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3 minutes reading time (678 words)

Seventy-Five Years After Pearl Harbor, Which Was 38 Years After First Flight at Kitty Hawk

Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which catapulted the United States into World War II. For Americans, there was no way to miss the abundant news coverage and the stories of vets who were there that day and are still alive today to share their experiences. As I read about and watched some of the ceremonies and news it got me thinking about the astounding progress humankind made in the 20th century in the field of aviation.

The Wright brothers made their first successful, sustained flight on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. That in itself was an astounding accomplishment. Their Wright Flyer aircraft today resides in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. (see below a photo I took in 2008). I could spend days at that museum and the extended air and space museum in Virginia, but alas I only have had time to spend one day at the main museum in Washington D.C. and have not had an opportunity to visit the one in Virginia.

Wright Flyer in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (below, a photo I took in 2008)

Wright Flyer in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

While on the topic of aviation museums, another really good museum I have visited is the National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton, Ohio. I visited that museum in 1999.

Focusing back on my main topic of aviation progress, just 38 years later at Pearl Harbor and during World War II, humankind was launching aircraft off of naval vessel aircraft carriers. The power, range and general capability of the aircraft in 1941 make the Wright Flyer look laughable in comparison. This all happened without computers, CAD, analysis software, or even handheld calculators. Engineers and inventors used slide rules, wind tunnels and a huge amount of sheer ingenuity. See below some photos I took at Pearl Harbor on a nice day in 2007.

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor (below, a photo I took in 2007)

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

A view of part of the sunken USS Arizona from the memorial structure at Pearl Harbor (below, a photo I took in 2007)

A view of part of the sunken USS Arizona from the memorial structure at Pearl Harbor

Another view of part of the sunken USS Arizona from the memorial structure at Pearl Harbor (below, a photo I took in 2007)

Another view of part of the sunken USS Arizona from the memorial structure at Pearl Harbor

Just six years after Pearl Harbor and 44 years after Kitty Hawk, in 1947 Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier and supersonic flight became a reality. He did this in the Bell X-1. The Bell X-1 is also on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

Then, if that was not astounding enough, just 22 years later and 66 years after Kitty Hawk, men landed on the moon in 1969. I was pondering this last night as I feel asleep (yes, really) and I still find it hard to believe.

In the 47 years since 1969, aviation progress has not progressed very much to my mind. The breathtaking leaps of progress have been made in other fields of endeavor such as the laptop I am typing on this morning at my home and the Internet which allows me to publish this in a few moments and have it instantly accessible to billions of people around the world.

I love technology (when I am not hating it, which is a story for another day!). For those of you who I have had the pleasure of meeting, you know of my passion for the technology we develop at AFT. I love creating software products and working hard to make these products excellent and as useful and powerful as possible for our customers around the world. I am very excited about the completely new products and modules we will be releasing over the next few months. More on that in my blog next month!

I suppose these are fitting thoughts as we conclude the year 2016 and look forward to a New Year. May you experience peace, health and prosperity in the New Year as many of you celebrate this magical, holiday season. Cheers!

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Tuesday, 07 December 2021

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