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Aircraft

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Sun, October 16 2011

Packing up Our Secret Decoder Ring

You know when you're packing up for a move to a new house — boxes everywhere — frantic activity to get everything stored away before the movers arrive,  and you still have to clean out the fridge.

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"Know Your Airplanes" wheel chart
Wed, October 5 2011

Flying the “Spirit of Tuskegee” Part III

This piece is a follow up to the posts below, in which I describe my experience flying a PT-13 Stearman that was used to train Tuskegee Airmen during WWII, from Moton Field, Alabama to Andrews AFB.

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Fri, September 9 2011

Preserving and Displaying the “Bat-Wing Ship” – August Update

This post is a follow up to Preserving and Displaying the "Bat-Wing Ship" published on June 24, 2011.

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Horten H IX V3
Fri, August 19 2011

"Spirit of Tuskegee" arrives at the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar – Part II

"'Spirit of Tuskegee' Arrives at the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar -- Part II." Curator Dik Daso describes highlights from his flight on the "Spirit of Tuskegee," a PT-13 Stearman recently donated to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and soon to be on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

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"Spirit of Tuskegee"
Sat, August 6 2011

Spirit of Tuskegee Arrives at Andrews AFB

This post is a follow up to Tuskegee Bird Flies North. ...So I was on the phone Monday evening and my wife asked me, "Well, what did you do today?" With subtle nonchalance I said, "Well, I strapped into the front seat of Matt's Stearman, ya know, the one that was flown by the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, and flew over Appomattox Court House, ya know, where Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army to Gen.

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Dik Daso and Matt Quy with PT-13 Stearman
Sat, July 30 2011

Tuskegee Bird Flies North

During the past two years, it has been my privilege to work closely with the curatorial staff of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to locate an aircraft with a lineage tied directly to the Tuskegee Airmen. We were fortunate enough to accomplish the mission that will culminate in the acquisition of a PT-13 Stearman that flew at Moton Field, Alabama, during WW II—the home of the Tuskegee Airmen.

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PT-13 Stearman
Tue, July 5 2011

The Spirit of '76

When I arrived at the National Air and Space Museum, Astro, as we called our department, consisted of just four curator/subject matter specialists and two support staff, shoe-horned into the northeast tower of the Arts and Industries Building, with a splendid view of the dumpster in the parking lot of the building.

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Smithsonian South Yard in 1974
Fri, June 24 2011

Preserving and Displaying the “Bat-Wing Ship”

Early in June, staff of the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Facility slowly and carefully moved the center section of the Horten H IX V3 all-wing jet fighter from storage into the restoration and preservation shop. 

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Horten H IX V3
Fri, April 22 2011

An Easter Airlift

Why is the smiling Pan American Airways flight attendant holding a box of baby chicks, and why have the chicks been dyed in festive colors?

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An Easter Airlift
Tue, April 19 2011

The Real Wright Flyer

Things such as the Hope Diamond, the Star Spangled Banner, the Lansdowne portrait of George Washington, and Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis airplane are good examples—one-of-a-kind items, familiar to all, and widely known to reside at the Smithsonian.  Also in this subset of signature objects is one of the most significant in the entire Smithsonian collection—the Wright Flyer, the world’s first airplane.

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1903 Wright Flyer

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