Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


MAJOR VICTOR W. PAGÉ, Air Corps Reserve, U.S.A., was a timely author. He wrote in 1928, “The transoceanic flights made by Byrd, Lindbergh, Chamberlin, Acosta, Hegenberger and Maitland, and others have stimulated a great popular interest in Aviation in all its branches, and many persons who are mechanically or scientifically inclined wish to be able to keep abreast of aeronautical progress.”

I am captivated if for no other reason than recognizing only two of these six guys. Who are these other transoceanic aviators? This calls for future research, once I digest Major Pagé’s Everybody’s Aviation Guide.

Everybody’s Aviation Guide, by Major Victor W. Pagé, Norman W. Henley Publishing, 1928.

Major Pagé’s book is subtitled, “A Complete, Simplified Treatise in Question and Answer Form for Those Wishing to Obtain a General and Diversified Knowledge of Aeronautics and Aerodynamics.” Here in Parts 1 and 2, today and tomorrow, are quotes from Pagé’s book, together with 90-year updates gleaned from a bit of Internet sleuthing.

What layers comprise the atmosphere and how far do they extend above the earth’s surface? “There is considerable difference of opinion about the height of the air blanket around the earth. It was formerly thought that it extended up only from forty to fifty miles, but some later authorities believe that extremely attenuated air or gas will be found several hundred miles above the earth’s surface.”

Pagé’s Unknown is now divided into the Mesosphere (about 30-55 miles), the Thermosphere (about 55-300 miles), and the Exosphere (beyond this altitude, where atoms and molecules escape into space). This and the following image from Everybody’s Aviation Guide.

Describe early aircraft. “The first Wright airplane was a modified biplane glider to which a light gasoline engine had been fitted…. The Blériot was a monoplane and had but a single supporting surface instead of a pair of surfaces…. The machine was a very good early approximation of what we consider even to-day as good aërodynamical engineering.”

A Wright Flyer similar to the one that Wilbur used to “Wow ’Em At Le Mans,” on August 8, 1908. Louis Blériot flew his Type XI across La Manche/the English Channel on July 25, 1909.

Pagé’s assessment of the Blériot Type XI was not inappropriate for 1928. Tomorrow, in Part 2, we’ll see what he has to say about wood construction, ‘skidding’ on turns, and the inherent safety of it all. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2018

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