Warsaw: Tipografiya okruzhnogo shtaba, 1910. 154,  pp.: ill. 21.5x14 cm. In the owner’s contemporary binding with original wrappers preserved. Rubbed spine, Soviet library stamp on the front wrapper, title-page, p.17 “fundamental library of the Military Engineering Academy”. Otherwise internally clean.
Scarce. First edition. Written by the military engineer V. Abramovsky in 1910, this book deals with the topic of airplanes, their history and contemporary state.
The origins of Russian aviation go back to theoretical projects of the 1880s by pioneer Russian scientists such as Nikolai Kibalchich and Alexander Mozhaysky. During the 1890s aviation innovation was further advanced by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and already in 1904 Nikolai Zhukovsky established the world’s first Aerodynamic Institute in Kachino near Moscow. After the defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, in 1910 the creation of the Russian Imperial Air Fleet began: The Imperial Russian Army purchased a number of French and British airplanes and began training the first military pilots. By the summer of 1914, Russia boasted an air force second only to France in terms of the number of aircraft.
It was at this time that the first serious work by Poles on powered heavier-than-air flying machines began. Despite foreign occupation, Warsaw in the Russian partition and Lwów in the Austrian partition became centers of Polish aviation experimentation. Poles contributed aviation designs and technology to the Russian War Ministry. Stefan Kozłowski of Warsaw built and designed a plane which in June 1910 became the first heavier-than-air manned craft to be flown in Poland. Aviation research, manufacturing and experimentation increased slowly before World War I, but once Poland regained its independence in 1918, the new Polish government funded increased activity in both the military and civilian areas.
The book was published at the height of interest towards aviation in the Russian Empire. The edition represents the third part of Abramovsky’s multivolume Sovremennoye vozdukhoplavaniye [i.e. Modern Aeronautics] and was intended “to interest our young aviators, so that even greater miracles and even greater progress are possible in the future.” The book can be divided into three sections: Introduction, Motors, and Appendix. The author starts off his narrative with the overview of the history of airplanes both in Russia and abroad. Abramovsky offers the description of three types of aviation apparatuses, ornithopters, helicopters, and airplanes, and reviews some of the greatest achievements of the late-19th century and early-20th century aviation, namely Bleriot’s first successful power monoplane, Wright Flyer, Farman’s airplane, etc. In the second section of the edition, the author focuses on the examination of the motors with fixed and movable cylinders. Abramovsky underlines the immense importance of aviation in warfare, distinguishes three ways in which airplanes can be used for military purposes (for reconnaissance, for transmitting orders and reports, and for attack) and states: “In the future, that country will take over the world, which will own the air.” The section includes four interesting accounts of air flights by Lois Bleriot, Henri Farman, Paulhan, and Nikolay Popov, who flew a French-made Astra-Wright biplane in 1909. The edition closes with the description of the first air flights in Warsaw undertaken by Georges Legagneux in 1909 and Baron de’Caters on November 2, 1909.
The book is supplemented with 56 black and white illustrations in text showing different airplanes and air flights.
Worldcat shows 1 copy of the edition in Smithsonian Institution Libraries.