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Temporary Exhibit of Rare Wonder Woman Airplane set for Feb. 24

February 19, 2016

Virginia Commonwealth University will offer a special exhibit of Wonder Woman’s famed invisible plane Wednesday, Feb. 24. The exhibit is in the lobby at  James Branch Cabell Library.

This exhibit is a tribute to The Secret History of Wonder Woman, the 2016 VCU Common Book. The book’s author, Jill Lepore, is on campus Feb. 24-25 meeting with classes and giving a talk about the creation of Wonder Woman.

The plane is on loan to VCU Libraries from the Museum of Flight, a private non-profit air and space museum near Seattle. Established in 1965 and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, it is the largest private air and space museum in the world. The museum attracts more than 400,000 visitors every year. www.museumofflight.org

Information provided by the Museum of Flight explains that the aircraft is the original iteration of the renowned superhero’s plane – a propeller-driven craft that had a cruising speed of more than 2,000 mph and was able to make trans-Atlantic flights without refueling.  

Developed using still-mysterious Amazon stealth technology decades before other aerospace companies envisioned such a future, the unique aircraft features a robot-controlled pilot, a locascope, and an electronic mist beam. Wonder Woman was able to control the plane telepathically and via devices in her tiara.   

According to news release materials from the National Air and Space Museum, which exhibited the plane in Washington, D.C. in 2014, the plane was retired by the Justice League veteran in the 1950s in favor of a jet-propelled model. The plane was housed in an undisclosed location near Washington from 1941 to the early 1970s. In 1975, the plane was moved to Southern California where it remained until 1979. After 1979, the jet went missing. It was through the careful work of the Museum of Flight staff and former Army nurse Lieutenant Diana Prince that the plane was finally discovered on a quiet estate in Potomac, Md. in 2012. After that discovery, the Museum of Flight moved the plane to Seattle where it went on display in April of 2013. That museum now is its home base. The VCU appearance is only its third time on exhibit in as many years.

According to experts at these two august air and space museums, the jet is well ahead of its time. It used stealth technologies in the 1950s long before the Lockheed YF-12A and the SR-71 Blackbird were introduced. The engines on this plane allowed Wonder Woman to travel through space. NASA’s North American X-15 took the United States to the edge of space in the 1960s, but it was Amazonian technology that sent Wonder Woman into deep space in the 1950s.

The plane’s other features include shape shifting, telepathic abilities and multi-dimensional transport. Although the jet was invisible, passengers riding in it wer not: They appeared to float on the clouds. Even though Wonder Woman can fly under her own powers, she pressed the plane into service to transport Etta Candy and the Holliday Girls as well as Steve Trevor and others.

VCU Libraries is proud to present Wonder Woman’s Invisible Plane for the first time publicly in the Richmond area. Many thanks to the staff at the Museum of Flight and for making this once-in-a-lifetime loan possible. Thanks to our colleagues at the National Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Flight for most of the language and background contained in this news release. 

 

VCU Libraries' Comic Arts Collection: It's a Wonder

VCU has a top-tier collection of the comic arts. Find more Wonder Woman items in the Comic Book Index at https://gallery.library.vcu.edu/collections/show/94. To view items in the collection, visit Special Collections and Archives on the fourth floor of Cabell Library, Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. For contact information, or to make an appointment with an archivist so you can research a particular topic visit, http://www.library.vcu.edu/research/special-collections/cabell/comics/

 

 

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