Aviation Museum & Library

Aluminum: The Miracle Metal of Aviation

Without aluminum, the rapid advancement of aviation in the twentieth century would have been impossible. The 1903 Wright Flyer would not have flown without an aluminum engine, rigid airships would not have ascended, and without extensive use of the metal in constructing airframes the airplane would not have been the world-changing wonder it became. Aluminum’s lightness, strength, malleability, and durability was unmatched by any other material at the time.

Streamlines: Air Age Aesthetics for Industrial Design

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, when most Americans lost much of their savings and struggled to make a living, the modern airplane became an inspiring symbol of hope. Sleek and shiny, the new all-metal aircraft lifted spirits and promised a brighter future. The emerging study of aerodynamics, using wind-tunnel testing, rapidly advanced the design of aircraft.

Into the Ether

The Legend of CNAC: China National Aviation Corporation, 1929–1949

From its uncertain beginnings to its remarkable successes as Asia’s first sustained commercial airline, the China National Aviation Corporation blazed a trail unlike any other in the history of commercial air transport. For two decades, CNAC pioneered air operations over much of the world’s most challenging terrain.

When You Got it- Flaunt It:

Aviation Evolutions:

Fashion In Flight
A Photo Album

From the hiring of the world’s first airline stewardess in 1930—which took place in San Francisco—the flight attendant uniform has been documented in photographs ranging from the formal to the impromptu. These photographs on view are largely examples of the more formal type of image where the subjects are posed for individual or group shots.

Terra Cognito: Published Works of Discovery by Aerial Explorers

Charles A. Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh with Inuit at Baker Lake, Nunavut  c. 1932

Fashion In Flight: Airline Uniform Design

More than fifty years of airline fashion are on view at San Francisco International Airport.  Presented by SFO Museum,Fashion In Flight: Airline Uniform Design celebrates this unique type of women’s wear with an in-depth look at female flight attendant attire from the 1960s to the present.

Queen of the Skies: