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Category Archives: History

Hollywood’s Representation of Naval Aviation: Frank W. “Spig” Wead and John Ford’s “The Wings of Eagles” (1957)

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Introduction During the recently completed centennial of naval aviation (2011), there were many and varied tributes to the factual history of naval aviation. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that public perception of the armed forces is also a strong historical consideration. In Sailing on the Silver Screen: Hollywood and the U.S. Navy, Lawrence Suid has observed   …Continue Reading


Leaving the Moon, Watching at Home

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After pressing some buttons to start up the ascent engine of their lunar module Challenger, astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt left the Moon on December 14, 1972. That’s 39 years ago – before many of us were even born. While these men looked out the tiny triangular windows of the lunar module to see   …Continue Reading


The Santa Claus Express, Then and Now

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  In 1925, Mr. S. Claus was looking for a modern alternative to his old-fashioned reindeer-powered sleigh. Having once shown an interest in lighter-than-air flight in the form of hot-air balloons, Santa was favorably inclined when Goodyear came up with a solution — toy delivery via airship, in this case, Pilgrim I, renamed the Santa   …Continue Reading


WINGS: From the Wright Brothers to the Present

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Airplane designers will tell you that the wing is the heart of an airplane. For conventional airplanes, it provides most of the lift generated by the airplane; the fuselage and tail contribute only a few percent of the overall lift of the airplane. The Wright brothers recognized this from the very start of their work   …Continue Reading


December 7, 1941 and the First Around-the-World Commercial Flight

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Stranded. Six days from its home port of San Francisco, a luxurious Boeing 314 flying boat, the Pacific Clipper, was preparing to alight in Auckland, New Zealand, as part of the airline’s transpacific service when the crew of ten learned of the Japanese attack on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor on the morning of   …Continue Reading