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Louisiana Aviation

An Extraordinary History in Photographs

144 pages / 9.50 x 10.00 inches / 196 halftones

ebook available

Aviation History

  Hardcover / 9780807142103 / April 2012

At the beginning of the twentieth century the skies presented a new frontier, one that attracted daredevils, businessmen, politicians, and engineers enticed by a new form of transportation. Louisiana entrepreneurs and pilots proved instrumental in ushering in the Golden Age of Aviation. They advanced aircraft design, revolutionized aerial crop dusting, pioneered airmail routes, pushed the limits of stunt flying, and entertained spectators with air races. A pilot and freelance writer with more than twenty years of experience in the aviation industry, Vincent P. Caire chronicles the state’s history of flight in 196 vintage and contemporary photographs, many never-before published. 

Photos of early aviation pioneer John Moisant, air racing champion General James Doolittle, barnstormer Roscoe Turner, aircraft designer James Wedell, and founder of Delta Airlines C. E. Woolman reflect Louisiana’s zeal for aeronautics. Caire explains the efforts of Senator Huey P. Long and Harry P. Williams, co-owner of the Wedell-Williams Air Service in Patterson, Louisiana, influenced the development of viable airmail routes throughout the southeastern United States. Rarely seen photographs depict the Art Deco elegance of the first modern, multioperational passenger terminal in the nation—Shushan Airport in New Orleans.
A captivating visual tour spanning one hundred years, Louisiana Aviation celebrates the state’s air history, evident in Louisiana’s seventy airports, 5,000 aircraft, 7,000 pilots, and numerous airshows in operation today.

VINCENT P. CAIRE, writer and producer of the public television documentary film Sky Riders: Louisiana’s Aviation Pioneers, is the author of Louisiana Aviation: An Extraordinary History in Photographs. He has also contributed to Air and Space Smithsonian magazine and Aviation International News, among other publications. In 1986, Caire earned his private pilot’s license at New Orleans Lakefront “Shushan” Airport and now serves as director of the Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport.

Praise for Louisiana Aviation

“Vincent P. Caire’s beautifully produced work, Louisiana Aviation: An Extraordinary History in Photographs, is much more than a coffee table book. By examining aviation developments in Louisiana since the first flights there in 1910, the author has presented an emblematic history of aviation throughout America. Although the photography provides the visual history, the excellent narrative that forms the backbone of the story is skillfully combined with the images and Louisiana-specific vignettes resulting in a wonderfully informative, visually dramatic summary of the impact of aviation—not only in Louisiana, but around the nation.”—Louisiana History

“As an aviator who learned to fly at Baton Rouge Downtown Airport, now transformed into Independence Park and State Police Headquarters, it was great to be able to read and see some of the aviation history of Louisiana.  Vincent Caire has given pilots a chance to look back on a different time when we were able to go out to the airport, walk on the ramp and watch airplanes arrive and depart.  On my twelfth birthday, I was given a trip from Baton Rouge to New Orleans on Eastern Airlines.  The flight down was on a DC-3 and the return was on a Lockheed Constellation.  We had dinner on the return flight, served on actual china, on a tray that was balanced on a pillow on your lap.  After learning to fly, I remember flying into Moisant Airport when general aviation actually had a place at the terminal where you could park your aircraft.  I look forward to the launch event for this book, 12 May, at the Wedell-Williams Memorial Aviation Museum so I can thank the author for this great “look-back” at an important part of our state.”—Alfred T. Spain, Co-founder, JetBlue Airlines

Extras for Louisiana Aviation

Interview with New Orleans Podcasting (Jan 17, 2014) 

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