As a public health precaution, both of our locations, along with all Smithsonian museums, are temporarily closed. See our message to visitors.
Early Flight has closed as part of the Museum’s renovation. Learn more about the project to transform the National Air and Space Museum.
Details about the closed exhibition, as well as the original exhibition description, can be found below.
Celebrate the first decade of flight in the fictitious Smithsonian Aeronautical Exposition of 1913.
Early Flight celebrates the first decade of flight by evoking the atmosphere of an aviation exhibition from that period: the fictitious Smithsonian Aeronautical Exposition of 1913. The gaily decorated gallery is crammed with fabric-covered aerial vehicles, some fanciful, most real, along with trade show–style exhibits featuring cutting-edge technology of the day.
Gracing the gallery is a rare 1894 Lilienthal glider, along with Samuel P. Langley's Aerodrome #5 and Quarter-Scale Aerodrome, powered, unmanned vehicles that successfully flew in 1896 and 1903. Early Flight also features the most original and complete of the Museum's three Wright airplanes, the 1909 Wright Military Flyer, the world's first military airplane. Other treasures include a Curtiss Model D "Headless Pusher," an Ecker Flying Boat, and a Blériot XI monoplane.