aviation art

Historical Eras in Aviation




Wispy white contrails mixed with the scream of jet engines in the clear blue skies above the Yalu River for the very first time during the Korean War, which saw the first use of jets against other jet aircraft in wartime. North America’s legendary swept-wing F-86 Sabre dueled for aerial supremacy against the dreaded Soviet MiG-15, resulting in the creation of the world’s first jet aces. Rugged carrier-based Navy aircraft pounded ground targets as well in thos, the first ‘trial by fire’ of jet-powered aircraft in combat.

MiG Alley
Naval Carrier Action
Jet-Age Aerial Combat
Ground Attack Aircraft


Never in the history of mankind had so much destructive firepower ever been harnessed in the name of political deterrence. Living under the threat of nuclear war became part of the world’s daily existence by the 1960s, and Civil Defense drills, air-raid shelters, and the ubiquitous backyard fallout shelter arrived as sobering new components of daily American life. Aircraft built and flown during this era were unparalleled for their speed and performance, but thankfully never fired a shot in anger.

Century Series Jets
Supersonic Navy Jets
SAC – “Peace Is Our Profession”
The Soviet Threat


While speeds of 600 miles-per-hour and altitudes in the stratosphere were literally the realm of world records set in the late 1940s, within ten years, anyone could buy a ticket and fly on a jet-powered airliner capable of attaining those speeds and altitudes with ease. Flight times between any two points on the globe shrunk in half, and passenger loads of more than 350 people became a reality by the 1970s. In the 1980s, supersonic airliners routinely flew across the Atlantic at Mach 2, or 1,300 miles-per-hour.

First Jet Transports
The Jumbo Jets
Modern Jet Airliners


In October 1957, the world changed forever when a beeping radio signal sent to earth from a man-made satellite shattered the world's collective peace-of-mind. Russia's Sputnik ushered us into the Space Age and with it, man's insatiable quest to conquer the hazards of space. Manned spaceflight occurred soon thereafter, followed by orbital rendezvous, manned lunar landings, multi-national space stations, and winged spacecraft landing on runways - all before the end of the 20th Century.

Soviet Pioneers
Mercury Program
Gemini Program
Apollo Program
Space Shuttle


The Vietnam War was many things to many people, splitting the country politically, and creating feelings that linger to this day.. It was also the first war that saw the helicopter used to its greatest advantage, with such technological advances as laser technology being employed as well. Most importantly, the aerial war in Southeast Asia proved beyond a doubt that Post-WWII-era aircraft such as the Douglas C-47 and AD Skyraider could still perform their valuable functions well into the jet age.

The Helicopter War
Air Force Fighters
Air Force Bombers
On Yankee Station
The MIG Killers


In 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew from New York to Paris in 33 1/2 hours. That's the duration of a typical Global Hawk mission today which covers distancs from the USA to Australia and back - and all without a pilot on board! Such are the technological wonders of the digital age, where once-futuristic aviation achievements have now become routine. From the International Space Station to Stealth weaponry and 600-passenger airliners, modern aviation has it all.

Air Superiority Fighters
Modern Air Transport
Modern Space Flight
Stealth Technology
Sport Aviation
Air Racing


- Contributed by Aviation Artist and Historian,

Mike Machat





December 17, 1903 will forever be known as the day powered flight was born. From the windy sands of Kitty Hawk to the whitecaps of the English Channel, aviation’s first pioneers braved the unknown and created machines that are now considered antiques, but were in their respective ties as modern as the newest stealth fighter is today. Revolutionizing the concept that man would be forever earthbound, the beginnings of aviation were just that – man’s first primitive steps into the age of flight.

The Wright Brothers
Famed Aeronautical Pioneers
Early Record Setters
The Army Gets its Wings


The “War to End All Wars” may have fallen short of its name as the ultimate test of modern weaponry in 1914, but it was the first time that aircraft of all types (fixed wing and balloon) were used in combat. Representing the cutting edge of technology, yet subjecting their crewmen to the untested rigors of high-performance flight, the diminutive biplane fighters and mammoth biplane bombers of the First World War were marvels of engineering. A new term also entered aviation’s vocabulary – “Ace”.

Allied Aircraft
German Aircraft
First Aerial Combat
The Zeppelins


Aviation achievements of the 1920s proved that modern aircraft could accomplish goals not even dreamed of only a decade earlier. This era saw the first flight of aircraft around the world; the first ‘jumbo’ all-metal airliners that could carry as many as 15 passengers at once, and of course the first solo flight of an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean. Barnstorming, ir Racing, and the beginnings of Commercial Air Transport were all hallmarks of aviation’s third decade, and the world took notice.

World Record Holders
The Legends
Charles Lindbergh
Amelia Earhardt


The time period between World Wars I and II soon became known as “The Golden Age” as aviation matured and prospered into an industry that produced some of the most beautiful and legendary aircraft the world had ever known. The machines of the Great Depression era simply defied all odds and achieved great success at whatever their missions, whether it was the sporty Beachcraft Staggerwing or the regal China Clipper. Military aviation progressed to the 300-mph fighter plane as well.

Early Air Racing
Flying the Air Mail
Air Transportation Begins
The Age of Speed
The Legends
Wiley Post
James Doolittle
Roscoe Turner


In a day and age when Air Mail pilots sent bricks to each other just to have something to carry, the radical concept of traveling by air was in its most embryonic stages and quite far from being as safe and reliable as it is today. Then, in response to airline requirements for a modern all-metal twin-engined airliner, the Douglas DC-3 first flew in 1935 and revolutionized air travel forever as the first airplane to make money carrying passengers. The DC-3 paved the way for every airliner that has flown since.

Douglas DC-3
The Flying Boats
Foreign Airliners
Four-Engined Titans


Legendary stories of aerial bravery and heroism during World War II will live on for generations due to the fact that what is now known as “The Great War” was the last one in history to end with an unconditional surrender. The aircraft of this conflict were unlike any other, festooned with historic names like “Memphis Belle” or “Glamorous Glenn”, and whether they flew swift fighters, lumbering bombers, or stalwart transport planes, the aircrews of WWII distinguished themselves with great honor.

American Fighters
American Bombers
American Transport/Utility
World War II Trainers
Flying Aces
English Aircraft
German Aircraft
Japanese Aircraft
Pacific Naval Action
WWII Manufacturing


Never before or since has there been such a noticeable burst of technological progress in aviation as that experienced during the years immediately following World War II. Test pilots flew faster than the speed of sound in 1947, and then faster than twice the speed of sound only six years later. Sleek rocket-powered research aircraft pushed the limits of speed and altitude on a weekly basis, attaining velocities of Mach 3 and heights above 100,000 ft. The promise of space flight loomed on the horizon.

First Jets
Sport Aviation
Zenith of the Piston Era
The Space Age Begins
The Legends
Chuck Yeager
Scott Crossfield
Pete Everest


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