I’m Kristen Karman-Shoemake and This Is How I Mesh — Another Fine Mesh

I was born in Arlington, TX and spent most of my childhood in and around the Fort Worth area. When I was in high school, my family moved to Chattanooga, TN. I then went on to UTK for my undergraduate degree. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life and ended […]

via I’m Kristen Karman-Shoemake and This Is How I Mesh — Another Fine Mesh

Kristen and I went to graduate school together along with her husband Lawton.

College Park Aviation Museum

The central place for Chet’s aviation career was the College Park airport, where events such as Langley Day (which Chet moved from Washington Hoover in 1933) and other events took place.  Although College Park Airport remains an active airport–the oldest continuing airport in the United States–it is also the home of the College Park Aviation Museum, and on a recent visit we took a look at what it had to offer.  This is just a sampling of what’s there.

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The entrance to the College Park Aviation Museum.

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An historical sign which outlines the history of the College Park Airport.

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A Monocoupe 110. In some ways the Monocoupe was the single most successful plane for Chet’s Langley Day competitions, as a perusal of the winners will show.

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The Washington Air Derby trophy, which was actually first prepared for the first competition at Washington Hoover in 1932.  Note that George Brinkerhoff, whose flying service at College Park was famous, moved his operation from Washington Hoover, as Chet would do with the Washington Air Derby in 1933.

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A plan for College Park’s hangars. These were built during World War I and were pretty much all of the buildings the airport had during Chet’s day. They were useful for the Langley Day competitions and, er, the Quiet Birdmen parties.

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The west end of College Park airport. At one time there was a runway which more or less paralleled the B&O railroad, but it is gone. That railroad is still active but now also includes Washington’s Metro.

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Although the airport made a very nice wide angle poster of this, they did not know that it comes from the 1939 Langley Day competition: we have other photos of the Goodyear blimp there.

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The eastern part of the airport, now the main part and the location of both the Museum and the terminal. The rise behind the runway appears often in Chet’s photos and films of College Park, the scene of so many of his triumphs.

Remembering the Anti-Moon Luddites

Today, of course, is the fiftieth anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon–“one giant leap for mankind,” to be sure.  It was a great accomplishment and deserves to be remembered.

It’s easy to forget, however, that at the time there were many–especially on the left–who believed that the whole enterprise was a mistake, that the money we spent to put Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin (and of course, Michael Collins, commemorated the following year by Jethro Tull in their album Benefit) would have been better spent on feeding the poor and rectifying social injustices.

And in a sense the years that followed this achievement were the time when real science died in this country.  As I noted earlier this year:

But by the time Armstrong and Aldrin set foot on the moon, the mood had changed. The 1960’s were a decidedly Luddite time; technology was blamed for despoiling the environment and creating the “few minutes to midnight” atmosphere of the Cold War. Those who plied their trade in technology were “nerds.” The space program collapsed and the aerospace industry went with it. A new generation turned away from technology to more “relevant” (and easier way up) professions such as law and finance. Instead of landing on Mars in 1986, we were in angst (something we’ve gotten good at) over the explosion of the Challenger.

bahama-lane-front

Our home in Palm Beach. It was located on the old “Dodge Estate,” one of the last of the large estates to be broken up (Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago is an example of one that is still intact.) Built in the late 1950’s, it survived the hurricanes that were reasonably frequent during the years we lived in Palm Beach (we experienced two the first summer we lived there.) All of the windows were fitted with shutters (as shown here) or had a metal shield that could be fitted for a blow. This obviated the need to strip forests for plywood every time a hurricane arrived. Note also the ficus hedge running along the street. Using a hedge to both close in the yard and to obscure the view of the property (they’re generally higher now than they were then) is fairly common in Palm Beach. After living with this, being forced into the “open yard” mould so common in the U.S. (especially in the South) just doesn’t quite cut it.

The space program had many technological spinoffs that enhanced life here on earth.  But when we have the same old “zero-sum” mentality about this, we’ll end up getting nowhere, and in the long run shortchanging those we profess to help.

And where was I when the first step was taken?  In Palm Beach, of course.  Behind the balcony of our house (right) was my brother’s room, where we witnessed history on his black and white television.

NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio USA — Construction and architecture

NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field is a NASA center, located within the cities of Brook Park and Cleveland between Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the Cleveland Metroparks’s Rocky River Reservation, with a subsidiary facility in Sandusky, Ohio. Glenn Research Center is one of ten major NASA field centers, whose primary mission is to develop science and technology for use in aeronautics and […]

via NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio USA — Construction and architecture

The Evolution of Computational Aerospace from 1968-2018 — Another Fine Mesh

Sometimes you write something that ends up on the cutting room floor (as my film-loving friends might say). Such is the case with an article I was asked to write for the 50th anniversary of the Society of Flight Test Engineers in 2018. Alas, plans change and the article went unused. I thought it turned […]

via The Evolution of Computational Aerospace from 1968-2018 — Another Fine Mesh