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Aircraft

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model, aircraft

National Museum of American History

sonde, aircraft

National Museum of American History

aircraft sonde

National Museum of American History

torpedo, aircraft

National Museum of American History

sonde, aircraft

National Museum of American History

sonde, aircraft

National Museum of American History

aircraft camera

National Museum of American History

Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-3

National Air and Space Museum
Bright yellow bi-plane, hand crank start. Cockpit instrumentation consists of an altimeter, tachometer, airspeed indicator, compass, turn and bank indicator, and a combination fuel and oil temperature and pressure gauge, floats.

In 1934 the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia was tasked to manufacture a new primary trainer for the U.S. Navy. Following successful tests, this little biplane trainer was built in both land and seaplane versions. The Navy initially ordered 179 N3N-1 models, and the factory began producing more than 800 N3N-3 models in 1938. U.S. Navy primary flight training schools used N3Ns extensively throughout World War II. A few of the seaplane version were retained for primary training at the U.S. Naval Academy. In 1961 they became the last biplanes retired from U.S. military service.

This N3N-3 was transferred from Cherry Point to Annapolis in 1946, where it served as a seaplane trainer. It was restored and displayed at the Naval Academy Museum before being transferred here.

In December 15, 1922, the navy developed specifications for a float biplane for instruction in flying and gunnery. It had a weight limit of 1,815 pounds. This aircraft was designated as the N2N and would be similar to the Consolidated NY-2s and NY-3s still in service. Following the production of this aircraft through 1929, the Navy requirement for a new primary flight traininer for the 1930s prompted the development of an important series of biplanes that served from 1938 through World War II. The N3N model, manufactured by the Navy Aircraft Factory (NAF) in Philadelphia answered the need. The N3N was used extensively as the primary trainer until the end of WWII. Outwardly, this aircraft appeared similar to the Consolidated NY-2 and NY-3. The major difference in the N3N was its structure, which featured riveted extruded aluminum fuselage construction with removable side panels for ease of inspection and maintenance. The wings, also constructed internally of all metal, were covered with fabric like the fuselage and tail.

Following successful tests at Philadelphia and Anacostia, as both a land-plane and a single-float seaplane, the Navy ordered production with a 220 horsepower Wright J-5 radial engine. The prototype, US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) Number 9991, went through service trials during February and March 1936. The trials recommended minor modifications, leading to the creation of another version, the XN3N-2. The NAF built one hundred and seventy-nine N3N-1s, with the first one delivered in June 1936. A fourth N3N-1 (BuAer # 0020) was modified as another prototype, XN3N-3. These two aircraft were fitted with navy built versions of the 240 hp Wright J-6-7 (R-760-96) engine, which was the same as that used in the NY-3s since 1929. The N3N-3, of which 816 were built, differed slightly from the -1. It had a redesigned vertical tail and a single strut landing gear. The N3N-1 was produced with a distinctive anti-drag ring around the engine, but the N3N-3s did not have this feature.

The N3N's nickname, "Yellow Peril", came from the aircraft's propensity for "ground looping" on landing. The narrow landing gear, only 72 1/2 inches from the centerline of each tire, did not provide much lateral stability at higher touchdown speeds. Many naval aviation cadets learned about this feature the hard way during primary flight training.

The engine was started by using a hand crank. The crank was inserted and vigorously turned until the inertia flywheel achieved sufficient momentum and the starter T-handle was pulled. Taxiing the N3N required a series of "S" turns because forward visibility was partially blocked by the engine.

