Mankind has been intrigued by flight for thousands of years. Folklore and mythologies are filled with aerial adventure, but on September 19, 1783 the first living creatures (a sheep, a duck and a rooster) ascend in a montgolfière hot-air balloon. This interest explodes when Gaspard Félix Tournachon, known professionally as “Nadar”, becomes the first aerial photographer, taking his camera into a balloon and revealing a previously unseen view of the countryside. Nadar founded, with fantasy artist Gabriel de la Landelle and inventor Gustave de Ponton d’Amécourt, the first aviation journal L’ Aéronaute in 1864 which increased public awareness and excitement for all things aerial, real or imagined. That excitement continued as contemporary publications chronicled rotorcraft innovation.
American magazines such as Scientific American, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, Modern Mechanix, Bill Barnes Air Trails, Aero Digest, Air Progress, Aviation Week, Sport Aviation and in England Flight, Air Pictorial, Popular Flying, Practical Mechanics, and countless other magazine covers/illustrations both informed and excited public imagination. And while such publications as Flight and Aero Digest charged companies for the front cover, rotary flight visionaries were happy to regularly assume the expense given the public awareness and excitement generated.