National Air and Space Museum
655 Jefferson Drive, SW
1st Floor, West Wing, America by Air, Gallery 102 Floor Plan
How did the first commercial airline companies get off the ground? How has the experience of air travel changed over the past century? How will the politics of today affect the way we fly tomorrow? These are some of the issues in the development of commercial air transport this gallery explores, while expanding on the history of air transportation from only a few years after the invention of powered flight to the commercial challenges and technical sophistication of the 21st-century jet age. Featuring seven complete airplanes, engines, and other objects, this exhibition focuses on the following time periods:
- The Early Years, 1914-1927
- Airline Expansion and Innovation, 1927-1941, featuring a Ford Tri-Motor and a Douglas DC-3, the most successful airliner of the 1930s.
- The Heyday of Propeller Airliners, 1941-1958, featuring a Douglas DC-7, the first airliner to provide nonstop coast-to-coast service.
- The Jet Age, 1958-Today, featuring the forward fuselage section of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. Note: Visitors can enter from the second floor to view the cockpit.
See online activities.