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tv   American Artifacts First Half- Century of Aviation  CSPAN  August 4, 2021 4:38pm-5:40pm EDT

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weekends on c-span2, every saturday, american history tv documents america's story. and on sundays, book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding comes from these television companies and more. including charter communications. broadband is a force for empowerment. that's why charter is empowering opportunity in communities big and small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communications, along with these television companies, supports c-span2 as a public service. each week american artifacts
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takes viewers into archives, museums, and to historic sites around the country. up next we visit the smithsonian national air and space museum. located in washington, d.c. and just down the mall from the u.s. capitol. our guide is jeremy mckinney, who shows us some of the one-of-a-kind artifacts from the first century of aviation. >> hi, i'm jeremy kinney. we're going through a tour of artifacts that stand out in terms of the story of higher, faster, and farther in aviation. but first the air and space museum overall. it has over 8 million visitors a year between the national mall building and the steven huber center. so, looking at the history of flight, the area i work in, we're looking at about 500 aircraft and helicopters. of the aircraft, about 67 are on display in the national mall building.
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so, what supports the artifacts is up to 60,000 individual small and medium artifacts. what we're going to talk about today is the story of higher, faster, and farther, which is seen as a cliche but has a real meaning to it. we look at the people who made this quest of flying in the third dimension a reality. and so the idea of flying the highest altitude, the fastest speed, and the longest distances tells us a lot about the technical development of the airplane but also the reinvention of what the wright brothers do. and that's what i'd like to talk to you about in terms of the airplanes and the people you can only see at the smithsonian, that tells that story. behind me you see the wright flyer, the world's first airplane. on the morning of december 17th, 1903, at 10:35 a.m., wilbur wright takes flight for 120
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feet. it's the first time a man has entered into the air in a powered flying machine. at the end of the fourth flight, with them alternating. 852 feet. 30 miles per hour at a altitude of 30 feet and they usher in this aerial age, the age of aviation. and how they came to create that moment is very important. because not only do the wright brothers invent the airplane, but they invent aeronautical engineering, the processes that are needed to create actual flying machines. so beginning in 1899, wilbur and oroville wright, they are unmarried, they own a bicycle shop and printing business. they are yankee mechanics. they know tools and mechanical devices and they take that interest and apply it to printing presses and bicycles and into solving the problem of building a flying machine. in 1899 they write the smithsonian institution and ask for all the literature on flight. and they learn about all the
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predecessors. george kaley. samuel langley, who's going to be the secretary of the smithsonian and a competitor. they learn of chanute, who has the aeronautical knowledge in the united states. but what sets the wright brothers apart is they break the problem down. they have to look at the airplane as a system of systems. looking at propulsion, structures, control, and aerodynamics, the science of flight. and so between 1899 and 1902 they start flying gliders. they start with kites, gliders, and by 1902 they have a controllable glider, in which they've made a new fundamental contribution called wing warping. rather than using your weight, they have a mechanical system where they can twist the wings. how they come to the conclusion
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is that the brothers always complimented each other as intellectuals. and so they argued, how are we going to make it move in the air? how do we keep it from just flying in a straight line? and it's one day in the bicycle shop that wilbur is talking to a customer and he has an innertube box for a bicycle tire and he's twisting it as he talks to the individual. he sees in his mind's eye -- the wright brothers are all about nonverbal thinking. he says, if we start twisting the wings of our glider, we can control it. you lift one wing up, the other goes down, it will turn. that's how they come up with these new ideas of what the airplane is. they create the world's first working wind tunnel to actually do the math of previous experimenters and they find out he's wrong with the coefficient of lift on the wings. and they recalculate it and
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they design wings that are capable of creating lift. so by 1902, they have a working glider where they're flying for almost 30 seconds from the dunes of kitty hawk, north carolina, in which they've traveled there because it's the one spot in america that has consistent winds as well as isolation so they can work in peace without distraction. so through 1902 and 1903 they add the last big part of the airplane. so they've done the wings, the aerodynamics, they've done the structure, which has been influenced by chanute in the truss, which you see in railroad bridges in the 19th century. and then you look at the control system or wing warping. so the last ingredient is the propulsion system. they acknowledge it's going to be a reciprocating engine. so their mechanic in the bike shop creates a 12 horsepower
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engine. they need to generate the thrust in the propellers. that's another specific choice is it's going to have propellers on the flying machine. they figure they can go to existing data on ship propellers and that doesn't give them any answers. so the same sort of intellectual give and take, and they realize a propeller is a rotating wing in a helical path. so they take their wind tunnel data and apply it to the propeller and design two propellers capable of producing up to 67% to 77% thrust of the 12-horsepower engine. those are called pusher configurations. they wanted the propellers to turn in opposite directions. so, counter-rotating. taking their knowledge of working in a workshop.
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you twist the belt going from the roof. you can see one of the chains twisted on the drive system of the flyer, what they called our flyer. so the propulsion system enables the brothers to go to kitty hawk in the late fall, early winter of 1903, where they start readying their flying program. they have a crash, they are down for a couple of days. but it's december 17th, 1903, that they actually fly this airplane that you see behind me. it's the actual getting in the air under the power and looking at all the technology here in terms of your aluminum engine, spruce propellers and spruce structural members. you have metal fittings and muslin fabric, the pride of the west. according to the brand. so that all comes together in
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the system of the airplane that they create. after those four flights, a big wind comes up at kitty hawk. and the flyer tumbles. it's demolished. they claim success and pack it up and go to dayton where they're from. and they send a telegram to their father. four flights. and they make the announcement. that's their very quiet way of saying the aerial age has emerged. by 1905 in an improved flyer, wilbur and orville are flying up to half an hour, for long distances. figure eights over huffman prairie, just over dayton, ohio. so, the '03 flyer, as it's going to be called, is forgotten. it sits in crates. it goes through a flood and all the crates have been soaked with water and mud. and then orville is starting to put it on different displays through the 1920s. in 1926 it goes to england, where it's at the science museum. during world war ii, it's stored
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west of london during the blitz. during the attacks on england. but it comes to 1948 when orville with great fanfare donates the wright flyer to the smithsonian institution, where it's been on display in the old arts building and with the opening of the national air and space museum in 1976, the wright flyer went on display. and 2003, in the centennial of the wright brothers' first flight, this gallery was opened to tell the story of the making of the first airplane. and with it, aeronautical engineering. what you see here is the original airplane, the wright flyer. but it has been restored and things have been changed over the years. so the fabric you see is not the original fabric from 1903 but it's actually been applied in
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the same sewing methods and construction as the 1903 airplane. so they made the airplane look better for when it went to england. but in the 1980s, this airplane underwent a restoration. so the spruce structural members, the engine, one of the propellers, that's all original. over in the corner is one of the original propellers, you'll see. because when it took a tumble it propeller. we just left the wright brothers. and the airplane behind me is a 14. in many ways this is the configuration of the french and rest of the aeronautical community takes what the wright brothers create in 1903 and they make it their own. so this is a 1917 design and it's the highest performance french fighter of world war i.
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and what that means is that it can go 130 miles per hour. so 100 miles an hour faster than a wright flyer and it's also a strut and wire-based airplane, like the wright flyer. but it's now in a tractor configuration, where the engine and propeller are on the front. two bi plane wings and the stabilizer and you have control at the top for each of the wings. so more french influence. and so after the creation of the airplane, the wright brothers bring it to the world. there's some french and others who are flying airplanes. but the french really run with it. they take a lead. as well as other nations. in looking at this airplane, it is the epitome of the strut and wire consfig youration that the
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wright brothers created but is enhanced. figuration that the wright brothers created but is enhanced. the spad vii is very important it has very thin air flows to allow to to go very fast. it is fabric covered. it is 220 horsepower v8 engine under need that calling. there's a tight-fitting mental healthal tal
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metal covering it to allow the air to streamline more efficiently. mark burkigt has designed a very important series of automobile engines in the pre-war era and adapts this to two of his v inline engines and makes it v8. instead of separate cylinders attached to the crank case he cast a row of cylinders out of a sod piece of a lum num and he has cooling passages in those aluminum blocks to allow more cooling and more power. you are looking at 220 horsepower with these engine by the time they're introduced in the spad 13. there's also a technological push pull before world war i.
