Topic

Aviation

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Tue, August 27 2013

Wolfgang von Gronau and his Greenland “whales”

With the depredations of Nazi Germany dominating the international memory of the middle decades of the twentieth century, many German social, cultural, and technical contributions not associated with the tainted influence of the Third Reich have been forgotten or overlooked. One of the individuals who contributed significantly to the prospects of regular transatlantic air service before open warfare ended such endeavors was Wolfgang von Gronau.

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Wolfgang von Gronau
Fri, August 16 2013

Remembering Wiley Post and Will Rogers

On August 15, 1935, in a plane crash near Point Barrow Alaska, famed aviator Wiley Post perished alongside his close friend, the renowned humorist and popular culture icon Will Rogers. With the exception of Charles Lindbergh, no American aviator of the time was as celebrated as Post, while Rogers was widely considered as the nation’s most gifted commentator on American society. Their loss impacted the two brightest spots in American culture during the Depression – aviation and film – and was especially devastating because of it.

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Wiley Post and Will Rogers
Sat, July 6 2013

Solar Impulse: Rhyming with the Past, Looking to the Future

An unusual looking, four-engine, single-place, 200-foot wingspan airplane called Solar Impulse is making the same journey the pioneering Cal Rodgers did in 1911.

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Solar Impulse
Wed, June 26 2013

Check Out Our New Website for Some Fresh Air and Space

Monday, we launched the new National Air and Space Museum website. We’ve given the site an extreme makeover and are very excited to launch this revitalized online presence. This digital “renovation” was completed in-house by our Web & New Media Department with tremendous support from many contributors and stakeholders across the Museum.  

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National Air and Space Museum Website
Thu, June 13 2013

American Military Aviation in the Interwar Years and After: Some Historical Reappraisals

In 1987, the historian Michael S. Sherry published a groundbreaking and controversial book titled The Rise of American Air Power: The Creation of Armageddon (Yale UP, 1987). Sherry in effect reinterpreted the history of American air power in a way that was more contextually based and fiercely critical. The result was not to every military historian’s liking because it deviated so dramatically from what was considered the master narrative of American air power, which traditionally had focused on combat tactics and weaponry, and which had neglected the broader implications of air power and its employment. Moreover, Sherry upset the “Good War” narrative (mistakenly from Studs Terkel’s ironically titled The Good War: An Oral History of WWII) that emphasizes the heroic side of war and downplays its destructiveness, death, and tragedy. Thus, The Rise of American Air Power could be seen as representative of what has been termed the “New Military History,” an attempt to bring military history into line with other academic historical endeavor.

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Martin B-26B Marauder Flak-Bait
Tue, June 4 2013

Solar Impulse

What flies using power from the Sun, at the speed of an ultralight, on wings longer than a Boeing 777 airliner? Answer: Solar Impulse! A team of Swiss entrepreneurs, engineers, pilots, and enthusiasts began to design the Solar Impulse in 2003 with the goal to demonstrate flying day-and-night powered only by the electricity that more than 11,000 individual solar cells generate. The electricity is stored in batteries when not used, and spin the propellers on four 10-horsepower electric motors when in flight.

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Solar Impulse
Tue, April 30 2013

Sea-Air Operations Gallery

When Secretary of the Navy William J. Middendorf II commissioned the USS Smithsonian, CVM-76, on June 28, 1976, he announced in authentic navy parlance that “the floors are now decks, walls are bulkheads and stairs are ladders. "Welcome Aboard!” Visitors to the gallery may not realize that exhibits artisans built the gallery using the decks, bulkheads, ladders and other parts removed from five famous American aircraft carriers. 

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Sea-Air Operations Gallery Entrance
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

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