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Birth of Flight: History of Civil Aviation

4.3 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A Fascinating 7-Hour Documentary Series!

A Complete Chronology of the World of Aviation!

 From the exhilarating and perilous days of early fight, to the present, where travel on commercial flights all over the world is as common as travel by car, this program chronicles the complete history of the airplane and the persons who have had the biggest impact on the world of aviation including: Wilbur and Orville Wright, Henri Fabre, Sir Frank Whittle, William E. Boeing and many more!

A Complete Chronology of the World of Aviation!

When the Wright brothers successfully took to the sky in 1903, the world paid attention. Civil aviation has since developed into a multi-billion dollar industry capable of transporting passengers from anywhere, every hour of every day. We look at the incredible history and development of civil aviation in this series. From Lindburgh through to modern marvels such as the Boeing 787, this 8-part series explores the amazing world of aviation!

CONTENTS:

  • EPISODE 1 - This program looks at the beginnings of flight, with innovators such as Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo DaVinci coming up with new ways to give man wings, and chronicles the invention of hot air balloons, Zeppelins, box kites, and of course the story of the most influential inventors of all - Wilbur and Orville Wright
  • EPISODE 2 - The first decades of aviation brought both triumph and tragedy. A new breed of adventurers looked to the heavens for their challenges, and thrilled audiences around the world. The advent of the movie camera meant that their exploits could be broadcast to every corner of the globe, and recorded for posterity.
  • EPISODE 3 - The decades following the First World War saw air craft designers pushing the boundaries of aeronautical technology, moving the industry forward at a rapid pace. With new commercial markets opening up, it was the visionaries who held the key to success.
  • EPISODE 4 - The years following the First World War saw flying take off as business. Flying became a bigger feature of life all around the world, not just as a novelty "adventure" for rich people but as a mode of transport available to just about anyone.
  • EPISODE 5 - Seaplane development went from strength to strength, with Seaplanes becoming the largest aircraft in the world by the end of the First World War. Seaplanes saw the dawn of the aviation industry as they could accommodate large numbers of passengers between continents, and only required a smooth body of water to land.
  • EPISODE 6 - Flying at the speed of sound was made a reality when traditional rivals Britain and France collaborated to build the world's first Concorde, a jet that could traverse the Atlantic in just 3 hours, at twice the speed of sound, around about 1400 miles an hour!
  • EPISODE 7 - The Boeing 737 twin engine jetliner was to become Boeing's greatest success because of the fact that it has one of the lowest approach speeds of any jet transport and the minimum equipment required for refueling.
  • EPISODE 8 - The development of more sophisticated airplanes eventually made twin-engine, long-distance travel feasible. A new standard was introduced, known as Extended Range Twin-Engine Operation.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Wilbur Wright, Orville Wright, Henri Fabre, Sir Frank Whittle, William E. Boeing
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 12, 2010
  • Run Time: 416 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004132I3E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,049 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
This is a very well done series on the history of aviation. As a pilot of over 30 years and a history buff I was surprised to learn things that I had not previously known. Someone did a fine job of researching old photos and film footage not seen in other videos of this type. I'm not a tech-no-nut but I found the quality of the disks to be easily viewable. Good value for money.
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This is one of the best civil aviation history documentaries I have ever seen (and i've seen many). The classic footage is fantastic, and much of it even seems a bit restored in it's clarity. The DVD spans the whole gamut of historical flight, from balloons to dirigibles to airplanes, including the invention of the jet engine and how it changed the world. Since this is a history of commercial aviation, do not expect much mention of specific military aircraft. All in all, a very enjoyable 7 hours or so of classic aviation, and very well done.
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Verified Purchase
I found this collection of civil aviation videos to be very informative and generally well done. But as an American, I was unpleasantly surprised to find very little coverage of significant aircraft from the States. For example: There was hardly any footage dealing with what most aviation experts consider one of the most significant airliners - the Douglas DC-3. Also missing was Piper, Cessna, etc. (although the collection seemed to gloss over general aviation aircraft in general). Bottom line: well done and interesting, but definitely unevenly non-comprehensive.
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Verified Purchase
This seemed an excellent value for the price for my aviation-loving grandfather. It focuses on civil and commercial aviation, but not much about military planes. There are 8 episodes about aviation, each covering a different time frame/chapter over the course of the last 200 years. The episodes are broken up into manageable chunks so you don't have to find a stopping point midway through a chapter. It has about seven hours of footage and was well-packaged with an interesting cover and back. I would purchase it again for other aviation-buffs. I purchased it for a present and it came very quickly and was packaged in clear plastic cellophane. The actual case was new without worn corners or wrinkled paper. As far as the actual DVD, My grandfather was very impressed with the footage and appreciated the fact it went back many years and covered the early history of aviation, along with later marvels and technology. The footage quality was understandably difficult in places due to the fact the footage was over 100 years old, however it appears to have at least been partially restored so it was easy to watch. There was also quite a bit of footage that he hadn't seen before, and he's watched many aviation videos. He is anxious to share it with other relatives with whom he flies.
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Verified Purchase
This package actually presents just the first eight episodes of a 13-part Australian TV series, originally called "The Amazing World of Aviation: Past, Present & Future," dating from 2009. Each episode runs about 52 minutes, and for those with a reasonably sustained attention span, it offers plentiful film footage--not previously in widespread circulation--depicting all kinds of aircraft from 1903 through the 1960s.

The series does not offer detailed reenactments of the prehistory of powered flight, as in the memorable 1936 movie "Conquest of the Air." Far more surprising, it almost completely skips over the role of aircraft in World War II (some of which can be seen in the series "Victory at Sea," also available cheaply from Mill Creek Entertainment). The viewer periodically wonders how the series' creators decided what to include; for instance, Wiley Post is mentioned as the first aviator to make a solo flight around the world, but I don't recall any mention of his tragic death.

To be sure, the "Birth of Flight" videos do take us well beyond the BIRTH of flight. But given the excision of nearly 50 years of modern aviation history, the title has inevitably been amended to remove the "present" and "future" of the original series name.

In general, the film clips are organized topically rather than in strict chronological sequence; they are at times slightly repetitive, at other times brisk enough that one has to listen carefully to keep the names and dates straight. Fluent narration is provided by Stuart Sykes, who has a Scottish accent but does a creditable job of pronouncing foreign names. Understandably, the visual quality of the film footage--some of it more than 100 years old--is uneven.
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Verified Purchase
I have only watched the first disc in this set. There are no credits on the screen or the packaging to give you a hint as to who produced this.

The portion I saw consisted of a sequence of still images with a vaguely British-accented narrator reading text only loosely related to the images. There is also continuous random background music.

But if you're familiar with early aviation, you'll be surprised at the wonderful and knowledgeable selection of photos!

Look, at this price you can't go wrong. What you'll get is not as good as the best TV documentary, but better than many I've seen.
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