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New Temporary Exhibition: Setting a New Flight Path

Oct 04, 2016

The Delta Flight Museum is excited to announce the installation of its newest temporary exhibition Setting a New Flight Path: Innovations in Aviation Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

Perhaps no other industry has grown faster than aviation. Less than 70 years after the Wright brothers completed their first successful powered flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the Boeing 747 successfully flew 500 passengers half way around the world. Today, fifty years after the introduction of the Jumbo Jet, air travel has become an essential part of all of our lives. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) over 3 billion people fly every year, equaling nearly 44% of the world’s population.

Responsible for this incredible aviation expansion are engineers, mechanics and industry leaders that developed an indispensable culture of innovation. During the last century of commercial aviation, innovators have successfully borrowed from other industries, consistently adapted and improved the latest technological advances and never doubted that any problem was too big to solve.

This exhibition examines a handful of innovations that have had an important impact on the aviation industry from the Wright Brothers creation of flight controls to the winglets that are making jets more fuel efficient. We invite you to come view the innovations we have highlighted and then let us know what we missed or what innovations you think belong in the exhibition.

The innovations include:

Airstair represents the importance of lightweight and durable aluminum as an aircraft building material

Without cabin pressurization passenger service could never reach the high altitudes needed to avoid a majority of turbulence. This oxygen mask system, needed in an emergency, demonstrates the importance of the entire pressurization system in an aircraft.


Originally developed by NASA, the winglet is essential to making aircraft more fuel efficient. This winglet is from a 747-400 model, the first aircraft to come out of the factory with winglets.

Along with the artifacts we have included videos from Boeing and Airbus that describe what is coming just around the corner from these aviation companies. We also share a few of the innovations developed within Delta Air Lines over the years and how Delta is continuing to actively support new innovations in the aviation industry.

Setting a New Flight Path will be on view until January 2017.

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