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Education Page


The Library Archives

The Travis AFBAviation Museum archives are available for research during regular Heritage Center hours. The archive is not yet available on the open internet but you can access it through the archive computer in the museum library.
Please contact the office for more information.

The library archives contain copies of manuals, photographs, books, videos, the base newspapers and a myriad of other documents. Recently, many of these documents have been digitized and are available on the archive computer. This is still a work in progress. The material in the archive is not researched and complete data - it is whatever someone decided to leave with us - it is eclectic at best. We hope to be able to load all our information up to a web site and make it available to everyone.

Past issues of of the Travis Air Museum NEWS have been digitized and are available for word search.  You can to reprint articles from these sources that highlight various aspects of the history of the Travis Air Force base. Until recently, the information in these sources has been almost inaccessible, requiring laborious effort on the part of researchers to track down a given story or subject.

In addition to digitized material, the library has over 3,000 books on aviation and military history available for checkout. The books are being cataloged so you can search through them on the archive computer.

PLEASE NOTE: Visiting researchers are welcome to make copies of photos and documents on site, but the museum does not have the staff to make copies on request.


Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center Library

Fun Education for Kids

Hands-on Cockpit Procedures Trainer (CPT):

Learn what a pilot is looking at up in the cockpit. Aircraft flight simulators/cockpit procedures trainers were developed to enhance aviation safety, reduce training costs, and provide a controlled and versatile environment for training, testing, and skill development for pilots and other aviation professionals. Crews practice handling emergencies in the simulator, so, if need be, they react properly to real emergencies. They have become indispensable tools in modern aviation training and operations. We have several "hands-on" simulators  in the "Kids Zone"- climb in one and learn what the pilot sees when he is flying. Use your imagination and see yourself flying safely through the air.

Cockpit simulators

T-28 Texan: The North American Aviation T-28 Trojan is a radial-engine military trainer aircraft manufactured by North American Aviation and used by the United States Air Force and United States Navy beginning in the 1950s. Besides its use as a trainer, the T-28 was successfully employed as a counter-insurgency aircraft, primarily during the Vietnam War. It has continued in civilian use as an aerobatics and warbird performer. The USAF replaced the T-28 as a primary trainer in the mid-1950s with the piston-engined Beech T-34 Mentor and jet-powered Cessna T-37.

F-100 Super Sabre: Developed as a follow-on to the F-86 Sabre used in the Korean War, the F-100 was the world's first production airplane capable of flying faster than the speed of sound in level flight (760 mph).  The prototype, the YF-100A, made its first flight on May 25, 1953 at Edwards AFB, California.  Of the 2,294 F-100's built before production ended in 1959, 1,274 were -D's, more than all the other series combined.  The -D, which made its first flight on Jan. 24, 1956, was the most advanced production version.  Its features included the first autopilot designed for a supersonic jet and a low-altitude bombing system. The Super Sabre had its combat debut in Vietnam where it was used extensively as a fighter-bomber in ground-support missions such as attacking bridges, road junctions, and troop concentrations.

T-37 Tweet: The T-37 is a twin-engine primary trainer used for teaching the fundamentals of jet aircraft operation and instrument, formation and night flying.  Affectionately known as the "Tweety Bird" or "Tweet," it was the first USAF jet aircraft designed from conception as a trainer (as opposed to a modification such as the T-33).  Its flying characteristics helped student pilots prepare to transition to the larger, faster T-38 "Talon" later in the pilot training program.  Side-by-side seating in the T-37 makes it easier for the instructor to observe and communicate with the student.

Mercury Space Capsule:

Our first astronauts rode Mercury capsules into space. Step into our capsule simulator and use your imagination to imagine yourself blasting off into space (with the help of the "rumble switch" by the entrance to simulate take-off)





T-37 Flight Simulator

T-37 Flight Simulator

T-37 Flight Simulator

T-37 Flight Simulator

T-37 Flight Simulator

T-37 Flight Simulator

T-37 Flight Simulator

T-37 Flight Simulator

T-37 Flight Simulator

T-37 Flight Simulator

T-37 Flight Simulator

T-37 Flight Simulator

Aircraft Engines

Aircraft Engines:

The Travis AFB Aviation Museum's engine room is an education in the development and evolution of aircraft engines, with examples of many of them on display. Learn about how the different engines generate  power and why they changed. (learn about all of our engines on our Engine Room page)

Piston Powered Engines:

 A reciprocating engine burns fuel in an enclosed cylinder which forces a piston to move up and down the cylinder. The pistons are connected to a shaft which turns the propeller. There can be many different arrangements of the cylinders, but aircraft engine manufacturers found the best arrangement for larger aircraft engines is a radial engine with the cylinders arranged around in a circle around. One of the earliest is our Liberty-12, an example of an inline engine (like an automobile engine), replaced later by radial

Turboprop Engines:

A turboprop is an engine that uses a turbine jet engine instead of a reciprocating engine to drive the aircraft propeller. Air is drawn into the intake, compressed and sent to the combustion chamber. The hot gases drive the propeller and the compressor, with the exhaust adding a relatively small amount to thrust. It provides more thrust than piston powered engines, and is easier to maintain. Our P&W T-34 Turbo wasp is an example of a turboprop.

Turbojet Engines:

A turbojet is  a simple turbine engine that eliminates the propeller and produces all of its thrust from the exhaust from the turbine section. Air is drawn in, compressed and the fuel/air mixture ignited to produce thrust. The air must all pass through the whole engine. Our General Electric J31 Turbojet was one of the first produced.

Turbofan Engines:

A turbofan has a larger fan at the intake, and some compressed air bypasses the engine. The bypassed air is added to the exhaust from the fuel/air turbine to create thrust. In a high-bypass engine, most of the compressed air bypasses the engine and provides most of the engine thrust. Our P&W TF30 engine is a low bypass turbofan.

Rocket Engines

Rocket engines are fundamentally different from the previous engines. Rocket engines are reaction engines. The basic principle driving a rocket engine is the Newtonian principle that "to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." A rocket engine is throwing mass in one direction and benefiting from the reaction that occurs in the other direction (thrust). In a rocket engine, fuel and a source of oxygen, called an oxidizer, are mixed and exploded in a combustion chamber. The combustion produces hot exhaust which is passed through a nozzle to accelerate the flow and produce thrust. Our two-chambered LR87-AJ-11 is the first stage engine for the Titan III booster.

The Future?

Are chemical rocket engines the end of the line? Can we do no better?  What else is out there?. This is where YOU come in. It your generation that must go to school to learn the new technologies and how to harness them to make a better world. Here's a challenge - pick your favorite new technology - use books, google or AI to find out what you can about it. Who knows, maybe you will even grow up and go into that field of study! These are some of the promising areas of propulsion development:

Electric Propulsion (Ion and Hall Effect Thrusters): Electric propulsion systems, such as ion and Hall effect thrusters, were becoming more common for deep space missions due to their high efficiency and fuel economy. They are particularly suitable for missions that require long-duration thrust.

Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP): Nuclear thermal propulsion involves using a nuclear reactor to heat a propellant like hydrogen, which is then expelled at high velocity to generate thrust. NTP offers the potential for significantly shorter travel times for crewed missions to Mars and beyond.

Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP): Nuclear electric propulsion combines nuclear power with electric propulsion to provide high thrust efficiency for deep space missions. It is especially attractive for cargo missions to destinations like Mars.

Solar Sail Propulsion: Solar sails use the pressure of sunlight to propel spacecraft. They are a highly efficient means of propulsion for long-duration missions within the solar system and beyond. Concepts like the LightSail project were exploring the possibilities of solar sail technology.

Plasma Propulsion: Research into plasma-based propulsion systems, such as Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR), has continued. These systems heat and expel plasma to produce thrust and are more versatile than traditional chemical rockets.

Beamed Energy Propulsion: Beamed energy propulsion involves using a powerful energy source, such as lasers or microwaves, to propel a spacecraft. This technology is still in experimental stages but could potentially enable very high-speed interstellar travel.

Asteroid Mining for Propellant: In-situ resource utilization (ISRU) could involve mining asteroids for water, which can be split into hydrogen and oxygen for use as rocket propellant. This concept could reduce the need to carry fuel from Earth for deep space missions.

Advanced Chemical Propulsion: Ongoing research into improving traditional chemical rocket propulsion includes developing more efficient engines and using advanced materials for lighter and stronger components.

Micropropulsion: For small satellites and CubeSats, micropropulsion systems using tiny thrusters like cold gas, electric, or even micro-ion thrusters are being developed for precise attitude control and orbital maneuvers.

