[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
May 27, 1974

The Dangerous Sky: A History of Aviation Medicine

Author Affiliations

Providence Hospital Seattle

JAMA. 1974;228(9):1168. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230340066047

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


For those of us who experience a rush of excitement at the frosty exhaust of a jet against a crimson sunset, or for those who gleefully dabble in the curious romance of the Martin MB-1 bomber, this detailed history of aviation, from the view of a physician, will renew those experiences and certainly add new thoughts for further adventure. Aviation is similar to evolution. The finished product, however, today has effectively evolved in 250 years. Bartholomeu Laurenco de Guzmaon, in 1709, demonstrated a device before the King of Portugal that anticipated the hot-air balloon, and the first ascent of a human, which Dr. Robinson traces to 1804 and Jean Baptiste Biot. As the primate succeeded in evolving to humans, so did these balloon fliers evolve to the triumph of space. While occasionally the reading is tedious, from the technical nature of the subject, Dr. Robinson views the courageous physician-physiologist-scientists as