Take off in calm winds within 600 feet were normal. A neutral control stick position with full throttle and 2,000 rpm was all that was needed to get the N3N flying. Landings were best-done using the full-stall technique. The N3N was flown over the fence at about 57-60 knots (65-70 mph) and stalled at 44 knots (50 mph) with a full load. Visibility was better from the back seat for landing. Cockpit instrumentation consisted of an altimeter, tachometer, airspeed indicator, compass, turn and bank indicator, and a combination fuel and oil temperature and pressure gauge. The aircraft could climb at 900 feet per minute and cruise at 87 knots (100 mph), at 1800 rpm. Climbing and gliding were accomplished at 65 knots. The aircraft's service ceiling was 15,200 feet (4,632 m). The N3N's great structural integrity allowed for high G turns and pullouts at close to 174 knots (200 mph).

On June 13, 1946, NASM's N3N-3, outfitted with floats, became part of the Naval Academy's training squadron at Annapolis, Maryland. The aircraft continued in this role until the spring of 1960 when it was struck from the Navy's inventory. That fall, the National Air Museum acquired the aircraft. These N3N seaplanes, when retired in 1961, were the last biplanes retired from US military service.

Wiseman-Cooke Aircraft

National Air and Space Museum
Pusher biplane with one 60-horsepower Hall-Scott A-2 engine. Very similar in layout to the Curtiss Model D Pusher of the same time period. Natural finish overall.

Fred Wiseman, a successful automobile racing driver from Santa Rosa, California, began construction of an airplane in October 1909 in San Francisco. It was based on elements of Wright, Curtiss, and Farman designs, three of the most successful manufacturers of the day. Successful test flights were made in the spring of 1910, making it the first airplane built in California to fly.

In May 1910, as the first Wiseman airplane was being tested, construction started on a second aircraft. Wiseman made all his significant exhibition flights using this airplane, including the first air mail flight officially sanctioned by a U.S. post office, from Petaluma to Santa Rosa, California, in February 1911.

In early 1912, the second Wiseman airplane was acquired by Weldon B. Cooke, a pilot who had been making a name for himself in recent months flying another airplane in the NASM collection, the Maupin-Lanteri Black Diamond. The second Wiseman airplane is now designated by NASM as the "Wiseman-Cooke aircraft" because both individuals were intimately associated with its history.

In 1909, Fred Wiseman, a successful automobile racing driver from Santa Rosa, California, turned his interest to aviation. He assembled a small group of fellow mechanics and sponsors in Santa Rosa to build an aircraft. Wiseman and a fellow racing car driver, M.W. Peters, pooled their recent prize money and convinced a local butcher named Ben Noonan to put up the remainder of the required funds. The group also included Don Prentiss as secretary of the organization and Julian Pierre, an additional mechanic.

Construction began on the Wiseman airplane in October 1909 in San Francisco. The airframe was based on elements of Wright, Curtiss, and Farman designs, three of the most successful manufacturers of the day. It was a biplane with forward and rear elevators, and it had ailerons on both the upper and the lower wings. The airplane was well made and weighed 305 kg (670 lb). It was originally fitted with an engine reworked by Wiseman to generate 50 horsepower. Successful test flights were made in the spring of 1910, making this airplane the first one built in California to fly. By the end of July, several public exhibition flights of limited success were made, but the airplane was underpowered. The original engine was replaced by a 60-horsepower Hall-Scott V-8, which improved the flight performance somewhat.

In May 1910, as the first Wiseman airplane began to be tested and exhibited, the group started construction of a second aircraft. Wiseman would make all his significant exhibition flights using this airplane. It was modified extensively throughout its operational life and is almost certainly the origin of the Wiseman airplane that survives today in the NASM collection.

In November 1910, both Wiseman airplanes were shipped to Reno, Nevada. The first airplane was purportedly brought for sale, but it is unclear if it was sold at that time. Attempts to fly the second airplane were only marginally successful, but they were the first of any heavier-than-air craft in Nevada. With modifications to it, Wiseman fared much better with the second airplane the following year when he competed with it in a meet in San Francisco in January 1911. He took second place overall in the novice class. He won the distance event, made the longest sustained flight (just over 6 minutes), and accumulated the most total time in the air, 49 minutes 43 seconds. The performance gave Wiseman national recognition.

