An exhilarating and highly personal story of flight by the
world-famous adventurer and businessman.
As far back as stories go, pioneers have reached for the skies. In
the last two hundred years, they have mastered the air and made the
modern world possible. Today they are bringing outer space within
our reach. They're inventors and toymakers, amateurs and
adventurers, visionaries, dreamers and, yes, crackpots. Some have
called them irresponsible, even dangerous. But I have met many of
them. I have worked with them, and funded them, and flown with
them. I admire them, and trust them, and I think they and their
kind are our future.
In this book I look at the history of flight through the stories
and people who have inspired me. These are tales of miraculous
rescues; of records made and broken; of surprising feats of
endurance and survival, including some of my own adventures, as
well as developments in the future of air (and space) travel. This
is a story of pioneers, and of course it includes the world famous
Montgolfiers and the Wright brothers. But I also want to describe
some of the lesser-known trailblazers -- people like Tony Jannus,
who in 1914 created the world's first scheduled commercial flight,
flying his passengers over the waters of Tampa Bay at an altitude
of just fifty feet; the 'bird man' Leo Valentin, who in the 1950s
jumped from 9,000 feet with wooden wings attached to his shoulders;
and my friend, Steve Fossett, who dedicated his life to breaking
records and having adventures.
This is their story. It is also, in a small way, my own.
"From the Hardcover edition."
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