The pioneering designs of Orville and Wilbur Wright launched over a century of inspiring aeronautic innovation. Prepare to be awed with our general aviation exhibits that start with the earliest aircraft designs and wind you through history with samples of private, sport, and commercial aircraft. Our general aviation exhibits also include non-military helicopters and special aircraft.
The Wright brothers are only the beginning of aeronautic history. Their fragile designs led to countless early experiments in flight. Discover how these fledgling beginnings led to the solid aircraft we know today. Travel back in time as you marvel at the innovation and beauty of these early planes!
It wasn’t long after the first manned aircraft got off the ground that pioneering entrepreneurs began selling tickets to fly. From pre-war, prop-driven commercial aircraft to the jetliners of today, you’ll walk through the history of commercial flight with this special exhibit.
There are as many kinds of planes as there are pilots. Whether you want to roll, race, or build your own aircraft at home, there’s a perfect design just for you. Explore these unique, specialized aircraft in this fascinating collection.
Beginning in the 1920s, airplanes became more than curiosities as people began to use them for personal transportation to get from point A to B, and in the process they changed how we travel. See how these planes evolved from simple two-place biplanes to luxury jets that travel near the speed of sound.
The dream of taking off and landing vertically has been around for centuries, as seen in the toys of China and Renaissance Europe. But it was not until Igor Sikorsky developed the first practical helicopter in 1939 that the dream was in the grasp of humanity. Pushed by the needs of battle, the helicopter transformed the way wars were fought. Today, the helicopter has become indispensable as an air ambulance, a search and rescue tool, a transport to inaccessible places and even the ultimate “chairlift” for skiers. Like fixed wing airplanes, the helicopter has become a part of everyday life for people around the globe.