Introduction
in Cultures and caricatures of British imperial aviation
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on impetus for Empire aviation, and its geo-political, commercial and technical frameworks. British pilots were not the only ones to make private long-distance flights between the two world wars, but their accomplishments were seized on as signs of national strength. The influential and elite of Britain and Empire revelled in the heavenly perspectives which flying offered, and its sensations of power, speed and efficiency. Imperial Airways projected an idealised Britain to the Empire, and interpreted and refracted the Empire to Britons. The landing grounds used by British aircraft were safe islands in a foreign world. Leaving more traces of affection than fidelity, the reality and significance of flying imperially passed into memory after 1939.

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