Unpowered flight has been around since the days of Otto Lilienthal’s pioneering hang gliding experiments in Germany during the late 1800s. Powered flight however, has existed since the Wright brothers flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in the USA. There is good argument that Richard Pearse may have accomplished powered flight prior to the Wright brothers but the facts don’t clearly exist to support the claim. Pearse was a contemporary of the Wrights and invented ailerons, elevators, and conventional tail — while the Wrights invented airfoil design, a better propeller shape and the wind tunnel.
Aircraft have been designed all over the world and several innovative designs, successful and disastrous, have been tested. Many examples have been lost to history but many have been saved, fully restored, or lie awaiting the care they deserve — whether in museums or the back areas of rural airfields. There lies the excitement!
Aircraft in museums may be displayed so that one can photograph from any side but more often they are placed in groups (somewhat disparagingly I call them “pods”) so that only one aspect or two may be open for a good photograph — the larger the pod the less good shot opportunities are available, unfortunately. Of course, museum displays offer the best protection for the airplanes. Outside displays usually offer more angles to photograph, naturally, but suffer more from the elements. Getting picture opportunities from below, above or interior photographs seldom occur.
Finding and visiting these aircraft wherever they may be is a pleasant endeavor. They may be in museums, relegated beyond barriers or cordons so the public cannot touch them. Some may be in museums where contact is allowed — these machines once lived in a much harsher environment then they exist in today, after all. Many more are at airfields or on display as gate guardians or often seen as a plane on a pole. Exploring means that you find what you find when you find it — and that is the magic of this adventure — travel to see aircraft.
The intended posting schedule is to publish a posts Wednesday and Friday mornings (Eastern Standard Time [EST] or Eastern Daylight Time [EDT], as appropriate) — more often as time permits. Comments and questions, as always, are welcome.