The God Machine: From Boomerangs to Blackhawks, The Story of the Helicopter by James R. Chiles delves into the origins of the helicopter and the people that made them into the machines they are today.
It has been another long break between episodes but we are back this week with a stroll down memory lane looking at the early years of helicopter development and then stepping forward to some of the lesser known stories that James Chiles has captured in his book.
Of all birds, winged mammals, and insects, very few have mastered the skill of pausing in midair and going backward as well as forward, so anything capable of such flight is, ipso facto, a rare beast.
James has been writing about science and history since 1979. He is a member of Invention & Technology Magazine’s editorial advisory board. He has published features and columns in publications including Smithsonian, Aviation Week, The Boston Globe, Invention&Technology, Audubon, Harvard, New York Daily News, New York Post, Air&Space, Popular Science, Texas Monthly, Mechanical Engineering, and Science Digest.
James’ particular niche is as a science and technology writer and researcher – he has written about many aviation and engineering disasters and given safety-focused lectures at a Who’s Who of professional organisations including NASA, US National Society of Professional Engineers, US Defence Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, Lockheed Martin and the US Chemical Safety Board amongst others.
In researching the history of the helicopter James was able to get some flight instruction with Harrison Ford’s instructor, interview members of the 160th SOAR, ride along on a powerline maintenance flight and talk with some of the ‘best sticks’ in the history of the industry.
Video – Early Helicopter Research Facilities
Do you have a unique story from helicopter history that might be lost to the passage of time? Be part of the conversation by leaving a comment below.