It is assumed that the reader is already fairly conversant with ordinary photography. Considerable space has indeed been devoted to a discussion of the fundamentals of photography, and to scientific methods of study, test, and specification. This has been done because aerial photography strains to the utmost the capacity of the photographic process, and it is necessary that the most advanced methods be understood by those who would secure the best results or contribute to future progress. No pretence is made that the book is an aerial photographic encyclopaedia; it is not a manual of instructions; nor is its appeal so popular as it would be were the majority of the illustrations striking aerial photographs of war subjects. It is hoped that the middle course steered has produced a volume which will be informative and inspirational to those who are seriously interested either in the practice of aerial photography or in its development.
The writer is deeply in debt to many people, whose assistance of one sort or another has made this book possible. First of all should be mentioned those officers of the English, French and Italian armies through whose courtesy it is that he can speak at first hand of the photographic practices in these armies at the front. It is due to Lieutenant Colonel R. A. Millikan that the experimental work of which the writer has had charge was initiated in the United States Air Service. To him and to Major C. E. Mendenhall, under whom the work was organized in the Science and Research Division of the Signal Corps, are owing the writer's thanks for the opportunities and support given by them. A similar acknowledgment is made to Lieutenant Colonel J. S. Sullivan, Chief of the Photographic Branch of the Army Air Service, for his interest and encouragement in the compilation of this work, and for the permission accorded to use the air service photographs and drawings which form the majority of the illustrations.
The greatest debt of all, however, is to those officers who have formed the staff of the Experimental Department. To mention them by name: Captain C. A. Proctor, who was charged with our foreign liaison, and who acted as deputy chief during the writer's absence overseas; Captain A. K. Chapman, in charge of the work on optical parts, and later chief of our Rochester Branch; Captain E. F. Kingsbury, who had immediate charge of camera development; Lieutenant J. B. Brinsmade and Mr. R. P. Wentworth, who handled the experimental work on camera mountings and installation; Lieutenant A. H. Nietz, in charge of the Langley Field Laboratory of the Experimental Department; Mr. R. B. Wilsey and Lieutenant J. M. Hammond, who, with Lieutenant Nietz, carried on the experimental work on sensitized materials. A large part of what is new and what is ascribed in the following chapters to "The American Air Servce" is the work of this group of men. Were individual references made, in place of this general and inclusive one, their names would thickly sprinkle these pages. It has been a rare privilege to have associates so able, enthusiastic, and loyal.