In July of 1915, just two months after Italy joined the Allied Forces during World War I, Lieutenant Camillo Viglino, age 23, volunteered for flight training in the Italian Air Force. His account of the training provides the freshness and intimacy of an on-the-scene, firsthand report. It reveals an idealistic young man with an unbridled passion for flying and a patriotic zeal to fight for his country -- a young man daring to go up in the fragile flying machines of those early years of aviation, routinely placing himself at the mercy of the weather, cantankerous engines, and unreliable instruments. The discomforts of flying an open-cockpit 1914 Maurice Farman, the frequent crashes at the flight school, and the constant occurrences of pilots getting lost are all related with a nonchalant bravado befitting a 20-year-old. Viglino follows his diary-like accounts with a copy of a letter from a cousin at the front describing an air raid on Adelsberg, Austria.
This book was written in Italian and originally published in Italy in 1934. It was translated into English by his two children, Camilla Viglino Hurwitz and Victor Viglino.