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Wed, June 24 2009

The Donor Making The Difference: The Eagle Is Being Restored

“I do not recall anyone else near my age giving tours or being turned loose to meet and greet the general public, ” he recalls, “ but it was a joy for me to share my enthusiasm with citizens from across the world, and turn their casual museum visits into a thrilling learning experience.”

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Lunar Module Restoration From Above
Wed, June 24 2009

What We're Working on in the Restoration Shop (Part 2)

In addition to the high-priority Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight aircraft being refurbished at the Garber Facility, we have a number of other projects progressing at a slower pace.

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Curtiss-Wright CW-1 Junior in Restoration Shop
Tue, June 23 2009

Don't Know What a Slide Rule is For

Of course the designers also used digital computers, but in the 1960s computers were giant machines that you programmed with punched cards, and they were strictly reserved for only the most complex mathematical calculations. As the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission approaches, we are constantly reminded of how incredible that voyage was.

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Fri, June 19 2009

What the Well-Dressed Pilot Wore in 1941

Looking elegant but a bit bulky, Lieutenant Gilbert L. Meyers of the 35th Pursuit Squadron models his government issued flying ensemble: an A-8 oxygen mask, B-6 goggles, B-3 winter jacket, A-3 trousers, B-5 helmet, A-9 gloves, A-6 shoes, and S-1 harness. 

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Rudy Arnold Photograph of Lt. Gilbert L. Meyers in Flight Gear
Fri, June 19 2009

Friends Forever

On June 23, 1948, the Soviet Union blockaded ground access to West Berlin, at that time occupied by the United States, Great Britain, and France. All road, rail, and barge traffic was shut down. President Harry S. Truman and Gen. Lucius D. Clay, the American Military Governor of Germany, resolved to keep the city supplied by air. The resulting “Operation Vittles” – also known as the Berlin Airlift – was a massive combined effort of all the U.S. armed services and the Western powers.

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Operation Little Vittles, Berlin Airlift
Wed, June 17 2009

1909 Alexander Graham Bell Letter

On May 14, 1909, Alexander Graham Bell wrote to Charles D. Walcott, then Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, detailing his plans to donate C. H. Claudy’s photographs of the Wright brothers’ 1908 Army Trials at Fort Myer, Virginia. The two page letter details the significance of the photos and his desire to have them perserved by the Smithsonian institution. 

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1909 Wright Military Flyer
Mon, June 15 2009

Tom Dietz (1958-2009)

Last month, the National Air and Space Museum lost long-time employee, Tom Dietz. Tom began his time at the Museum in the late 1980s as an intern, and joined the permanent staff in 1989 as a museum specialist in the Aeronautics Division. 

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Thu, June 11 2009

By the Moon's Early Light

 Flag Day is June 14 and it reminds me of one of the most famous "stars and stripes" in history -- the one left on the Moon by the Apollo 11 crew in 1969. I remember clearly that day when, as a teenager, I watched with my family as the flag was planted on the lunar surface. It brought chills to us all.

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Apollo 11: Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. flag on the Moon
Tue, June 9 2009

What We’re Working On In the Restoration Shop (Part One)

The high-priority project these days is the Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight gallery update, and several of the aircraft planned for the gallery are at the Garber Facility for cleaning, repairs, and preparation for hanging.  Let’s take a quick look.

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Piper J-2 Cub in the Restoration Shop
Fri, June 5 2009

Shooting the Beach

May 6th, 1944 - one month to the day before D-Day - German troops scatter for safety as Lt. Albert Lanker of the 31st Photo Reconnaissance Squadron flies fast and very low over the beach in "Outlaw", his F-5 Lightning (a variant of the Lockheed P-38 fighter). Lanker's job was to photograph the beach obstructions on the Normandy coast for the planners of the massive invasion; it was only his third mission. Jobs of this sort were called "dicing" missions, because the pilot, flying low (and unarmed) was dicing with death every time he flew.

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31st Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, May 6, 1944

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