Dr. Michael Hankins is the Curator of US Air Force History. This collection contains over a dozen aircraft tracing the evolution of Air Force technology throughout the post-World War II period, including the F-86A Sabre, F-105D Thunderchief, the T-38A Talon flown by Jacqueline Cochran, and the SR-71 Blackbird.
Dr. Hankins’ work focuses on the intersection of culture and technology, particularly relating to fighter pilots and fighter aircraft. His current research traces the development of the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft. He has written on the design and development of the F-4 Phantom II and its use as an air-to-air platform in the Vietnam War, and published a study of how the evolution of radar and communications technology affected air-to-air combat performance in Vietnam in the journal Air Power History. He is also an assistant editor for the scholarly web journal From Balloons to Drones.
Prior to joining the museum, Dr. Hankins was an Assistant Professor of Strategy at the US Air Force Air Command and Staff College, and a former instructor of military history at the US 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 at Kansas State University in World History, American Air Power, and a course on Comic Books in American History. He has a minor field in public history and has worked as a researcher in the curatorial department of the University’s Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art.