Category Archives: aeronautics

Western Air Express and the First Scheduled Passenger Services Across the Rocky Mountains


I have long been interested in the rise of aviation in the American West during the 1920s. Accordingly, several years ago I began to investigate  Western Air Express, later renamed Western Airlines, which emerged as a pioneer air carrier proving passenger … Continue reading

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Comments on the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 (Public Law 75-706)


I recently participated in a discussion of educational materials to be prepared for helping to understand the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower, president between January 1953 and January 1961. Eisenhower, whether one agrees with his policies or not, was a consequential … Continue reading

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Reflections on the Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb


A couple of years ago I published on this blog the following discussion of the decision to use the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. On the seventieth anniversary of this defining event in human history I am calling … Continue reading

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Boarding the Spaceplane?


I posted this originally to the blog, “Above and Beyond,” on June 15, 2015. I thought I would reprint here. During the administration of President Ronald Reagan, senior government officials began to discuss the possibility of developing an “Orient Express,” … Continue reading

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Stimulating Aerospace Capabilities in America


Historians five hundred years hence may well characterize successful human flight, and all that followed in both air and space, as the most significant single technology of the twentieth century. Has it fundamentally reshaped our world, at once awesome and … Continue reading

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A Short History of Air Rescue in World War II


The idea of establishing a specialized and elite force for the rescue of downed aircrews grew out of three interlocked circumstances just before the Second World War: (1) a deep‑seated European belief in the sanctity of life, (2) the high … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “To Save a City”


To Save a City: The Berlin Airlift, 1948-1949. By Roger G. Miller. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2000. Pp. x, 253. Illustrations, maps, notes index. ISBN: 0890969671. $34.95.) I first read this book when it appeared in 2000, in … Continue reading

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A Short History of USAF’s Strategic Air Command in the Cold War


During the latter 1940s, although some demobilization took place after World War II, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union precipitated the creation of a strategic force that could strike an enemy with nuclear weapons anywhere … Continue reading

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United States Aerospace Corporations and the Changing Nature of Global Markets


During the period between the 1960s and the 1990s the share of the market enjoyed by American aerospace manufacturers fell sharply as foreign corporations—either private or state-run—gained greater portions of the market. In 1986, for example, United States high‑technology imports exceeded … Continue reading

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The Mythology of the Lone Genius and American Aeronautics Policy


Since December 17, 1903, the dates of the first flight at Kitty Hawk, the Wright brothers have been celebrated as lone geniuses who succeeded when all others had failed. They have been interpreted to represent the very best American civilization has … Continue reading

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