First flight with the Wright Brothers, 1902-1909

On December 17, 1903, Orville Wright piloted the first powered airplane 20 feet above a wind-swept beach in North Carolina. The flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. Three more flights were made that day with Orville’s brother Wilbur piloting the record flight lasting 59 seconds over a distance of 852 feet. The Wright […]

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Battle of Britain in rare pictures, 1940

In the summer and fall of 1940, German and British air forces clashed in the skies over the United Kingdom, locked in the largest sustained bombing campaign to that date. Victory for the Luftwaffe in the air battle would have exposed Great Britain to invasion by the German army, which was then in control of […]

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MiG-21 crashed into an East German apartment block, 1975

On January 14th, 1975, Major Peter Makowicka, aged 33, was on a training mission with his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 21 plane. During approach on the military airbase Cottbus, German Democratic Republic (Eastern Germany), the plane experienced an open cover latch on the engine compressor section, which had been insufficiently secured by a maintenance technician. The engine […]

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Loading passengers onto an airship from a mooring mast, 1930s

In the 1920s and 1930s airship mooring masts were built in many countries. A mooring mast is a mast or tower that contains a fitting on its top that allows for the bow of the airship to attach its mooring line to the structure. When it is not necessary or convenient to put an airship […]

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Aerial warfare of First World War, 1914-1918

Aerial warfare was by no means a First World War invention. Balloons had already been used for observation and propaganda distribution during the Napoleonic wars and the Franco-Prussian conflict of 1870-1871. Planes had been used for bombardment missions during the Italo-Turkish war of 1911-1912. Yet, aerial warfare during the First World War marked a rupture […]

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P-38 Lightning (USA)

P-38 Lightning The P-38 Lightning fighters were uniquely designed by Clarence “Kelly” Johnson’s design team, the “Skunk Works”, at Lockheed as a response to the 1937 United States Army Air Corps request for an interceptor. The prototype flew on 27 Jan 1939 with its distinctive twin booms. By Feb the prototype was already a record setter, flying across the United […]

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B-17 Flying Fortress

B-17 Flying Fortress The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers were first seen on 28 Jul 1935 as E. Gifford Emery and Edward Curtis Wells’ Boeing Model 299, flown by test pilot Les Tower. It was designed as a response to the United States Army Air Corps’ 1934 demand for a multi-engined bomber, but Boeing had over-done it: the four-engined bomber […]

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The Spruce Goose

“The Spruce Goose” 1945-1947 In 1942, at the height of World War II, Allied ships crossing the Atlantic were routinely attacked and sunk by German U-boats, interrupting shipments of supplies and troops to Europe. The Allies needed a way to reliably and safely transport large payloads across the ocean. American industrialist Henry Kaiser lit upon the idea of a creating a […]

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