Riding his recently gained acclaim, Wiseman made the most significant flight of his career in February 1911. Citizens of his hometown of Santa Rosa, California, proposed that he should return home and bring his airplane back by air. He agreed. In addition to fifty copies of the Press Democrat, Santa Rosa's local newspaper, Wiseman carried three letters written in the city of his departure, Petaluma, California. One was penned by the local postmaster, J.E. Olmsted, marking the significance of the event. It read:

Kenilworth Park

Petaluma, Cal.

February 17, 1911

H.L. Tripp

Postmaster

Santa Rosa, Cal.

Dear Sir and Friend:

Petaluma sends, via air route, congratulations and felicitations upon the successful mastery of the air by a Sonoma county boy in an airplane conceived by Sonoma county brains and erected by Sonoma county workmen.

Speed the day when the United States mail between our sister cities, of which this letter is the pioneer, may all leave by the air route with speed and safety.

J.E. Olmsted

Postmaster

Wiseman's flight was delayed for several days because of stormy weather and wet ground, but on February 17, at 12:30 p.m., he departed from the racetrack at Kenilworth Park in Petaluma and headed for Santa Rosa. About 7 km (4.5 mi) out he developed magneto trouble, and the airplane was forced down in a field, barely missing a windmill. When the wheels touched the ground they dug deep into the mud left by the earlier rains. The airplane was brought to an abrupt halt, breaking a landing skid. With good foresight, Wiseman had a chase car following him and the ground crew removed the airplane from the mud, repaired the engine problems, and readied the machine for takeoff. By the time they were ready, stiff winds came up and the team decided to delay completion of the fight until the next day.

With the ground still soft the following morning, a canvas cover that was used to protect the airplane from dampness was spread out on the ground to form a makeshift runway. By 9:05 a.m. Wiseman was in the air once again. He traveled the remaining 22.4 km (14 mi) to his destination in 12 minutes at an average speed of 70 mph. While en route, Wiseman "delivered" the newspapers from the air. About one mile from Santa Rosa, he was forced down when a loose wire caught in his propeller, stopping the engine and damaging it. Because he had landed so close to his final destination, the people of Santa Rosa nonetheless celebrated his arrival in town.

The historical significance of the flight relates to Wiseman's mail delivery. Messages had been carried by air previously by pigeons, balloons, and other aircraft, but Wiseman made the first airplane-carried mail flight officially sanctioned by any U.S. post office and made available to the public. The first air mail flight sanctioned by the U.S. Post Office in Washington, D.C., took place on September 23, 1911, when Earle Ovington carried mail from Garden City, Long Island, to Mineola; and the first continuously scheduled U.S. air mail service began on May 15, 1918, with routes between Washington, Philadelphia, and New York. Although Wiseman's flight was sanctioned only by a local post office, it did indeed precede Ovington's.

Wiseman continued to make exhibition flights with the second airplane during the rest of 1911. In early 1912 it was acquired by Weldon B. Cooke, a pilot who had been making a name for himself in recent months flying another airplane in the NASM collection, the Maupin-Lanteri Black Diamond (catalog number A19490036000). Cooke entered the Wiseman airplane in an air meet in Oakland, California, February 17-24, 1912. The engine suffered a broken crankshaft during the competition and Cooke won no major prizes. He later installed a new six-cylinder Roberts engine and made further modifications to the airframe.

Cooke continued flying until his death in crash (not in the Wiseman airplane) in Pueblo, Colorado, on September 16, 1914. His brother, Robert L. Cooke, took possession of the Wiseman aircraft and kept it in storage at his home in Oakland until 1933 when he lent it the Oakland Port of Authority for display at the Oakland Airport. The Maupin-Lanteri Black Diamond was also turned over to the Oakland Airport for public display at this time.

