Douglas DC-3 in America by Air
Museum in Washington, DC

America by Air

The history of commercial aviation in the United States from airmail to airlines.

Flying was new and daring in the early years of the 20th century. Traveling by airplane was rare. Airlines, airliners, airports, air routes—none of these existed. But by century's end, you could travel to almost anywhere in America by air in a matter of hours. How did this revolutionary change happen?

America by Air explores the history of air transportation in the United States and shows how the federal government has shaped the airline industry, how improvements in technology have revolutionized air travel, and how the flying experience has changed. Highlights include a Ford 5-AT Tri-Motor, Boeing 247, and DC-3 airliners; a cockpit simulation of an Airbus A320; and a nose from a Boeing 747 jumbo jet that you can enter.

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Museum in Washington, DC
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  • Above and Beyond

    Above and Beyond

    Celebrate the power of innovation at Above and Beyond, an exhibition hosted at the Museum in Washington, DC from August 1, 2015 to January 3, 2016. Here, visitors use their whole body to learn the forces of flight. 

  • Douglas DC-3 in America by Air

    Douglas DC-3 in America by Air

    The most successful airliner in history, the Douglas DC-3 dominated both commercial and military air transportation from its introduction in 1935 until after World War II. It was the first airplane that could make money by carrying only passengers. This one flew nearly 57,000 hours for Eastern Air Lines from 1937 to 1952.

Exhibition Sponsors

This Exhibition is Made Possible Through the Generous Support of:

Northwest Airlines, Inc.

Federal Aviation Administration

The Boeing Company Rockwell Collins

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