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when the fuselage aircraft you can see in this gallery. but the spad 13 the french answer to that airplane. it's not as maneuverable but it has the speed and can dial away. they are going to take this airplane and develop new group fighter tactics in response to german fighter tactics. so this first generation of significant high-scoring french aces fly these airplanes and it becomes the as the high performance airplane has two 30 caliber machine guns from the propeller and these airplanes can fly fast and dive and come back and attack gives the french fighter squad an advantage. one of the major technological innovation for fighter aircraft in world war i is the creation of gun synchronizer system you can mount a machine gun in front the pilot with a site and can
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point your machine gun and hit your target. problem is you have a spinning propeller in the way so creation of mechanical linkage set up to a cam on the propeller shaft as the propeller blade crosses in front it turns off the machine gun and as it past the machine gun will turn back on. as 1917 proceeds into 1918 and entry of united states into the war, you have american air service pilots coming into the western front equip with french aircraft. there's not a frontline american ready fighter for the conflict. this particular spad 13 that you see here is in american air service markings, it was built, one of the manufacturers contracted to make 8400 spad's were made total. and the 22nd aero squadron was assigned this airplane and a young pilot named ray brooks
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painted the name of his fiancée's college on there, smith college. he had three previous airplanes. it's smith the fourth. he scores one aerial kill in this spad 13. other pilots in the same squadron shoot down five more. so this spad 13 flew with the first generation of american combat pilots. now, ray names this airplane after his fiancée's school. and most people name their airplane after their girlfriends but he made a conscious decision he didn't want to have this airplane damaged at the end of the field with mechanics saying ruthy is damaged, we got to fix her. he wanted to actually keep her out of that situation. so he named it after a college. smith the 4th is in 1918 camouflage what you see also on
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the fuselage and wings are small black squares with german crosses, those represent bullet holes shot through the fabric from combat, small indications of this being a combat airplane and survisurviving. the squares would have been applied by ground mechanics in the field. no need to completely recover the airplane. one of the interesting advantages of strut and wire brace is airplane is if the bullet goes through the fabric just passes through the other side. all it needs to be is patched to restore the integrity and then keep fighting. now at the end of world war i in november 1918 this airplane is set aside by army air service and brought back to the united states. to display what type of aircraft americans flew, a high-performance french fighter and is given to the tre'quan smith where
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and is given to the smithsonian and stayed there for where and is given to the smithsonian and stayed there for decades. the fabric you see here is not original. it is restored fabric. nonetheless, this is one of four remaining spads in the world. it tells the story of how the wright brothers original airplane was maximizes and changed and still the same essentially in terms of the materials and propulsion and systems that make it up, it was a formidable combat fighter of world war i. from the spad 13 of 1918 in world war i we will now look at a air racer in the 1930s that pushed higher, faster, and farther. behind me now is the curtis r 3c-2 racer in the flight
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gallery. this is a pan air racer. what is unique is is built by a national government, the united states, to compete international air racing to combat the other forces, great britain and italy primarily, who are there to win a prize. the snyder cut. schneider cut. to make the performance better. it is a military spectacle in which military officers are getting in these airplanes. take notice of u.s. army on the tail of this u.s. air racer. you will see they're in bloodless campaigns against each other. they're promoting their own branch of service to see if they can become independent and to push the technology. it's a two-fold technical campaign they're waging.
