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For Release: October 22, 2003

Lori J. Rachul
Media Relations Office

Leading Air and Space Historians to Present Symposium

Daredevil pilots of the barnstorming era, bold entrepreneurs and military strategists of the 30s and 40s, and the visionaries and down-to-earth managers of the Space Age are a few of the aerospace leaders to be profiled at a day-long public symposium, "Realizing the Dream of Flight."

On Nov. 5, 2003, some of the country's most distinguished aerospace historians will gather at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland to honor the Wright Brothers' invention, along with the advancements of other scientists and engineers who made human flight one of the most important technical achievements of the twentieth century.

The symposium will be divided into three panel sessions that will profile "Dreamers and Doers," Barnstormers and Entrepreneurs," and "Aerospace Leaders and Managers." NASA's Glenn Research Center Director Dr. Julian M. Earls will welcome participants prior to the start of the first panel session. NASA Headquarters historians Steven J. Dick and Stephen J. Garber will offer concluding remarks.

Featured speakers and their topics follow.

Tom Crouch, senior curator for aeronautics at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, will focus on Willy Ley, a German rocket enthusiast featured in Crouch's recent book, "Aiming for the Stars: Dreamers and Doers of the Space Age." Crouch is the author of the prize-winning book "The Bishop's Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright."

Alan Gropman, professor at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, will provide a personal glimpse of the accomplishments of Benjamin O. Davis Jr. General Davis led the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II and played a major role in the integration of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Susan Ware of Harvard University will speak on Amelia Earhart. Ware is the author of "Still Missing: Amelia Earhart and the Search for Modern Feminism."

Tami Davis Biddle, a professor at the U.S. Army War College, will discuss "Curtis E. LeMay and the Ascent of American Strategic Airpower."

Roger E. Bilstein, of the University of Houston, Clear Lake, and author of many books on aviation, including "Flight in America" and "The Enterprise of Flight: TheAmerican Aviation and Aerospace Industry," will speak on"Donald Douglas: From Aeronautics to Aerospace."

Other profiles include:

"The Astronaut's Godfather: Robert Gilruth and the Origins of Human Spaceflight," by Roger D. Launius, National Air and Space Museum; "Bessie Coleman: The Irrepressible Dreams and Harsh Realities of Flight," by Amy Sue Bix, Iowa State University;

"The Political and Diplomatic Skills of Juan Trippe, Founder of Pan American Airways," by William M. Leary, University of Georgia;

"The Autogiro Files the Mail: Edward V. Rickenbacker, Eastern Air Lines, and the Experimental Use of Rotorcraft, 1939-1940," by W. David Lewis, Auburn University;

"A Powerful Influence: NASA's Hugh L. Dryden," by Michael Gorn, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center;

"Wernher von Braun: A Visionary as Engineer and Manager," by Andrew J. Dunar, University of Alabama in Huntsville; and

"Celebrating the Invention of Flight in a Hands-On Way: Replicating the 1902 Experimental Glider Flights of the Wright Brothers," by Edward J. Pershey, Western Reserve Historical Society.

The symposium is sponsored by NASA and the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission. Local sponsors include NASA's Glenn Research Center, The Great Lakes Science Center, the history departments of Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University, The Northeast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., and the International Women's Air and Space Museum.

The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Reinberger Auditorium at The Great Lakes Science Center. Seating is limited, so early registration is encouraged. For a complete program and details on how to register, visit:

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