"Barnstormer" is one of the most illustrative words in the English language. It brings to mind images of brightly painted propeller planes, piloted by leather clad figures, breezing through clear blue skies over faded wooden buildings, thrilling crowds of onlookers with the dramatic performance of dangerous stunts. These images are so vivid that one can almost smell the scent of freshly cut hay floating on the light wind; almost hear the high pitched whine of the plane's propellers as they cut through the crisp spring air. Barnstormers were pioneers in the early years of aviation. Their daring, passion, creativity and competitive spirit contributed greatly to the advancement of flight. Without the substantial achievements of these brave men and women, aviation might not have progressed to the important industry and widespread mode of transportation that it is today.
During World War I, the military played a significant role in the American economy, as well as the economies of most of the countries in Europe. Sizeable military budgets provided the funding to pay soldier's salaries, financed the construction and operation of factories, and provided investment capital to numerous industries, including the industry of aviation.
When World War I ended in 1918, the investment into the aeronautics industry changed dramatically. According to the article "Barnstormers, Trailblazers and Wing Walkers", posted on the Internet at http://www.century-of-flight.freeola.com/new%20site/frames2/barnstormers_frame.htm, "air services were cut back to skeleton strength, and governments made a sober determination that aviation had made a minimal contribution to the war effort, certainly not warranting the kind of...
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...Barnes- Aviation Companion. Air Force Flight Test Center 11 July 2001. http://www.edwards.af.mil/history/docs_html/people/pancho_barnes_biography.html
"World Stunt Awards." History of Stunts. The World Stunt Awards. http://www.worldstuntawards.com/textonly/content/about/history.php
"Smith Field." Smith Field History: The Early Years. S.A.F.E. 26 March 2004. http://www.smithairfield.com/earlyyears.htmlWorks Cited
"Century of Flight." Hollywood Stunt Pilots. Pilot Friend. http://www.century-of-flight.freeola.com/new%20site/frames2/barnstormers_frame.htm
Onkst David "U.s. Centennial Flight of Commission." Barnstorming. Centennial Flight of Commission. http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Explorers_Record_Setters_and_Daredevils/barnstormers/EX12.htm
"PBSKids." Barnstormers. WGBH Educational Foundation 1998-2004. http://pbskids.org/wayback/flight/feature_barn.html
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