In Hero of the Air, William F. Trimble examines the pioneering work of Glenn Curtiss and his role in the origins of aviation in the U.S. Navy. A self-taught mechanic and inventor, Curtiss was a key figure in the development of the airplane during the early part of the century. This book's careful examination of his partnership with the Navy breaks new ground in revealing significant details of his important contributions. Curtiss' links to the Navy came as a result of aviation advocates within the Navy, chief among them was Captain Washington I. Chambers, who recognized that the Navy had special requirements for airplanes and their operations and for aviators and their training. Curtiss helped meet the requirements of the Navy for aircraft, particularly those with the potential for operating with the ships at sea or in conducting long-distance flights over water.
This book addresses the broader implications of the Curtiss-Navy collaboration in the context of the long-standing trend of government-private cooperation in the introduction and development of new technologies. It also explores the interactive dynamics of weapons procurement and technological change within a large and entrenched bureaucracy and helps lay to rest the persistent myth that the Navy resisted the introductionn of aviation.