Picture this: You’re a doctor on an aircraft carrier. You’re awoken and told of an emergency on the lowest decks of the ship. You rush down staircase after staircase and find a sailor, his legs crushed by an elevator that’s stuck. You need to amputate or he’ll likely die. You don’t have time to go get your full kit. All you have on you is a pocketknife. This was Hank Davis’ reality, as he shares in this second part of his conversation with host Sean Mobley. In honor of the new temporary exhibit at The Museum of Flight, Stranger Than Fiction: The Incredible Story of Aerospace Medicine, Hank shares this and other stories from his time aboard the USS Coral Sea.
Welcome to the
Flight Deck Podcast
Listen to all of the Museum’s best aviation and aerospace stories on the Flight Deck Podcast, a podcast that makes history personal. Episodes released every other Tuesday. We hope you enjoy it!!
What does it take to turn real-life war stories into a game? Jason Morningstar, Creative Director of Bully Pulpit Games, released the tabletop roleplaying game Night Witches in 2015 with the goal of connecting players with the history of Soviet women who flew night raids over the Nazis during World War II. In this episode of The Flight Deck, he and host Sean Mobley discuss the true stories and people who inspired the game, as well as the challenges game designers face adapting something as serious as wartime experiences into a fun, compelling, respectful game.
Teasel Muir-Harmony, Curator of the Apollo program at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, once again joins host Sean Mobley in this conclusion to the two-episode series on the political history of the Apollo program. In this episode, she talks about the classic 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and its place in Apollo political history, how domestic and international perceptions of the Apollo program varied quite significantly, and what role museums have in helping people deconstruct their understandings of history when new research challenges long-held ideas previously accepted as fact. We highly recommend listening to the previous episode before this one.
Returning guest Teasel Muir-Harmony, Curator of the Apollo program at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, joins host Sean Mobley for a Q&A about her book Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo. In this first of a two-part series, Teasel sets the stage and talks about the wider global context within which the US space program operated. We discussed the American politicians who encouraged and shaped panic around Sputnik and the space race, the importance of symbolism in a lot of the images and actions the astronauts took both on the moon and here on Earth, and how racism was a national security risk which the space program was partially designed to counter.
This episode takes a break from talking aviation and space history to have a conversation with someone making history right now. Bryné Hadnott, a science writer and founder of Space Out STEM. With a career that has ranged from hard space science to historical writing, Bryné is a rising star in the aerospace and science fields. Fortunately for The Museum of Flight, she’s also a mentor for the Michael P. Anderson program, a free education opportunity for students from underserved communities named in honor of Michael P. Anderson, an African-American astronaut who was killed Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. In our conversation, Bryné and I talked about her journey to study the stars through the maze of academia, the science fiction that inspires her, and the importance of community and resilience in the face of adversity.
Evoking images of glamorous air travel and high society, the Boeing 314 Clipper is one of the most romanticized aircraft in history. These massive flying boats ferried passengers, mostly for PanAm, to Hawaii and other vacation destinations. Museum of Flight Docent Bill McCutcheon shares the history of the Clipper, its prominent use by the government during World War II, and the legacy of this short-lived but well-remembered aircraft.
Naval Dentist Tom Davidson yearned to score a spot in the back seat of one of the fighter planes of the flight group he was assigned to. After patient waiting, his opportunity for a joyride finally came. After landing from the exhilarating experience, he started writing a letter to his family detailing the thrill of flight…but he never finished or sent that letter. Tom shares a deeply personal story about his aviation experience in this episode of The Flight Deck, immersing us in the world of someone on the fringes of military aviation during the Vietnam War and explaining the story of his unfinished letter.
Unbridled wonder. The sort of joy that just seems to radiate out at you. That is the subject of today’s podcast episode, where Museum of Flight President and CEO Matt Hayes takes us back over 100 years to an historic aviation event in Los Angeles, captured in a photo of four women found in our Museum’s digital archives. He talks about the marvels the women may have been witnessing, as this was the first event in the United States where aircraft were really showcased to the masses. Imagine seeing something you’ve not only never seen before but have no mental reference to relate it to. That’s what these four women, and thousands of other spectators who braved a rare LA rain experienced. Take a listen to learn more, and make sure you see the photo for yourself! We could all certainly use a smile.
An aviation conspiracy dating back 100 years continues to capture the imaginations of New Zealanders. What’s the truth behind this story, involving secret caves, military secrets, and the first Boeing airplane? Host Sean Mobley sat down with Museum of Flight Docent Leslie Czechowski to dig into this curious episode of aerospace history which spans continents and centuries.
You may know Alexander Graham Bell for his telephone, but did you know he had a hand in some of the most bizarre, strange-looking experimental aviation designs? Today’s episode is a chat with Museum of Flight Curator Matthew Burchette (of “Curator on the Loose” fame) about these bonkers designs and the adventure of experimentation in the early days of contemporary aviation, when hopeful engineers had bold visions, big ideas, and incorrect understanding of aerodynamics as they put together design after unique design in hopes of being the first to build a successful engine-powered airplane. These designs need to be seen to be believed!