At the Controls: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Book of Cockpits

Overview

This is perhaps the finest collection of cockpit photographs in existence. The Museum (NASM) holds the world's premier collection of historic aircraft, but visitors to the museum must maintain a respectful distance. In At the Controls, NASM photographers Eric Long and Mark Avino use creative lighting techniques and an extremely wide-angle lens mounted on a short-bodied, large-format architectural camera to duplicate the sensation of actually being at the controls inside the cockpit of 45 legendary aircraft. The ...

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Overview

This is perhaps the finest collection of cockpit photographs in existence. The Museum (NASM) holds the world's premier collection of historic aircraft, but visitors to the museum must maintain a respectful distance. In At the Controls, NASM photographers Eric Long and Mark Avino use creative lighting techniques and an extremely wide-angle lens mounted on a short-bodied, large-format architectural camera to duplicate the sensation of actually being at the controls inside the cockpit of 45 legendary aircraft. The reader experiences a pilot's-eye view of the cockpit.

Among the 45 featured aircraft are these history-making planes:

  • Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer
  • Blériot Type XI
  • Fokker D.VII
  • Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis
  • Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VII
  • Focke-Wulf Fw 190F-8
  • Ilyushin IL-2 Shturmovik
  • Messerschmitt Me 262
  • Boeing B-29 Enola Gay
  • Sikorsky UH-34D Seahorse
  • Project Apollo Lunar Module
  • Space Shuttle Columbia
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

American Profile
Spectacular, razor-sharp, full-color, pilot's-eye-view portraits of the cockpits of 45 different aircraft...Aircraft fans will drool.
Science Books and Films
The photographs are excellent ... This is an excellent book for anyone interested in the evolution of aircraft.
— Charles D. Haynes
EAA Sports Aviation
Gives the feeling of actually sitting at the controls of 45 historically significant aircraft. An insightful history of each airplane and descriptions of its controls and instrumentations accompany each photo.
Dallas Morning News
[They] have photographed everything with large-format, wide-angle cameras in front of night-black backgrounds. This lends these tiny rooms a clarity...
— Jerome Weeks
Flyer
Aviation enthusiasts will love [this book]... perhaps the finest collection of cockpit photographs ever compiled.
Globe and Mail
A technical marvel: A single photograph puts the reader right into the pilot's seat... Each cockpit photo is rendered in exquisite detail.
Airforce
Beautifully lit, highly detailed photographs... insightful text on each aircraft. A treat to behold.
— Vic Johnson
Science Books and Films - Charles D. Haynes
The photographs are excellent ... I imagined myself flying all these aircraft ... This is an excellent book for anyone interested in the evolution of aircraft.
Dallas Morning News - Jerome Weeks
This is not just aviation geekery... [they] have photographed everything with large-format, wide-angle cameras in front of night-black backgrounds. This lends these tiny rooms a clarity, a haunting presence.
Flyer (Newsletter of the National Air and Space So
Aviation enthusiasts will love [this book]... perhaps the finest collection of cockpit photographs ever compiled.
Airforce - Vic Johnson
Beautifully lit, highly detailed photographs... insightful text on each aircraft. A treat to behold.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550464825
  • Publisher: Boston Mills Press
  • Publication date: 2/4/2006
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric F. Long is a senior photographer for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Smithsonian Institution. This is his second book.

Mark Avino is chief photographer for the National Air and Space Museum.

Tom Alison manages all aspects of care for the National Aviation and Space Collections at the Smithsonian Insitute.

Dana Bell is the author of 17 books on aviation and an expert on aircraft markings.

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Table of Contents

Foreword

Photographers' Introduction

Introduction

Acknowledgments

Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer

Blériot Type Xl

SPAD XIII Smith IV

Fokker D.VII

Bellanca C.F.

