Engine exhaust stacks from the Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VIIc.
Along with the Hawker Hurricane, the Spitfire earned lasting fame
by defending against Germany’s aerial assault in the Battle of
Britain. The Spitfire owed many of its design features to the
Supermarine S.6B, the seaplane racer that gave Britain its final
win in the prestigious Schneider Trophy Race in 1931. The Spitfire
was the only airplane in continuous production throughout World War
Tail from the Wittman Chief Oshkosh/Buster. The tiny, barn-red,
homemade airplane first named Chief Oshkosh and later Buster was
built by Steve Wittman, who began entering it in midget category
races in 1931. Over more than two decades, it enjoyed perhaps the
longest and most successful career in air racing history. In its
final race, in 1954, it placed third — not bad for a 23-year-old
Fuselage section from the Focke-Wulf Ta 152H. The Focke-Wulf Fw
190 was one of the most feared German fighters of World War II. Its
close relative, the Ta 152H, might have made as great an
impression, but time and the tide of war were not in Germany’s
favor. The Ta 152H was basically a 190 redesigned to intercept
Allied bombers and their escorts flying at very high altitudes.
Retrorocket pack from the Mercury Capsule 15B Freedom 7 II.
Slated to be Alan Shepard’s second Mercury ride, Freedom 7 II never
flew. After a successful sixth mission, NASA canceled the final
Mercury flight and moved on to the Gemini program. Freedom 7 II is
one of only two Mercury capsules still in its orbital
configuration, complete with the silver and black retrorocket
package used for slowing its return to Earth, and with parachutes
for final descent packed away in its nose.