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216 pages + hard covers.
Cover stained, interior fresh, slightly yellowed.
4-1/2" x 7-1/4"
The Royal Aero Club (RAeC) is the national co-ordinating body for Air Sport in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1901 as the Aero Club of Great Britain, being granted the title of the "Royal Aero Club" in 1910.
The Aero Club was founded in 1901 by Frank Hedges Butler, his daughter Vera and the Hon Charles Rolls (one of the founders of Rolls-Royce), partly inspired by the Aero Club of France. It was initially concerned more with ballooning but after the demonstrations of heavier-than air flight made by the Wright Brothers in France in 1908, it embraced the aeroplane. The original club constitution declared that it was dedicated to 'the encouragement of aero auto-mobilism and ballooning as a sport.' As founded, it was primarily a London gentlemen's club, but gradually moved on to a more regulatory role. It had a clubhouse at 119 Piccadilly, which it retained until 1961.
In 1909 the Club was granted the Royal prefix. From 1910 the Club issued Aviators Certificates, which were internationally recognised under the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (the FAI) to which the club was the UK representative. The Club is responsible for control in the UK of all private and sporting flying, as well as for records and competitions.
The Club established its first flying ground on a stretch of marshland at Shellbeach near Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey in early 1909. A nearby farmhouse, Mussell Manor (now called Muswell Manor) became the flying ground clubhouse, and club members could construct their own sheds to accommodate their aircraft. Among the first occupants of the ground were Short Brothers. Two of the brothers, Eustace and Oswald had previously made balloons for Aero Club members, and been appointed the official engineers of the Aero Club: they had enlisted their eldest brother, Horace, when they decided to begin constructing heavier-than air aircraft. They acquired a license to build copies of the Wright aircraft, and set up the first aircraft production line in the world at Leysdown.
In May 1909 the Wright brothers visited the Aero Club flying ground at Shellbeach. After inspecting the Short Brothers' factory, a photograph was taken outside Mussell Manor of the Wright Brothers with all of the early British aviation pioneers to commemorate their visit to Britain.
It moved the next year to nearby Eastchurch, where the Royal Navy had established a flying school.
Until 1911 the British Military did not have any pilot training facilities. As a result, most early military pilots were trained by members of the club and many became members. By the end of the First World War, more than 6,300 military pilots had taken RAeC Aviator's Certificates.