Aviation ErasPeriods of innovation in the history of aviation from early flight to the modern age
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
...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
"Here is a group of feminine flyers who don't just fool around with flying," reported the Los Angeles Times in January 1934. "They hardly ever powder their noses. They don't even carry mirrors. They'd rather poke their not unhandsome little noses into a balky carburetor than riffle up a pack of bri...
March 11, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
How B-29 crews trained to drop the bomb.
March 2011 | By Carl Posey
A race across the Pacific.
March 2011 | By Richard A. Durose
Emory Malick, the first African-American pilot, wasn't known to historians until recently.
March 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
When radio communication took to the air.
March 2011 | By George C. Larson, Member, NAA
And the winner is: The Boeing Company.Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, announced today that Boeing will supply the U.S. Air Force with 179 tankers derived from the company's 767 widebody to replace the aging KC-135 refueler fleet. The contract is estimated at $35 billion and is expected ...
February 24, 2011 | By Mike Klesius
You're the first man to set foot on the Moon. You're also a Korean War veteran, and a former test pilot who has flown more than 200 types of aircraft. What do you do for fun?Well, we don't know what he does for fun nowadays, but for two days in February 1979, Neil Armstrong set five world records f...
February 22, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
India is an air-minded nation. Philatelist Pradip Jain notes in his 2002 book Indian Airmails that the Ramayama, the ancient Sanskrit epic, includes references to King Nala and Princess Damayanti sending "amorous messages to each other through the medium of a flying, talking swan." During the Maury...
February 18, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel