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Aviation history
on the air

Hear Dan Patterson's aviation heritage  commentaries on WYSO Public Radio, 91.3 FM. 
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The National Aviation Heritage Area is a part of the National Park Service's National Heritage Areas program.
December 5, 2013
Photo of Air New Zealand jet painted with Hobbit dragon

'Hobbit' dragon adorns Air NZ jet

We know, Middle Earth isn't in the National Aviation Heritage Area, but this huge painting of The Hobbit dragon Smaug on an Air New Zealand jetliner was just too gorgeous for us to pass up. Besides, we're sure some of you are Hobbit fans.

Air New Zealand flew the freshly painted Boeing 777-300 jet to Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday, Dec. 3, to coincide with the premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second film in the Peter Jackson trilogy.

A time-lapse video on Air New Zealand's website shows painters applying the 177-foot-long dragon to the fuselage and its arrival at LAX.
National Museum of USAF to grow
Rendering of National Museum of USAF with planned fourth building
National Museum of USAF with planned fourth building. (Image: USAF)

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is set to grow with a new 224,000 square foot building, officials announced Monday, Dec. 2.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $35.426 million contract to Turner Construction Co. of Washington, D.C. It's being privately financed by the Air Force Museum Foundation, a non-profit organization chartered to assist in the development and expansion of the museum's facilities.

Construction is to begin in late spring 2014 and be completed in the summer of 2015, with a public opening in late 2015. Here is the museum's video about the announcement.
Boeing video features locally managed X-51A hypersonic program
X-51A Waverider
A Boeing Co. video about the X-51A Waverider underscores how aerospace research in the National Aviation Heritage Area continues to make history.

The X-51A Waverider was an unmanned, experimental aircraft powered by a revolutionary  engine called a scramjet. The Air Force Research Laboratory's Aerospace Systems Directorate began the $300 million program in 2004. Its aim was to achieve sustained hypersonic flight--cruising at five times the speed of sound or faster--with an airbreathing engine that burned a standard military jet fuel.

The Air Force flew four Waveriders between 2010 and 2013. Each one was air-launched from a B-52 bomber over the Pacific Ocean. A booster rocket was to accelerate it to about Mach 4.5--4.5 times the speed of sound--where the cruiser would separate and light its scramjet. One flight failed, but three returned some data, and the final flight, on May 3, 2013, was a dramatic success: the Waverider accelerated to Mach 5.1 at 60,000 feet and traveled 264 miles in just over six minutes, according to an Air Force news release.

Boeing and Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne were contractors on the Waverider program. Boeing made it one of the subjects in its Innovation Video Series. Go here to see the video.
Joe Kittinger to speak at Aviation Trail's first flight anniversary dinner
PHoto of Joe Kittinger
Photo: Red Bull Stratos

Retired Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger will speak about his role as a member of the record-breaking Red Bull Stratos balloon team led by Felix Baumgartner at this year's Aviation Trail dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
Baumgartner ascended to 127,852 feet on Oct. 14, 2012-nearly 25,000 feet higher than the record Kittinger set in 1960-and parachuted back to earth, as Kittinger did. Kittinger is a National Aviation Hall of Fame enshrinee.

The annual dinner commemorates the anniversary of the Wright brothers' first powered flights on Dec. 17, 1903. It will take place in the Presidential Banquet Center, 4572 Presidential Way, Kettering. Tickets are $60 per person. Send checks and choice of beef, chicken or vegetarian to Aviation Trail Inc., P.O. Box 633, Wright Brothers Station, Dayton OH 45409. Deadline for reservations is Dec. 13.
The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) is a private, not-for-profit corporation designated by Congress as the management entity of the National Aviation Heritage Area. The Heritage Area encompasses an eight-county area in Ohio (Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Clark, Warren, Champaign, Shelby and Auglaize counties.) NAHA's vision is to sustain the legacy of the Wright brothers and make the Dayton region the recognized global center of aviation heritage and premier destination for aviation heritage tourism.

PO Box 414 * Wright Brothers Station * Dayton, OH 45409