Having recently read McCullough's biography of the Wright bros., I thought I'd get a slightly different perspective of the key players during the dawn of powered flight. Orville and Wilber notwithstanding, Glenn Curtiss was argueably more responsible for the proliferation of airplanes, the manufacturing of airplanes, the design and modification of aircraft engines and propellers, the training of pilots, the invention and development of the seaplane, and in my opinion, the industry of aircraft and engine production than anyone world wide prior to 1920. While it's true the Wrights moved the ball, but spent the rest of their years trying to prevent anyone else from flying anything without paying them a fortune. They constructed a barely controllable, warping wing aircraft that needed a catapult to launch. Curtiss put wheels on his, and used some of the first ailerons. He was the first to abandon the pitch control in the front of the airplane. Soon after, pilots were performing loops in his machines. Curtiss invented the seaplane, and the system to hoist the floating aircraft aboard a ship. Early in the book, Curtiss set a speed record on a v8 powered motorcycle: 137mph! He was know as the fastest man in the world. By 1910 Curtiss aircraft engines were light years ahead of what the Wrights ever built. The moral I took from the book, is that Curtiss was brilliant, but most of all, he was a collaborator: He helped others to fly, rather than try to sue everybody and suppress innovation. It's a big tome of a book, but I highly enjoyed reading it. No wonder the corporation he started was called Curtiss-Wright.