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Flying Past

The Isle of Sheppey in north Kent was the birthplace of aviation in the UK and early pioneers, including the Wright Bros and Charles Rolls, gathered on its low, flat ground to undertake experimental flights. By 1909 the Short brothers has established the first British aircraft factory and from there events snowballed. By 1911 the first naval aviators began training at nearby Eastchurch, which site became the first Royal Naval Air Station. Its popular first course had over 200 volunteers for just four places. The station served with distinction in the war that soon followed, as it did again through the Second World War, until its closure in the late 1940s. Although the road of discovery that finally led to some of the world's first and finest aviators arriving in Sheppey in 1909 was both long and arduous, this book serves as a timely reminder of the island's great contribution to the story of flight in the UK, being the cradle where much of Britain's aviation history once began.
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