National Air and Space Museum

Air and Space Stories

We want to hear about your memories of visiting our Museum and stories about how aviation and spaceflight have impacted your life.

Share Your Story About Air and Space Stories

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Showing 13 - 24 of 27

Denise D.

Date of Story: 22 Jun 2017

My family ancestry passion has taken me in search of any details that I can uncover especially regarding my uncle, Lt.Col. Louis Benne. He (and my mom and their siblings) was a son of immigrants, raised in rural Somerset County near Flight 93, was captivated at age 6 by Charles Lindbergh's flight to Paris, earned money to learn to fly while in high school, and when he graduated in 1940, he enlisted in the AAF eventually leading an escort squadron on his 52nd mission flying a P-38 over Budapest before he was shot down 14 Jun 1944.

After his POW experience, he remained in the USAF until 1960 taking part in atomic testing (the effects of which led to his death at age 56) and then to Sperry Company where he was a test pilot and worked with some of the early astronauts as a result of a NASA contract.

Consumed not to just learn the timeline of his life to write his story but to be able to connect with him through other means, I was thrilled to discover earlier this year that the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center had a P-38 on display. I went to the facility and now have a photo of me standing next to it --it was the motivation that took me from my home in Gettysburg to Shreveport, LA to meet the last survivor of my uncle's squadron. Jack is now 95 years old and was flying with my uncle on the mission when he was shot down. Seeing that plane before hearing Jack's story added so much context and dimension to the experience that otherwise I wouldn't have had.

My uncle committed his life to flying at age 6 after the 1927 Lindbergh experience; my commitment to complete the narrative of his life was boosted immensely after seeing an actual P-38---the plane which made him a military ACE and a family hero.

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Rebecca C.

Date of Story: 5/16/1994

On May 16, 1994, on the football field of a public middle school in rural Louisiana, a one-person airplane lifted off the ground to the cheers of the fifth graders who had built it.

The plane lifted only a few feet into the air, but it was enough. This short flight represented a two year labor of love for a team of educators and two classes of students. This was no model or kit. It was designed and built by children who learned about physics, the scientific method, and construction along the way.

The wings were made from foam wall insulation donated by a local company. The seat was made from an extension ladder and a seatbelt taken from an abandoned jeep. The pilot- a classroom teacher- wore a motorcycle helmet and a bulletproof vest borrowed from the town sheriff’s department.

The pilot was my dad.


-More info here: https://fammedvitalsigns.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/taking-flight-five-lessons-from-fifth-graders/

-Back in the 90s Louisiana Public Broadcasting did a brief feature on the Devall Flyer. The segment starts at 05:20, and the plane takes off at 07:27.
http://ladigitalmedia.org/video_v2/asset-detail/LDDAD-109

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David S.

Date of Story: 10/16/2017

I was an engineer on the launch teams for Gemini and Apollo in Florida. After leaving the space business, my career often took me back to the DC area, and my first stop was always the Air & Space museum. I would make a beeline to Apollo 11 and fondly remember excitement playing a small part in such an historic event. I would occasionally offer insight to other visitors and sometimes they would ask to have their picture taken with me in front of Apollo 11.

Anonymous

Date of Story: 26-10-2017

i love mars rover. i love to know more about mars and the research that is going behind it...

Vinicius P.

Date of Story: 12/05/2016

My only story with "Air and Space" was the supermoon came, in December 5th of 2016 - or something like that, I don't remember right. I checked out of my house, then I used my camera to register that moment. See the space from the earth makes us to think about how big is the universe, so, events like supermoon connect us with world and stars, and the space. This is weird to talk, but it's a perpection.

Thomas L

Date of Story: 1955 NACA at Langley Field

As a kid growing up in Newport News we lived about 20 airline miles from the enormous wind tunnels at NACA. Often enough their loud high pitched whine would wake me up at 2AM (2AM because electricity was cheapest then). That sound of "live science" played a part in my inspiration to become an MIT electrical engineer and work at NASA Langley '61-'65 before going into Medicine. A NACA engineer living on my black noted by fascination, and handed me a card with "wind tunnel - schlieren" and said here Tom, look this up, it will fascinate you." My very first real scientific word at age 14. The bait worked.

Chris M.

