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Aviators

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Wed, February 14 2018

Love is in the Air: Great Couples of Aerospace History

Aerospace pioneers make all kinds of new discoveries during their careers—some even find that special someone along the way.

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Willa Brown and Cornelius Coffey
Fri, October 6 2017

Afghan Refugee Inspires With Solo Flight Around the World

On October 4, 2017, Shaesta Waiz became the youngest woman to fly solo around the globe in a single-engine plane. Before completing her historic flight, the Afghan refugee visited the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum to share her story and what helped her succeed. 

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Shaesta Waiz in front of her Dreams Soar airplane.
Fri, September 22 2017

Dreams Soar: Inspiring Women in Aviation

Aviator Shaesta Waiz and her Dreams Soars, Inc, "Dream Team" promoted STEM education to girls from DC Metro Public Schools at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

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Pilot Shaesta Waiz, of Dreams Soar Inc., speaking to public school students at the National Air and Space Museum.
Tue, September 19 2017

Flying Camps and Races for Women Are Aiming to Diversify the Aviation Scene

Ariel Tweto is a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, but getting her blood pumping isn’t the only reason she flies. Last month, Tweto flew for a purpose — to raise awareness about aviation — as she participated in her first air race, the Air Race Classic.

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Flying Camps and Races for Women Are Aiming to Diversify the Aviation Scene

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Ariel Tweto piloting an airplane, February 2017.
Thu, June 29 2017

Amelia Earhart: Missing for 80 Years But Not Forgotten

On May 21, 1937, record-setting pilot and celebrity Amelia Earhart set out to become the first woman to fly around the world. By July 2, she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, had flown more than 35,406 kilometers (22,000 miles). They intended to make three final but long over-water flights across the Pacific Ocean to complete the voyage: from New Guinea to Howland Island, Howland to Hawaii, and Hawaii to San Francisco, California. Instead, they disappeared en route to Howland Island.

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Amelia Earhart in Front of her Autogiro
Mon, January 9 2017

Sending Humans Aloft

Not to be upstaged by the balloonist Jacques Alexandre César Charles, who launched the first hydrogen balloon in on August 1783, the brothers Joseph-Michel Montgolfier and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier sent a sheep, a duck, and a rooster aloft in a wicker cage dangling beneath a hot air balloon. The flight took place on September 19, 1783, before an enormous crowd, including the Royal family, gathered in front of the royal Palace of Versailles.

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First Solo Free Flight
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

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