New LSU Press Book Captures the Extraordinary History of Louisiana Aviation
Vintage photos feature aviation pioneers John Moisant, Roscoe Turner, James Wedell and C.E. Woolman
BATON ROUGE – With more than 20 years of experience in the aviation industry, pilot and freelance writer Vincent P. Caire chronicles Louisiana’s history of flight in nearly 200 vintage and contemporary photographs, many never-before published. Photos of early aviation pioneer John Moisant, air racing champion Gen. James Doolittle, barnstormer Roscoe Turner, aircraft designer James Wedell and founder of Delta Airlines C. E. Woolman reflect Louisiana’s zeal for aeronautics.
A captivating visual tour spanning 100 years, “Louisiana Aviation,” published in April by LSU Press, celebrates the state’s contribution to air history, evident in Louisiana’s 70 airports; 5,000 aircraft; 7,000 pilots; and numerous airshows still in operation today.
Louisiana entrepreneurs and pilots were among the first to advance the idea of air travel, improve aircraft design and usher in the Golden Age of Aviation. They developed aerial crop dusting, initiated airmail routes, pushed the limits of stunt flying and entertained spectators with air races.
Caire explains how the efforts of Sen. Huey P. Long and Harry P. Williams, co-owner of the Wedell-Williams Air Service in Patterson, La., influenced the development of viable airmail routes throughout the southeastern United States. Rarely seen photographs depict the Art Deco elegance of the first modern, multioperational passenger terminal in the nation – Shushan Airport in New Orleans.
Caire has written for Air and Space Smithsonian Magazine and Aviation International News, among other publications. He wrote and produced the public television documentary film “Sky Riders: Louisiana’s Aviation Pioneers.” In 1986, he earned his private pilot’s license at New Orleans Lakefront Shushan Airport.