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  • Dictatorship of the Air » Russia’s First Female Aeronaut
    former student and fellow aeronaut Jeanne Genevieve organized a series of paid demonstrations of aerial prowess for the inhabitants of St Petersburg and Moscow The public spectacles undertaken by the Garnerins in Russia included both unrestricted flights as well as parachute jumps from tethered balloons the latter feats having previously earned Garnerin and his wife renown across the Continent According to contemporary accounts published in the newspaper Московския ведомости Moscow Register the Garnerins aerial displays were an immensely popular attraction They contributed greatly to the aero mania that swept Russian high society in the century s first decade They also resulted in a significant though little known historical first the first balloon flight by a Russian woman The flight occurred on 8 May 1804 The details of the incident as recorded in Картина чудных произшествий в мире Canvas of the World s Miraculous Events Moscow 1807 indicate that the untethered ascension was anything but routine as a terrible storm followed by large amounts of rain and repeated thunder preceded the scheduled balloon flight by half an hour Despite the inclement weather Mme Garnerin and a Russian woman whose name alas was not recorded by observers ascended into the heavens Following a flight of approximately 45 minutes during which they rose to just over 6 200 feet in the air the pair returned to earth having traveled some 13 miles from their point of launch in Moscow Their landing was undertaken not without difficulty and danger as gusting winds continuously buffeted the craft during its descent Repeatedly the balloon s gondola struck the earth only to be launched anew into the air by the tumultuous currents Finally the two women were able to toss the aerostat s anchor overboard and with the aid of some locals who had rushed to the

    Original URL path: http://www.dictatorshipoftheair.com/2006/08/20/russias-first-female-aeronaut/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dictatorship of the Air » If:book, Then What?
    the web Such an approach if book contributor Kathleen Fitzpatrick has announced creates an openness and interconnection that will allow us to make the process of scholarly work just as visible and valuable as its product readers will be able to follow the development of an idea from its germination in a blog though its drafting as an article to its revisions and authors will be able to work in dialogue with those readers generating discussion and obtaining feedback on work in progress at many different stages Because such discussions will take place in the open and because the enormous time lags of the current modes of academic publishing will be greatly lessened this ongoing discourse among authors and readers will no doubt result in the generation of many new ideas leading to more exciting new work In the end transparency interconnectedness and immediacy will emerge strengthened by the new digital regime Then again there are obvious downsides to such an approach GAM3R 7H30R1S7 Wark has already received nearly 400 comments That s fine as far as it goes But the time devoted to responding to those commentators learned not so learned and dumb as a post is time not spent on other profitable scholarly pursuits In any event one suspects that this is not a model that would transfer well to say scholars writing about neoplatonic epistemology or the symbolic meanings of Malawi s Chongoni rock art Still projects like MediaCommons and GAM3R 7H30RY raise an important question Will digital content delivery and the emergence of e books and networked books bring about a revolution in the way that scholars research write and communicate their ideas Perhaps But then again perhaps not I m not entirely sold on the claims being made by the most fervent advocates of digital delivery As is often the case when a technology is still in its infancy enthusiasts tend to exaggerate a technology s ultimate impact in transforming culture and society Frequently proponents fail to contemplate because it is often impossible to foresee the obstacles and unintended consequences that inevitably surface as efforts are made to popularize a favored device among the masses trans oceanic dirigible tours or flying cars anyone It strikes me that at present the transformative potential of digital publishing in academe is being oversold and in many cases misunderstood Just as digital publishing and new technological delivery systems will make possible the broader dissemination of academic writing so too will they make possible the broader dissemination of non academic texts and visual content Purveyors of the types of academic projects esteemed by if book will continue to face stiff competition for attention and audiences should iReaders become as popular as iPods If historians of science and technology have learned anything it s that new technologies have the capacity to change the world for good or for ill Or not at all I am prepared to bet a great deal of money that the development of an iReader for example

