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Aviators

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Tue, December 27 2016

Becoming a SR-71 Blackbird Pilot

How did you become a pilot for the SR-71 Blackbird? Buzz Carpenter knows. He started flying the SR-71 in 1975 after a week-long interview process that included an astronaut physical. Buzz shares what it was like becoming a Blackbird pilot, how pilots used their 580-degree windows to heat up their lunches, and how the aircraft got the nickname Habu.  

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Cockpit of the Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird at the Udvar-Hazy Center
Tue, November 8 2016

Stories from Inside the Spirit of St. Louis

Working on the Museum’s Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall gave us a unique opportunity to take a close look at many of the objects that have been on display since the gallery opened in 1976. The renovation of the gallery also allowed our photographers a rare opportunity to capture some very unique views of our aircraft, inside and out. This close inspection helped us uncover and rediscover interesting stories and facts. This is true of the Spirit of St. Louis, the aircraft that Charles Lindbergh famously piloted across the Atlantic.

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Stories from Inside the Spirit of St. Louis

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Spirit of St. Louis Tail and Rudder
Thu, October 27 2016

Learn to Loop and Spin

In this video, created for the Smithsonian's TechQuest: Flying Circus alternate reality game, aerobatic champion Sean D. Tucker demonstrates how to perform tricks like a spin, an inside loop, and outside loop in his aircraft.

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Sean D. Tucker in Flight
Wed, October 26 2016

From the Director: My Favorite Bob Hoover Story

Bob Hoover passed away yesterday, after a lifetime of adventures rivaling any work of fact or fiction. Bob was an aviation legend, a role-model to generations of pilots, a friend to this Museum, and a gentleman to all who knew him. With the rest of the aviation community, we mourn the passing of the man Jimmy Doolittle called “the greatest stick and rudder man who ever lived.” In the coming days, people all over the world will celebrate his life by trading their favorite Bob Hoover stories. My favorite Bob Hoover story goes like this...

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Robert A. "Bob" Hoover and General J. R. Dailey
Tue, October 25 2016

Remembering the Extraordinary Man and Pilot Robert A. “Bob” Hoover

We have lost a great man and a legendary pilot. All the superlatives apply. For those not of the aviation world, it is hard to describe how much Robert A. “Bob” Hoover meant to us and how much he loved us in return.This biography will help explain his place in history but, most of all, day after day, Bob Hoover was a true gentleman.

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Bob Hoover
Wed, October 5 2016

An Original WWII Smokejumper

WWII veteran and Triple Nickle Thomas McFadden recently sat down with STEM in 30 host Marty Kelsey to talk about his time serving as a smoke jumper during WWII and his role in Operation Firefly.

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Smokejumper
Mon, October 3 2016

Life as a Female Fighter Pilot

Throughout her military career, Lt. Col. Christine Mau has helped prove that women can perform, outstandingly, in some of the toughest positions in the United States Air Force. And, as a fighter pilot, she has done so with only a small community of female military pilots.  

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Lt. Col. Christine Mau
Fri, September 2 2016

First Solo Hop

Although her flight is not considered “official,” this day in history we remember Blanche Stuart Scott, the first American woman to take a solo hop into the air.

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Blanche Stuart Scott
Mon, August 29 2016

Food & Flight: Olive Ann Beech's Supper Nachos

Olive Ann Beech is proof that some milestones in aviation occur with two feet firmly planted on the ground. Olive Ann co-founded Beech Aircraft Corporation with husband Walter Beech and became the first female executive of an aircraft company when she took the reins in 1940. In Famous Personalities of Flight Cookbook, Olive Ann shared a recipe for supper nachos and a little insight into her early years in the aircraft industry.

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Olive Ann Beech and Louise Thaden
Fri, August 26 2016

An Aerobatic Pilot’s Best Friend

Art Scholl was a three-time member of the U.S. Aerobatic Team, a racer at the Reno Air Races, an airshow pilot, and a fixed base operator with an aerobatic school. His dog Aileron often flew with him in his deHavilland Chipmunk, riding on the wing as Scholl taxied on the runway or perched on his shoulder in the aircraft.

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Art Scholl and Aileron

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