Paul Garber, curator of the then National Air Museum, became aware of both the Black Diamond and the Wiseman airplanes in 1947 and approached the Oakland airport officials about acquiring them for the national aeronautical collection. Plans were then in motion to expand the National Air Museum's facilities and staff. In a letter dated April 9, 1948, Garber reported to the Oakland airport authorities on the progress that had been made on the expansion of the NAM and inquired if the heirs of the builders of the aircraft would consent to turning them over to the Smithsonian Institution. The families enthusiastically agreed. On May 31, 1948, at a ceremony at Oakland airport commemorating the twentieth anniversary of Charles Kingsford-Smith's flight to Australia in the Southern Cross, the Black Diamond and Wiseman aircraft were transferred to the National Air Museum. Paul Garber, representing the Smithsonian, was on hand to accept the donation personally. Both aircraft were immediately transported to Washington, D.C., and placed in storage.

The second Wiseman airplane is now designated by NASM as the "Wiseman-Cooke aircraft" because both individuals were intimately associated with its history. The Wiseman-Cooke was restored by NASM in 1983-1985 and is currently on display in the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum. The Black Diamond was restored for NASM by the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California, in 1997-1999, and is currently on loan to that museum.

British Aircraft

National Air and Space Museum
BRITISH AIRCRAFT Black and white aircraft recognition chart of British airships and airplanes. Relief print

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Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection

Throughout their history, posters have been a significant means of mass communication, often with striking visual effect. Wendy Wick Reaves, the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery Curator of Prints and Drawings, comments that "sometimes a pictorial poster is a decorative masterpiece-something I can't walk by without a jolt of aesthetic pleasure. Another might strike me as extremely clever advertising … But collectively, these 'pictures of persuasion,' as we might call them, offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand. The poster is a familiar part of our world, and we intuitively understand its role as propaganda, promotion, announcement, or advertisement."

Reaves' observations are especially relevant for the impressive array of aviation posters in the National Air and Space Museum's 1300+ artifact collection. Quite possibly the largest publicly-held collection of its kind in the United States, the National Air and Space Museum's posters focus primarily on advertising for aviation-related products and activities. Among other areas, the collection includes 19th-century ballooning exhibition posters, early 20th-century airplane exhibition and meet posters, and twentieth-century airline advertisements.

The posters in the collection represent printing technologies that include original lithography, silkscreen, photolithography, and computer-generated imagery. The collection is significant both for its aesthetic value and because it is a unique representation of the cultural, commercial and military history of aviation. The collection represents an intense interest in flight, both public and private, during a significant period of its technological and social development.

Aircraft Plant

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Aircraft Carrier

National Museum of American History

Aircraft #5

Smithsonian American Art Museum

German aircraft rivets

National Museum of American History

Aircraft Identification

National Air and Space Museum
Screen print: Multicolor illustrated print on a white background, providing an identification aid for aircraft from various countries. Across top, wing and tail insignia for the United States, Great Britain, Russia, Germany, Japan, and Italy. Below, silhouettes of aircraft seen from below, head on, and from the side grouped by type: bombers, fighters, and other types. At bottom, further identificationi aids grouped according to the WEFTO system.

Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection

Throughout their history, posters have been a significant means of mass communication, often with striking visual effect. Wendy Wick Reaves, the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery Curator of Prints and Drawings, comments that "sometimes a pictorial poster is a decorative masterpiece-something I can't walk by without a jolt of aesthetic pleasure. Another might strike me as extremely clever advertising … But collectively, these 'pictures of persuasion,' as we might call them, offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand. The poster is a familiar part of our world, and we intuitively understand its role as propaganda, promotion, announcement, or advertisement."

Reaves' observations are especially relevant for the impressive array of aviation posters in the National Air and Space Museum's 1300+ artifact collection. Quite possibly the largest publicly-held collection of its kind in the United States, the National Air and Space Museum's posters focus primarily on advertising for aviation-related products and activities. Among other areas, the collection includes 19th-century ballooning exhibition posters, early 20th-century airplane exhibition and meet posters, and twentieth-century airline advertisements.

