Early Techniques and Equipment
The versatile de Havilland DH-4 played many roles in both military and civilian capacities. In addition to its bombing activities in World War I, the DH-4 was an observation and photoreconnaissance aircraft. Between the Wars, the "Liberty Planes", as the DH-4s were called, took on many different jobs, including forest patrols and geologic reconnaissance. For 10 years they served as the Army Air Service's standard airplane for aerial mapping and photography.
The DH-4 was introduced in England in 1917. Because of the War, time for new aircraft development was limited, so an American version of the already existing aircraft was produced in this country. More than 4000 DH-4s equipped with the American Liberty Engine were manufactured in the U.S. by 1919. The Air and Space Museum's aircraft is the first of these to be built.
Aerial cameras in the DH-4 could be hand-held or mounted either inside or outside the rear cockpit. The aircraft on display contains a Kodak L-4 camera positioned within the cockpit to take photographs through a small window in the floor.
the 1920s, Sherman Fairchild designed the K-3, a revolutionary new aerial
camera. Electrically driven, the K-3 had a new shutter and magazine which
advanced the technology of aerial photography. Fairchild later started
an aerial survey and map making company (one of many Fairchild companies