02/10/2012 09:58 AM
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
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.
Posted on Friday, February 10, 2012