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Aircraft

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Sun, August 2 2015

The New Air Show in Town: Aerobatic Flight!

The Aerobatic Flight exhibition at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, in Chantilly, Virginia, has a new addition—a film entitled, naturally, Aerobatic Flight! All the excitement of multiple airshows is packed into this lively film through clips of current pilots on the airshow scene and footage of legendary pilots from the dawn of the airshow.

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In Plane View: Extra 260
Thu, July 16 2015

Phrog Farewell

On August 1, the National Air and Space Museum will join with the United States Marine Corps and the National Museum of the Marine Corps to bid adieu to one of the most important American military aircraft of the past 50 years, the Boeing CH-46 Sea Knight, or “Phrog,” as it is almost universally known among Marines.

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CH-46 Lands Supplies
Tue, June 30 2015

Lippisch DM 1 Reconsidered - Part 4

In this four-part series, curators Russ Lee and Evelyn Crellin take an in-depth look at the Lippisch DM 1, an experimental German glider. At the conclusion of Part 3, the glider was tested in the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Full-Scale Wind Tunnel. In this final post, Russ and Evelyn connect those early tests with the world's first delta wing aircraft.  We have found no written confirmation that Convair incorporated the NACA data from the DM 1 directly into their groundbreaking work to design and build the first jet-propelled delta wing aircraft.

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Visitors Study the Lippisch DM 1
Thu, June 25 2015

The NACA/NASA Full Scale Wind Tunnel

The Scene: A new wind tunnel, the NACA Full Scale Tunnel at the NACA Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, Hampton, Virginia The Time: May 27, 1931 The Action: A Navy Vought O3U-1 “Corsair II” –the whole airplane—is mounted in the wind tunnel.

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Technician Checks Fan Motor in Full Scale Wind Tunnel
Tue, June 23 2015

Lippisch DM 1 Reconsidered - Part 3

In this four-part series, curators Russ Lee and Evelyn Crellin take an in-depth look at the Lippisch DM 1, an experimental German glider. At the conclusion of Part 2, U.S. Army General George S. Patton ordered the students to resume construction of the glider at the Prien Airport. A number of American visitors arrived to witness the construction of the DM 1, including the famous American pioneer of aerodynamics Walter Stuart Diehl.

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Lippisch DM 1
Thu, June 18 2015

Bell X-1 in 3D

In April, the  Smithsonian X 3D team pointed their lasers and scanners at the Bell X-1, the same iconic aircraft that shot Capt. Charles 'Chuck' Yeager across the pristine skies of the Mojave Desert to a record-breaking speed. On October 14, 1947,  in the Bell X-1, Yeager became the first pilot to fly faster than sound. Now, we can all get as close to the Bell X-1 as Yeager himself with the recently released 3D model of the exterior of the aircraft. In honor of the new 3D model and that resounding flight, we've compiled five facts to help you begin your exploration of the aircraft and that key moment in history. We also reached out to Smithsonian X 3D team to find out exactly how one goes about capturing a 3D model. But first, our five facts: 1. To conserve fuel, the X-1 was flown up to 7,620 meters (25,000 ft) attached to the bomb bay of a modified Boeing B-29 bomber and then dropped.  

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Chuck Yeager in Bell X-1
Tue, June 16 2015

Lippisch DM 1 Reconsidered - Part 2

In this four-part series, curators Russ Lee and Evelyn Crellin take an in-depth look at the Lippisch DM 1, an experimental German glider. At the conclusion of Part 1, construction of the glider had begun in August 1944 by students of the Flugtechnische Fachgruppe (FFG). Construction of the experimental glider was derailed dramatically on September 11 and 12, 1944, when Allied bombers struck Darmstadt, including the building that housed the FFG D 33 project.

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Inside the Lippisch DM 1
Fri, May 22 2015

Glenn Curtiss Motorcycle

You may know the name Glenn Curtiss in association with early aviation, but did you know he was a pioneer in motorcycle design too?

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Cutiss V-8 Motorcycle
Sat, May 9 2015

Alexander de Seversky: Influential World War II Air Power Advocate

With all the activities going on lately about World War II aircraft, I’d like to tell the story of Russian naval pilot Alexander de Seversky, that country’s top naval ace in World War I, who later became one of the most influential proponents of the use of strategic air power in warfare — and Disney film star — in the United States. De Seversky was born in Triflis, Russia on June 7, 1894, to an aristocratic family. He learned how to fly by age 14 from his father who owned one of the first airplanes in Russia. De Seversky earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from the Imperial Russian Naval Academy in 1914 — at the outbreak of World War I — and became a second lieutenant in the Imperial Naval Air Service the following year.  

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Seversky SEV-3M WW
Wed, May 6 2015

Bringing History to Life: Honoring Our World War II Veterans

In the morning hours, before the National Air and Space Museum opens to the public, I’m often in the galleries going about my work among some of the great aviation treasures of the world. At every turn there is an airplane that left its mark on history or pointed the way to the future. It’s an inspiring setting. History’s ghosts swirl in your imagination. But, as rich as this experience is, there are times, alone in the quiet of the Museum, that I cannot help but imagine what it would be like to see these airplanes come back to life—to experience the sights and sounds of these world-changing machines before they became silent milestones of history in the Museum.

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North American P-51 Mustang

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