Category Archives: aeronautics

A Great April Fool’s Day Stunt


Last year on April Fool’s Day the National Air and Space Museum staged a great stunt. Here is a reprise of the dusting of Wonder Woman’s invisible jet. Enjoy!

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The NACA, World War II Aircraft, and Drag Clean-Up


I have often wondered just what research took place at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) during World War II in relation to “drag clean-up.” John F. Victory, NACA’s secretary boasted in 1942 that “The employees of the NACA … Continue reading

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Calling All Involved in Aerospace Museums: The 2016 Mutual Concerns Conference is Coming Soon


Please consider attending the 2016 Mutual Concerns of Air and Space Museums Conference on 1-4 April 2016 in the New York City area. Conference co-hosts are the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and the Cradle of Aviation Museum. Registration, as … Continue reading

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The Great Air Mail Fiasco of 1934 in the American West


With the recent blizzard in the mid-Atlantic, I thought it appropriate to discuss an earlier event in aviation history in which bad weather played a key role. One of the most significant events affecting aviation in the American West occurred … Continue reading

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Pancho Villa and the Rise of American Military Aviation


By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century the United States Army had begun to perceive, albeit reluctantly, the significance of military aircraft to the conduct of warfare. This realization led to the establishment of a military section … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Single Stage to Orbit”


Single Stage to Orbit: Politics, Space Technology, and the Quest for Reusable Rocketry. By Andrew J. Butrica. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003). Andrew Butrica’s book, while more than a decade old, is still germane to the current space … Continue reading

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Video of Arsenal of Democracy World War II Victory Flyover, May 8, 2015


Recently video premiered at the annual International Council of Airshows convention that captured last May 8th’s Arsenal of Democracy World War II Victory Flyover. This took place in Washington, D.C., and the assembled aircraft are stunning. Here is the video. … Continue reading

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“Discover Your Place in Aerospace”: A Fun App from the National Air and Space Museum


In early December the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum launched a new app called “Discover Your Place in Aerospace,” Mobile Missions. The app is designed to engage visitors and gather information to help NASM build a deeper relationship with those … Continue reading

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Bert Acosta and the “Golden Age of Flight”


You have to love Bert Acosta (1895-1954), an aviation pioneer who became famous for his talent and his misbehavior in pre-World War II aviation. His quest for speed, which was always a part of Acosta’s daredevil psyche, led him both to piloting advanced aircraft … Continue reading

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Flying the Hump


Some fighter and bomber pilots jokingly referred to Air Transport Command as an acronym for “allergic to combat.” But the men of the command who flew over the Himalayan mountains during World War II knew better. They delivered more than 650,000 … Continue reading

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