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Tag Archives: WWI

Obscure Objects: “Knight of Death” Airplane Insignia

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You can’t read anything about French World War I pilot Charles Nungesser that doesn’t include descriptors such as flamboyant, audacious, undisciplined, rakish, and insubordinate. You’ll also find ace, fearless, bold, tenacious, and brave. He was the very definition of a dichotomy. Nungesser was born in Paris, France, in 1892. As a child he excelled in   …Continue Reading

Three Pilots – One War: Commemorating World War I

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One-hundred years ago, World War I was raging in Europe. In the end, over 17 million lives were lost, among them seven million civilians. More than 40 countries were involved in the most widespread war the world had ever seen, a war that was fought in Europe, the Near East, Africa, East Asia, and on   …Continue Reading

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

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Washington, DC, always awaits its first real snow day with anticipation and trepidation. I was curious what the National Air and Space Museum collections had in the way of snow activities. I learned that the Museum has Charles Lindbergh’s snowshoes and sled; in the photo archives, I found the usual snowy vista backgrounds with airplanes in the   …Continue Reading

Fooling Around at the Front

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Most of the thousands of World War I photographs in the collections of the Air and Space Museum’s Archives Department are grimly utilitarian – aerial views of trenches, aircraft and details of their construction and the damage they sustained during dangerous missions. But the young pilots who flew those missions had a reputation for light-heartedness,   …Continue Reading

Pilot Error, Evidently

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    In the years before the invention of the flight data recorder, the “black box” that records essential flight data, an aircraft accident investigation could occasionally degenerate into a mere finger-pointing exercise, like this one from Russia during World War I — a group of aviation cadets at the Gatchina Military Flying School near   …Continue Reading