Fusion Propulsion: While still a theoretical concept, fusion propulsion systems that harness the energy from nuclear fusion reactions could provide unprecedented thrust and efficiency for interstellar missions. Research into practical fusion propulsion continues.

Antimatter Propulsion: Antimatter, when combined with matter, releases a tremendous amount of energy. Research into antimatter propulsion, although challenging due to the storage and containment of antimatter, has the potential for extremely efficient and high-thrust propulsion systems.


STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. It is an interdisciplinary approach that  was developed to prepare primary and secondary students for college, graduate study and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In addition to subject-specific learning, STEM aims to foster inquiring minds, logical reasoning and collaboration skills. The focus of a STEM education is hands-on, problem-based learning. 

There are six computers set up for flight simulation; three as aircraft flight simulators two set up for RF 7.5 model aircraft and radio controlled (MARC) as well as small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) simulators. Periodic rocket labs are conducted to construct and launch model rockets. In addition, we



are expanding into robotics workshops for experience in constructing, programing and coding Spark Spero as well as Thames and Kosmos kits. These activities provide opportunities for Civil Ari Patrol STEM program, Scouts completing requirement Aviation, Space Exploration and Robotics Merit badges, as well as other community education needs.


Color with imagination

For more immediate artistic gratification, there are coloring sheets and crayons by the gift shop. Grab a sheet and color as you wish. You're not required to stay within the lines, but, then again, there's nothing that says you can't stay within the lines if you want to! Your art can be put up in the ever changing art gallery on the outside of the gift shop!

Fun With Words

The Heritage Center urges you to enjoy learning about aviation.  Just for fun, we recommend the word search game, aviation books for kids of all ages and a few interesting facts to mull over.


Apollo Mission Word Search (answers further down page) - CLICK TO PRINT




Federal Aviation Association Recommended Books

  • The Wright Brothers: Pioneers of American Aviation.   Quentin Reynolds

  • The Story of Aviation: A Concise History of Flight.   Bill Et Gunston, Ray Bonds (Editor)

  • Get Around in Air and Space.   (Get Around Books) by Lee Sullivan Hill. Reading level: Ages 4-8

  • Fly, Bessie, Fly.  by Lynn Joseph, Yvonne Buchanan. Reading Level: Ages 4-8

  • Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft.  1997-1998 by Paul Jackson (Editor)

  • The Aviation And Aerospace Almanac.  1999 Richard Lamp (Editor) Aerospace and Aviation Daily (Compiler) Publications of Aviation Week (Compiler)

  • The Magic School Bus Taking Flight.  A Book About Flight (Magic School Bus Series) Created by Joanna Cole Created by Bruce Deem

  • Yankee Doodle Gals: Women Pilots of World War II.   by Amy Nathan. This book is about the WASPs, the women pioneer pilots who flew for the Army Air Forces in World War II.   Reading level:  10 and up.

  • Just Plane Smart: Activities for Kids in the Air and on the Ground.   by Edwin J. C. Sobey, Ed Sobey Reading level: Ages 9-12

  • My First Plane Ride.  by Elizabeth Benjamin, Mary Lonsdale. Reading level: Ages 4-8

  • Fly High, The Story of Bessie Coleman.   by Louise Borden

  • The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft.   David Donald (Editor)

  • Jane’s Aircraft Recognition Handbook: Jane’s Military Guide.   Janes

Fascinating Facts

  • The Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, NC could have been performed within the (150-foot) economy section of a 747-400.

  • Before Air Traffic Control Towers were developed, pilots avoided other aircraft by a method called ”see and be seen.”

  • Prior to 1926, a person could fly passengers or goods without obtaining a pilot’s license.

  • The first animal aviators were a sheep, a duck and a cockerel that were sent aloft in a hot air balloon in 1783.

  • ”Air stewardess” was the official title given to the position that we now refer to as ”Flight Attendant.” The first Air Stewardess was Ellen Church and she began work with United Airlines in May 1930.

  • Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo. In 1935, Earhart achieved two solo firsts - Hawaii to the mainland and Mexico to New York City.

  • Elizabeth Dole was the first woman to become Secretary of Transportation.

  • Harriett Quimby was the first woman to earn a pilot’s license. The year was 1911.


Apollo Mission Word Search Answers - CLICK TO PRINT

Aviation Information Links

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