This is a long-overdue study of Sir Frederick H. Sykes, Chief of the Air Staff of Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) during the First World War. Historians, for the most part, have either overlooked Sykes or misinterpreted him, leaving a gap in the story of British flying. Contrary to previous images of Sykes, we now see that he was not a secretive intriguer or a tangential subject in RAF history. Rather, he played a fundamental part in organizing and leading British aviation from 1912 to the end of 1918. He provided organization, visionary guidance and efficient administrative control for the fledgling service that tried to survive infancy in the heat of battle.