Best Aviation and Aerospace Museums

Interested in aviation? Books and articles are great ways to learn more, but one of the best ways is to visit a museum to get some hands-on experience! Not only are museums more engaging, but they also provide you with invaluable experiential learning through seeing and doing. Museums exist to feed our curiosity and educate ourselves and future generations, and perhaps this list of some of the best aviation and aerospace museums in the country will inspire you to take flight.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center – Washington, DC

The National Air and Space Museum boasts 60,000 artifacts in its collection, including the 1903 Wright Flyer, the first successful aircraft. As one of the largest and most visited museums, it has reason to make it onto our list as one of the best. Visitors can sate their curiosity by viewing everything from pilot uniforms and spacesuits to engines and equipment. The satellite Udvar-Hazy Center is home to the Discovery shuttle and the Enola Gay bomber.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex – Cape Canaveral, FL

If your love of aviation takes you to outer space, then the Kennedy Space Center is the perfect place for you. The center has a multitude of offerings, from numerous artifacts to astronaut training simulators. Visitors can learn more about NASA’s past and present work here. One of the most exciting things to experience at the Kennedy Space Center? If you’re lucky, you may get the chance to witness rocket and shuttle launches.

National Museum of the US Air Force – Dayton, OH

As the name would suggest, this museum’s focus is on military aviation. The National Museum of the US Air Force is the world’s largest and oldest aviation museum, and what’s more, it’s completely free to visitors! Among the things on display are a Missile Gallery and a Space Gallery. Exhibits here feature World War II, the Korean War, the Southeast Asia War, and the Cold War.

Museum of Flight – Seattle, Washington

The Museum of Flight is dedicated to teaching visitors about the importance of flight. With tens of thousands of artifacts, an interactive cockpit exhibit, and a 3D movie theater (and so much more), there is a little bit of everything pertaining to air and space under the roof of this museum.

Air Zoo – Kalamazoo, MI

Air Zoo is part museum and part indoor amusement park, providing a unique experience, especially for families with children. The historic air and space crafts and artifacts bring you up close and personal to these flying machines. If you’re looking for a thrill, book a bi-plane ride between July through September.

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Top facts on air-to-air refueling

While it doesn’t happen as often with commercial airlines, Scott Beale maintains that one of the biggest breakthroughs the aviation industry ever enjoyed is air-to-air refueling. While the concept first emerged in the 1920s, it wasn’t until the 1950s that it was successfully done in an official capacity.

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Today, with the advancement of refueling technology, probe-and-drogue and flying boom systems are the main avenues for air-to-air refueling. The probe-and-drogue system is easier to use, while the flying boom makes air-to-air refueling a lot quicker, albeit with the need of a human operator for the boom.

Air-to-air refueling has been a huge help, especially in long distance flights. And with the technology constantly evolving, larger planes will soon take to the skies to refuel. Currently, the Stratotanker sits at the forefront of air-to-air refueling. However, Boeing has been developing its own refueling plane with a 120,000-pound fuel capacity.

Scott Beale also mentions how air-to-air refueling may in fact be the future of commercial air travel, with a number of airlines already adopting aerial refueling in many of their long distance flights.

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What do you think of air-to-air refueling? Would you choose a flight that requires air-to-air refueling over one that requires you to stop over in another airport? Feel free to share your thoughts with Scott Beale in the comments section below.

Scott Beale is an aviation professional whose expertise in commercial sales and marketing of aviation products, government contracting, FAA certifications, maintenance report operations, and startup operations has led the companies he piloted to achieve revenue growth and various certifications. For related posts on travel and aviation, go to this link.

Airlines need social media engagement to create brand equity

Most global airlines now understand the value of harnessing their social media presence, if they are to engage fliers and build lasting relationships. While this endeavor does mean having more real-time engagements and leaving the comfort zone of the corporate world, it’s nonetheless needed in this digital age for the maintenance and enhancement of brand equity, says aviation expert Scott Beale.

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Still, though many are already locked into some form of social media engagement, some are looking for more innovative campaigns and initiatives. KLM has its “Meet & Seat” service where fliers are allowed to choose seats beside passengers based on similar interests, as indicated in their social media profiles. British Airways, on the other hand, uses a Facebook app called “Perfect Days,” which encouragers travelers to share their itinerary and travel wish list on the social media site.

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Studies show that, for the world’s leading airlines, the volume of social media communication today ranges between 60,000 and 1 million Facebook followers and 15,000 and 20,000 tweets. And though these numbers are expected to grow even more in the coming decade, there’s still much to be done before airlines can become truly competent in social media engagement and customer relationship management in general. A larger, more robust resource pool is needed to respond to the increasing waves of customer posts and queries and concerns.

Scott Beale adds that a more strategic approach might be most advisable to attain brand equity. One way to do this is for airlines to partner with providers composed of social media professionals who are adept in the new technology platform.

Aviation professional Scott Beale has been working in the aviation industry for over 20 years. He is highly proficient in commercial sales and aviation products marketing, government contracting, and business startups. More on Mr. Beale and his work here.

What lies ahead for drone technology

2019 is seen by many industry experts as the year drones become more widely accepted. Though the technology has been around for quite a while, drones have yet to be fully embraced, says aviation expert Scott Beale. But more and more startups and established companies are beginning to commit to the flight of drones.