Hello there,

I was looking through the app exploring which aircraft you had in your museums as I am due to visit Washington next month with my partner, I came across the Supermarine Spitfire you have on display and thought it looked familiar. My grandfather, Bryan ‘Mac’ McDowell has a photo of it hanging in his house. I asked him about this last night and he told me that he worked on this exact Spitfire before it was sent over to the USA! He worked on the pneumatics and hydraulics of the Spitfire. His anicdote of the time he spent working on it is that he’s a tall gentleman and after the testing of Spitfire, there was some power left and the gentleman in charge of the team of engineers helped my Grandfather in the cockpit and pushed him in (as he was so tall!) and had a real feel of all his works in this magnificent aircraft. He was absolutely over the moon when I told him about me visiting and it really made his day as he’s not in good health and it certainly made him look and feel better! It’s amazing what effect the memories of this aircraft and story had on him. I can’t wait to visit it to see it in person!

Kindest regards

Chris M.

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Connor

Date of Story: 03/6/18

i love to learn everything and i went in nasa way before and i had learn technology when i was
17 years old in high school and i do really love going back to learn with all of you again.

David S.

Date of Story: 3/15/18

I had been an engineer on the launch team at Kennedy for Apollos 6-13. After leaving the space industry, I frequently took business trips back to the DC area and always made time for a visit to NASM and my old pal, Apollo 11. It thrilled me to just stand next to her and remember the "good old days". Once, some tourists were next to me and posed a question to each other about the mission for which I volunteered the answer. When my background came out, they all wanted me to pose with them for photos in front of the CM.

Steven A. E.

Date of Story: 3-29-18

How far the Air and Space museum has come. First time I was privileged to visit the Smithsonian Museum was 1973. Wonderful experience at the age of 15. It was during Richard Nixon’s presidential inauguration. At that time there was no Air and Space Museum. The artifacts that I had the chance to see where located in the Castle. Very limited space was available to show the artifacts. I remember the Apollo 11 capsule, The Wright brothers flyer and Of course one of the first viewings of Moonrock’s. How exciting, but now you have grown to an amazing collection of items. Definitely a lot more square footage. And being a avid aviation enthusiast over the years I had the privilege of meeting and communicating with a few of the aviation’s greatest pilots that you have honored in the Air and Space Museum. General Chuck Yeager, Robert Hoover, Gregory (Pappy) Boyington And also having the enjoyment of seeing These pilots fly. Chuck Yeager, Robert Hoover, Paul Tibbetts and many others. So in closing, keep up the great work. So that future explorers will know where it all started.

Joseph M. T.

Date of Story: March,2015 thru 04/08/2018

StarCruiser;
StarCruiser came to me on December 12, 2013 with a photograph that I hap-hazardly made off my balcony at 7:20 p.m.. I saw lights way to the northwest of the high rise that I live in. I prepared the camera and tripod and made the first photograph. I saw ports of light. I had time to make one photograph and I purposely made the photograph large enough to pull in what may be around the ports of light? A wing made of light above the ports. I thought this has got to be a different type of ship...perhaps a spaceship? March 5th, 2015 it came back for me. An old friend and neighbor of mine, Sandy, from Washington Park area in Denver, said; "Joe, I've noticed a beautiful and different light or star in the sky to the west for some time now...I don't think it is Venus? Would you take a look at it?" My flat faces north and I have a 180% view to the east and to the west. It is approximately 8 miles SW of downtown Denver, Colorado. I walked to the west side of my floor and saw something I had never seen before in the night sky? I started photographing it, in a fine arts light - from March 6th, 2015 on. Occasionally from atop Green Mountain, Colorado or Houston Park, Denver. Eighty percent of the time right from my balcony - ten feet from my living room. I thought I would learn more by doing frequent production. In September of 2015 things became up close and personal...just what I hoped and prayed for...It has not waned and it is as current as last night. Many different ships and occurences...time and time again...every shoot.

Arthur G.

Date of Story: 1975 - 1977

I designed the thermal protection for NTS - 2, the first of the GPS satellites. As a kid, in the 60’s, I was a geek following every launch but never thought I would be a contributor. In 1977 I was on-site at Vandenburg buttoning up the satellite, on a platform next to the Atlas rocket, garbed in a clean room outfit & monitored by TV where the other personnel sat safely in a bunker. Now “my satellite “ is space junk thousands of miles away. It will remain up there long after me!

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