Category Archives: aviation

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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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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Parallels Between the Sputnik and 9/11 Crises


Is there a relationship between the so-called “Sputnik moment” in October 1957 and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks? Yes, at several levels there are intriguing parallels between the Sputnik crisis of 1957-1958 that Eisenhower faced and the aftermath of the … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “WarStars”


WarStars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination. By H. Bruce Franklin. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2008. Revised and Expanded Edition. Americans have long viewed as necessary to the survival of the United States an absolute protection from foreign attack. … Continue reading

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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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