TimeExplore Air & Space articles by century or aviation era.
The story of aviation from early flight to the modern era
Since 1963, hundreds of artists (and musicians, poets—even one fashion designer) have interpreted NASA’s aeronautic and space projects. The artists were given carte blanche to create what they wanted, in any medium, on any subject. In celebration of NASA’s 50th anniversary in 2008, more than 70 diverse artworks from the program began touring the country [...]
May 27, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
During World War II, the Smithsonian Institution aided the war effort in many different ways. An “Ethnogeographic Board” was established to act as a clearinghouse for government wartime needs, and one of their major undertakings was the “Survival Project,” requested by the U.S. Navy. Smithsonian historian Pamela Henson writes in “The Smithsonian Goes to War: [...]
May 24, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
From bomb-bearing balloons to the Global Hawk.
May 18, 2011 | By Ed Darack
In the history of aviation, there were ideas that didn’t quite work out. Take the Avro VZ-9-AV Avrocar, one of ten odd aircraft profiled in the Smithsonian Channel film “Unbelievable Flying Objects.” (It’s number 5). The U.S. Air Force became interested in the Avrocar as an early “stealth” aircraft that could hover beneath radar, then [...]
May 17, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
She thought she'd like to fly again. And so she flew. Helene Dax, 87, a former pilot, had filled out a survey form at the Brookdale Senior Living center where she lives in Denver. Brookdale, which caters to people challenged with Alzheimer's and dementia, and Jeremy Bloom's Wish of a Lifetime found...
May 16, 2011 | By Mike Klesius
When Jules Verne's novel Five Weeks in a Balloon: or, Journeys and Discoveries in Africa by Three Englishmen was translated into English in 1869, it appeared with this publisher's note: "So far as the geography, the inhabitants, the animals, and the features of the countries the travellers pass ove...
May 12, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
It was about the hardest landing you can have and survive. Forty-four years ago today, NASA test pilot Bruce Peterson unwittingly created the intro for 1970s television show “The Six Million Dollar Man” when he hit the lakebed in an M2-F2 lifting body aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base doing 250 miles an hour without [...]
May 10, 2011 | By Mike Klesius
Who can forget billionaire ex-spaceman Jeff Tracy and his five sons (Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon, and John), each named after a Mercury astronaut? Remember how they—through their organization (International Rescue)—um...rescued people...internationally? Ok, so they were puppets. Deal with it, peop...
May 05, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
A remote-piloted warrior starts flying for science.
May 2011 | By Kara Platoni
...And the high-tech horse it rode in on.
May 2011 | By Dino Brugioni
The year we were born.
May 2011 | By Paul Hoversten
Mission: Cuba. Status: Top secret.
May 2011 | By James Storie
It's summer 2005. In Afghanistan, a four-man U.S. Navy SEAL team has been ambushed by the Taliban. A Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter is immediately sent to extract them, but as it approaches the rescue site, the Taliban fire a rocket-propelled grenade, hitting the Chinook's fuel tanks. All 16 crew ...
April 27, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
On March 23, 1944, a British Lancaster bomber over Germany's Ruhr River took heavy flak and exploded. As his oxygen mask and goggles began to melt, and his flight suit burned, tail gunner Nick Alkemade heard the pilot ordering the crew to bail out.The aircraft was at 18,000 feet, and while Alkemade...
April 26, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
Blazing sun, a pitching sea, and hungry sharks—and that was just the start of their troubles.
April 26, 2011 | By Alvin Townley
Admit it: Sometimes you want to skip all the technical hoo-hah and get straight to the jokes. For your enjoyment, today we're resurrecting a bit of aircraft maintenance humor that has been roaming the Internet since 1997, and circulating on hard copies before that. The jokes have been attributed to...
April 21, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
When the Hindenburg flew toward the the Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, New Jersey on May 6, 1937, it was the airship's eleventh voyage to the United States. The nearly 804-foot-long ship, the pride of Nazi Germany, had been carrying passengers on excursion flights since 1910 without a single injur...
April 15, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
Before the Japanese air attack on the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, less than one percent of all workers in American aeronautical factories were female. Just two years later, more than 475,000 women would help to manufacture aircraft for the war effort. Another 350,000 would ...
April 08, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
Back in 1951, sci-fi author Jack Finney had a few questions for the Smithsonian, like: How exactly would someone break in?
March 24, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
With ever-mounting budget cuts, and pressure to reduce the national deficit, NASA and the FAA just don’t crash airplanes intentionally like they used to. Here’s a golden oldie of a test the two agencies jointly conducted on December 1, 1984, when they took a Boeing 720 (a smaller, faster version of...
March 23, 2011 | By Mike Klesius