To the best of our knowledge, Flak-Bait is the only World War II bomber of its kind to retain the original insulating fabric panels lining the interior of the forward fuselage. To preserve the original fabric, we performed a number of innovative conservation treatments.
In the early morning of June 6, 1944, thousands of soldiers, sailors, and airmen readied themselves for D-Day of Operation Overlord. For several divisions of American and British soldiers, the invasion had actually begun the night before on board Douglas C-47s.
The Martin B-26B Marauder Flak-Bait, an iconic artifact of World War II is undergoing artifact treatment in the Museum’s Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar. In this first in a series of blogs about the conservation of the aircraft, we explore the preservation of the doped fabric on the rudder.
In May 1919, the U.S. Navy sponsored three Curtiss flying boats—the NC-1, NC-3, and NC-4—each with a crew of six, in an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Lt. Commander Albert C. Read commanded the NC-4, the only aircraft to succeed in its mission. As we prepare to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the NC-4’s historic transatlantic flight, the materials in Read’s collection are available to transcribe in the Smithsonian’s Transcription Center.
The first pioneering pilots flew the airways during the day without purpose-designed maps. This presented a problem for the U.S. Post Office: Without flying at night, airmail was slower than by railroad and the higher cost of air transport had no value.
Introduced in 1927, the Vega was the first product of designer Jack Northrop and Allan Loughead's Lockheed Aircraft Company. Sturdy, roomy, streamlined and fast, the innovative Vega became favored by pilots seeking to set speed and distance records.