Introduction
in Air empire
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book describes the differentiated roots, channels and instruments of imperialism. It examines the sources and strains of Empire aviation. The book explores the paternalism, polemic, posturing, symbolism and spectacle surrounding the planning and performance of imperial aviation. British military aviation played its part by surveying and testing long-distance air routes that could be used for defending the Empire as well as for civil purposes in the Middle East, India and Africa. Aviation became the new imperial heroic; brave, dashing pilots became icons and were invested as the new Knights of the British Empire. The grandly titled Imperial Airways company was established as the 'chosen instrument' of organised Empire civil aviation in 1924. Facets of British imperial civil aviation history have gradually been tackled in a manner that veers away from bland narrative.

Air empire

British imperial civil aviation, 1919–39

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