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what results is an improvement of the airplane in terms of high-speed technology. united states gets into air racing in 1922 where they show up at the schneider trophy competition, an international event created by a french aviation jacques schneider to influence and encourage the development of c plane technology because he saw the world was covered by water and thought c planes needed to be developed. and what it becomes is a high-stakes, high-speed competition between first the international aviation clubs of each country and then the military governments take over in the early 1920s. so curtis r3 c-2 is the world's fastest airplane in fall of 1925. this racer with a young air service pilot named jimmy
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doolittle wins the competition near baltimore, maryland. at average of 220 miles an hour. the next day breaks a world sea plane record of 142 miles an hour. 0 miles an hour. the next day breaks a world sea plane record of 142 miles an hour. 120 miles an hour. the next day breaks a world sea plane record of 142 miles an hour. gets into the public high showing the military aviation overall. two weeks before the same airplane with wheels and tail skid installed in r3c-1 wins the pulitzer trophy race, it is a national race pitting the army and navy and marine pilots against each other. in mitchell field, cyrus flies 43, instead of 3, to win that race at 248 miles an hour. so jimmy doolittle and cyrus
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betis the world's fastest men, betsaid he was faster than any win in history. so the real belief in speed and pushing of technology and justification of national governments to really encourage this development involves in what we see here, curtis rc-3. it is a race ig system. look at the gold wings. see the lines between the fuselage and wing tips it is a brass radiator instead of a flat radiator at the front of the plane that creates drag you have it over the profile of the wing, and it's cooling the engine through those radiators. you see minimum struts and wires on the construction of it. you see a tightly-fitted calit over the engine. you see a metal propeller, one
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of the latest innovations in 1920s built and designed by a fellow named albert reid a true innovation in terms of transitioning from wood to metal in airplane construction materials. probably the most important innovation is is a plywood fuselage, built like a wooden built and shaped to form a fuselage, so there are no long erstruts and wires and braces in the fuselage, it's a hollow shell, that incorporates an overall streamline shape and allows the airplane go faster because of the ability to have less things causing drag on the fuselage itself. what you have to notice is is built for a very high-speed, high-turning environment. so you got a 20-mile course, marked by three pylons, it's a virtual race track in the sky.
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so the short wing span, compact nature of the plane allows it to make very tight turns around the pylons. jimmy doolittle would start at one pylon, dive towards the base and then pull up to get the speed. it's short swing span facilitated that. if you are spectator watching this race you would see doolittle climbing and turning and diving to the pylons around the bend, you would also hear the airplane. this curtis d 14 engine short stacks of the engine are barking, making really loud barking noise. the propeller itself is going super sonic at its tip. propellers are the first aeronautical devices to go supersonic so you hear this banging noise and the exhaust
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and airplane zooming by at eye sight level is pretty amazing thing to so. so after cyrus betis wins the pulitzer and jimmy doolittle wins the schneider. the next year the schneider trophy rate in hampton road, virginia, frank comes in second. after that race the r-3 is given to the smithsonian institution where it is on display for a number of years and then goes to the national museum of u.s. air force and restored there and returns to the flight gallery where you see it here today. now jimmy doolittle who i mentioned won in this racer goes on to fame in aviation, test pilot, ear nautical engineer --
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it is at the opening of world war ii for the united states that jimmy doolittle becomes a national hero as he leads the doolittle raid. winning the medal of honor and goes on to lead in world war ii air force. that aircraft defined jimmy doolittle's career. now we will move on to ryan nyp, spirit of st. louis, in may 1927 flew 3600 miles in 33 and half hours flown by an unknown pilot. with a goal to win $25,000 for the first nonstop flight to
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paris. he wanted to join his former country france, that's the impetus but what it represents for federal aviation is the telling of the airplane, trans 230r78ation of the airplane from what the wright brothers created to how it transitioned from the 20s to 30s to what we call the modern airplane. lindburg was unknown in 1926, he was flying from st. louis to chicago air route, flying the mail, was thinking about is this possible? and building on that idea he gets financeirs from st. louis he trained them to fly in aviation circles and he gets the backing to purchase or build a long-distance airplane and he ends up in san diego with ryan airlines and meets donald hall their chief engineer, they
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design a purpose-built trans-atlantic airplane from new york to paris, called the spirit of st. louis in honor of his backers in st. louis but this is a product of his vision of what a long-distance airplane would be. it's not necessarily the most advanced airplane. it represents many of the known ideas about technology that's are reliable and durable with some gambles that he includes in the airplane as well. working with don hall through the spring 1927, they create this airplane that is a wood wing, it's externally braced to the fuselage and has underneath it's fabric of the fuselage tube u lar steal framework that emerged after world war i, it is a diversion of the worse bracing we seen since the wright brothers but it still uses wires and still
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framework as seen in the strut and brace construction. but we know it works. it's also the basic design of the ryan airplane they call the m 2 they base this airplane on. this aircraft was designed for one thing, flying across the atlantic ocean, with one pilot, which is a gambling, all others had multiple crew members and multiple engines but he says the lighter the airplane the more simple, i can control it. this airplane is built for endurance. 45,000 gallons of gas he has to handle the weight of the airplane. so first thing he does is break a trans continental speed record. goes on to new york, which is the jumping off point to paris.
