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Aerobatics

Aerobatics

The American public may have known airplanes best for their acrobatic flying, or aerobatics, in the years immediately following the Wright brothers' flights because of large cash prizes offered by newspapers. Dubbed the “glorious year of flying,” 1913 was marked by races, competitions, and demonstrations. By flying upside-down and doing loops and other stunts, daredevil pilots proved the maneuverability of airplanes. Pilots also tested the mettle of airplanes in long-distance flights in 1913, including a 4,000-kilometer (2,500-mile) flight from France to Egypt (with stops) and the first nonstop flight from France to Tunisia across the Mediterranean Sea. The end of World War I left a large number of cheap airplanes available for barnstorming and stunt-flying and also for airmail, which was initiated in the mid-1920s. Famous pilots Charles Lindbergh (1902–1974) and Antoine de Saint Exupéry (1900–1944) were among the early airmail fliers.