Early French Aviation 1905 - 1930
Author: Graham M. Simons
Publisher: Pen & Sword
France was a leader in aviation before the Second World War, with many firsts to their name. By the end of the 19th Century, France was the leader with regards to lighter-than-air flight, and while heavier-than-air flight firsts fell to Germany and the United States, France quickly caught up. It was a French Bleriot that first crossed the Channel, and other firsts quickly followed, one of which was the world's first air exhibition, which quickly became a regular occurrence. Another aspect of French influence on aviation is how so many components still carry French names, such as aileron and empennage.
This book delves into the archives and brings out copious photographs documenting this early age of French aviation. These photos range from low to high quality, which is understandable given the wide range of camera quality at the time. A good amount of attention is given to some of the early air exhibitions, as those were well documented in photographs, both by the companies taking part and by the press. The number of subjects covered is quite high, and chances are if there is a specific aircraft you are interested in from this period, there will be a photo of it.
The photos are great in and of themselves, but they are improved by quality captions. These help identify not only the aircraft, but also the events and people surrounding them. When combined with the photos, the result is an excellent reference on early 20th Century French aviation. My thanks to Casemate for the review copy.