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Abrams Explorer — the beautiful aircraft overtaken and swept aside by history

18 February 2015

Abrams Explorer — the beautiful aircraft overtaken and swept aside by history

Abrams Explorer — National Air & Space Museum photo

Abrams Explorer — National Air & Space Museum photo

Talbert Abrams was instrumental in regard to aerial photography and photogrammetry development during most of the 20th Century. There is an award in his name as well as a mountain range and a mountain named for him. Abrams even developed a sun compass for use by downed aircrews in World War II North Africa where the landscape defining iron-rich rock formations relegate conventional magnetic compasses to the trash heap. Abrams had an innovative talent which recognized few bounds as he guided the development of the Abrams Explorer, first flying in 1938. The Explorer was purpose-built for aerial photography due to hermetically sealed ports for the cameras and the forward position for the photographer who had a nearly panoramic view.

Abrams Explorer — National Air & Space Museum photo

Abrams Explorer — National Air & Space Museum photo

Abrams envisioned Explorers flown for governments and large businesses making quick and accurate work photographing the lands as much as 20,000 feet below. World War II brought a premature end to this excellent aircraft  since it could not survive an environment populated with opposing fighter aircraft. By World War II’s end aerial cameras had gotten smaller as well as more sophisticated leaving the Explorer and its on-board photographer in history’s pile of the what-could-have-been. The sole Explorer which was built happily exists though stored in a National Air & Space Museum warehouse.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. John Lilley permalink
    20 February 2015 03:57

    Hi Buddy how are you?

    Did you see my pics on the Minsk tour i took last weekend in Shenzhen? I have more pics if you want me to pen a ‘guest article’ for the blog?

    John Lilley Chairman & Managing Director The People’s Mosquito Ltd.

    Tel: +44(0)7717846463

    Web: Twitter: @peoplesmosquito & spitfireprxix Facebook: peoplesmosquito


    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      20 February 2015 19:17


      I’ll email you with an update and details.

      What a great opportunity to have a post on a former Russian aircraft carrier 🙂

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