From the Wright Brothers to the Boeing 747, explore the classic planes that helped forge an industry and alter the face of human transportation in the 20th century.

Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis

The Ryan NYP monoplane, Spirit of St. Louis, is inextricably linked with American aviator Charles Lindbergh. In 1927, the 25-year-old flier made the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic. Read more specifications for the Spirit of St. Louis.

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  • Top 10 Bungled Attempts at One-person Flight

    Top 10 Bungled Attempts at One-person Flight

    Since prehistoric times, people have wanted to take to the skies. Trouble is, humans weren't meant to fly. Of course, that didn't stop some determined souls from trying. See more »

  • Beech Staggerwing

    Beech Staggerwing

    The Beech Staggerwing was an amazing leap forward on the date of its first flight, November 4, 1932. Learn how the reverse stagger of its wings, its clean fillets, and its retractable landing gear made this Depression-era gamble into a success. See more »

  • Bleriot XI

    Bleriot XI

    The Bleriot XI monoplane was the culmination of five years of hard work by Louis Bleriot. The success of the Bleriot XI spelled trouble as pilots tried more and more daring maneuvers. Learn how these rash desires led pilots to abuse the Bleriot XI. See more »

  • Boeing 707

    Boeing 707

    With the Boeing 707, Boeing created the right plane at the right time, a landmark in aviation history that opened the doors to international travel for the masses. Learn how the Boeing gained a lead in airliners that is only now being challenged. See more »

  • Boeing 747

    Boeing 747

    The gigantic, ubiquitous Boeing 747 transport symbolizes the most important aspects of progress in civil aviation: the democratization and globalization of travel. Read about the challenges and successes that Boeing had with their new 747 airplane. See more »

  • Classic Airplanes

    Classic Airplanes

    Every one of these classic airplanes was the product of loving care of an intelligent design team doing the best work of their era. Learn how aviation evolved and find links to classic airplane profiles, from the early years through today's jet age. See more »

  • Conquering Air and Space

    Conquering Air and Space

    With rapid improvement in the aviation industry, airplanes and space vehicles made steady progress. Read about how we conquered air and space in the 1970s and 1980s. See more »

  • Conquering Air and Space Timeline

    Conquering Air and Space Timeline

    Aviation highlights from the late 1970s and 1980s include the Concorde supersonic jet and the first flight of the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter. Read more about the efforts to conquer air and space. See more »

  • Curtiss Golden Flyer

    Curtiss Golden Flyer

    The first Curtiss aircraft was the Golden Flyer. The golden tint of the varnish on the fabric covering of the Golden Flyer's wings and tail inspired the name. Read about this classic early plane, and the Curtiss rivalry with the Wright brothers. See more »

  • Ford Tri-Motor

    Ford Tri-Motor

    Over the years, 199 Ford Tri-Motors airplanes would be built. They would serve all three branches of the U.S. military, many airlines, many corporations, and 20 foreign countries. Learn about the strong, reliable, versatile Ford Tri-Motors aircraft. See more »

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