Author Talk — Private Pilots and the Rise of Civil Aviation

Author Talk — Private Pilots and the Rise of Civil Aviation

NEXT DATE:   |   7 p.m.  |  
category: Author Talks, Adult Programs  |  location: Library, Soda House

In his talk, Alan Meyer provides an engaging account of private aviation, taking the audience inside a community that required exceptionally high skill levels, celebrated facing and overcoming risk, and encouraged fierce personal independence. 

Meyer charts the dramatic growth of private aviation following World War II, as military flight schools and postwar GI-Bill flight training swelled the ranks of private pilots with hundreds of thousands of young, mostly middle-class men. Formal flight instruction screened and acculturated aspiring fliers to meet a masculine norm that traced its roots to prewar barnstorming and wartime combat training. Meyer explores how these pilots forged a community outside the cockpit, from the time-honored tradition of “hangar flying” at local airports, to air shows, to the national conventions of private fliers.

Alan Meyer stands next to a private plane.

Alan Meyer is a longtime private pilot who received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Delaware. Currently he is associate professor of history at Auburn University.

Author talks take place in the Hagley Soda House Auditorium, beginning at 7 p.m. RSVPs encouraged, walk-ins welcome. Please RSVP to Carol Lockman,, or 302-658-2400, ext. 243.

See more author talks in our series here.

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