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For one, the programming needed is catching up with the technology, even as more innovative businesses are showing bigger businesses how the application can be maximized. From the incorporation of more robust AI to spectrum analysis apps, new platforms are coming out in support of the needed software to further drive drone technology and harness its potential.

While drone technology is certainly disruptive, it is starting to infiltrate more industries. It shouldn’t take long before larger organizations flex their proverbial muscles and take advantage of their bigger investment clout. And this will manifest itself in more challenging e-commerce programs as the 2020s near.

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Practical applications of drone technology in shipping and delivery is already in the works. Amazon was recently just given legal permission to use drones for carrying packages below 400 feet and weighing up to 1.5 pounds. In agriculture, drones will prove crucial for mapping 3D images of fields for soil analysis, as well as for spraying crops and determining their relative health and density, adds Scott Beale.

Scott Beale has been working in the aviation industry for more than 20 years, successfully growing businesses which he both acquired and founded. He has led various aviation firms in attaining revenue growth. More on Scott and his work here.

Electric planes are beginning to take to the sky

In a recent report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it was stated that aircraft have been responsible for about 8% of the entire greenhouse gas emission of the country’s transportation sector. This alarming development, coupled by a global demand for a greener aviation, is a huge reason why some manufacturers are beginning to consider building electric planes, says aviation professional Scott Beale.

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A conventional jet airplane has an engine that draws in air through the front, a compressor for squeezing it, and fuel that’s sprayed in and lit, allowing for the burning of gases and the plane’s thrust. An electric plane, on the other hand, relies on batteries that provide power to an electric motor which spins the propeller.

However, while electric planes are definitely more efficient, they tend to be slower as the battery-reliant (often lithium-ion) process allows for far less thrust. In any case, there should be huge improvements in aviation technology in the coming decade, from reductions in operating costs and fossil fuel burning to emissions. In fact, NASA already has a prototype electric propulsion plane in the X-57.

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There’s also the solar-powered Solar Impulse 2, which successfully circumnavigated the globe at average speeds of 47mph. Even Airbus has already revealed a two-seat electric plane that travels at speeds of 136mph.

In truth, the idea of using electric motors has been around since the World War II, when B-29 bombers used this technology to power the planes’ gun turrets. For now, a more concerted effort is needed to get greener and completely embrace electric aircraft. But their reign is imminent; not only a greener but a quieter way to fly should arrive sooner than projected, adds Scott Beale.

Aviation and aerospace professional Scott Beale is skilled in commercial sales and aviation products marketing, government contracting, and business startups. More on Mr. Beale and his work here.

Why airships aren’t being made anymore

First off, let’s establish that the terms “blimps” and “zeppelins” are part of what is generally called the airship, any motorized craft lighter than air. Zeppelins are distinct for having rigid air compartments, while blimps are inflatable. These ships started appearing after significant developments in internal combustion, with a few aviators piloting them using steam engine power.

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Many people don’t know it, but the first airship, the Zeppelin LZ1, took the air in 1900, three years before the Wright Brothers made their infamous flight, says aviation professional Scott Beale. By the early 20th century, a lot of wealthy people and businesses were drawn to the lucrative potential of airships. In the 1930s, luxury airships would carry people regularly across the Atlantic.

 

Sadly, the airship Hindenburg would crash in 1937 while landing in New Jersey, and the craft, filled with hydrogen, exploded for the watching world to gasp in horror at the sight. This dramatic disaster and the ensuing trauma would lead to an almost instantaneous end to passenger airships. This incident, coupled with developments in airplane and helicopter technology, would make airships scarce.

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There are only an estimated 25 blimps and even fewer zeppelins operating in the world and aviation industry today, adds Scott Beale. Most of these airships are used today mainly as floating billboards and for doing bird’s-eye-view photography during huge sporting events. Our skies have been left for the dominion of helicopters and airplanes. Nonetheless, some modern aviation companies are keen on studying how to safely bring back these amazing aircraft.

Aviation and aerospace professional Scott Beale is skilled in commercial sales and aviation products marketing, government contracting, and business startups. Visit this site for more on Mr. Beale and his work.

 

Some tips to help you ace the FAA private pilot written exam

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Earning that coveted pilot license isn’t exactly a walk in the park.  The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration or FAA makes sure that for anyone to pass the exam, he or she must go through rigorous testing and training.  Applicants can’t expect anything less, of course, if the agency is to guarantee air safety.

One advice to ensure that you get a good leverage come exam time is to choose a reputable flight school.  You are learning the fundamentals as well as ground- and flight-based instructions.  A good flight school will help you attain the required 40 total hours of flight time by giving you a balance of flight, oral, and written pre-tests and guidance from experienced instructors.

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The exam itself is comprised of 60 questions; you’ve to get a score of 70 percent or higher if you are to pass.  The good news is the FAA itself offers a practice exam and other supplemental documents containing graphics, figures, and legends.  Study these alongside the agency’s reference guide for learning statements that explains concepts into coded topics.  Keep in mind that there are more than 500 learning statements to study for your private pilot test.

During the actual exam, don’t be too much in a hurry and read the questions twice before answering. The idea to fully comprehend the subject matter.  However, don’t give more value to particular questions over others as they carry the same weight.  In short, if you really don’t know the concept being mentioned in a given question, just skip it.

Aviation professional Scott Beale spearheaded negotiations for the acquisition of Mountain Aviation, performing due-diligence supervision, closing activities, and post-closing finalization, leading to its smooth transition to fully operate under Flightworks.  More on Scott and his work here.