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Aviation History Briefing


Doolittle Raiders Drink a Final Toast

C.V. Glines | Published: January 03, 2014 at 2:45 pm
Edward Saylor, Dick Cole (Jimmy Doolittle's copilot) and David Thatcher drink to their comrades. [Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force] A milestone historical event took place on November 9, 2013, at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Rather than …

Down-Under Boxkite Replica

Stephan Wilkinson | Published: January 03, 2014 at 2:44 pm
A Bristol Military Biplane replica, recently delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force, awaits testing. [James Kightly] Until now, there has been only one flying Bristol Boxkite—the oft-photographed example that is part of the Shuttleworth Collection in England, a fragile …

Learjet's Golden Anniversary

Martin A. Bartels | Published: January 03, 2014 at 2:44 pm
Rat Pack stalwarts Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra lent Lear's private jet an invaluable aura of cool during the mid-1960s. [John Bryson/Sygma/Corbis] It wasn't until the age of 50 that Frank Sinatra owned his first Learjet, but for the next …

Dog Finds a New House

Stephan Wilkinson | Published: January 03, 2014 at 2:43 pm
Veterans of HMM-361 pose with the restored Sikorsky UH-34D they presented to the National Museum of the Marine Corps. [U.S. Marine Corps] The Sikorsky UH-34D was properly named the Seahorse when flown by Marines, but jarheads usually called it the …

Spanish Stork

Stephan Wilkinson | Published: November 04, 2013 at 1:54 pm
Emilio Garcia-Conde's Fieseler Fi-156 "Storch" in Spanish Civil War Nationalist markings. [© Dirk Bende via Dave McDonald] For all its warlike mien and malevolent insignia, the Luftwaffe version of the Fieseler Fi-156 Storch (Stork) is somehow charming—all gawky gear legs, …

Morane-Saulnier Across the Med

Stephan Wilkinson | Published: November 04, 2013 at 1:54 pm
Flying a replica Morane-Saulnier G, Baptiste Salis arrives in Tunisia, having crossed the Mediterranean a century after Roland Garros first did so in a Morane-Saulnier H. [©2013 Demotix] It's a quirk of history that Louis Blériot's July 1909 crossing of …

Twin Beech Takes Top NAHI

Nicholas A. Veronico | Published: November 04, 2013 at 1:53 pm
From left: George Scott, Matt Walker and Mike Kvasnik with their award-winning 1946 Beechcraft D-18S. [Photo: Jim Dunn] Each year the National Aviation Heritage Invitational (NAHI) brings together some of America's best aircraft restorations. The 15th NAHI competition was held …

From da Vinci to Voyager

Published: November 04, 2013 at 1:53 pm
In 1505-06, Leonardo da Vinci envisioned a day when humans would fly like birds. [Biblioteca Reale, Turin; Inset, NASA] "One can draw an imaginary line from the genius of the Renaissance [Leonardo da Vinci], who dreamed about human flight by …

Douglas World Cruiser Redux

Stephan Wilkinson | Published: September 06, 2013 at 2:14 pm
Beginning next spring, the World Cruiser replica "Seattle II" is poised to reprise the 1924 round-the-world flight made by its forebear. [Image: Bob Dempster] Any American who can fog a mirror will know the name of the airplane and aviator …

A Tigercat Roars Again

Stephan Wilkinson | Published: September 06, 2013 at 2:13 pm
James Slattery's Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat made its debut at the EAA AirVenture this summer. [Image: Jim Koepnick] The only reason to restore a Grumman F7F Tigercat is because it's so beautiful. The airplane was rejected as a carrier-borne fighter, the …

Sikorsky Prize Goes to Canadians

Nan Siegel | Published: September 06, 2013 at 2:13 pm
Todd Reichert prepares to make history during the June 13 attempt to meet the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Challenge. [Image: Aerovelo] After 33 years, the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Challenge has at last been met. The …

Germany Retires Its Last Phantom

Published: September 06, 2013 at 2:13 pm
Germany's first McDonnell-Douglas F-4F Phantom II rests after its final flight. [Image: A. Dijksterhuis] On June 29 Germany became the latest—but by no means the last—country to retire its McDonnell-Douglas F-4F Phantom II fighter-bombers, after 41 years of service. Of …

'Flying Pencil' Recovery

Jon Guttman | Published: July 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm
On August 26, 1940, German Dornier Do-17Zs of Kampfgeschwader 3 on a mission to bomb British airfields at Hornchurch and Debden were attacked by Boulton-Paul Defiants of No. 264 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Escorting Messerschmitt Me-109Es came to their aid, …

Coast to Coast on Sun Power

Martin A. Bartels | Published: July 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm
The Solar Impulse soars over the Golden Gate Bridge during tests in April 2013. [Image: Solar Impulse] Imagine flying 900 miles at about 40 mph in a cockpit that has half the interior space of a Mini Cooper, with wings …

New Drone Designs Take Wing

Published: July 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm
Even as debate continues over the ethical use of drones in foreign and domestic airspace, two new drone designs are nearing full airworthiness.

Collier Goes to Curiosity

Published: May 03, 2013 at 2:14 pm
A remarkable self-portrait of the Curiousity rover on Mars. (© NASA/JPL Mars Science Laboratory/Curiousity Project) Every year the National Aeronautic Association awards the  Robert J. Collier Trophy for "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to …
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