Exhibit to trace Airline History
from Crop Dusters to Today
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The National Air & Space Museum is a unique building on the National Mall; unlike the other Smithsonian exhibit halls, it focuses on the aviation and aerospace industry. Its artifacts chronicle the instruments of the airlines; so it is not surprising that eight airlines jointly (God knows that they ever agree on anything) are donating for the reimagining of “America by Air.”, the section within the downtown facility which tells the story of the evolution of our business. American Airlines, The Delta Air Lines Foundation, and United Airlines have contributed as lead donors with Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Spirit Airlines.
Curator Dr. Bob van der Linden , author of many histories about commercial flight, has the assignment to create a visual/artifact representation of the struggles, safety and service which mark this economic endeavor.
One of the tales that the new display will demonstrate is the origins of Delta Air Lines by hanging its first aircraft for visitors to see. Surprisingly, the “bird” carried no passengers, but flew to protect crops by killing bugs; it is the Huff-Daland Duster. was designed in 1925 for a new method of controlling agricultural insect pests, aerial crop dusting.
The Huff-Daland Manufacturing Company modified its sturdy Petrel military biplane with a large hopper for chemicals and spraying equipment and established the nation’s first aerial dusting business, Huff-Daland Duster Company of Macon, Georgia and later, Monroe, Louisiana.
C.E. Woolman took over the company in 1928 and renamed it Delta Air Service (forerunner of Delta Air Lines) to reflect the addition of mail and passenger service in Travel Airs. The remains of two of the original 18 Dusters stayed in storage until 1967 when Delta Air Lines selected one of them for restoration.
From that point of inception, Dr. van der Linden will provide the palpable, visible objects which mark the milestones to today’s complex business.
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