Aeronautics Department Curator

Dr. Michael Hankins is the Curator of U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps post-World War II Aviation. This collection contains about thirty aircraft tracing the evolution of military aviation technology throughout the post-World War II period, including the F-86A SabreF-14D Tomcat, the T-38A Talon flown by Jacqueline Cochran,   F/A-18C Hornet, and the SR-71 Blackbird.

Dr. Hankins is the author of Flying Camelot: The F-15, the F-16, and the Weaponization of Fighter Pilot Nostalgia. This book examines the intersection of culture and technology, exploring how fighter pilot culture and the memory of World War I shaped technological decision-making during the development of the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon. Dr. Hankins continues to pursue research into the interaction between culture and military aviation technology, both in the armed forces and in American society.

Dr. Hankins is also an assistant editor for the scholarly web journal From Balloons to Drones, and host of the podcast, "From Balloons to Drones."

Prior to joining the museum, Dr. Hankins was an Assistant Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College, and a former instructor of military history at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He earned a PhD in history at Kansas State University and an MS in history from the University of North Texas.

In addition to teaching military history, Dr. Hankins has taught courses in World History, American Air Power, and a course on Comic Books in American History, and he has  worked as a researcher in the curatorial department of the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art.

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