Douglas M-2 Mailplane

Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis

Lockheed Model 8 Sirius Tingmissartoq

Bowlus-duPont 1-S-2100 Senior Albatross Falcon

Boeing P-26A Peashooter

Northrop Gamma 2B Polar Star

Hughes Special 1 B Racer

Grumman G-22 Gulf hawk II

Grumman G-21 Goose

Northrop N-1M Jeep

Kellett XO-60 Aurogiro

Vought 052U-3 Kingfisher

Grumman F4F-4 (FM-i) Wildcat

Supermarine Spitfire HF.Mark N/IT

Focke-Wulf Fw 190 F-8

Ilyushin Il-2M3 Shturmovik

North American Aviation P-51D Mustang

Aichi M6A1 Seiran

Messerschmirt Me 262 A-1a Schwalbe

Arado Ar 234 B2 Blitz

Kugisho MXY7 Model 22 Ohka

Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay

Pitts Special S-1C Little Stinker

Piper PA- 12 Super Cruiser City of Washington

Bell XS-1 (X-i) Glamorous Glennis

North American F-86A Sabre

Cessna 180 Skywagon Spirit of Columbus

Douglas DC-7 Flagship Vermont

Sikorsky UH-34D (HUS-1) Seahorse

Bell UH- 1 H Iroquois, Huey

Dassault Fanjet Falcon 20C Wendy

Mercury Capsule Friendship 7

Gemini VII

Lockheed SR-hA Blackbird

Apollo Lunar Module LM-2

SoyuzTM-10 Vulkan

Extra 260

General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon

Airbus A32O

Space Shuttle Columbia

Photo Credits

Additional Reading

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Preface

Introduction

The cockpit of an airplane or spacecraft is where humanity and technology meet. It is where the pilot actually takes control of the machine. At the Controls gives the reader an opportunity to view the cockpits of a number of the aircraft and spacecraft in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum collections. Many of these historically significant craft are one of a kind, others are well known, even by non-aviation buffs, for significant events in mankind's travel through air and space history.

The wonderful cockpit images created by Smithsonian photographers Eric Long and Mark Avino are designed to give the reader an up-close-and-personal sense of just what the pilot's 'office' looks like in each of these craft. The particular craft were chosen to give the reader a sense of the advances and changes in technology; from the very simple hip cradle and wing-warping control of
Orville and Wilbur Wright's 1903 Flyer to the magnificently modern glass cockpit in the NASA Space Shuttle Columbia. As airplanes developed in terms of performance and capability, so did their cockpits and controls.

The origin of the use of the word cockpit to describe the area in which a pilot controls an airplane or spacecraft is difficult to pinpoint. The term was not used by the Wright Brothers when referring to the pilot's position in their Flyer, but by 1913 it was associated with the semi-enclosed area for pilots and passengers in aircraft having fuselages. Over time the term has evolved to one that specifically describes a position for pilots as they direct the flight of aircraft and spacecraft.

That evolution is revealed as we see the changes and improvements in the flight instruments, navigational instruments, and actual flight controls reflected in these unique photographs. Early aviators controlled their craft by sight, sound, and feel. Instruments and flight controls were rudimentary, and the airplane's reaction, slow — almost awkward by modern standards. As airplane engines increased in power, the craft's speed and performance also increased. Wood and fabric became aluminum alloy, and soon even stronger alloys, such as the titanium of the SR-71, were used. Today, we see high-strength composites as the common material in aircraft and spacecraft construction.

Airspeed and altitude measuring instruments evolved to be larger in scale and more precise. With the historic flight of the Bell X-1 in October 1947, when Captain Chuck Yeager first flew faster than the speed of sound, another term entered the pilot's lexicon, Mach, and another instrument, the Mach meter, became important. Later, we see these speed-measuring indicators developed from round analog instruments to digital readouts combined with other information on a glass screen, as in the cockpits of the F-16, the Airbus, and the Space Shuttle.

The attitude indicator made the pilot no longer dependent on visual confirmation of the airplane's position relative to the Earth; it also enabled the pilot to control the craft while in cloud or while otherwise unable to see past the front of the airplane. Early vacuum indicators became electrically operated, providing more reliability, and still later were developed to project their information on television-like screens, their input coming from an air data computer.

Early aviators navigated completely by reference to landmarks on the ground. One of the earliest navigational instruments was the small, non-precision, wet compass, enabling the pilot to determine the basic direction of flight. This evolution of instrumentation can also be followed in At the Controls, as heading indicators and radio compasses turn into flight directors and precision-instrument landing systems, and on to the sophisticated, satellite-based Global Positioning System, which indicates the aircraft's position within a matter of feet.

All the aircraft cockpits photographed for At the Controls are a part of the National Air and Space Museum's collection, with the exception of the F-16, the Airbus, and the Space Shuttle Columbia. Any treatment of the subject of cockpits should reflect current technological standards, thereby allowing the reader to measure the changes that have taken place over time. For this reason, we have included these three modern cockpits, even though the specific aircraft and spacecraft are not a part of the National Collection.

