At the top end of the list of ground-based aircraft trainers are the Full Flight Simulators; a combination of both the motions enhanced generic flight trainers and the non-motion, but aircraft specific, cockpit trainers. The San Diego Air and Space Museum collection includes a Full Flight Simulator built specifically for an iconic airliner, the Boeing 727. Introduced in 1964, over 1800 of the model were built and some are still in use today. The 727 was a mainstay for several airliners around the world, including TWA, whose livery SDASM's simulator is painted with.
The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser (first flight: Jul, 1947) was a large, long-range airliner developed from the C-97 Stratofreighter military transport, itself a derivative of the B-29 Superfortress. Boeing’s 377 design was advanced for its day as it featured two passenger decks and a pressurized cabin, however reliability was poor due to problems with the four 28-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial engines and control problems with the engine propellers. Only 55 Model 377s were built for airlines, along with a single prototype.
Beginning with the Wright Brothers first successful aircraft in 1903, there has been a need for training pilots without risking the pilots lives and an aircraft in the process. In 1910, the French commanders Clolus and Laffont and Lieutenant Clavenad, built the first aircraft ground training device, the "Tonneau Antoinette" (Antoinette barrel). Thus, began the precursor of flight trainers and ultimately simulators. A flight trainer is a ground-based device that mimics aircraft flight. The most successful early flight trainer was the “Link Trainer”, produced by Edwin Link in Binghamton, New York, starting in 1929. The Link Trainer is a basic metal frame flight trainer usually painted in its well-known blue color.
Ever since military pilots began flying, they needed to carry supplies in case they crash landed or bailed out. During WWI, pilots carried a pistol and a knife; by the start of WWII, aircraft began carrying more sophisticated survival kits. The military quickly learned that when pilots and crew bailed-out, or crawled out of a crashed aircraft, the only supplies they usually carried out was what they had strapped, tied, or worn on their person. The solution, in mid-1943, was the C-1 Survival Vest, designed to carry the supplies needed for individual survival. The C-1 vest continued as the standard survival vest until 1963, when a new 2nd generation Survival Vest, the SRU-21/P, replaced it for all military services.
The Library & Archives has a signed copy of astronaut Euguene (Gene) Cernan’s book, The Last Man on the Moon. The Library’s book is hardcover with a protected dustjacket. Although the book itself is not necessarily remarkable in its rarity or accessibility, our copy is a rare signed edition. It is a First St. Martin’s Griffin Edition, published July 2000. The cover design features a composite image of Gene on the lunar roving vehicle with the waning Earth in the background, and a close up of Gene in his space suit.