Museum exhibition features pilot eye view of cockpits

“At the Controls: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Looks at Cockpits,” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), offers visitors a unique perspective of cockpits from some of the world’s most impressive air and spacecraft. “At the Controls” is on display now at Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center and will remain on view throughout the summer.

“At the Controls” features 20 large color photographs of historically significant cockpits, such as the Wright brothers’ 1903 Flyer; the “Enola Gay,” a Boeing B-29 Superfortress; the Mercury “Friendship 7”; and the space shuttle “Columbia.” Using a 4 by 5 camera with 120° wide-angle lens and a variety of lighting techniques, photographers Eric F. Long and Mark Avino have created unique images that contrast the simplicity and complexity of cockpits throughout aviation history, museum officials note.

Measuring approximately 4 by 7 feet, the images depict in detail the evolution of the controls, instruments and displays used to fly these air and spacecraft. The cockpits in the exhibition were selected because their instrumentation panels vividly illustrate the development and refinement of aviation technology. Additional information and complete views of the air and spacecraft accompany each photograph.

Long is a senior photographer for the Smithsonian’s Office of Imaging, Printing, and Photography at the National Air and Space Museum. During his 19-year career at the Smithsonian Institution, he has documented collections, exhibits and events for museum research and publications, and has participated in historical documentations including three presidential inaugurations and an oral history of Southern agriculture.

Avino is a chief photographer for the Office of Imaging, Printing, and Photography at the Air and Space Museum. Also with the Smithsonian Institution for 19 years, Avino has directed and supervised staff photographers who specialize in reproduction and documentation of the museum’s collections, created exhibition displays, and arranged special research and publications events. Avino has also served as guest speaker and judge for Gallaudet University Department of Photography photo contests.

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum memorializes the national development of aviation and space flight. The museum maintains the largest — more than 33,500 objects — and most diverse collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world.

The Smithsonian-affiliated Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas, houses the Carey Dome Theater, planetarium, Dr. Goddard’s Lab, and the largest collection of U.S. space artifacts outside the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC. It is also home to the largest collection of Soviet space artifacts outside of Moscow. The internationally acclaimed Cosmosphere camps are based on real NASA astronaut training and have been conducted for children and adults of all ages for more than 25 years. For more information: 800-397-0330 or 




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