, persistence, and a nearly unlimited determination to convince the skeptics that their frail kite-like structures could someday possess military value. This is the story of their trials, tragedies, and triumphs. They patched cooling systems with chewing gum, they lived by “crash, repair, and fly again,” but they succeeded in developing this new service into an effective arm of the fleet.

Wings for the Fleet, first published in 1966, covers the fascinating details of those pioneering days from 1910 to the entry of the United States into World War I. All of the heroic “early birds” are here with full accounts of their exploits. Admiral van Deurs, himself a naval aviator since the early 1920s, has rendered a significant service by his careful preparation of this well-balanced, thoroughly illustrated historical account, which comes complete with appendixes listing early naval aviators and the planes they flew. Over one hundred photographs were selected from official and private sources to illustrate this book.

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