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this is where his choices come into play. you don't see a canopy. you see the door on the side. would use a parascope to see forward or swivel the tail to look out the window or side. because what's in front of him are the oil and main fuel tanks and then the engine. that's to get all of that in front of him in case he crashes he has it all in front of him rather than having a big gas tank coming behind him crushing him or burning him alive. so he is making these choices. look forward of the fuel tank area where it says spirit of st. louis. you see the radial engine, right j 5 whirl wind is a corner stone of technology what will becoming the modern airplane, a radial engine, that is cooled by the air traveling over the system industriers. so you
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cylinders. you see them sticking out so they could be cooled as the air goes over them. it is an engine that is reliable and stays running 33 hours. it's a conscious choice. advanced technology. those are known technologies that work but the state-of-the-art is the engine and right in front of it is aluminum alloy fixed pitch, creates thrust for one operating regime but has a little innovation in it that the standard disstiller company innovate you can't change the angle of the blades in the air, but if you need to change the pitch on the ground you can loosen two
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rings the, change the pitch for whatever setting you want it to be. so they can get you off the ground with that heavy weight of the fuel but give you much cruise efficiency to get across the atlantic. it's a compromise. in many ways the airplane overall is a krom compromise to get lindbergh across the ocean. he didn't have a compass. he would use the stars and maps to plot his path. he's going to fly the polar routes across instead of flying over the shipping lanes he is flying much shorter distance over the curvature of the earth and just gambles he is going to fly this route and soon as he gets to europe will figure out where he is at and make his way to paris. he does that over the course of a day and half and he lands just
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north of paris and is met by over 100,000 adoring fans, people cheering him on. at that point the unknown lindbergh, flight technicalists who helped to create this airplane enters into this legendary status, supreme aviator of the world, especially the united states, in which he becomes a household name in which the growth in the aviation industry is seen as a result of what he's done in this flight. even though it's an indication things are moving along, he really exacerbates and improves and expands the idea of an aviation industry. people want to fly as a result of him. by means the spirit together and the flight. this pop culture phenomena that lindbergh becomes as a result of
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this flight. it is a moment in which america turns the page in terms of understanding the power play of the airplane and excitement for that. in the wake of this flight to paris, lindbergh returns with the spirit and he is going to do a national tour. flew 1927. through 1927 in which hundreds of thousands of americans will see him fly. they read about the flight and now they're going to see him come to their hometown. by the end of the tour he goes to latin america and extends relations to latin america and flying long-distance there as women. on the well. on the front you see the flags he visited during his american tour and you see military insignia from the army and marine units that he interacted with over the course of that tour.
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ed upon return of that upon return of that in february 1978 lindbergh gives it to the smithsonian institution. that artifact stays on display arts and industry building, old tin shed through the history of the museum and on display in the opening of the national mall building for the space museum where it is on display ever since. the so artifact you see behind me is the original spirit of st. louis, it's had some conservation work but it is the original fabric and it is once again one-of-a-kind original artifact which mains smithsonian aviation so important and why you need to see it. lindbergh's flight from new york to paris was very important
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moment in aviation but there are those that follow to show how the airplane evolves, the idea of reinventing the airplane and pushing higher, faster, farther that really builds to crescendo in the 1930s. just a few months after lindbergh's flight across the atlantic in spirit of st. louis on july 4, 1927, the first lockheed vega takakeishos s to the air. like the one you see behind me. this airplane is a result of a self-taught intuitive designer named jack northrop and he had a deal what airplane should look like. like what you see behind me, there's no supporting braces or wires. you have internally supported wing on this radar.
