Browse Projects

47% Complete

17 Total Pages 23 Contributing Members

Fred Howard Vin Fiz Special Papers - Train Registration Tables

The first crossing of the United States by airplane was achieved by Calbraith Perry Rodgers in 1911 in his Wright EX biplane, named the Vin Fiz. Rodgers decided to attempt the coast-to-coast flight in response to publisher William Randolph Hearst's New York American challenge which offered a prize of $50,000 for the first transcontinental flight to be competed in 30 days. Rodgers began his journey from Sheepshead Bay, New York, on September 17, 1911, and as the flight was punctuated by numerous stops, delays, and accidents the 30-day time limit Hearst imposed for the prize had expired before Rodgers reached California on November 5, 1911. To finance the trip, Rodgers had secured backing from the Armour Company, a Chicago firm which was then introducing a new grape-flavored soft drink called Vin Fiz. Armour provided Rodgers with a special train, called the Vin Fiz Special, with cars for the accommodation of Rodgers' family and his support crew, and a "hangar" car, which was a rolling workshop, filled with spare parts to repair and maintain the airplane over the course of the flight. There was even an automobile on board to pick up Rodgers after forced landings away from the rail line. Fred Howard, the division passenger agent for the Erie Railroad, was placed in charge of the Vin Fiz Special and soon also took charge of the command center, juggling both railroad matters and aviation repairs. In Chicago, Howard was commended for his effort and asked to continue with the flight to California, but he declined. Note: Please do not describe any images, photographs, or maps that appear in this project.


55% Complete

105 Total Pages 59 Contributing Members

Thomas DeWitt Milling Collection - Clippings

Thomas DeWitt Milling contributed mightily to the American heritage of flight. Possessor of the Aero Club of America's License 30, Expert Aviator License 3 and numerous awards and honors, Milling became a key figure in the early years of aviation. His illustrious career in both civil and military spheres garnered widespread acclaim.


49% Complete

99 Total Pages 19 Contributing Members

Yamada Diary

Help us transcribe this WWII Japanese diary. At the end of World War II, an unknown United States Marine brought home several Japanese-language items. These items were subsequently sold and the purchaser's son later donated them to the National Air and Space Museum. In 2003 and 2004, Museum volunteers, Mr. Koji Hayama and Mr. Tom Momiyama, translated parts of the material and they believe that they were created by a Mr. Yamada, who was probably part of an aircraft ground crew with occasional flight duties, and served in Manchuria, Korea, Burma, and the Philippines. Transcriptions of this diary will help National Air and Space Museum curators as they begin research for new exhibits. Please note that this diary is written in Japanese, and requires access to a Japanese keyboard, and basic knowledge of the language, for transcription. NASM staff are also interested in any translations that can be provided of the diary's contents. Please separate any translations by including them below the transcriptions for each page, and by indicating the translation with brackets. For example: [[translation]] text here [[/translation]]. Please reach out with any questions.