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.


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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.

Lockheed Vega

The Lockheed Vega, which first flew on July 4, 1927, at the crest of the Lindbergh euphoria, was an all-wood, high-cantilever monoplane with a beautiful streamlined monocoque fuselage. Check out this beautiful, record-setting classic airplane.

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.

Hawker Hart

The Hawker Hart was one of the great classic aircraft of the Golden Age. The plane was deployed throughout the British empire, serving in India and the Middle East well into World War II. Learn the details about the clean-lined, speedy Hawker Hart.

Granville Brothers Gee Bee Super Sportster R-1

The Gee Bee Super Sportster R-1 classic airplane was designed by the Granville Brothers, who became some of the most famous names in aviation during the Golden Age of Flight. Learn about the records and ignominy of the speedy Super Sportster R-1.

Martin Model 130 China Clipper

The Martin Model 130 China Clippers were four-engine, all-metal flying boats that used an innovative air-filled sponson for stability on the water. Learn more about these noisy planes that 1930s passengers nevertheless considered quite luxurious.

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.

The Wright Flyers: 1903, 1905, and 1908

The Wright Flyers established Orville and Wilbur Wright as aviation leaders. Sadly, the majority, especially in Europe, thought them liars. The insulted brothers stopped flying from 1905-08. Read about the story of the Wrights and their aircraft.

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.

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.