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American Business/Labor  |   Aviation  |   History of Medicine  |   Innovations

Alone on the Ice

Alone on the Ice
Richard Byrd's solitary adventure in Antarctica.
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In June 1934, Richard Byrd lay alone in a small hut within the polar ice, hovering near death. No one before Byrd had ever experienced winter in the interior of the Antarctic. In an age of heroes, he was one of America's greatest. An explorer, aviation pioneer and scientist, Byrd was also an egotist, a risk-taker, and, his critics claim, a fraud who sometimes took credit for the accomplishments of others.

Amelia Earhart (no website available)
The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
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The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, Amelia Earhart was America's "Lady Lindy." What the public didn't know was the cost of her courage. The record-breaking flights, races, interviews, speeches and promotional commitments pushed her to the point of exhaustion. This beautiful, accomplished woman would disappear without a trace on the eve of her 40th birthday.

The Great Air Race of 1924 (no website available)
The first around-the-world air race tested the abilities of man and machine.
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The first around-the-world air race, sponsored by the Army Air Service to prove that the airplane had a commercial future, was the ultimate test of man and machine. Four pilots took off in single-engine, open-cockpit planes; 175 days later, two remaining pilots would land where they'd begun, in Seattle.
Hijacked

Hijacked
In September 1970, Palestinian militants seized five commercial aircraft, giving birth to a new era of terrorism.
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For more than 30 years it would be known as "the blackest day in aviation history." On September 6, 1970, members of the militant Palestinian group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (P.F.L.P.), hijacked four commercial airplanes. They commandeered a fifth aircraft three days later. Wanting to attract attention to the Palestinian cause and secure the release of several of their comrades, the P.F.L.P. spectacularly blew up four of the planes.

Today the commanders who planned and carried out the attack resist comparison to the terrorists who masterminded the events of September 11, 2001: members of the P.F.L.P. were not religious extremists, but secular Marxist Leninists. And of the almost 600 passengers taken hostage, none were killed. And yet more than three decades later, it is clear that a connection exists between the two seminal events, that September 6, 1970 gave birth to a new era of terrorism. In telling this dramatic and complicated story, award-winning producer Ilan Ziv interviews leaders of the P.F.L.P., militants who carried out the attack, journalists who covered the hijackings, crew members and passengers. More than just recounting the events of those tense September days, this American Experience production examines how and when Middle East militants began to see civilians as legitimate pawns in their struggles for self-determination.

Lindbergh

Lindbergh
The first man to fly across the Atlantic.
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At 25 , Charles A. Lindbergh arrived in Paris, the first man to fly across the Atlantic -- handsome, talented, and brave -- a hero. But the struggle to wear the mantle of legend would be a consuming one. Crowds pursued him, reporters invaded his private life. His marriage,travels with his wife and the kidnapping and murder of their first child were all fodder for the front page.

Spy in the Sky (no website available)
The plane provided a high-tech peek behind the Iron Curtain.
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In the spring of 1960, Francis Gary Powers' U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. Overnight, this top-secret plane became the most famous aircraft in the world. Behind the incident was a team of engineers and pilots who had raced against the clock to design, perfect and deploy a plane which could provide a high-tech peek behind the Iron Curtain.
The Wright Stuff

The Wright Stuff
Wilbur and Orville Wright build the flying machine.
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Theirs is a quintessential American story of two midwestern boys who believed they could break the barrier of the air, succeeding where others with government grants and engineering educations had failed. Their remarkable breakthroughs in design and engineering shaped the course of the twentieth century.
THEMATIC: Technology:

American Business/Labor  |   Aviation  |   History of Medicine  |   Innovations

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