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Naval Aviation

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Wed, June 15 2016

A Box of Time in the Time and Navigation Exhibition

In our exhibition Time and Navigation visitors can set their watches by a working cesium frequency standard, commonly known as an “atomic clock,” on loan from the National Museum of American History. The exhibit allows visitors to see different methods of measuring time, including mechanical and electrical clocks. A digital display on the atomic clock shows the global reference known as the Coordinated Universal Time or UTC. A separate display connected to the clock shows local time, which visitors can use to set their watches. While the device is not connected to outside time sources, it will keep accurate time within a tiny fraction of a second over the foreseeable future. We jokingly called it our “Box of Time.”

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A Box of Time in the Time and Navigation Exhibition

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Installing an Atomic Clock
Mon, April 4 2016

Put Me In, Coach!

It’s April and baseball is back!!!

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NAC Softball Team Portrait
Tue, April 28 2015

Apollo Soucek’s High Altitude Flying Helmet

What did Alaskan Natives contribute to the realm of high altitude flying? Their knowledge of the physics of warmth.

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Lt. Apollo Soucek Helmet
Thu, January 5 2012

Hollywood’s Representation of Naval Aviation: Frank W. “Spig” Wead and John Ford’s "The Wings of Eagles" (1957)

During the recently completed centennial of naval aviation (2011), there were many and varied tributes to the factual history of naval aviation. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that public perception of the armed forces is also a strong historical consideration.

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Hollywood’s Representation of Naval Aviation: Frank W. “Spig” Wead and John Ford’s The Wings of Eagles (1957)
Thu, December 8 2011

December 7, 1941 and the First Around-the-World Commercial Flight

Stranded. Six days from its home port of San Francisco, a luxurious Boeing 314 flying boat, the Pacific Clipper, was preparing to alight in Auckland, New Zealand, as part of the airline’s transpacific service when the crew of ten learned of the Japanese attack on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941.

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Pan Am Boeing 314
Wed, December 7 2011

The Museum's Pearl Harbor Survivor

In American military history there are few dates more familiar than "December 7th, 1941... a date which will live in infamy..." The Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on that serene Sunday morning marked America's official entry into a global war that had been raging in Europe and throughout Asia for many years. Yet after the raid had ended, the wounded treated, and the dead counted, there remained pockets of hope that all was not lost that day.

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Lt. Cmdr. Harvey Waldron, USN (ret.) with the JRS-1
Thu, July 21 2011

General William “Billy” Mitchell and the Sinking of the Ostfriesland: A Consideration

July 21, 2011, marks the ninetieth anniversary of the sinking of the captured German battleship Ostfriesland by the First Provisional Air Brigade of the U.S. Army Air Service. This unit was commanded by Brig. General William “Billy” Mitchell, one of the most controversial figures in the history of air power in the United States.

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General William “Billy” Mitchell and the Sinking of the Ostfriesland: A Consideration
Wed, March 9 2011

The Last Sikorsky JRS-1 Makes A Move to the Udvar-Hazy Center

On December 7, 1941, a US Navy squadron consisting of ten Sikorsky JRS-1 amphibious seaplanes was on station in the Hawaiian Islands. Shortly after the Japanese attack that Sunday morning, the planes were launched in an effort to locate enemy submarines and ships near Oahu. 

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Sikorsky JRS-1 Transferred to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Tue, January 18 2011

Eugene Ely and the Birth of Naval Aviation—January 18, 1911

In 1909, military aviation began with the purchase of the Wright Military Flyer by the U.S. Army.   The Navy sprouted wings two years later in 1911 with a number of significant firsts.  The first U.S Navy officers were trained to fly, the Navy purchased its first airplanes from Glenn Curtiss and the Wrights, and sites for naval aircraft operations were established at Annapolis, Md., and at North Island, San Diego, Ca.  But the most dramatic demonstration that the skies and the seas were now joined occurred on January 18, 1911, when Eugene Burton Ely made the first successful landing and take-off from a naval vessel.

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Eugene Ely