Thursday, February 10, 2011

PR: New Book about Pre-WWII Aircraft Mechanics

Pioneer Mechanics in Aviation, by Giacinta Bradley Koontz

Aurora, Colorado: On March 1, we’ll finally have a book devoted exclusively to the heretofore anonymous American mechanics of early aviation. That’s when Giacinta Bradley Koontz releases her latest book, Pioneer Mechanics in Aviation, which chronicles the exploits of airplane mechanics up to the start of World War II.

Each of the book’s 24 chapters tells of the fascinating stories of the men and women (yes, women!) who kept Wright Flyers, Blériots, Curtiss Pushers, and other wood-and-fabric aircraft flying. Beginning with the Wright brothers’ mechanic, Charles Taylor, Koontz reveals the life stories and contributions of these unsung heroes of aviation.

“This book captured my interest because it includes women pilots, like Katherine Stinson and Willa Brown, who were also good mechanics,” says Sue Hughes, owner of Powder Puff Pilot, a Denver-based web retailer that specializes in gear and accessories for women pilots. “Men have always outnumbered women pilots, but before World War II, a woman who knew how to use a wrench was especially rare.” Powder Puff Pilot retails the new release, along with many other books and DVDs by and about women pilots.

Koontz has written aviation history columns for several aviation magazines since 2006. (In 1995, Giacinta became Director of the Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation and Museum in North Hollywood, California, where the Wright Brother’s mechanic, Charles Taylor, and other aviation pioneers are buried. Although the small Portal museum officially closed in 2001, Giacinta assisted in writing the first state resolution honoring Taylor with Aviation Maintenance Technician Day in California in 2002.

In 2006, Giacinta started a column featuring the untold stories of aviation mechanics for Aircraft Maintenance Technology Magazine. This column laid the foundation for her book, Pioneer Mechanics in Aviation, published in 2011.)

Although neither a pilot nor a mechanic, one of her editors wrote, “Her passion is aviation history and her gift is writing.” Koontz’s scholarly contributions to preserving aviation history have been recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution and professional maintenance technician associations, among others. Her first book was a biography of America’s first female licensed pilot, Harriet Quimby.

Pioneer Mechanics in Aviation: Softcover, 150pp. Dozens of vintage photographs and illustrations; references; an index of aircraft, engines, and people. Foreword by former NTSB Board Member, Hon. John Goglia. Price: $34.95. Now available for purchase at

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