The Museum will be switching to the 2nd Tuesday of the month for our Resident Free Day. Our next one will be Tuesday October 12th. Thank you!
Gathering samples from the moon’s surface was so important to NASA that Neil Armstrong’s instructions were to do so as soon as he stepped onto the moon’s surface. He was to put rock samples into a pocket in his spacesuit so that he and Buzz Aldrin would have something to bring back to earth in case they had to leave suddenly. It is no surprise, then, that the box designed to hold their moon rocks, dust, and core samples was one of the most important pieces of equipment they brought to the moon
The San Diego Air and Space Museum collection contains an instrument that was a key to the success of the Allies in World War Two: The Norden Bombsight. Key to the operation of the Norden were two features; an analog computer that constantly calculated the bomb's trajectory based on current flight conditions, and a linkage to the bomber's autopilot that let it react quickly and accurately to changes in the wind or other effects.
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.