The illustrated history of aerobatics. Published by Haynes in 1986.
"Aerobatics began with the very birth of mechanical flight, when the Wright brothers realized that man must fly as birds do; not straight and level, but in banked curves: climbing, diving, turning, zooming and rolling.
Right from the early days pilots could be found who would take their crude machines to the limit of control, and beyond, pushing at the frontiers of achievement, and often paying heavily for their hard-won knowledge. And not since the day in 1913 when the Russian pilot achieved the world's first loop-the-loop have pilots stopped adding to the aerobatic repertoire: first cartwheels, rolls, tail-slides and every combination of loop and turn; later flick rolls, spins and punishing 'outside' manoeuvres where the only thing holding the pilot in his seat is the safety harness.
The enthralling aerobatic display of today, seen performed at so many airshows and competitions throughout the world, is the result of an adventure of discovery that has lasted over 80 years.
Flight Fantastic is the story of this adventure.
It is the story of the pilots who wanted to push themselves and their aircraft to the limits. It is the story of the test pilots, barnstormers and competition entrants, and those forced into combat in two world wars who resorted to aerobatic manoeuvres for survival.
It is the story of mastery of an alien element where the achievement of ever bolder and more ingenious manoeuvres has always gone to those with courage, intelligence and flair.
It is the story of wonderful flying machines from the first frail heavier-than-air craft, barely able to stay aloft, to the highly specialized competition aerobatic aircraft of today, capable of over 250 mph and especially designed for maximum performance whether the 'right way' up, inverted, or going vertically up or down.
And above all, it is the story of man's competitive instinct and his desire to provide an arena where pilot is pitted against pilot to decide who are the true Masters of the Flight Fantastic.
Flight Fantastic is the first comprehensive international history of sport and competition aerobatics, and of the development of aerobatic manoeuvres. It is lavishly illustrated in black and white and in colour with many rare photographs, and specially-commissioned illustrations by Lynn Williams."