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you also see a plywood fuselage. taking the heritage of the curtis r3-c racer before world war i, you have a fuselage that doesn't need internal bracing system as well as external bracing. his idea of a clean airplane is manifest in this. it also has a radial engine installed at the front of the airplane and metal fixed pitch propeller. the problem with the radial engine becomes a corner stone technology. you see on the spirit of st. louis, and seeing it here. the problem with the radial engine is that it's situated like a now erpetal at the front of this fuselage and equal to a model- t radiator on a car, it creates a lot of drag but the cylinders need the air travel over them to cool the cylinders
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so the designers have to choose to have a exposed radial engine like spirit of st. louis or do you cover the engine to get aerodynamic efficiency to clean up the drag and make the airplane more efficient. it is a fundamental question by naca in languagely, virginia. young ley, virginia. young -- design number ten results flowing air through controlling the engine, control the air flow to maximize the ability to fly 165 miles an hour cruise and ability to fly passengers what the original design of the airplane was for.
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naca cauley wins the trophy for highest award for achievement in aviation as still given today. jack northrun takes it and jackson northrop takes and puts it on the airplane. where would you put the landing gear? you have fixed landing gear on the bottom of the aircraft and you have big tires and wheels to create drag. so his idea was to put pants on the tires, so there's tear-drop streamlined wheel pants are an idea of well, you have to have fixed land geography but as streamlined as possible. it becomes known as a high-performance airplane and is taken by several individuals, like amelia earhart in spring
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1932 flies this airplane across the atlantic ocean, first woman to fly across the atlantic nonstop. in august 1932 she flies nonstop across the united states, rapidly becoming a leading aviator in the united states. after earhart flies nonstop across the united states she sold her plane to the franklin institute and in 1966 entered the smithsonian collection. so the vega becomes the airplane of choice for record-breakers. in 1931, wily post who is oklahoma wildcatter who loses an eye in oil rig accident, he starts to fly and chooses the
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vega. his characteristic, white and blue, winnie may. he flies around the world with navigator in 1931 in eight days. in 1933 he flies around the world all by himself in seven and half days. and he starts to learn these new phenomenon about the jet stream he gets additional 121 miles an hour from the jet stream. he is flying so high he's experimenting. he is also the first to experiment with the pressure suit. the vega is the choice of aviators who want to push the limits of not only speed and distance but altitude in regards to what this airplane can do. so this is amelia earhart's characteristic red vega and shows her story of flying across
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the atlantic. in another airplane lockheed electra becomes synonymous with high-performance, long-distance aircraft that important aviators choose to make these flights. still this is a wood airplane and very interesting to see the performance being pushed which seems counter intuitive in regards to what this aircraft is. doesn't have the steel fuselage like spirit of st. louis but it's looking towards the future in terms of the shape. we look at this dynamic 1926 to 1934 period of innovation we seen a lot of these airplanes i've been talking about emerge, the vega is the first to represent the future airplane how it will become modern over the course of the 1930s.
