The Aviation Pioneers of McCook Field, Jerry Koszyk

The Aviation Pioneers of McCook Field, Jerry Koszyk

Candid Interviews with American Aeronautical Visionaries of the 1920s

In the early 1920s McCook Airfield at Dayton Ohio was the US Army’s main centre for aviation research, and saw work on a wide range of topics, including early turbochargers, parachutes, high altitude and long range flights. The author of this book has been fascinated with the story of McCook field for decades, and collected an impressive series of interviews with many of the key people who worked there. This book combines his interviews with a number carried out by George Goddard (for figures who died before Koszyk began to work).

Reading these interviews makes one realise just how important this period was for the development of aviation. Before the First World War flight had still be something of a novelty. The war saw aircraft improve massively in performance, but the main focus was on military effectiveness, and flying still remained a dangerous activity. Much of the work carried out at McCook helped reduce that danger, and helped turning flying from a risky business into a part of every day life.

The people interviewed here are a mix of the engineers who carried out the development work, the pilots who tested their innovations, the military men who ran the base, and some of the support staff who kept things going. Each of these provides a different view of the work at McCook. Several stories recur in different interviews, often with a different perspective.

This is a very valuable resource that gives us a rare insight into life at this key early research centre, and reminds us just how dangerous the life of an early aviation pioneer could be. Their stories are fascinating, and Koszyk has done a valuable job in producing them.

1 – George E.A. Hallett
2 – Albert Francisc Hegenberger
3 – Thomas Harriman
4 – Harry Anton Johnson
5 – Leigh Wade
6 – J. Parker Van Zandt
7 – James H. Doolittle
8 – Harold R. Harris
9 – Howard Calhoun Davidson
10 – Hester Christiansen
11 – Alan Morse
12 – Darlene E. Gerhardt
13 – Louis Hagermeye
14 – Franklin O. Carroll
15 – Oakley Kelly
16 – George C. Kenney
17 – Reuben H. Fleet
18 – John A. Macready
19 – Jean Alfred Roche
20 – Alexander N.P. Seversky
21 – Albert William Stevens
22 – Insights from the Interviews
23 – The Planes and Parachutes of McCook Field
24 – Life at McCook Field

Author: Jerry Koszyk
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 192
Publisher: Schiffer
Year: 2022

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