The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) were the precursors of arguably the finest, most efficient and certainly the oldest, independent air arm in the world - the RAF. The RFC was formed in 1912, combining the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers and the Naval Air Organization, and embracing a Central Flying School and Royal Aircraft Factory. Two years later, just before the First World War, the RNAS was created as an independent unit. By then it was already predicted that battles for supremacy of the air by armed aircraft were only a matter of time. This book explores a wide range of subjects - from aircraft, airships and balloons, to pay, rank, uniforms, motor vehicles, the women's branches, minor conflicts and even the songs which were popular in the Mess. The text is fully illustrated with many previously unpublished photographs, line drawings and maps.