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so the vega enthusiasm has been ramped up, flying across oceans, conthe -- continents around the world. next the boeing -- aircraft that enables new innovations to fly faster, farther and in this case carry passengers. in 1930s. 217 d is one of the first modern airplanes overall when introduced in 1933. it reflects the heritage of reinventing the airplane after world war i. it has all-metal construction. there's a significant transition from strut and wire brace construction of the wright brothers to the plywood construction of the vega. tube u lar steal fuselage of spirit of st. louis. and now you're looking at all-metal airplane, make the
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aircraft bigger, gas turbine engines and you have jet airlineser of the 1950s. we're looking at the beginning of that in which early 1930s the boeing company, president phillip johnson, vice president, claire, egvet and chief engineer charlie monte want to build on the new aircraft b 9 bomber, an all-metal model plane that they want to develop into a commercial airliner and 247 is the result of that which embodies all-metal construction, as i said, also the idea of the streamline design that the vega represents. so you have incorporated into an airplane made to make money. need innovations to make it go faster. with the unveiling of the 247 you have 107 miles an hour capable of carrying ten passengers, a pretty stunning jump over a four tri-motor as
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you see here with a cruise of 115 miles an hour. it's carrying people longer distances and it compresses that 27 hours of trans-continental flight time across the united states into 19.5 hours. so here's another element that plays into this equation is that the vast distances of the united states really pushed the development of commercial aircraft. so by 1933 you have an airliner with two engines capable of flying faster than the most advanced army pursuit airplanes. that kind of shapes the knowledge and perception of what these airplanes can do. so the united aircraft transport corporation is the parent company of boeing aircraft and has two of the wasp engines, hamilton standard propellers. and they own several airlines, including united airlines. so boeing buildings these airplanes and under the
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corporate umbrella can only go to united aircraft and transport corporation family companies. that means twa, american airlines, don't have this airplane available. so what results is twa under jack frye asked other aircraft manufacturers can you help us replace the 4-trimotor we can't get 2:47 what can you do. what results was dc 2 airliner that becomes dc 3 you see above the 247. so as the 247 starts it has innovations that are trad iksle with fixed propellers, calling ring and sloping wing. and the need to compete with dc airline from douglas you have what result in 247 d model you
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see here. rare slanted wind screen, full calling like the vega. and variable pitch propellers. what i mean is hydraulic mechanisms that change the blade pitch as the propeller is rotating. it's an advanced arellano -- airplane that increased to 148 miles an hour. and can't compete and becomes the preeminent modern airplane. there's an interesting story the two get into a race in the fall of 1934. this australian millionaire, sir macmcpherson robert sponsored a race from great britain to melbourne, 11,300 miles, an international race. they want to see who can win.
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at the end douglas dc-2 and boeing 247 that you see here come in second and third. the first is a purpose built air racer. but the dc-2 and 247 they show how american aeronautical technology jumps ahead of the european technology. is the ability of the d c-2 lines stopping along the way with passenger mail but the 247 you see here flown by flamboyant pilot and those you see here. they get lost and had engine trouble but they made if. it's the airplane you see hear. here that made that flight. pts part of the story the international press says the united states jumped ahead in
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aeronautical aeronautical technology. how do we jump ahead. now it goes out of service eventually and has several owners but early 1970s is given to the smithsonian from united airlines and it's restored. the view you see here on the right side is in the united airlines marking after the robertson race. on the other side had on both history of the airplane in 1934 and afterwards. so with the creation of the air and space museum in 1976 in the opening this was put on display in the air transport gallery now america by air to show that story that first very crucial moment of the modern airplane. this takes an airliner appearing
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in the mid 1930s. the boeing 247 d we were discussing was state-of-the-art in 1933 and epitome the technology that was going to become the modern airplane and in different variations, gets bigger, and is the aircraft we know in terms of the structure, the shape for jet airliners today. the north american x-15 is a very different type of airplane that emerged in the late 1950s. it's a research plane. beginning with the bell x-1 in 1947, the airplane first designed to investigate supersonic flight. the mach-1. there's this new again -- generation created through naca building airplanes just for
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investigating aerodynamic phenomenon or some sort of dale earnhardt, jr. challenge that could -- it's the x-15 program in 1959 to investigate the hyper sonic regime. speeds beyond mach-4. looking at partnership between industry, north america, the military, u.s. air force, the primary ben infector of high-speed aircraft and national aeronautics and space administration, nasa. from 1959 to 1969 this program investigates the hyper sonic reg seem has to do that as a aero space plane, here's a vehicle
