Flight

Stratolaunch's large aircraft, nicknamed 'Roc,' flew for three hours and 14 minutes and reached a maximum altitude of 14,000 feet.

World's Widest Airplane Completes Successful Second Test Flight

Stratolaunch's "Roc" aircraft has two fuselages and a wingspan of 385 feet

Aviation pioneer Henry “Hap” Arnold (above: with the Fly Fortress "Memphis Bell") lead the Army Air Force to victory in World War II and later establish the U.S. Air Force as the best in the world.

How Gen. Henry 'Hap' Arnold, the Architect of American Air Power, Overcame His Fear of Flying

Despite his phobia, the five-star general built the U.S. Air Force

Jessica Cox sitting in her Ercoupe.

The World's First Licensed Armless Pilot Is a Devoted Advocate for People Facing Similar Challenges

Jessica Cox, author of 'Disarm your Limits: The Flight Formula to Lift You to Success,' motivates people around the world to overcome their differences

Ingenuity undertakes its first test flight on Mars in this illustration.

NASA's Helicopter Ingenuity Will Attempt the First Flight on Mars

If the craft succeeds, it will provide crucial information for exploring the other planets by air

Silver-washed fritillary butterfly

Study Reveals the Secrets of Butterfly Flight

The fluttering insects create tiny jets of air by clapping their flexible wings together, which may help them evade predators

Tens of millions of years of bird evolution guided some of the most important elements of human-powered flight.N

How We Lifted Flight From Bird Evolution

The path to flight in modern birds was full of forks, twists and dead ends

John Glenn by Henry C. Caselli, Jr., 1998 is in the collections of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

Why John Glenn Couldn't Escape the Hero Label

A new book explores the man who would serve his country as a fighter pilot, an astronaut and a U.S. Senator

U.S. Air Force Captain Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound in this airplane, the Bell X-1, on October 14, 1947. The aircraft is currently housed at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.

Remember Chuck Yeager by Exploring the Plane He Flew to Break the Sound Barrier

In 1947, the pilot—who died Monday at age 97—made history by flying the Bell X-1 faster than the speed of sound

Chuck Yeager with Bell X-1.

A Smithsonian Curator Reflects on Chuck Yeager, a Pilot With the 'Right Stuff'

Seventy-nine years to the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor Brig. Gen. Charles "Chuck" Yeager is dead at the age of 97

In 1943 the all-wing and jet-propelled Horten Ho 229 promised spectacular performance and the German air force (Luftwaffe) chief, Hermann Göring, allocated half-a-million Reichsmarks to brothers Reimar and Walter Horten to build and fly several prototypes.

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction With Horten's All-Wing Aircraft Design

New research dispels some of the myths behind the world's first jet-powered flying wing

Ruth Law stands in front of her Wright Model B biplane at the New York State Fair, Yonkers, 1913.

Suffragists Took to the Skies

At the Air and Space Museum, the archives reveal touch on how women aviators advanced the suffrage movement

At 33 pounds, Andean condors are the heaviest soaring birds on Earth, but a new study finds they can stay airborne for up to five hours at a time without flapping at all.

The Andean Condor Can Soar 100 Miles Without Flapping

The impressively efficient flight was recorded during a new study of the giant scavenger’s aerial prowess

Without wiggling, a paradise tree snake couldn't glide nearly as far.

Flying Snakes Need to Wriggle Through the Air to Glide

The paradise tree snake flattens its body and swerves in three dimensions to glide through the canopy

Owl-inspired innovations can reduce noise by as much as 10 decibels, similar to the difference in noise between a passing truck and a passing car.

To Silence Wind Turbines and Airplanes, Engineers Are Studying Owl Wings

No one knows exactly how the nocturnal hunters manage their whisper-soft flight, yet it's inspiring the design of quieter airplanes, fans and wind turbines

Graphic illustrating the MAVEN spacecraft encountering plasma layers at Mars.

Ten Trends That Will Shape Science in the Decade Ahead

Medicine gets trippy, solar takes over, and humanity—finally, maybe—goes back to the moon

The Wright brothers' 1903 flight made history, regardless of other claims about earlier flights.

Was Jakob Brodbeck First in Flight? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions, we’ve got experts

Eileen Collins in space in 1995, when she became the first woman to pilot a space shuttle.

What It Was Like to Become the First Woman to Pilot and Command a Space Shuttle

Eileen Collins talked to <i>Smithsonian</i> about her career in the Air Force and NASA, women in aerospace and more

Massive 'Ice Dragon' Ruled the Skies Above Ancient Alberta

The newly described pterosaur with a wingspan over 30-feet was one of the largest flying creatures to ever exist

"New Horizon" is a roving art installation traveling through Massachusetts this summer.

A Giant, Mirrored Hot Air Balloon Is Currently Traveling Over Massachusetts

Called 'New Horizon,' the roving art installation by Doug Aitken reflects on nature and the future

Life reconstruction of the bizarre membranous-winged Ambopteryx longibrachium.

Newly Discovered Bat-Like Dinosaur Reveals the Intricacies of Prehistoric Flight

Though <i>Ambopteryx longibrachium</i> was likely a glider, the fossil is helping scientists discover how dinosaurs first took to the skies

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