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Aircraft

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Wed, September 28 2016

The History of Japan’s First Jet Aircraft

Earlier this year, our collections staff at the Udvar-Hazy Center, in Chantilly, Virginia, moved the Nakajima Kikka from beneath the wing of the Sikorsky JRS flying boat in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar and out onto the floor beneath the Boeing B-29 Enola Gay. Moving the Kikka provides an opportunity to bring visitors closer to the last known example of a World War II Japanese jet aircraft and the only Japanese jet to takeoff under its own power—it also opened up space in the Hangar so that our team could install netting to deter birds. 

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Japanese Jet Aircraft
Tue, September 27 2016

Preparing to Restore the “Concrete Plane”

The Museum is proud to have the Ilyushin Il-2 in its collections, as one of the few large artifacts in the Museum's possession associated with the Soviet Air Force in World War II. Once on exhibition, the plane will close a large void in the Museum’s presentation. But before the Shturmovik can enter the workshop, we have to learn as much as possible about the aircraft and its history.

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Soviet Ilyushin Il-2 Cockpit
Mon, September 26 2016

Stalin’s “Essential Aircraft:” Ilyushin Il-2 in WWII

At the Museum’s Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility, a unique aircraft is waiting for restoration: the Soviet Ilyushin Il-2. Barely known in the West, the Il-2 Shturmovik played an essential role in defeating the Nazi...

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 Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik in Flight
Fri, August 26 2016

An Aerobatic Pilot’s Best Friend

Art Scholl was a three-time member of the U.S. Aerobatic Team, a racer at the Reno Air Races, an airshow pilot, and a fixed base operator with an aerobatic school. His dog Aileron often flew with him in his deHavilland Chipmunk, riding on the wing as Scholl taxied on the runway or perched on his shoulder in the aircraft.

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Art Scholl and Aileron
Thu, August 25 2016

1932: Amelia Earhart Flies Nonstop Across U.S.

Today in 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the U.S. nonstop. Earhart  piloted her Lockheed Vega 5B from Los Angeles to Newark in a record 19 hours and 5 minutes.

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Lockheed 5B Vega in Pioneers of Flight
Mon, August 8 2016

On This Day: Wilbur Wright Flies in Europe

On this day in 1908, Wilbur Wright publicly demonstrated a Wright aircraft for the first time in Europe at the Hunaudières racecourse at Le Mans, southwest of Paris.

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1908 Wright Flyer at Le Mans
Sat, August 6 2016

On This Day: Enola Gay Drops Atomic Bomb

On this day in 1945, during the final stages of World War II, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay dropped the first atomic weapon used in combat on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

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Enola Gay Landing at Tinian
Fri, August 5 2016

The Year Aeronautics Was an Olympic Event

Today, marks the opening ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Modern opening ceremonies are often accompanied by a flyover. In the 1936 games in Berlin, Germany, an actual gold medal was awarded for Aeronautics. Gliding, in which aircraft were catapulted into the air, and aerobatics were demonstration events, with the hopes of becoming full-fledged events in the future.

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Bücker Bu 133 Jungmeister
Tue, August 2 2016

On This Day: The First U.S. Military Airplane

On this day in 1909, the United States government purchased its first military aircraft, designed by the Wright brothers and costing $30,000.

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1909 Wright Military Flyer
Fri, July 29 2016

Flying the SR-71

The Museum is fortunate that among our corps of docents, or guides, are people with direct experience flying or flying in a number of our aircraft. Among those docents are Buz Carpenter and Phil Soucy who know what its like to sit inside one of the world's fastest aircrafts, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.

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Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Landing at Dulles

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