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Aviation

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Fri, June 19 2009

Friends Forever

On June 23, 1948, the Soviet Union blockaded ground access to West Berlin, at that time occupied by the United States, Great Britain, and France. All road, rail, and barge traffic was shut down. President Harry S. Truman and Gen. Lucius D. Clay, the American Military Governor of Germany, resolved to keep the city supplied by air. The resulting “Operation Vittles” – also known as the Berlin Airlift – was a massive combined effort of all the U.S. armed services and the Western powers.

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Operation Little Vittles, Berlin Airlift
Wed, June 17 2009

1909 Alexander Graham Bell Letter

On May 14, 1909, Alexander Graham Bell wrote to Charles D. Walcott, then Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, detailing his plans to donate C. H. Claudy’s photographs of the Wright brothers’ 1908 Army Trials at Fort Myer, Virginia. The two page letter details the significance of the photos and his desire to have them perserved by the Smithsonian institution. 

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1909 Wright Military Flyer
Mon, June 15 2009

Tom Dietz (1958-2009)

Last month, the National Air and Space Museum lost long-time employee, Tom Dietz. Tom began his time at the Museum in the late 1980s as an intern, and joined the permanent staff in 1989 as a museum specialist in the Aeronautics Division. 

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Tue, June 9 2009

What We’re Working On In the Restoration Shop (Part One)

The high-priority project these days is the Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight gallery update, and several of the aircraft planned for the gallery are at the Garber Facility for cleaning, repairs, and preparation for hanging.  Let’s take a quick look.

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Piper J-2 Cub in the Restoration Shop
Fri, June 5 2009

Shooting the Beach

May 6th, 1944 - one month to the day before D-Day - German troops scatter for safety as Lt. Albert Lanker of the 31st Photo Reconnaissance Squadron flies fast and very low over the beach in "Outlaw", his F-5 Lightning (a variant of the Lockheed P-38 fighter). Lanker's job was to photograph the beach obstructions on the Normandy coast for the planners of the massive invasion; it was only his third mission. Jobs of this sort were called "dicing" missions, because the pilot, flying low (and unarmed) was dicing with death every time he flew.

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31st Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, May 6, 1944
Mon, March 30 2009

On This Spot ...

The millions of visitors who pass through the doors of the National Air and Space Museum each year come to see the real thing, the actual air and space craft that shaped history – from the world’s first airplane to the back-up hardware for the latest robot spacecraft on its way to explore another world.

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On This Spot ...
Tue, March 24 2009

It's All About You and Kites

Every year, the Smithsonian holds a huge Kite Festival on the National Mall.  The weekend prior to the festival, the National Air and Space Museum has a Kite Family Day where kids and their families can make their own kites, learn how to fly them, and watch indoor kite flying demonstrations. I often search the web to find out what visitors are filming, photographing, blogging and tweeting about the Museum.  I found lots of images and videos of the outdoor Kite Festival, but one of our educators found this great YouTube video which captures the fun of the indoor Kite Family Day in 2008.

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Kites of Asia Family Day
Tue, March 24 2009

Veterans Reunited

The Korean War is often called the Forgotten War. Recently, one veteran had the opportunity to shed light on a remarkable aspect of one of the most challenging American conflicts of the twentieth century.

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Thu, March 19 2009

Winged Wonders

"People Standing on Wings" is probably one of the more obscure genres of aviation photography found in the Museum's Archives Division files. Originally, men and women stood on aircraft wings to demonstrate the strength of the wing and struts.

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Grumman F-14D(R) Tomcat at the Udvar-Hazy Center

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