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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Aviation History
7118

 

It’s been eighty years since one of aviation’s most colorful characters began his career as a racing pilot and aircraft manufacturer. In 1934, when he was twenty-eight, Howard Hughes nabbed his first racing trophy in a custom-modified Boeing 100A biplane. His next feats would be won in racers built by his own engineers at the Hughes Aircraft Company, with considerable input from Hughes himself.
Now mostly known for his late-life reclusiveness and eccentricity, Howard Hughes was a major figure in the early years of aviation as a pilot, manufacturer, and investor. This article, presented by Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa, Oklahoma, reviews the highlights of Hughes’s aviation career.

 

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5545

In Spartan College's review of aviation history for this week, we see a major space launch, the start of a new flying school, and a new milestone in jet aviation.

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5655

This week in Spartan College's review of aviation history, the first American reached space, another American caused a ruckus after crashing his spy plane in Russia, and the first supersonic woman was born.

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3172

It’s been a little over a year since the editors of Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft, the aviation industry’s bible, caused controversy by declaring that the honor of achieving the first powered, fixed-wing flight does not belong to Orville and Wilbur Wright, as long supposed. Instead, Jane’s backed the claims favoring Gustave Whitehead, a German émigré and engineer. Whitehead, based in Bridgeport, Connecticut, began to describe his experiments for the local press with powered flying machines as early as 1901—fully two years before the Wrights’ first flight on December 17, 1903.


Recent research has brought to light more articles and eyewitness statements that lend circumstantial support to the claims in favor of Whitehead— in fact, it was largely the efforts of one historian, John Brown, which convinced the editors of Jane’s Whitehead flew first. In this article, we give an outline of the claim for Whitehead.

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3751

 

Love to fly and love to read? You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to books. Many gifted aviators have also been gifted writers. Fuel your passion for aviation by reading about the experiences of these pilots in the following seven books.

 

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10054

 


People who love to fly love the adventure, the freedom, and the challenge of piloting a craft through the sky. They also love the great stories of aviators over the last hundred years. There are heroes, daredevils, great explorers—and mysteries. This article looks at six of aviation’s most tantalizing unexplained disappearances, sightings, and scary coincidences.

 

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6546

The history of aviation is full of inventive heroes, from the Wright Brothers to Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine, and Igor Sikorsky, inventor of the modern helicopter. However, their successes stand out from a long parade of failures. Some of these failures were useful: they added to our collective engineering knowledge about what wouldn’t actually work, or about what ideas were worth developing. Some of these failures were simply spectacular.

In this article, we look at some of the most outlandish inventions that man hoped would take him to the skies.

 

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4771

The Concorde is one of aviation history’s iconic aircraft. In service from 1976 to 2003, the plane proved that high-altitude, supersonic passenger flights were possible. Here are ten interesting facts about the world’s only supersonic passenger aircraft, presented by Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology:

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4985

The modern aviation age, ushered in by the Wright Brothers’ flight in 1903, is just over 110 years old. Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa, OK, has been part of aviation’s story for more than 80 of those years. Since its founding in 1928, Spartan College has played an important role in educating pilots and technicians for military and civilian flight needs. This article describes the key events in Spartan’s long history, and its future as an aviation school for the 21st Century.

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3797

The dawn of the aviation age during the early 20th Century had a tremendous impact on the course of human history. The Wright Brothers’ first flight set in motion a chain of development that eventually led to man landing on the moon and sending spacecraft to other worlds. Some of the links in this chain of development are stronger than others. This article, presented by Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, looks at four aircraft that opened up new possibilities in aviation.

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5090

Birds do it, bees do it—and so do aviators. “It” is navigation. Anyone on a long journey needs to be able to find their way to their destination quickly and safely, and then find their way home again. Today’s aviators have many different navigational tools at their disposal, from charts to global positioning systems (GPS) to ground-based transceivers. Until relatively recently, however, navigation was not always so straightforward. This article, presented by Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, gives a brief introduction to the early history of the navigator’s craft, which began with sailors and was passed on to aviators. Long before the advent of aviation, sailors traveled the seas on voyages of discovery or commerce. The first mariners would stay within sight of land, sailing from harbor to harbor. However, this could prove perilous in bad weather along rocky coastlines. Also, if people could not find a way to work out their position in open water, they were limited in how far they could travel. The question was, how could you find landmarks when you couldn’t see the land?

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5065

September 17th, 1959: The North American X-15 rocket plane makes its first powered flight at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Test pilots included Neil Armstrong (pictured below).

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3142

In the 110 years that have passed since the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, aviation has changed our world immensely. Millions of people have been able to travel the world faster than ever before. Armies have been able to defend their homelands from the skies. Man has walked on the moon.

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4252

Military conflict has always accelerated the development of new technologies. This is because people tend to make an extra effort to find solutions when life and death are on the line, and because countries are almost always willing to spend money on protecting their interests. Advances can include weaponry, such as the Manhattan Project which led to the development of the nuclear bomb, or the first submarines deployed during the American Civil War.

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4031

Hughes's Plane Refuels in Fairbanks, Alaska1938 July 10th: Howard Hughes, along with with crewmembers Harry Connor, Tom Thurlow, Richard Stoddart and Ed Lund, begins a record-breaking round-the-world flight in a specially modified Lockheed Super Electra. They cut in half the time set by Wiley Post in 1933 with a flying time of 91 hours, 11 minutes, 10 seconds. Such was the state of communication in those days that Hughes actually completed his flight before pictures began to appear in the press! Howard Hughes was an obsessive, eccentric individual. The inheritor of a significant fortune, he first made his name directing and producing Hollywood movies, but his real passion was aviation. During the 1930s and 40s he set airspeed records, financed and contributed design ideas for new aircraft, and more. Read more about Hughes's flight-- and watch a 1938 newsreel about the event-- at this Yahoo! article.

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2658

The Spartan News, published during the War years, documented the contributions of women pilots during that time, and the openness with which Spartan accepted them as equal partners in the war effort.

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2873

The British Are Coming! (1941-1945)
“Captain Maxwell Balfour, his piercing black eyes scanning the motley crew, gave them their first official greeting in the U.S. ‘Welcome to Tulsa.’, he said, ‘Climb on that bus and we’ll take you to breakfast’. The British had come to Spartan.”
“One of five flying cadet schools to be operated in the United States for the training of British civilian pilots will be opened in Miami July 19 under direction of the Spartan school of Aeronautics, it was announced at Tulsa Tuesday by Capt. Maxwell Balfour, director of the school. “The school will be one of three operated by Spartan, the nation’s largest trainer of civilian pilots, in the state of Oklahoma. The other schools are at Tulsa and Muskogee.”
Taken from The Spartan Story, an article in the June 19, 1941 edition of the Afton American announces the British cadets coming to America.

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2495

The memorial as it stands at the Tulsa International Airport today.

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2882

Spartan Aircraft Company employees teamed up with the resources and showmanship of J. Paul Getty to show their patriotism. The article below, taken from “The Spartan News”, marked the beginning of the tremendous contribution Spartan made during the World War II.

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2680

Spartan-College-John-Paul-GettyJ. Paul Getty took ownership of Spartan in the 1930′s and inspected the Spartan Factory and School for the first time on December 7, 1939. Peek writes, “(Getty) was greatly impressed by ‘captain’ Max Balfour. He was running a . . . school training hundreds of army cadets, and appeared to be the kind of manager Getty appreciated. After this one-day visit, Getty left for the west coast, and did not return for over two years.

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