    Original URL path: http://www.dictatorshipoftheair.com/2006/08/15/ifbook-then-what/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dictatorship of the Air » Avia-Corner
    both American and Russian archives Although the latter were clearly more important than the former I was able to glean a great deal of useful information from two US collections in particular National Air Space Museum The documents housed at the National Air Space Museum represent a treasure trove for scholars working on aviation related topics Although the Air Space collection is most useful for those focusing on American issues regardless of one s national geographic specialty the Museum s library contains immensely useful resources More important still are the curators and historians who work at NASM Their collective knowledge of things aeronautical is unsurpassed Anyone researching the history of aviation should plan to spend some time at Air Space National Archives Washington DC In addition to providing me with a clearer understanding of America s own aviation programs the Records of the Bureau of Aeronautics provided extremely useful contemporary assessments of Imperial and Soviet developments from the perspective of US aviation experts Meanwhile correspondence from the Office of Naval Intelligence America s leading intelligence agency in the years prior to WWII and the Defense Intelligence Agency was invaluable for documenting the Soviet Union s extensive infiltration of American aviation businesses and industry during the 1920s 30s and 40s Russian Archives Naturally the vast majority of archival research for DotA was conducted in the Russian Federation As very few readers have any need for a detailed description of Russian archival holdings relating to aviation here I ll simply provide samples of the more important materials that I uncovered during the course of my research Russian State Military Historical Archive RGVIA The Russian State Military Historical Archive is the principal repository for materials relating to the history of the Imperial Russian military From the standpoint of my own work the archival records of the General Staff and the Military Ministry s budget office proved to be quite valuable In addition to containing memoranda and reports on the tsarist government s efforts to build a military air fleet the latter collection contained correspondence that shed light on the relationship between the state and the private airplane manufacturers with which it negotiated contracts for the domestic construction of aircraft Russian State Military Archive RGVA RGVA houses Soviet military records from the Civil War to the eve of the Second World War 1918 1941 The archive is extremely important as materials contained in the various collections of the Revolutionary Military Committee enabled me to document the origins and development of the Red Air Fleet during the early 1920s Recently declassified reports contained in the RGVA collection also revealed the numerous manufacturing and production crises besetting the USSR s aviation industry during the decade preceding WWII Russian Archive of the Economy RGAE Along with documentation relating to Soviet planning commissions RGAE provided a wealth of information concerning Communist Party efforts to popularize aviation among the USSR s citizens The two most important collections in this regard were the Main Inspectorate of the Civilian Air Fleet

    Original URL path: http://www.dictatorshipoftheair.com/browse/avia-corner/page/17/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dictatorship of the Air » “Those magnificent men”
    a plethora of books containing reference information and technical minutiae but little guidance that might help readers understand the broad and complex roles that machine powered flight had played in shaping modern culture and society and vice versa In the years that have passed since the publication of Hansen s article the subfield of aviation history has grown considerably A number of major new works have appeared which fulfill quite well Hansen s call for flight historians to adopt a wider view Although much still remains to be done before the history of flight technology will be as squarely situated in the professional mainstream as say military diplomatic or political history aviation and aerospace history is today in much better shape than at any time in the past As such it might now be safe to say a few things about the continuing important role played by amateur historians and aviation buffs to the field At least that s what I increasingly came to think this past week as I undertook work on a class that I ll be teaching in the spring of 2008 History of Flight Culture One of the key challenges that I am facing in preparing the class involves the time consuming process of tracking down the visual records that I will need to enable students to see for themselves the personalities planes and events that shaped the aviation imagination in the twentieth century Here I have found the ubiquitous presence of aviation enthusiasts on the internet to be an overwhelmingly positive and immensely helpful thing One case in point is the UK based website Those Magnificent Men Devoted to the history of European aviation between 1910 and 1914 the site contains a terrific collection of historic images as well as handy information summaries about the

    Original URL path: http://www.dictatorshipoftheair.com/2006/08/06/those-magnificent-men/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dictatorship of the Air » New Soviet aviation posters added
    stopped by the DotA Poster Gallery lately you should I ve added five new posters and commentary to the collection The new ones appear on page 2 of the gallery No comments yet RSS feed for comments on this post

