About

Line of Position is the online home of my research into the life and work of Captain Philip Van Horn Weems, USN, widely recognized as the founder of air navigation.

Topics that I will cover here include the biography of Captain Weems and other pioneers of air navigation; the history of maritime, air, and space navigation; books, articles, and other scholarship of interest; and conferences and events related to the above.

I am a full-time freelance generalist writer/editor. I trained in history and archives (MA in History and MLS in Archival Studies, University of Maryland, 1997). My historical research interests are the history of aviation, particularly the development of jet propulsion in the United States,  and British imperial aviation, particularly the Imperial Airship Scheme and the life of Lord Thomson of Cardington (1875-1930).

My interest in air navigation dates back to college, when I found a copy of Monte Duane Wright’s Most Probable Position: A History of Aerial Navigation to 1941 (University Press of Kansas, 1972). The catalyst for launching Line of Position and undertaking my research into the life and work of Captain Weems was an opportunity to meet Gwen Manseau, the editor of the wonderful memoir Box Kite to Bali: The Last Great Adventure of a U.S. Navy Pilot,  about a long-distance trip that Captain Weems took with his son shortly after World War II. Ms. Manseau and several members of the Weems family (Captain Weems is her grandfather) at a signing at Back Creek Books. The owner, Rock Toews, knowing of my interest in aviation, had suggested several times that someone needed to write a biography of Captain Weems. Now I’m going to try to do just that. Thanks for steering me in the right direction, Rock.

Welcome! I hope that Line of Position will serve as a hub for people who share an interest in the history of air navigation. Please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me. I’ll be happy to feature links to sites of interest too.

Paul Lagasse
Freelance Writer/Editor
Independent Scholar

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