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TMA*: The Wright Stuff

Wright Bros Monument 1
Last year I was able to take the family down to the Wright Brothers Monument and Museum in Kitty Hawk North Carolina, and to the National Air and Space Museum, two things I wanted to be sure to see out there on the East Coast.  The monument is there at the spot where they flew, and that is awesome, it is really neat to be in the place where it actually happened!  At the Air and Space Museum, it was in the room with the Wright Flyer that I think it really struck me the amount of history that is in that building.  There I was, standing in the room with the plane, the actual, physical machine that the Wright Brothers built and flew!  After the jump you’ll find a few Museum Adventure pictures from these places, and remember, if you have had any encounters yourself with some bits of history, send them in to the tips and we’ll share your adventure here!

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Airborne Awesomosity

Flying the Beam

Flying the Beam Game 1

When your average air traveler climbs aboard a commercial airliner, he probably gives very little thought to just how that plane is going to navigate from point A to point B.  He gets in, wedges into his seat, and tries to maintain some semblance of privacy, perhaps interrupted only by a brief interlude to partake of his tiny cup of soda.  Eventually, the plane thumps to the ground and he calmly shuffles on his way.  GPS, inertial navigation, instrument landing systems, autopilots, he doesn’t really care what got used, just whether the plane was on time so he can make his connecting flight.

Once, when commercial aviation was a little less common place, and instrument navigational aids were in their early stages, it seems that at least some travelers showed a bit more interest in this brave new world of air travel.  A radio navigation system was illustrated by a Parker Brothers board game, “Flying the Beam,” introduced in 1941.  The radio beacon was represented on the board, and the object was to move your rubber DC-3 game pieces and be the first to land safely at the destination airfield.  The images you see here are of the game on exhibit at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

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Airborne Awesomosity

Air & Space: Reiten Die Zeppelin

The Smithsonian Air & Space Fly Now! poster collection is filled with aviation history, in large scale graphic format. This week, let’s take a look at that lost luxury airline choice, the airship. Falling somewhere between the Titanic and the Concorde, a trans-Atlantic crossing could be completed in just days. See if these posters would have enticed you to take a little trip, floating along in your own sky cabin in the world of tomorrow. Just watch out for Nazis!

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Airborne Awesomosity

Air & Space: 99 Luftballoons

Before the trimotor was the king of the airline industry, before the Wright Brothers, riding high in a balloon was the only way to fly. The Smithsonian Air & Space Fly Now! poster collection has some relics from the very first days of aviation, advertising for these fansastic balloons.

The invention of the balloon struck the men and women of the late 18th century like a thunderbolt. Enormous crowds gathered in Paris to watch one balloon after another rise above the city rooftops, carrying the first human beings into the air in the closing months of 1783. The excitement quickly spread to other European cities where the first generation of aeronauts demonstrated the wonder of flight. Everywhere the reaction was the same. In an age when men and women could fly, what other wonders might they achieve.

“Among all our circle of friends,” one observer noted, “at all our meals, in the antechambers of our lovely women, as in the academic schools, all one hears is talk of experiments, atmospheric air, inflammable gas, flying cars, journeys in the sky.” Single sheet prints illustrating the great events and personalities in the early history of ballooning were produced and sold across Europe. The balloon sparked new fashion trends and inspired new fads and products. Hair and clothing styles, jewelry, snuffboxes, wallpaper, chandeliers, bird cages, fans, clocks, chairs, armoires, hats, and other items, were designed with balloon motifs. (airandspace.si.edu)

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Airborne Awesomosity

Air & Space: One More Tri

Trimotors are designs that are of a certain era in aviation history. Once the go-to layout for a airliner, they were essentially outmoded by the streamlined modern airliner shapes like the DC-2 and Boeing 247 (unless you count the 727 and the like with tail mounted engines as trimotors). Today we are wrapping up our look at the posters from the Smithsonian Air & Space Fly Now! poster collection that highlight this distinct craft. Hit the jump and enjoy, and tune in next week to crack open a new section of the collection.

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Airborne Awesomosity

Air & Space: Trimotor Traveling

It is Sunday morning here at Atomic Toasters, and time once again to peruse through some posters from the Smithsonian Air & Space Fly Now! collection. This collection has a great many advertising posters from the early days of aviation and air travel. We have been slowly enjoying this collection, bit by bit in a semi-organized fashion, organized by category for convenience.  The last several weeks we have been looking at posters showcasing aircraft of the trimotor persuasion. Take a look at this weeks’ entries, and we’ll wrap up the tri’s next week!

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Airborne Awesomosity

Air & Space: Holiday Trimotoring

Welcome to the last day of the Thanksgiving Weekend, or as some of you may know it, Sunday. The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum has a extensive collection of aviation related posters, and we have been taking a look at them weekly. Right now we are deep into the trimotor posters (categories assigned by yours truly), so enjoy this Thanksgiving week three!

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Airborne Awesomosity

Air & Space: Try a(nother) Trimotor!

It has come around to Sunday morning again, and that can only mean one thing–galleries for your perusal! We have cracked the vault on the Smithonian’s aviation poster collection, a set of un-displayed nuggets from aviation’s storied past. In order to fill my posting quota and stay the cat-o-nine’s wrath break up the volume of wonder enclosed in this collection I am bringing it to you in semi-related segments. Enjoy week two of tri-riffic trimotors!

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Airborne Awesomosity

Air & Space Archives: Two If By Sea

In our continuing look at the Air & Space Museum’s Fly Now! poster collection, I present to you some more fine flying boat and floatplane posters from the early days of air travel. Once, the seaplane was seen as the natural way for air travel to work. People were already used to traveling to seaports, and little infrastructure had to be built to support them. The planes just needed a nice calm stretch of water. Once the modern airliners like the DC-2 came into existence, and opened up air travel across the country, the passenger seaplane began its slow decline. No longer did people have to take a long train ride to get to the seaport/airport, the land based airport could be right in their hometown. These posters date from the good old days, so let’s take a look!

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Airborne Awesomosity

Air & Space Archives: Imperial Flying Boats

In order to break up the Fly Now! poster collection of the Smithsonian Air & Space museum into manageable sections, I tried to find some general categories which I could group the images into. One such category is a type of plane that has always tickled my fancy–the flying boat. Starting today, and over the next few Sundays, we’ll be focusing on these gentle giants. The first group up highlights Imperial Airways, an early British commercial long range air transport company, operating from 1924 to 1939. This airline serviced not only much of Europe, but also the Empire routes to South Africa, India and the Far East.

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