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  • Roma Tragedy

    In 1920 the Army Air Service purchased a 410-foot long semi-rigid dirigible, the Roma, from Italy. Disassembled and shipped to the United States, the reassembled airship made its first flight in America from Langley Field, Va., on Nov. 15, 1921. Dissatisfied with the Roma's performance, the Army Air Service replaced its Ansaldo engines with more
  • Round-the-Rim Flight

    In its desire to test the long-range capabilities of the airplane, the Air Service decided to fly a Glenn Martin bomber completely around the periphery of the U.S. The flight, which began at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., on July 24, 1919, was made in a counterclockwise direction. Since time and speed were not factors, the flight proceeded
  • Research & Development in the Interwar Years

    Gyroscopic ControlsThe fuselage section of a Sperry "Messenger" airplane was converted into an experimental "guided missile" in 1922. Gyroscopic equipment was installed in the airplane to control its altitude and direction of flight. Later refinements of gyro controls led to the development of airplane autopilots.Barling Bomber WheelsThe nose wheel
  • Refueling Wagon

    This is an early type 283-gallon capacity refueling wagon for servicing airplanes with gasoline. While this trailer carried enough gas for refueling nine World War I Sopwith Camel airplanes, it would require 181 such tankloads of jet fuel to refuel a single B-52H bomber of the 1970s.Click here to return to the Early Years Gallery. 
  • Regulation U.S. Army Air Service Pilot's Flying Outfit, WWI

    The goggles, leather helmet and long leather coat were standard items, though airmen used a wide variety of styles. The silk scarf protected the pilot's neck from chafing as he constantly scanned the sky for enemy aircraft. Boots, leather leggings and riding-style breeches were standard items from the regular army uniform.Click here to return to
  • Ryan YPT-16

    A military version of the civilian Ryan STA, the YPT-16 became the first monoplane acquired by the U.S. Army Air Corps as a primary trainer. The Air Corps ordered 15 YPT-16s after purchasing a single Ryan STA-1 in 1939 for testing as the XPT-16. From 1940-1942, the Air Corps bought nearly 1,200 more similar Ryan trainers as PT-20s, PT-21s and
  • Rodman Wanamaker Endurance Trophy

    During the 1910-1911 period, the Signal Corps had so few airplanes that it adopted a policy of granting its pilots necessary leave from duty to fly manufacturers' airplanes at civilian flying meets. At one such meet sponsored by the Aero Club of America on Sept. 26, 1911, at the Nassau Boulevard Aerodrome on Long Island, Lt. Thomas DeWitt Milling
  • Roberts Model 4-X

    This four-cylinder, water-cooled engine was made by the Roberts Motor Co. of Sandusky, Ohio, around 1910. Roberts used secret alloys it called "Aerotite" and "Magnalium" to enhance performance and reduce weight. The motor, weighing 170 pounds and developing 50 hp, was used in some Benoist and American-owned Bleriot aircraft. It cost $1,500 by mail
  • Ranger L-440

    The L-440 air-cooled, six-cylinder, inverted, in-line engine was manufactured by the Ranger Aircraft Engine Division of Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corp. Built in several versions ranging from 175 hp to 200 hp, L-440 series engines powered more than 6,000 Fairchild PT-19 and PT-26 during World War II. This L-440-1 engine was donated by Mr. David
  • Rockwell International B-1B

    T.O. 1B-1B-1 - DESCRIPTION. The B-1B aircraft, designed and manufactured by Rockwell International, is a long-range supersonic bomber with the capability of high-speed flight at low-level altitude.The aircraft has a blended wing-body concept with variable-sweep wings, a single vertical stabilizer with a three-section (upper, intermediate, and
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