Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery

November 19, 2010 – October 15, 2019

National Air and Space Museum
6th St. & Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC

2nd Floor, Center, Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight, Gallery 208

See on Map Floor Plan

This renovated exhibition highlights the growth of aviation and rocketry during the 1920s and '30s and features famous "firsts" and record setters. It has been updated with new research and includes a broader selection of artifacts. The individuals featured were pioneering men and women who pushed the existing technological limits of flight and broke both physical and psychological barriers to flight. The exhibition features sections on "Military Aviation," "Civilian Aviation," "Black Wings," and "Rocket Pioneers." To engage children, the gallery features hands-on activities, as well as toys, books, and childhood memorabilia of the era in an area entitled "Don's Air Service."

Highlights include:

  • Anne Lindbergh's telegraph key
  • Jimmy Doolittle's "blind flight" instruments
  • Tuskegee Airman Chauncey Spencer's flight suit
  • the "Hoopskirt" rocket test stand
  • Lindbergh memorabilia
  • gifts received by the crew of the Douglas World Cruiser
  • kiosk featuring archival film clips

Aircraft on view include:

  • Wright EX Vin Fiz biplane: flown by Cal Rogers as the first pilot to make a transcontinental flight in fewer than 30 days, 1911
  • Fokker T-2: first nonstop U.S. transcontinental flight, 1923
  • Douglas World Cruiser Chicago: first around-the-world flight, 1924
  • Lockheed 5B Vega: flown by Amelia Earhart in the first solo flight across the Atlantic by a woman, 1932
  • Lockheed 8 Sirius: flown by the Lindberghs on airline-route mapping flights, 1930s
  • Curtiss R3C-2 Racer
  • The gondola from the Bud Light Spirit of Freedom, the first balloon to carry one person—Steve Fossett —nonstop around the world
  • 1/4-scale model of the Montgolfier balloon: 1st manned aerial vehicle, 1783

Related books are available for sale in the Museum Store.