Airs and Graces

Ref: C2224621

Aviation historian, Ian McLachlan, takes you on a flight of fact and fancy exploring the development of aviation through centuries of myth, legend and reality from Icarus and Daedalus through bold pioneers launching themselves into oblivion or more serious studies by intellectuals and scientists. The advent of balloons and man-carrying kites preceded the technology and understanding enabling mankind to become more reliably airborne. This became a daring age for flying machines with thrilling aerobatics, air races and trophies enthralling air-minded audiences. Pilots and parachutists - men and women - took too or fell from the skies - an era of aviation innocence obliterated during World War One when aircraft took on a more sinister role. Fascinating human-interest accounts and episodes from regional aviation history enhance this course.

Course aim

To provide an understanding of mankind's early efforts in becoming airborne - exploring legends, futility and facts of flight until aviation's age of innocence was obliterated in World War One.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • 1. Explore and understand the development of aviation from legend to reality.
  • 2. Understand how pioneers flew early balloons and aircraft - the theory of flight.
  • 3. Explore how early aviators stumbled towards success and the technological advances made.
  • 4. Examine aviation's early heroes and their achievements.
  • 5. Explore some of East Anglia's own aeronautical history pre World War One.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation

Download full Course information sheet

Airs and Graces


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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