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Aviation

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Tue, September 21 2010

Ballistic Missile Guidance on your Cell Phone?

If you don’t already own one, you’ve no doubt seen advertisements for them on television. I am referring to so-called “smartphones,” which can change the orientation of their display, from Portrait to Landscape, depending on how you hold them. They can do that because they contain a fingernail-sized chip inside, which senses the acceleration of gravity, and adjusts the display accordingly. Resourceful programmers have come up with a number of other applications, or “apps,” for these phones, which take advantage of the on-board ability to sense acceleration. If you only use a plain old-fashioned cell phone, you still have a number of these devices around you. Automobiles use them for airbag deployment, stability control, and braking systems.

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Titan Missile Guidance System
Thu, August 19 2010

The Legend of Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance

The mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance somewhere over the Pacific Ocean in July 1937 during her around-the-world flight attempt persists to the present day, and is especially alive and well on the Internet

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Amelia Earhart's Last Flight Sheet Music Cover
Mon, August 16 2010

The Long, Lonely Leap

August 16, 2010 will mark the 50th anniversary of one of the most memorable aeronautical moments of my adolescence. I can still remember seeing the cover of Life magazine for August 29, 

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Kittinger Jump
Sat, August 7 2010

Thirtieth Anniversary - First Public Demonstration Of Solar-Powered Gossamer Penguin

On August 7, 1980, 30 years ago today, Janice Brown flew the Penguin almost 3.5 km (two miles) that day in 14 minutes, 21 seconds. This was the first sustained flight of a solar-powered aircraft and the longest Penguin flight since development had started on the aircraft two years earlier.

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Gossamer Penguin
Thu, July 22 2010

Wiley Post

July 22, 2010, marks the 77th anniversary of Wiley Post’s 1933 solo flight around the world in the Lockheed 5C Vega Winnie Mae. This record-breaking flight demonstrated several significant aviation technologies. It used two relatively new aeronautical devices—an autopilot and a radio direction finder.

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Wiley Post
Mon, July 12 2010

Ike and the First Presidential Helicopters

On July 12, 1957, Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first president to employ a helicopter while in office. Though helicopters had been in operational use by the American military since 1944, concerns over their safety caused the Secret Service to bar their use for the nation’s chief executive except in case of emergency.

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Bell H-13J
Fri, June 25 2010

Six Decades Since the Korean War

Sixty years ago, before dawn on a humid June morning, a massive North Korean ground army, and aircraft flown by Soviet pilots, pushed across the border into South Korea. Troops and tanks had obtained complete surprise and rapidly advanced deep into South Korea. Only a valiant defense by the...

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Wed, June 16 2010

Become a Pilot Day

What does it take to organize a fly-in at the National Air and Space Museum?  Lots of time and lots of good friends!  As we head into our sixth year of Become a Pilot Day, it’s a great time to look back at how it all started and where we go from here. As a pilot myself, the idea of a fly-in was a no-brainer. 

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Become a Pilot Family Day at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Fri, June 11 2010

10 Cool Things You May Not Know About The Museum's Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

1.  Continuous, Supersonic Afterburner. Ever wonder what causes the diamond pattern in the SR-71 jet engine exhaust?  It's due to the extra thrust provided by the afterburner which is actually supersonic, creating successive shock waves that show up as the diamond pattern.  The...

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Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Skunk Works Logo
Fri, June 4 2010

Take a Look at These Cockpits

Many visitors express the wish to see the interiors of aircraft and spacecraft on display in the Museum. But to protect these historic treasures, they must be displayed behind barriers, which makes it impossible to see inside. But there are several cockpits you can see in the Museum, a day devoted to getting up close with aircraft, some cool electronic views, and a couple of great books that give those who are curious some excellent interior views.

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Cockpit of Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay

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