Tracing the hundred-year history of aviation in Texas, aviator and historian Barbara Ganson brings to life the colorful personalities that shaped the phenomenally successful development of this industry in the state. Weaving stories and profiles of aviators, designers, manufacturers, and those in related services, Texas Takes Wing covers the major trends that propelled Texas to the forefront of the field. Covering institutions from San Antonio’s Randolph Air Force Base (the West Point of this branch of service) to Brownsville’s airport with its Pan American Airlines instrument flight school (which served as an international gateway to Latin America as early as the 1920s) to Houston’s Johnson Space Center, home of Mission Control for the U.S. space program, the book provides an exhilarating timeline and engaging history of dozens of unsung pioneers as well as their more widely celebrated peers.
Drawn from personal interviews as well as major archives and the collections of several commercial airlines, including American, Southwest, Braniff, Pan American Airways, and Continental, this sweeping history captures the story of powered flight in Texas since 1910. With its generally favorable flying weather, flat terrain, and wide open spaces, Texas has more airports than any other state and is often considered one of America’s most aviation-friendly places. Texas Takes Wing also explores the men and women who made the region pivotal in military training, aircraft manufacturing during wartime, general aviation, and air servicing of the agricultural industry. The result is a soaring history that will delight aviators and passengers alike.
Chapter One. Flying Takes Off in Texas
Chapter Two. The Stinson Flying Family of San Antonio and Texas Aviators in the Great War
Chapter Three. Between the World Wars: Barnstormers—Owners and Operators of Flying Services
Chapter Four. Record Setters and Air Racers
Chapter Five. Creating a More Connected World
Chapter Six. Flight Training
Chapter Seven. Texas Air Power during the Second World War
Chapter Eight. Aircraft Designers and Manufacturers
Chapter Nine. Red, White, and Blue All Over: Texas Air Power in the Cold War and the Space Age
Epilogue. Aeronautical Achievements, Education, and the Future of Air and Space Travel
Barbara Ganson is Associate Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University. She is also a trustee of the International Women’s Air and Space Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Her work formed the basis of the 2010 exhibition Tango Alpha Charlie: Texas Aviation Celebration at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum.
“Barbara Ganson bridges the gap, and celebrates the history of Texas aviation. She writes that the first century of powered flight in Texas is one of innovation, achievement, and human spirit.”
―Texas Books in Review