Monthly Photo Series

Historical photo posted monthly

Bill Stead and Senator Howard Cannon both loved aviation and were major contributors to its development in Nevada. Stead founded the Reno Air Races in 1964 and Cannon authored the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, which significantly increased commercial air traffic to Nevada. Stead and Cannon were inducted to the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame in 2011 and 2013 respectively.

Bill Stead (Left) and Senator Howard Cannon (Right) sharing a moment together.
Bill Stead (Left) and Senator Howard Cannon (Right) sharing a moment together.

This photo is from the first World Congress of Flight, which took place on April 13-19, 1959 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It was the first international air-space show in the U.S. history and the first event at the Convention Center, which was completed earlier in the year.

Outdoor exhibits were held at the Convention Center (as shown in the picture) and McCarran Airport. The Convention Center also hosted indoor exhibits. Aerial demonstrations were held at the old horse race track adjacent to the Convention Center and the Air Force base in Indian Springs. The flight demonstration in Indian Springs was nationally televised.

The keynote speakers were Dr. Edward Teller, known as “the father of the hydrogen bomb” in the United States and U.S. Air Force General Curtis LeMay, who, at the conclusion of WWII, made a non-stop flight from Hokkaido, Japan, to Chicago in a B-29, breaking several aviation records of the time. Thousands of individuals from around the world attended the event.

1959 World Flight of Congress at Las Vegas Convention Center

This X-15 was carried under the wing of B-52 from Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California and released over Nevada. On November 9, 1962, the X-15 had to make an emergency landing on Mud Lake in Nye County, Nevada, due to an engine failure. The X-15’s left skid collapsed on touchdown and the aircraft flipped onto its back before complete stop. Jack McKay, NASA’s test pilot, was injured during the crash, but returned to service and flew an X-15 twenty two more times.

X-15's  Emergency Landing on Mud Lake (11/09/1962)

We have decided to post a historical photo along with some trivia once a month!

The first photo of this new series is NASA's Mercury Seven astronauts, who took their desert survival training at Stead Air Force Base near Reno, Nevada in 1960.

As part of the survival training, the seven astronauts were required to make their own desert survival clothing with the materials from their parachutes. The photo shows their final products.

John Glenn, one of the astronauts, served as a U.S. Senator from Ohio for twenty four years from 1974, and became the oldest man to fly in space in 1998.

Original NASA Mercury Seven Astronauts on Survival Training at Stead AFB in 1960
Photo Credit: NASA
(Left to Right: L. Gordon Cooper, M. Scott Carpenter, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Virgil I. Grissom, Walter Schirra, and Donald K. Slayton.)