Aviation’s potential to revolutionize warfare and transport became apparent to hobbyists and politicians alike when the Wright Brothers’ succeed in the first powered flight in December of 1903. Air route development, government regulation, and airway infrastructure have all played a role in the growth of the aviation industry since then. Railroad routes dictated early air routes, reflecting a reliance on the infrastructure provided therein, but also the systematic mindset of contemporary transport managers. In 1925, the federal government passed the Air Mail Act. This law allowed private carriers to contract air mail routes and opening the door for commercial aviation ventures. Passenger air travel soon followed and a booming industry emerged. An industry comprised of fleets of jet aircraft and an intricate system of routes between modern airports. These airports required ample space to accommodate ever growing numbers of flights, but also relied on rail and highway infrastructure to connect easily to urban centers of commerce. Deregulation of the airline industry in 1978 led to an overhaul of airline routes. This favored an efficient hub-and spoke system over the traditional direct line model. The hub-and-spoke system has allowed for further expansion of airport infrastructure, which has led in turn to a reorganization of urban space as commercial centers continue to spring up around large airport complexes on the urban periphery.

 

PRINT

Bednarek, Janet. America’s Airports: Airfield Development, 1918-1947. Texas A&M Press, 2001.

Dümplemann, Sonja. Flights of Imagination: Aviation, Landscape, Design. University of Virginia Press, 2014.

Ehrenberg, Ralph E. “Up in the Air in More Ways Than One: The Emergence of Aeronautical Charts in the United States.” In Cartographies of Travel and Navigation. James R. Akerman, ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Lynch, Christopher. Chicago Midway Airport: The First Seventy-Five Years. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 2002.

Rose, Mark H., et al. The Best Transportation System in the World: Railroads, Trucks, Airlines, and American Public Policy in the Twentieth Century. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2006.

Rust, Daniel L. Flying across America: the airline passenger experience. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2009.

Solberg, Carl. Conquest of the Skies: A History of Commercial Aviation in America. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1979.

Vleck, Jenifer Van. Empire of the Air: Aviation and the American Ascendancy Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013.

Young, David and Neal Callahan. Fill the heavens with commerce: Chicago aviation, 1855-1926. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1981.

 

WEB

The U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission. “Born of Dreams, Inspired by Freedom.” http://www.centennialofflight.net/