5 fascinating pieces of early aviation memorabilia

5. WWI bomber archive

This fascinating and unique archive consists of a squadron insignia and archive relating to American world war one pilot Lieutenant Paul Edison Green. It made $12,000 at Mohawk Arms in 2013.

WWI flight insgnia
The insignia was attached to the side of Green's plane - Image: Mohawk Arms

Green flew for the French Escardille 131, Bomber Group 4 unit towards the end of the war.

His insignia, which consists of a vicious looking gargoyle with a bomb in its claws, was originally attached to the side of his biplane. Various documents, photographs and medals are also included.

The Wright brothers made their first flight in 1903, just 11 years prior to the start of the first world war, and most pilots had less than 15 hours flight experience before they took to the skies over the trenches.

Shockingly, life expectancy for Allied pilots on the front was just 11 days.

4. Amelia Earhart goggles

Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, in 1932, a feat that made her an international celebrity.

Amelia Earheart goggles
Amelia Earheart disappeared while flying across the Pacific in 1937 - Image: Clars Auction Gallery

Her disappearance just five years later, while crossing the Pacific, remains seared into the public consciousness. Reports of makeup cases discovered on remote islands continue to make the news today.

These goggles were given to her instructor Neeta Snook (another famous female aviator) in 1921, after Earhart crashed for the first time - at Goodyear Field in Arizona.

They made $15,000 at Clars Auction Gallery in Oakland in 2011.

3. Lindbergh cockpit transcripts

It's difficult to overplay the impact Lindbergh's first successful flight from New York to Paris had on the culture of the time.

Lindbergh transcripts
Lindbergh's wife communicated with him using pen and paper while in flight - Image: Christie's

This collection of transcripts date from a flight he made with his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, from New York to Tokyo in 1931.

Due to the noise of the engine it was impossible for the couple to communicate vocally, meaning messages were communicated via pen and paper.

Anne wrote in her book North to the Orient (1935): "I found that I needed one hand constantly on the main dial, another on the vernier, trying to pin down my station like an elusive butterfly.

"I wanted a third to write the message, and still another to hold the pad - the work of four hands to be done by two. That meant acrobatics."

The lot sold for $33,600 at Christie's New York in 2005.

2. Wilbur Wright manuscript

Autographs and handwritten documents from Wilbur Wright are extremely rare as he died relatively young.

Wilbur Wright
Wilbur delivered the speech at the Aero Club France in 1908 - Image: Christie's

This speech was presented to the Aero Club de France in 1908 and reads in part: "I sometimes think that this indescribable desire to fly through space after the manner of birds is an inherited longing, transmitted to us by ancestors who in their toilsome journey through the trackless wildernesses of primeval times looked up and saw the birds shooting at almost lightning speed whenever they willed in the unobstructed pathways of the heavens ...

"I must confess that as late as 1901 I myself said to my brother that men would not be flying within fifty years. In two years we were flying ourselves ...

"It is not necessary to look too far into the future. We can see far enough already to be certain that the future will be glorious."

It made £61,875 ($94,298) at Christie's London last year.

1. Signed photograph

signed photo
The photograph features signatures from the biggest names in aviation history - Image: Heritage Auctions

This diminutive photograph is undoubtedly one of the most incredible pieces of aviation history in existence. It includes over 100 signatures, from the Wright brothers to the crew of Apollo 11.

That only 66 years separate the flight of the Kitty Hawk from the Moon landings is remarkable and testifies to the speed and power of human progress.

It made $48,750 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas in 2008.

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