The first flights from Cornish soil were made at Penzance on 23 July 1910 by pioneer airman Claude Grahame-White, who brought his Farman down to Penwith by train. In the years since then the skies above Cornwall have been home to many aircraft, both military and civil.
During the First World War airship and flying-boat stations were established in Cornwall to combat Imperial Germany's U-boats. This military activity gave way to displays of aerobatics and joy-riding in the inter-war years, although such entertainment lost its appeal as the public grew accustomed to seeing aeroplanes in flight. During the 1930s the first airlines serving Cornwall appeared.
The outbreak of the Second World War brought military aircraft back to Cornwall, as many new airfields were established. Raiders flew from Cornwall to attack the French coast, night-fighters had stations in the county, and ferry flights were made as far as North Africa.
After the war, activity slowed, although some airfields did remain open. The military still use Cornwall, mostly for training. In the years since 1960 there has been great growth in aviation in Cornwall, and several original aircraft types have been built in the county.
In Cornish Skies charts the history of the Cornwall airfields and contains over 200 photographs with detailed captions. It will appeal to anyone with an interest in aviation history, as well as to those familiar with the county and its people.