    Original URL path: http://www.dictatorshipoftheair.com/2006/08/01/new-soviet-aviation-posters-added/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dictatorship of the Air » On their way
    to friends and family As I m still on the road I ve decided to postpone my usual weekly post I ll be back in a couple of days with a couple of new entries on the future of publishing aviation films and some odds ends Check back later for the new stuff In the meantime a quick check this morning of the Cambridge University Press website indicates that the Press now has the book in stock Books should be on their way to Amazon and other on line book retailers very soon So if you ve been waiting to act now would be a great time to order your three copies one for home one for the office and one for the car ScP One Response to On their way 1 Airminded Acquisitions Pinged With November 2 2006 10 45 pm Scott W Palmer Dictatorship of the Air Aviation Culture and the Fate of Modern Russia Cambridge Cambridge University Press 2006 I followed Scott s advice but as I don t have a car or an office I ended up with only one copy It looks like a worthy companion to Corn and Fritzsche and indeed now that it

    Original URL path: http://www.dictatorshipoftheair.com/2006/07/29/on-their-way/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dictatorship of the Air » Aviation History Sources, pt. 2: Primary Sources
    geographic specialty the Museum s library contains immensely useful resources More important still are the curators and historians who work at NASM Their collective knowledge of things aeronautical is unsurpassed Anyone researching the history of aviation should plan to spend some time at Air Space National Archives Washington DC In addition to providing me with a clearer understanding of America s own aviation programs the Records of the Bureau of Aeronautics provided extremely useful contemporary assessments of Imperial and Soviet developments from the perspective of US aviation experts Meanwhile correspondence from the Office of Naval Intelligence America s leading intelligence agency in the years prior to WWII and the Defense Intelligence Agency was invaluable for documenting the Soviet Union s extensive infiltration of American aviation businesses and industry during the 1920s 30s and 40s Russian Archives Naturally the vast majority of archival research for DotA was conducted in the Russian Federation As very few readers have any need for a detailed description of Russian archival holdings relating to aviation here I ll simply provide samples of the more important materials that I uncovered during the course of my research Russian State Military Historical Archive RGVIA The Russian State Military Historical Archive is the principal repository for materials relating to the history of the Imperial Russian military From the standpoint of my own work the archival records of the General Staff and the Military Ministry s budget office proved to be quite valuable In addition to containing memoranda and reports on the tsarist government s efforts to build a military air fleet the latter collection contained correspondence that shed light on the relationship between the state and the private airplane manufacturers with which it negotiated contracts for the domestic construction of aircraft Russian State Military Archive RGVA RGVA houses Soviet military

    Original URL path: http://www.dictatorshipoftheair.com/2006/07/22/aviation-history-sources-pt-2-primary-sources/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dictatorship of the Air » Aviation History Sources, pt. 1: Secondary Sources
    aviation Recently a number of very good popular analyses have appeared Near the very top of the list is Stephen Budiansky s excellent Airpower a survey of military airpower doctrine from Kitty Hawk through the Second Gulf War Others examples include Richard Overy s short work on The Battle of Britain and Lee Kennett s The First Air War 1914 1918 Scholarly works The final group of secondary sources are those written by professional historians and published by academic presses In contrast to analytical popular histories these works undergo a rigorous process of peer review before they re accepted for publication The manuscripts are sent out to two other professional historians who are experts in the field These reviewers then check facts challenge arguments and offer detailed written assessments for revising expanding or otherwise improving the manuscript To encourage an honest and candid assessment of the manuscript the peer review process is blind This means that the identity of the reviewers is kept secret from the author He or she receives the evaluations of the manuscript not knowing who wrote them Note It is not uncommon for a manuscript to undergo not one but two rounds of review as the author reviewers and editor s debate the contents of the reviews and the author s responses to them The blind peer review process explains in part why it takes longer to publish an academic history than it does to publish a popular one This additional layer of quality control can add anywhere from 4 8 months to the publication process Although the number of scholarly works about aviation is nowhere near as large as the number of inventories and popular histories scholarship on aviation and flight has really taken off over the course of the last decade Many of the

    Original URL path: http://www.dictatorshipoftheair.com/2006/07/15/aviation-history-sources-pt-1-secondary-sources/ (2016-04-26)
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