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Aviation

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Sat, April 6 2013

The Flight Claims of Gustave Whitehead

1897 Whitehead triplane hang glider   Gustave Whitehead is back in the news. Whitehead (1874-1927), a native of Leutershausen,...

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The 1903 Wright Flyer After Fourth Flight
Fri, April 5 2013

One Story, Two Museums: A Century of Alaska Aviation

In early 2010, I received an e-mail out of the blue from Julie Decker, the chief curator of the Anchorage Museum, asking if I would be interested in co-curating an exhibition on flight and Alaska.

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Arctic Flight: A Century of Alaska Aviation
Thu, March 28 2013

Fly Ball!

On April 1, the 2013 Major League Baseball season begins.  The National Air and Space Museum’s hometown Washington Nationals begin their season at home.  My beloved Baltimore Orioles, however, begin their season on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida.  Like most teams, they will take a chartered airplane to their destination.

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New York Yankees Baseball Team
Wed, March 20 2013

Removing Items from the Collection at the National Air and Space Museum

Visitors to the National Air and Space Museum don’t often get to see the work that goes on behind the scenes. This is especially true in terms of the labor that goes into collecting and caring for our artifacts. Many may wonder where all the air and space stuff (we call them artifacts) comes from. The answer is from a variety of places, including the United States Air Force, NASA, and the general public. These artifacts vary; some are large (aircraft and spacecraft) but many are relatively small (aircraft equipment or military or commercial airline uniforms and insignia, for example, or items of popular culture—air and space toys and games).

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Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
Tue, March 12 2013

Preserving and Displaying the “Bat-Wing Ship” - March Update

Waiting for an update on the conservation and restoration of our Horten H IX V3 "Bat-wing Ship?"

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Horten H IX V3 Acrylic
Wed, March 6 2013

Meet the Curtiss-Wright Aeronautical Engineering Cadettes

Just when I think I might know something about women in aviation, or just when we think we’ve heard all the stories about “the greatest generation,” I find out about another group who contributed to the World War II effort.  They were not Rosie the Riveters assembling aircraft on production lines nor were they the pilots known as the WASP.  By now, most people have heard of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, 1,074 civilian women who, from 1943 to 1944, flew more than 60 million miles ferrying military aircraft, towing targets, and performing other administrative flying duties for the US Army Air Forces. 

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The WASP
Thu, February 21 2013

Civil War Planes

In a recent post, Tom Paone described the plans of William Powell, a resident of Mobile, Alabama, for a Confederate helicopter. In fact, Powell’s scheme was only the tip of the iceberg. In researching a scholarly paper on Civil War Planes, I have catalogued a score of plans for powered flying machines developed on both sides of the battle lines. Perhaps the most interesting of these was the work of Colonel Edward Wellman Serrell , a professional engineer serving with the Union Army of the James in 1864. Inspired by the well-known hand-held helicopter toy, Serrell had begun studying aeronautics several years before the War.

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The Serrell Reconoiterer
Tue, February 12 2013

Amelia Earhart and the Profession of Air Navigation

The recent seventy-fifth anniversary of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, stirred up considerable media attention – particularly in light of another expedition to the South Pacific in the hopes of solving the mystery. While the fate of Earhart has enthralled the public since 1937, the story of how Earhart figures into the larger history of air navigation and long-distance flying is often overlooked.  

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Amelia Earhart
Wed, January 23 2013

Plans for the Little Known Confederate Helicopter

As my colleague Dr. Tom Crouch referenced in a previous post, our nation is currently in the midst of commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War (or sesquicentennial for you Latin fans). 

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Civil War Helicopter
Thu, January 10 2013

The Archives Department’s First Anniversary at the Udvar-Hazy Center

On January 10, 2012, the National Air and Space Museum Archives Department officially opened its new reading room at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to public researchers.  We welcomed six researchers that day, including two who had scheduled a trip from Germany to coincide with our grand opening.

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Archives Reading Room

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