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Aviators

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Thu, December 17 2015

From the Library: Orville Wright Signed Book

On September 24, 1959, President Eisenhower declared December 17 to be Wright Brothers Day—thus commemorating the anniversary of the legendary duo’s flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903. In honor of Wright Brothers Day, Smithsonian Libraries and the National Air and Space Museum turn to a piece of history found in the special collections housed in the DeWitt Clinton Ramsey Room of the Museum’s library.  

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Orville Wright Autograph
Thu, October 29 2015

Halloween Horrors of the Air: 13 Terrifying Images of Aero Fashion

From witches to winged demons, humanity has long harbored a horror of airborne denizens. Even when we ventured forth into the heavens without supernatural support, we sometimes adopted some truly terrifying attire.

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Mannequin Models Early Flight Mask
Tue, October 27 2015

Bridge of Spies: An Opportunity to Bust Myths about the U-2 and the Capture of Gary Powers

I recently attended a screening of Bridge of Spies, a new movie directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks. Purportedly, Bridge of Spies was inspired by events surrounding the 1962 exchange of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers and graduate student Frederick Pryor for Soviet spy Rudolph Abel. The movie event was sponsored by Virginia’s Cold War Museum which was co-founded by Francis Gary Powers, Jr., who was also in attendance and served on a Q&A panel after the film.

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Lockheed U-2B in Flight
Tue, September 15 2015

Remembering Frank E. Petersen Jr.

The first black Marine Corps pilot and general officer, Frank E. Petersen Jr. died on August 25 at the age of 83.

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Frank E. Petersen
Sun, August 2 2015

The New Air Show in Town: Aerobatic Flight!

The Aerobatic Flight exhibition at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, in Chantilly, Virginia, has a new addition—a film entitled, naturally, Aerobatic Flight! All the excitement of multiple airshows is packed into this lively film through clips of current pilots on the airshow scene and footage of legendary pilots from the dawn of the airshow.

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In Plane View: Extra 260
Sun, May 10 2015

Happy Mother's Day

On Sunday, May 10, the United States and many other countries will be celebrating Mother’s Day. Several National Air and Space Museum Archives collections contain photographs of aviators and their mothers. Here are a few.

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Lindbergh Poses with Mother
Mon, March 23 2015

Snapshots of Women, and Men, in the Aerospace Industry

March is Women’s History month and I recently attended several events that offer snapshots of women, and men, in the aerospace industry. In Dallas, Women In Aviation International (WAI) held its 26th annual conference, in Tucson, Arizona, the Pima Air and Space Museum opened a new exhibit entitled Women In Flight, and Southwest Airlines graduated its 307th class of flight attendants. And there were more moments.

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Betty Skelton Piloting Pitts S-1C Little Stinker
Mon, December 22 2014

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

Washington, DC, always awaits its first real snow day with anticipation and trepidation. I was curious what the National Air and Space Museum collections had in the way of snow activities.

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Gatchina Military Flying School Cadet
Fri, October 3 2014

Remembering Jerrie Mock (1925-2014)

Shortly before the red and white Cessna 180 was to be suspended at the Udvar-Hazy Center for public display, I called its pilot to give her the news.

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Jerrie Mock Arrives For Pilot Day 2007
Thu, July 3 2014

Monumental Views

Every Fourth of July, visitors and locals alike crowd the National Mall to watch the fireworks show with the Washington Monument as one of its focal points. The monument reopened to the public in May 2014 as the last vestiges of scaffolding were removed from it, a visible reminder of the damage caused by a 2011 earthquake. Every year, thousands of visitors photograph themselves on the National Mall with the monument in the background. It is no surprise that it is popular in aviation photography as well.

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Lincoln Beachey Circles the Washington Monument

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