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Listen to Live interview on WBEN

082320 933am David Gierke






Most people believe that the Wright Brothers
invented the aeroplane

“Not so”
According to Augustus Herring.

“The Aeroplane Has a Good Many Daddies"

“Chanute made sure I wouldn’t encroach on his legacy anytime soon. My partner was dead, my business lost, my research destroyed,

my inheritances gone, and my
aeronautical achievements disparaged by his every written and spoken word.”

-Augustus M. Herring

To Caress the Air is a biographical novel based on the career of American aviation pioneer Augustus Moore Herring. The story takes place during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and chronicles his aeronautical achievements, his ordeals, and his triumph over severe adversity. The book’s setting is the New York State Supreme Court. Herring’s account is related via his testimony during the 1921 civil trial, Herring-Curtiss Company v. Glenn H. Curtiss, et al., which provides flashback scenes that document his contributions to solving the problem of manned, powered flight.

“Based on facts that will rock established perceptions of pioneer aviation, To Caress the Air tells the story of Augustus Moore Herring, the first man to achieve heavier-than- air, powered flight. Fictionally dramatized, Gierke’s narrative is rich with technical and biographical detail and is extensively documented with footnotes.”

Tom Atwood 

Former editor-in-chief of Model Airplane News magazine; co-founder of Flight Journal magazine; founder of Fly RC, RC Heli Pilot and Robot magazines, Atwood is currently the Executive Director of the National Robotics Education Foundation (NREF).

Dave Gierke says:

While still in high school, I became fascinated with the pioneers of flight and
their stories of invention and heroism. Of course, the Wright brothers
dominated all of the other published aviation personalities by a ratio of at least
ten to one!


As the years passed and new aeronautics writers added their in-depth
perspectives, it soon became obvious that many of these wordsmiths – like
others from the distant past – were purposefully snubbing the work of one
particular principal– Augustus Moore Herring.


I first became curious and then somewhat annoyed at what I had learned …
Gus had been called an aeronautical hyena – someone who sniffed around
the edges of the accepted aviation community, an egotistical loner and
everything in-between.


This was the early 1990s and the beginning of my in-depth personal research,
which eventually led me to write To Caress the Air.

“A fascinating illumination of an extremely progressive and dynamic period of early American aviation, much of which took place in Western New York.”

Hugh M. Neeson
Vice President: Bell Aerospace Textron



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