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designed to transition from the earth's atmosphere to the edges of space. over 199 flights there are three x-15 built by north america. taking that formula and pushing the idea of higher and faster, you're looking at a vehicle in its present form designed for the hypersonic regime. it means it has to be a vehicle that can fly in the atmosphere. it has traditional controls to allow it to maneuver in the atmosphere. it also needs a new system. if you look at the nose, you see the two holes in front of the white rectangle, those are reaction control jets. as the aerodynamic ability to control the aircraft goes away it uses reaction control jets to control the aircraft. it is a true aerospace plain --
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plane -- is the distinctive shape is there for the hyper sonic regime. it's more the shape of the fuselage. you decent big fat wings, it's you don't see big fat wings, it's a very compact structure. that tail is to facilitate control in the hyper sonic regime. now the air traveling over the surface of this vehicle was estimated to be up to 1200 degrees farenheit. that warranted the creation of a new material to make the aircraft out of that would influence other high-speed aircraft a nickel alloy, these are space-age material being put into an aerospace plane. the pilots wear pressurized suits like astronauts and this is a concurrent program with
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mercury and gemini and american apollo program. last is the 79,000 pound thrust rocket engine, not designed to be taken off from the ground but carried by a b-52 bomber like a mothership p carried up to 42,000 feet and dropped. the pilot would engage the rocket engine and do whatever flight profile he needed to do. beginning in 1959 scott crossfield the north american research engineering test pilot makes the first flights with the x-15. this particular one is number one x-15. so seeing where it can fly, how it can fly and then by the mid 1960s you have a flight program that is really influenced and encouraged how the space program develops its flights. so it's the high-range edwards
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air force base that these aircraft are operated and flown over and they're tracked. like tracking a satellite or capsule you're tracking this aircraft. and so by the mid-to late 1960s, x-15 flights are pushing that regime in terms of flying 67 miles high or 345,000 feet and then flying at the high speed of mach-6 or 4500 miles per hour. so the pilots of these vehicles are primarily nasa pilots or air force pilots. and so these are missions that are pushing people to believe and encouraging them is this the way into space? is this what's going to be developed to make this transition? and so you have to think, that when this airplane first flies in 1959 is that -- it's only -- i mean, charles lindbergh is
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alive and generations of flyers. the idea of higher, faster, farther is symbolized by the flight of the x-15 through the late 1960s. so this is x-15 number one first flown by scott crossfield and also number of nasa test pilots including neil armstrong employed as a nasa research test pilot, something he was proud of in terms of flying. so this was an alternate path that another type of vehicle was chosen for the atmosphere to space access in the form of the space shuttle but also in terms of the capsules of the mercury, gemini and apollo programs so in a lot of ways this was an alternate pathway that never happened but the knowledge of the technology of designing
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hypersonic vehicle in which, you know, this, the x-15 holds the record as the fastest man-carrying vehicle even to this day but the x-15 is the symbol of what might be the next plateau, hypersonic flight. there are many individuals especially in nasa's aeronautic, the first a in nasa, who believe hyper sonic travel is possible and there's research and rescue in unmanned hype in unmanned hype sonic action. i hope you enjoyed this look at some of the one-of-a-kind path breaking aircraft to illustrate the theme of higher, faster, farther in the collection of the international air and space museum. these are the ones i felt illustrated the ideas of pushing the envelope, reinvention and
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looking at the speckle of flight how people get excited about seeing these, it touches on ways of experiencing flight. we have pilots and engineers, and passengers, and we also have people just watching, and read and learn being these very important stories in aviation that have shaped and transformed our world. in looking at these artifacts it's one of the primary roles of the international air and space museum is to share these artifacts with the american public and rest of the world. in many ways it resonates with the visitors in terms of our success and in terms of telling the stories in new ways and share different levels of experience as well as the importance of that technology. if so in many ways the museum has grown from a celebration of technology and these important milestones and moments to show how society and culture have been effected as well as that,
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in reverse, has effected the technology itself. so this is what's been exciting for this for me is talking about my take on that in terms of sharing that with visitors. melli you can watch >> you can h
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. up next on american history tv, the culture of fighter pile opts and it's origins in world war i. from the national world war i museum and memorial kansas city. >> my pleasure to introduce assistant professor of strategy of united states graduate professional military education where he directs on air power history and national strategy. he recently published an article on the evolution of air combat technology in vietnam 1968-1972 in the air power history journal and is currently writing aoo


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