TimeExplore Air & Space articles by century or aviation era.
The story of aviation from early flight to the modern era
Gene Breiner got a little choked up when he handed over his 1929 Fleet Model 2 to the National Air and Space Museum at “Become a Pilot” Day on Saturday. He dedicated it to “all the people who learned to fly in her, and all the people I took for their first and last airplane [...]
June 20, 2011 | By Linda Shiner
“One of the interesting things about airships,” says Tom Crouch, a senior curator at the National Air and Space Museum, who gave a lecture on the subject this week as part of the Museum’s Ask an Expert series, is that they were “transitional technology. They were capable of doing a great many things before airplanes [...]
June 17, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
Airbus calls its Concept Plane for 2050 an aircraft “inspired by nature.” But it sure includes a lot of technology. “The idea is to move out from the old-fashioned class system—first class, business class, economy class—and think more about the experience,” says Airbus chief engineer Charles Champion in an interview with The (London) Telegraph. “So [...]
June 15, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at this video of the Martin Aircraft Company’s recent mile-high test of its personal jetpack and safety parachute system. The flight topped out at 5,000 feet, but could have gone higher. While a dummy was on board for this test, the New Zealand-based company is marketing [...]
June 13, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
In 1966, Second Lieutenant Larry Liss was on the Czech-German border during a snowstorm, freezing his varlata off, when he saw something beautiful. It was a Bell UH-1 helicopter, still on the ground. The pilot—who was wearing short sleeves and drinking a cup of coffee—took one look at Liss and shook his head. “He said, [...]
May 31, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
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