Introduction of the Elements
E.T. Wooldridge captain in the U.S. Navy and National Academy graduate, was designated a naval aviator in 1952. As a test pilot at the Patuxent test center, he flew every type of aircraft in the Navy in the late 1950s. Later he became commanding officer of a carrier-based a fighter squadron and executive officer of the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal, and served on planning and policy staffs of the Navy Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1976 he joined the National Air and Space Museum as curator of the naval aviation and has served the museum in numerous capacities ever since.
A resident of Annapolis , Maryland, Captian Wooldridge is the author of several books on aviation subjects, including The Golden Age Remembered; U.S. Naval Aviation, 1919-1941 and Into the Jet Age; Conflict and Change in Naval Aviation, 1845-1975,
In 2001 he collaborated with famed Hollywood artist Drew Struzan to compose this outstanding work of art encapsulating some of the milestones of aviation. Knowing full well there are a number of aircraft, many in fact that are not depicted in this work of art but those that were and the number of different aircraft were limited to the confines of the canvas. We hope you can appreciate the images selected and the artist bringing them all together in a most meaningful and reflective manner.
There are 35 plus elements included in composing this master piece of manned flight for the past 100 years plus. Below are comments and history on 30 of those elements.