For those of us who study the very early history of the airplane, the sight and sound of a World War I rotary engine running is a thrill that leaves a lasting impression. To fly in a rotary powered World War I airplane is a transformative experience. A few weeks ago I was transformed. I had...
During the recently completed centennial of naval aviation (2011), there were many and varied tributes to the factual history of naval aviation. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that public perception of the armed forces is also a strong historical consideration.
Twenty-five years ago, the staff of the National Air and Space Museum held its collective breath for nine days as a seemingly fragile, flying fuel tank made its way across oceans and continents in an attempt to become the first aircraft to fly around the world non-stop and unrefueled.
Airplane designers will tell you that the wing is the heart of an airplane. For conventional airplanes, it provides most of the lift generated by the airplane; the fuselage and tail contribute only a few percent of the overall lift of the airplane.
Stranded. Six days from its home port of San Francisco, a luxurious Boeing 314 flying boat, the Pacific Clipper, was preparing to alight in Auckland, New Zealand, as part of the airline’s transpacific service when the crew of ten learned of the Japanese attack on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941.
In American military history there are few dates more familiar than "December 7th, 1941... a date which will live in infamy..." The Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on that serene Sunday morning marked America's official entry into a global war that had been raging in Europe and throughout Asia for many years. Yet after the raid had ended, the wounded treated, and the dead counted, there remained pockets of hope that all was not lost that day.
When the floods in Thailand appeared in the news recently, my friends and colleagues recommended that I stay away. But how could I? It was only a 4.5 hour flight from China (where I would be attending the Lishui International Photography Festival November 5 - 9) and photographing the Bangkok (BKK) air traffic control tower at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport was a high priority on my “to do” list. Actually, the highest. It is the tallest freestanding air traffic control tower in the world at 132.2 meters (434 feet) and a major tower to include in my upcoming book and Smithsonian exhibition The Art of the Airport Tower.
Last Friday, the Museum hosted an online conference devoted to critical thinking in the Internet age. Using four conspiracy theories in aerospace history to demonstrate effective research techniques, staff from our Museum, the US Department of the Navy, and National History Day engaged with students and teachers from across the globe.
What comes to mind when you think of the Statue of Liberty? America, freedom, democracy. Her image is immediately recognized around the world as an ambassador for the United States and icon of the American dream. She has been the focal point of many a celebration over the years and in several cases, the gracious hostess (and waypoint) for aerial races and demonstrations. In celebration of her 125th anniversary, we gathered a few images, objects, and posters that feature inspiring views of Lady Liberty in the context of flight.
Blogs across the Smithsonian will give an inside look at the Institution’s archival collections and practices during a month long blogathon in celebration of October’s American Archives Month. See additional posts from our other participating blogs, as well as related events and resources, on the Smithsonian’s Archives Month website .