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  • Curtiss O-52 Owl

    In 1940 the U.S. Army Air Corps ordered 203 Curtiss O-52s for observation duties -- signified by the designation "O" -- and used them for military maneuvers within the continental United States. Upon America's entry into World War II, however, the U.S. Army Air Forces realized that the airplane lacked the performance necessary for combat operations
  • Consolidated PT-1 Trusty

    By 1924 the U.S. Army Air Service needed a new primary training aircraft, and the Army chose the PT-1 designed by Consolidated Aircraft Corp. of Buffalo, N.Y. Deliveries began in 1925, and the PT-1 became the first training airplane purchased by the Army Air Service in substantial quantity following World War I. All totaled, Consolidated delivered
  • Caproni Ca. 36

    During World War I, Italian aeronautical engineer Gianni Caproni developed a series of multi-engine heavy bombers that played a key role in the Allied strategic bombing campaign. His bombers were produced not only in Italy, but also in France, Great Britain and the United States.In late 1914 Caproni designed the Ca. 31, powered by three Gnome
  • Caquot Type R Observation Balloon

    Tethered balloons allowed World War I observers to see as far as 40 miles behind enemy lines to spot troop movements, chart trench systems and direct artillery fire. The observation balloon most used by Americans was named for its designer, French engineer Lt. Albert Caquot. The hydrogen-filled balloon could lift two passengers in its basket, along
  • Curtiss JN-4D Jenny

    Note: This aircraft is currently in the museum's restoration hangar.The Curtiss Jenny became America's most famous World War I training airplane. Generally used for primary flight training, some Jennies were equipped with machine guns and bomb racks for advanced training. The JN series began by combining the best features of the Curtiss "J" and "N"
  • Conquering the Sky: Dec. 17, 1903

    Pictured is the take-off of the 1903 Wright Flyer on the world's first powered, sustained and controlled heavier-than-air flight on Dec. 17, 1903, at Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Piloted by Orville Wright, the airplane remained aloft for 12 seconds and flew a distance of 120 feet in a straight line.After Orville's first flight, Wilbur flew the aircraft
  • Charles E. Taylor (1868-1956): The First Aviation Mechanic

    Charlie Taylor was a brilliant, self-taught mechanic who made a crucial contribution to the Wright brothers' invention of the airplane. When a suitable engine was not available for the first flight, he designed and built the first successful airplane engine in only six weeks. This made the Wright brothers' pioneering powered flights possible.Taylor
  • Creation of the Aeronautical Division

    On Aug. 1, 1907, at the recommendation of Maj. George O. Squier, Brig. Gen. James Allen, Chief Signal Officer (1906-1913) of the U.S. Army, established the Aeronautical Division under his office, placing Capt. Charles D. Chandler in command. He tasked this embryonic organization with "all matters pertaining to military ballooning, air machines and
  • Cpl. Edward Ward: First Enlisted Airman

    Cpl. Edward "Eddie" Ward enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1901. In July 1907 the Army sent Ward and Pfc. Joseph Barrett to Leo Stevens' balloon factory, where they learned the basics of balloon maintenance from the pre-eminent American balloon manufacturer. A month later, Brig. Gen. James Allen ordered Ward and Barrett to the newly created Aeronautical
  • Controllable Balloons: Dirigibles

    From the beginning, the usefulness of the balloon depended upon giving it "dirigibility" or directional control -- without it, balloons could only drift with the wind. Although the U.S. Army did not buy its first dirigible until 1908, the technology had existed for more than 50 years.In 1852 Henri Giffard, a French engineer, mounted a 3-hp steam

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