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Aviation

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Mon, November 19 2012

The Presidential Turkey Arrives by Air

Suitably clad in a custom-made flying suit and sporting a pair of goggles, President Warren G. Harding's 1921 Thanksgiving turkey, the gift of the Harding Girls' Club of Chicago, arrives at the College Park (Maryland) airport on a DH-4 mailplane.

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Presidential Turkey
Sat, October 27 2012

Life and Liquor at “Leftover” Field

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay is one of the National Air and Space Museum’s most heralded artifacts, but a new addition to the National Air and Space Museum Archives Division’s collections provides a glimpse into the lives of the crew before they became worldwide names.  In May, the Archives accepted an accession of three State of Utah individual liquor permits for 1944 to 1945 (Acc. No. 2012-0027). 

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Major Thomas Ferebee’s Utah Liquor Ration Card
Fri, October 12 2012

Fighters, Warbirds, and Racers

The high-flying long-range North American P-51 Mustang escort fighter was a war-winning weapon for the United States and its Allies during World War II. As American Mustang pilots protected bombers and pursued their enemies in the air over Europe and the Pacific, they earned a place for themselves and their airplane in the annals of military and aviation history. The availability of surplus Mustangs and other fighters such as the Corsair, Bearcat, Airacobra, and Lightning after World War II and into the 1950s helped create what we call the “warbird” community today.

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North American P-51 Mustang
Wed, August 22 2012

Tuskegee Red Lands at Air and Space!

During World War II, a group of young, enthusiastic and skilled African American men pressed the limits of flight and the boundaries of racial inequality by becoming Army Air Forces pilots. Most of these pilots trained at Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama.

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Tuskegee Crape Myrtle
Fri, July 13 2012

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

This post is a follow up to Preserving and Displaying the “Bat-Wing Ship” published on September 9, 2011.This post is a follow up to Preserving and Displaying the “Bat-Wing Ship” published on September 9, 2011.

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Center Section of the Horten H IX V3
Wed, June 27 2012

Look! In the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…a flying beer keg?

Well, not exactly, but that is the nickname some have given to the RQ-16 T-Hawk (short for Tarantula Hawk, a wasp that preys on the large spiders).  The T-Hawk micro air vehicle (MAV) is a small unmanned aircraft that has been making a name for itself in both military and civilian circles since it was developed by Honeywell International Corporation starting in 2003.  Weighing only about 20 pounds, the T-hawk relies on a small gasoline-powered engine (like a lawn-mower) and a ducted fan to allow it to take off and land vertically (like a helicopter), fly up to 46 miles per hour for about 50 minutes, and reach heights of 10,000 feet! 

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RQ-16A T-Hawk
Thu, June 7 2012

Birds of a Feather

This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts, and on Saturday, June 9th there will be an estimated 200,000 girls coming to Washington DC for the Girl Scouts Rock the Mall event.  There are many famous women, including First Ladies, a Supreme Court justice, CEOs, and even astronauts who remember their days in Girl Scouting as ones that helped shape their careers.  Most of us know that the Girl Scout organization was designed to empower girls and teach values as well as practical skills.  But did you know that at a time when most women and girls were being told the only job for them in aviation was that of stewardess, the Girl Scouts were offering a program to teach girls to fly airplanes?

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Wing Scouts Boarding Airplane
Wed, May 30 2012

Hypersonic Flight

The day is Thursday, February 24, 1949; the pens on the automatic plotting boards at South Station are busy tracking the altitude and course of a rocket, which just moments before had been launched from a site three miles away on the test range of the White Sands Proving Ground.

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NASA X-43A Scramjet
Thu, May 24 2012

The Desegregation of Airports in the American South

Many older African Americans who grew up in the South painfully remember the time when black passengers had to sit in the back of busses or use separate train compartments; and when train stations and bus terminals provided separate but mostly unequal facilities such as drinking fountains, restrooms, waiting lounges, and eating facilities for black and white passengers.

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Segregated Montgomery Airport

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