Blue Skies Orange Wings – The Global Reach of Dutch Aviation in War and Peace, 1914-1945
Through a wealth of photographs and color illustrations and an informed narrative, Blue Skies, Orange Wings documents the surprisingly strong role of Dutch aircraft, airmen, designers, and airlines in world aviation in the first half of the twentieth century.
In this beautiful book Ryan Noppen offers the most thorough study of the early years of Dutch commercial and military aviation published in the English language. He examines the famed Fokker airliners, fighters, and combat aircraft, the development of Dutch national airline KLM, and the impact that Dutch aircraft had on the world in the pioneering days of flight, including a number of notable individuals — Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, Amelia Earhart, and more.
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— author of Tulipomania: The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused and Batavia’s Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History’s Bloodiest Mutiny
“Dutch air power? For far too many people, that sounds like a contradiction in terms. But you don’t have to venture too far into Ryan Noppen’s superbly researched and sumptuously illustrated book to know that it’s a topic ripe for reassessment. From Anthony Fokker — a designer hardly anyone seems to realize came from the Netherlands — to the incredible feats of overmatched Dutch airmen faced with German invasion in May 1940 and attack by the Japanese eighteen months later, Noppen unearths tales of bravery and airmanship that deserve to live forever. An eye-opening and richly rewarding read.”
— Department of History, Purdue University
“Between 1914 and 1945, aviation changed a world at war and at peace, ushering in an age of speed and knitting the globe in a tighter pattern. When we think of that period, we tend to focus on the advancements made by the Germans, French, British, and Americans. Ryan Noppen reminds us of the singular achievements of the Dutch. His book is a pleasure to read, and the illustrations are glorious.”
— Colonel USAF (Ret.), Former Commander of the 32nd Fighter Squadron, Soesterberg AB, The Netherlands, 1991–93
“Noppen’s fabulously illustrated Blue Skies, Orange Wings is the definitive history of the ‘Golden Age’ of Dutch aviation, and as such it fills a huge gap in English-language histories of aviation during the first half of the twentieth century. . . . For its historical content, in both text and images, and the beauty of its colorful layout, I strongly and heartily recommend this book.”
— Chairman of the Aeronautics Department, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
“A well-written, well-researched, and beautifully illustrated work detailing the astonishing aviation accomplishments of the Netherlands in the first half of the twentieth century. This small country contributed greatly to the development of flight, particularly in the early years of airline expansion when Fokker airliners were the aircraft of choice for most of the world’s airlines and explorers, while KLM Royal Dutch Airlines expanded around the globe. This critical story has finally received the important scholarly attention it so richly deserves.”