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Aviation

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Sun, December 29 2013

The WASP in the 2014 Rose Parade

The Women Airforce Service Pilots, aka WASP, easily illustrate the theme of this year’s Rose Parade, Dreams Come True, as that is what happened for each woman selected to be a WASP. 

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The WASP
Thu, December 19 2013

Birthday Star

This is a story about light and time and distance, about years and light years and how they intersect. It is partly a personal story, so I beg your indulgence. I hope it will inspire you to find your own star. I moved from Boston to Northern Virginia in November 1983 to work as an editor for a national association. In my free time, I began exploring the museums on the National Mall. I visited the National Air and Space Museum for the first time, and there I encountered an exhibit I’ve remembered ever since.

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Stars Exhibition
Sun, December 15 2013

10 Cool Things About the Udvar-Hazy Center

Aeronautics curator Jeremy Kinney talks about 10 cool things you might not know about the Udvar-Hazy Center and definitely won't want to miss.

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Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Thu, December 5 2013

Horten H IX V3 “Bat-Wing Ship,” November 2013 Update

Led by object conservator and project leader Lauren Horelick, the National Air and Space Museum staff continues preparing the Horten IX V3 center section to move early in January (weather and roads permitting) to the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center where it will eventually be joined to the outer wing panels that are already displayed in the hangar.

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Horten H IX V3
Tue, November 26 2013

Movember

November means Movember, a month to celebrate moustaches around the world and promote awareness on men’s health issues, especially prostate and testicular cancer.

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Orville Wright
Tue, November 5 2013

The Most Fashionable Balloon of the Civil War

Although the collection of the National Air and Space Museum contains some of the best air- and spacecraft, it also has one of the best collections of artifacts from the often forgotten days of ballooning. Before humans were able to fly into the heavens on wings or rockets, they first rose off the ground in balloons, often tethered to prevent complete flight.

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General Edward Porter Alexander
Thu, October 24 2013

Radar Charts from the Bombing of Dresden

One question I’m often asked as a curator is, “do you ever find anything interesting for the museum on eBay?” The answer is yes. This is the story of a particularly interesting find.

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Closeup of Ruhland and Dresden
Fri, September 13 2013

An Extraordinary Journey: The History of Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds

The possibility of human mechanical flight held particular fascination for Leonardo da Vinci.  He produced more than 35,000 words and 500 sketches dealing with flying machines, the nature of air, and bird flight.  He produced one notebook, or codex, almost entirely on flight in 1505-1506, known as the Codex on Bird Flights.  In this codex, Leonardo outlined a number of observations and beginning concepts that would find a place in the development of a successful airplane in the early twentieth century.  This extraordinary document, exhibited outside of Italy only a few times, is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age gallery from September 13-October 22, 2013.  The story of the journey of the Codex on the Flight of Birds from the hand of Leonardo to the National Air and Space Museum exhibit is as fascinating as the document itself.

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Wed, September 11 2013

Kenneth H. Wallis

    A leading pioneer in the sport gyroplane community, Ken Wallis passed away on September 1, 2013. He is best remembered as Sean Connery’s stand-in during the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Wallis appeared as Agent 007 while flying the “Little Nellie” gyroplane of his own design.

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Ken Wallis
Mon, September 9 2013

The Museum’s Oasis of Art

As you turn to leave, you suddenly stop, frozen in wonder, beholding an oasis so calm and cool and quiet that your airplane-addled, spaced-out brain can hardly believe it isn’t a mirage. It’s not. On your floor plan it’s labeled Flight and the Arts. And much to their loss and to your relief, most visitors overlook it.

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Carrier Bound in Fly Marines!

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