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  • Nerves of Steel: Boom Operators

    Formally known as in-flight fuel specialists, enlisted “boom operators” play a key role in enabling aircraft to fly farther, faster. Operating aboard tanker aircraft, boom operators refuel aircraft in-flight to extend their range. This capability transformed the Air Force’s global reach during the

  • Nevermore: Captain Chuck Engle, Raven 26

    The Raven and Hmong community respected Captain Charles “Chuck” Engle as a daring and skilled pilot. On multiple occasions, he displayed extreme heroism while locating and protecting downed pilots and coordinating rescue operations for them.On one such mission, Capt. Engle responded to a downed

  • Nuclear Deterrence Exhibit

    This exhibit covers nuclear weapons creation and testing from the beginning of the Cold War to the 1990s. It explains the advent of super-powerful thermonuclear or “H-bombs” after the period of early atomic bombs, explains fission vs. fusion, and traces US testing in the Pacific and in Nevada. It

  • Northrop Grumman Defense Support Program Satellite

    Early Warning SatelliteDefense Support Program (DSP) satellites have provided the U.S. Air Force with early warning of ballistic missile launches and nuclear detonations for more than 40 years. The DSP satellite’s infrared sensors detect heat from missile plumes against the Earth’s background. This

  • North American X-15A-2

    Hypersonic Research AircraftThe X-15 is a famous and significant part of aviation history. Its purpose was to fly high and fast, testing the machine and subjecting pilots to conditions that future astronauts would face. It made the first manned flights to the edges of space and was the world’s first

  • Northrop Tacit Blue

    Built in the early 1980s in great secrecy, the revolutionary Tacit Blue aircraft tested advanced radar sensors and new ideas in stealth technology.Tacit Blue proved that a stealthy aircraft could have curved surfaces -- unlike the faceted surfaces of the F-117 Nighthawk -- which greatly influenced

  • Northrop X-4 Bantam

    During World War II, engineers in the U.S. and UK studied semi-tailless aircraft, and the German Luftwaffe fielded the semi-tailless Me 163 (one of which is on display in the museum’s World War II Gallery). After the war ended, Northrop built two X-4s to test if this configuration could perform at

  • North American T-6D Mosquito

    During the Korean War, airborne forward air controllers (FACs) chose the T-6 as the best available aircraft because it could operate from small, rough airstrips and was easy to maintain. More importantly, the T-6 was faster and more rugged than the light liaison aircraft they initially flew. Even

  • North American B-45C Tornado

    The B-45 achieved many "firsts." It was the first American four-engine jet bomber to fly; the first American production jet bomber; the first jet bomber capable of carrying an atomic bomb; and the first multi-jet reconnaissance aircraft to refuel in mid-air.Design of the Tornado began during World

  • Northrop A-17A

    The A-17 series was a direct descendent of the pace setting Northrop "Gamma," made famous by the aerial explorer Lincoln Ellsworth. It replaced the Curtiss A-8 and A-12 Shrike and was the last of the pre-World War II single-engine attack aircraft ordered into production by the Army Air Corps.Caught