On this day in 1935 Lawrence Dale Bell founded the Bell Aircraft Corporation in Buffalo, New York, one of America’s most accomplished aircraft companies. In addition to manufacturing over 12,000 P-39 and P-63 fighters during World War II, Bell built the P-59, America’s first jet, and the X-1, the first aircraft to break the sound barrier.
On this day in 1943 1st Lieutenant Charles Blakesly Hall, United States Army Air Corps, 99th Fighter Squadron, becomes the first member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen to shoot down an enemy aircraft. Hall shot down the Focke-Wulf Fw-190, the most capable German fighter aircraft at the time, flying a Curtiss-Wright P-40L Warhawk made in Buffalo at the site of what is now the Buffalo International Airport. Almost 14,000 P-40s were made in Buffalo during World War II.
See more on this story at the excellent This Day in Aviation website.
First un-powered flight of the Bell X-2, June 27, 1952. Read more about this flight at This Day in Aviation.
The museum booth at the Thunder of Niagara Air Show, June 8 -10, 2018, was a popular spot for air show visitors with the Bell Rocket Belt and Bell Lunar Ascent Stage Engine. We shared a booth with our friends from Moog and the Aero Club of Buffalo.
- Museum volunteers ready to greet the public!
- Future rocket girl!
- Sharing a table with Moog and Aero Club of Buffalo.
- Volunteer Robin discusses the Rocket Belt with a visitor.
- Roy Lindberg and the Bell P-39 not far from where she was built.
- Business end of the Bell P-39.
- There's no shade quite like wing shade!
NASA’s latest mission to Mars, InSight, is scheduled for launch Saturday, May 5th. The second stage of the Atlas V launch vehicle is steered by electromechanical actuators designed and built by the Moog Space and Defense Group right here in East Aurora. This continues a long history of Western New York support of NASA’s Mars …
March 26th marks the 78th anniversary of the first flight of the Curtiss C-46 Commando, at the time the largest twin engine aircraft in the world. Over 3,000 C-46 aircraft were eventually built in the Curtiss-Wright plant on Cayuga Road in Buffalo, New York. Once it arrived in sufficient numbers, the Commando proved to be the true workhorse of the Hump airlift in the China-Burma-India theater where it could carry a heavier payload further and higher than the much smaller C-47 Skytrain.
This C-46 is The Tinker Belle. Photo by Scott Slocum.
March 12th marked 110 years since the first flight of the Aerial Experiment Association (AEA) “Red Wing” on Keuka Lake in Hammondsport, NY. Glenn Curtiss was one of five members of the AEA (which also included Alexander Graham Bell) and the Red Wing set the stage for the tens of thousands of Curtiss and Curtiss-Wright aircraft to follow in the next forty years.
In this photo, Lt Thomas E. Selfridge’s Red Wing, the first Aerial Experiment Association airplane, makes its first flight at Lake Keuka, Hammondsport, N. Y., with Frederick W. “Casey” Baldwin at the controls.(Photo credit: Air Force Historical Foundation)
In May of 1945, the Soviet Union received a single Curtiss C-46 Commando for evaluation as part of the Lend-Lease program. Though the aircraft (No. 43-47271) arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska on April 28th, 1945, for delivery to the VVS via the Alaska-Siberia route, the C-46 was not passed to Soviet hands until May 15th, just …
Congratulations to John W. Williams, Bell Helicopter Test Pilot and Instructor who was recently selected as the Helicopter Flight Instructor of the Year. An award well deserved. John has given a presentation at the Aero Club of Buffalo and the 2002 Niagara Frontier Aviation and Space Hall of Fame.