The Dawn of the Drone - From the Back-Room Boys of World War One
“[A] slice of largely-forgotten military history . . . a fascinating exploration of some magnificent men and their flying machines.” —The Sunday Post In the dark days of World War I, when flying machines, radio, and electronics were infant technologies, the first remotely controlled experimental aircraft took to the skies and unmanned radio controlled 40-foot high-speed Motor Torpedo Boats ploughed the seas in Britain. Developed by the British Army’s Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Navy these prototype weapons stemmed from an early form of television demonstrated before the war by Prof. A. M. Low. The remotecontrol systems for these aircraft and boats were invented at RFC Secret Experimental Works commanded by Prof. Low, which was part of the organization of “back-room boys” in the Munitions Inventions Department. These audacious projects led to the hundreds of remotely controlled Queen Bee aerial targets in the 1930s and hence to all the machines that we now call “drones.” Starting well before WWI and, for the lucky ones, extending well beyond it, the lives of Archibald Low and many of his contemporaries were extraordinary as were the times they lived through. They were around for the first epic aircraft flights and with the aid of the very technologies that had enabled the development of drones, they saw air travel transformed from the precarious to the routine. It is astonishing that the origins of the first drones are not common knowledge in Britain and that the achievement of these maverick inventors is not commemorated. “A focused and engaging look at one arena of behind-the-scenes scientific research and the larger-than-life personalities who populated it.” —Booklist
Available since: 12/27/2019.