Nicknamed the Bent Wing Widow Maker by pilots who wrestled her onto the decks of the World War II carriers, and Whistling Death by our enemies who heard the distinctive shriek created by the wing root vanes as she dove inbound on the attack, the Corsair proved extremely formidable as a weapon of war. In fact most aeronautical historians would argue the F4U was the finest prop-driven fighter plane ever to see action.
Octave Chanute was a successful engineer who undertook the invention of airplanes later in his life as a hobby, after being inspired by Otto Lilienthal. In 1894, he published Progress in Flying Machines, which gathered and analyzed all the technical knowledge about aviation accomplishments and included all the world's aviation pioneers.
One of the most versatile aircraft in history, the Consolidated PBY Catalina was developed in response to a 1933 U.S. Navy request for a flying boat to replace Consolidated's P2Y. It was to have increased range and a greater load capacity.
The PT-1 was the first major production aircraft to come out of Major Reuben H. Fleet's Consolidated Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo, New York. Major Fleet obtained the design and manufacturing rights to the Dayton-Wright TW-3 trainer, and formed Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in 1923. In 1924, the Army Air Corps selected the PT-1, a design based on modifications of the Dayton-Wright TW-3, as a primary trainer to replace the aging Curtiss Jenny fleet.
The Museum's Sea Dart was donated by Convair in 1963, but at the time there was no room for the large, unusually shaped plane at the Museum's old location on the del Prado. Thus, the Museum's Sea Dart languished on Convair's back lot for 20 years. The Museum's new location in the Ford Building afforded an ideal spot for the Sea Dart – right in front for all to see.