Whether the reader's interest is in the artistic aspects of aviation, its technical developments, historic significance, or simply a general curiosity about aviation and space flight, we trust that At the Controls, featuring the superb photographic work of Eric Long and Mark Avino, will be a source of pleasure, interest, and knowledge.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction

The cockpit of an airplane or spacecraft is where humanity and technology meet. It is where the pilot actually takes control of the machine. At the Controls gives the reader an opportunity to view the cockpits of a number of the aircraft and spacecraft in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum collections. Many of these historically significant craft are one of a kind, others are well known, even by non-aviation buffs, for significant events in mankind's travel through air and space history.

The wonderful cockpit images created by Smithsonian photographers Eric Long and Mark Avino are designed to give the reader an up-close-and-personal sense of just what the pilot's 'office' looks like in each of these craft. The particular craft were chosen to give the reader a sense of the advances and changes in technology; from the very simple hip cradle and wing-warping control of Orville and Wilbur Wright's 1903 Flyer to the magnificently modern glass cockpit in the NASA Space Shuttle Columbia. As airplanes developed in terms of performance and capability, so did their cockpits and controls.

The origin of the use of the word cockpit to describe the area in which a pilot controls an airplane or spacecraft is difficult to pinpoint. The term was not used by the Wright Brothers when referring to the pilot's position in their Flyer, but by 1913 it was associated with the semi-enclosed area for pilots and passengers in aircraft having fuselages. Over time the term has evolved to one that specifically describes a position for pilots as they direct the flight of aircraft and spacecraft.

That evolution is revealed as wesee the changes and improvements in the flight instruments, navigational instruments, and actual flight controls reflected in these unique photographs. Early aviators controlled their craft by sight, sound, and feel. Instruments and flight controls were rudimentary, and the airplane's reaction, slow -- almost awkward by modern standards. As airplane engines increased in power, the craft's speed and performance also increased. Wood and fabric became aluminum alloy, and soon even stronger alloys, such as the titanium of the SR-71, were used. Today, we see high-strength composites as the common material in aircraft and spacecraft construction.

Airspeed and altitude measuring instruments evolved to be larger in scale and more precise. With the historic flight of the Bell X-1 in October 1947, when Captain Chuck Yeager first flew faster than the speed of sound, another term entered the pilot's lexicon, Mach, and another instrument, the Mach meter, became important. Later, we see these speed-measuring indicators developed from round analog instruments to digital readouts combined with other information on a glass screen, as in the cockpits of the F-16, the Airbus, and the Space Shuttle.

The attitude indicator made the pilot no longer dependent on visual confirmation of the airplane's position relative to the Earth; it also enabled the pilot to control the craft while in cloud or while otherwise unable to see past the front of the airplane. Early vacuum indicators became electrically operated, providing more reliability, and still later were developed to project their information on television-like screens, their input coming from an air data computer.

Early aviators navigated completely by reference to landmarks on the ground. One of the earliest navigational instruments was the small, non-precision, wet compass, enabling the pilot to determine the basic direction of flight. This evolution of instrumentation can also be followed in At the Controls, as heading indicators and radio compasses turn into flight directors and precision-instrument landing systems, and on to the sophisticated, satellite-based Global Positioning System, which indicates the aircraft's position within a matter of feet.

All the aircraft cockpits photographed for At the Controls are a part of the National Air and Space Museum's collection, with the exception of the F-16, the Airbus, and the Space Shuttle Columbia. Any treatment of the subject of cockpits should reflect current technological standards, thereby allowing the reader to measure the changes that have taken place over time. For this reason, we have included these three modern cockpits, even though the specific aircraft and spacecraft are not a part of the National Collection.

Whether the reader's interest is in the artistic aspects of aviation, its technical developments, historic significance, or simply a general curiosity about aviation and space flight, we trust that At the Controls, featuring the superb photographic work of Eric Long and Mark Avino, will be a source of pleasure, interest, and knowledge.

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2006

    A great volume for the aviation buff

    This is a great addition to the library of any aviation buff. I've been to the NASM and other aviation museums many times but you can never do the one thing you would really love to do which is to climb into the cockpit and see what it looks like. This cleverly executed photo book allows you to sit inside the planes and see what it looks like to the pilot. You can follow the evolution of the cockpit and see how quickly the complexity of flight increased by the explosion of dials, switches and gauges that began to appear very shortly after the first crude rudimentary aircraft were replaced. Inevitably buffs may have issues with the a/c selected but the collection is limited to what is in the NASM collection. The photography was well done and you really get the feel of sitting in the cockpit and seeing what it was like to pilot these craft.

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