Since the inaugural issue of Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine in April 1986, we have published more than 200 short personal accounts of flying experiences. Here you’ll find some of our favorites. Taken together, they show how varied a life the airplane has led since its birth 118 years ago, and how its cousins—the balloons, gliders, and yes, the rocket belt—have contributed to the richness of aviation history.
But even these gems from our archive can’t tell the complete story of flight. That’s why we asked you, the Air & Space readers, to share some of your best memories of flying. More than 400 of you responded, with tales ranging from the suspenseful to the humorous to the historic. A selection is below, and you can find more here. Watch for more stories to be added in the future.