The posters in the collection represent printing technologies that include original lithography, silkscreen, photolithography, and computer-generated imagery. The collection is significant both for its aesthetic value and because it is a unique representation of the cultural, commercial and military history of aviation. The collection represents an intense interest in flight, both public and private, during a significant period of its technological and social development.

Copyright Disclosure for Orphaned Works

Whenever possible, the museum provides factual information about copyright owners and related matters in its records and other texts related to the collections. For many of the images in this collection, some of which were created for or by corporate entities that no longer exist, the museum does not own any copyrights. Therefore, it generally does not grant or deny permission to copy, distribute or otherwise use material in this collection. If identified, permission and possible fees may be required from the copyright owner independently of the museum. It is the user's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when copying, distributing or otherwise using materials found in the museum's collections. Transmission or reproduction of protected materials beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Users must make their own assessments of rights in light of their intended use.

If you have any more information about an item you've seen in the Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection, or if you are a copyright owner and believe we have not properly attributed your work to you or have used it without permission, we want to hear from you. Please contact pisanod@si.edu with your contact information and a link to the relevant content.

View more information about the Smithsonian's general copyright policies at http://www.si.edu/termsofuse

Anti-Aircraft

National Museum of American History
Charcoal and watercolor on paper. The painting depicts four American soldiers aiming a Howitzer toward search lights in a night sky.

Gaumont aircraft generator

National Museum of American History

aircraft antenna housing

National Museum of American History

aircraft static antenna loop

National Museum of American History

clock, aircraft, bulova accutron

National Museum of American History

Computer, Aircraft Navigation, Cox & Stevens

National Air and Space Museum
White plastic computer with black and red markings; multiple dials and one full-length arm.

Fabric, Aircraft, "1903 Wright Flyer"

National Air and Space Museum
Unbleached muslin; overal dimensions 12 ft. X 3 ft. 2 in. Upper surface section 80 in. from trailing edge; lower surface section 66 1/2 in. from trailing edge. Three internal wing rib pockets on inside of lower surface, 34 in long X 2 in. wide, pockets 11 inches apart. Trailing edge seam for holding trailing edge wire 3/4 in. wide, with three slots for wing ribs to protrude and be tied to wire. Screw holes where wing strut fittings attached to rear spar and leading edge, upper and lower surface for rear spar, just upper surface for leading edge, four holes for each fitting. Four patches on main covering: a) 4 1/2 in. X 3 in., b) 1 1/2 in. X 1 1/2 in., c) 2 in. X 2 in., d) 3 in. X 3 1/2 in. Excess stitching thread on exterior surface at the end of each rib pocket, 2-3 in. long. Tac holes in leading edge. Evidence of sections sewn together on the bias, two full seams and one partial seam. Various spots and stains over the entire surface of the fabric.

The wing covering fabric was received wrapped in another type of white fabric, 64 in. X 33 1/2 in. It is a different weave and thread count than the wing covering or the wing rib pocket material. There is some speculation that this might be stock fabric for some other purpose used on the Wright Flyer, but this remains unclear.

This section of Pride of the West muslin fabric was on the lower left wing panel of the Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903, when the airplane made its historic first flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Wright Flyer was placed in storage from 1903 until 1916, when it was assembled for the first time since Kitty Hawk by Orville Wright for a brief public display at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In late 1926, early 1927, Orville refurbished the Wright Flyer in preparation for loaning it to the Science Museum in London, where it stayed until 1948. During this refurbishment, the airplane was recovered entirely with new Pride of the West muslin. This section of flown 1903 fabric was removed at that time and remained in the possession of the Wright family until its donation to the National Air and Space Museum in 2008.

Insignia, Caproni Aircraft

National Air and Space Museum
Caproni Aircraft brass insignia; green, white, and red striped Italian national flag and "CAPRONI" on white background.
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