GOLDEN AGE OF FLIGHT TEST, X-Planes at Edwards AFB, 1947-1977, Painting by Mike Machat
Posted on August 21, 2012 · Posted in Pilots & Everyone Else, Wings & Airpower Articles

Artist, author, and historian Mike Machat is a well-known American aviation personality who has dedicated his career to the preservation and documentation of aviation history.

If it’s about airplanes, Mike can illustrate it, write about it, or talk about it. His extraordinary archival resources and aviation experience allow him to deliver dynamic aviation imagery and content that is accurate, exciting, and compelling.

As the nephew of a Republic Aviation Corporation Chief Engineer, Mike Machat was inspired to pursue an aviation career since his early childhood on Long Island. He became an avid model builder and as a teenager, spent endless hours sketching aircraft at all the local New York airports, often being allowed out on the ramp to draw.

Having started flying at age 16, Mike eventually traded his artwork for flight time, making his first solo in a Piper J-3 Cub, and eventually earning both his private and commercial pilot licenses in the process.

After completing the Foundation Art Program at New York’s Pratt Institute, Mike served in the U.S. Air Force overseas and with the National Security Agency in Washington D.C. After relocating to Los Angeles, he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University, Long Beach and was hired by the Douglas Aircraft Company as a technical illustrator. Mike soon advanced through the ranks to become a Staff Artist and Corporate Representative for the McDonnell Douglas Corporation.

Moving on from the corporate world, Mike established his own independent aviation art studio and was elected first president of the American Society of Aviation Artists (ASAA). He served as president of the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles and became a senior, flight-rated, member of the Air Force Art Program, contributing 21 original paintings to the national collection. His aviation artwork has won numerous awards in the Illustration West, Experimental Aircraft Association, ASAA, Simuflite, and Naval Aviation Foundation art competitions.

As an aviator, Mike has flown in more than 200 different types of aircraft including the A-4, T-38, F-104, F-15, F-16, F-18, and Concorde. He has flown with NASA, the Blue Angels, and the USAF Test Pilot School, and was the first Air Force Artist to fly in the Rockwell B-1B Lancer and Grumman F-14 Tomcat in a U.S. Navy exchange program. An avid glider pilot, Mike has made more than 2,000 flights in sailplanes.

Mike Machat ‘Journey to Dryden’

In this video, aviation author, editor, historian and artist Mike Machat takes you on a personal journey to the home of US aviation research, Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Aviation Artwork

Mike designed and produced aviation murals for the Bob Hope Airport terminal building in Burbank, California, and created the centerpiece display for the new Air Force Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

His paintings are displayed in airline corporate headquarters worldwide, and have been accepted into the permanent collections of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, National Soaring Museum, and National Museum of Naval Aviation.

“Mike Machat has compiled a beautifully rendered history of those special years in flight test where men and machines were taken to their absolute limits almost as a matter of routine.”
Gregg Weber, Founder, Aerodrome Press

Commissions

  • Brig. Gen. Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager
  • Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
  • Lockheed Advanced Development Co.
  • McDonnell Douglas Corporation
  • Pan American World Airways
  • Air Force Flight Test Center
  • Burbank Airport Authority
  • USAF Test Pilot School
  • Maj. Gen. Joe H. Engle
  • Maj. Gen. Bill Anders
  • Continental Airlines
  • Airbus Industrie
  • Delta Air Lines

Exhibits

  • National Museum of the Air Force, Dayton, OH
  • Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, CA
  • American Airlines C. R. Smith Museum, Dallas, TX
  • Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards AFB, CA
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego, CA
  • Cradle of Aviation Museum, Mitchel Field, NY
  • Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, FL
  • The Pentagon, Washington, DC

Collections

  • Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC
  • Air Force Flight Test Center Museum, Edwards AFB, CA
  • National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, FL
  • NASA Documentary Art Program
  • U.S. Air Force Documentary Art Program
  • U.S. Coast Guard Documentary Art Program
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff Documentary Art Program
  • National Soaring Museum, Elmira, NY

Writing & Editorial

Mike’s career focus includes aviation writing and editing. He served as Editor-in-Chief for Wings & Airpower Magazine as well as Acquisitions Editor for Specialty Press Aviation Publications, and brings a wealth of editorial and literary knowledge to all of his aviation endeavors.

As the author of two best-selling books and countless magazine and website articles, Mike has told the stories of aviation luminaries and of his own aeronautical exploits. Having worked first-hand on projects with renowned aircraft designers, pilots, and astronauts, he has been able to capture in images and words the dramatic and colorful tales of many of aviation’s greatest legends.

Air Force Flight Test Center Museum Opening Day Tour, Edwards Air Force Base, July 21, 2000

The Air Force Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards Air Force Base opened on July 21, 2000. Take a walking tour of the aircraft and displays at the museum. Notable attendees included X-1 pilot Chuck Yeager, X-15 pilot Pete Walker, X-15 and Space Shuttle pilot Joe Engle, NB-52B pilot Fitzhugh Fulton, NASA Photographer Tony Landis, and Aviation Artist Mike Machat.

Mike’s Republic XR-12 Rainbow book now a Best Seller!

Using rare original factory photos and illustrations that have never before been published, Mike’s latest book reveals new information about the XR-12 and its RC-2 airliner variant. The XR-12, along with its Hughes XF-11 competitor, was one of the most elegant-looking high-performance piston-powered aircraft ever built, and this book not only tells the story of this airplane in vivid detail, but reveals for the first time the reason behind that company’s risky decision to enter the commercial aircraft market, and the real cause of the tragic crash of XR-12 Ship Two. In all, a classic and most compelling story of aeronautical achievement, and failure, at a tumultuous time in aviation history.

Mike’s book is now available at Amazon.

Public Speaking

As a motivational speaker on a wide variety of aviation topics, Mike’s presentations are a reminder to today’s generation of the significant contributions made by the world’s aviation industry for more than 100 years. Whether presenting a riveting program, moderating a symposium, or emceeing aviation events, Mike brings his unique style, aviation expertise, and sharp wit to your audience.

“Mere words can not adequately convey or describe the visual presentation that Mike brought to us this evening. Breathtaking imagery in the form of photographs and artwork filled the big screen in all its electronically projected glory.”
Kent “Cobra” Troxel, EAA Chapter 1000

Contact Mike for schedules, program topics, and speaker’s rates.

Recent Appearances

Beginning August 8, 2012 – Museum of Flying, Santa Monica Airport, CA
The Museum has commissioned Mike Machat to create a new mural entitled “Fly DOUGLAS!” Measuring ten-by-twenty-feet, the mural depicts legendary Douglas airliners from DC-1 through DC-10. Artist Machat, former Staff Illustrator for McDonnell Douglas, will be painting this artwork during Museum hours. The Museum is located at 3100 Airport Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90405. For more information, call 310-398-2500. www.museumofflying.com

August 14, 2012 – Keynote Speaker for the Quiet Birdmen (QBs) Ventura Hangar, Ventura, CA
Mike Machat will present his talk on the Republic XR-12 Rainbow, and history of the Republic Aviation Corporation, showing photos and artwork, and sharing first-hand stories about the legendary aircraft manufacturer that built more than 26,000 aircraft during its nearly 50-year existence. (Private event)

September 22, 2012 – Santa Monica Airport Open House, Santa Monica, CA
Featuring static displays, aircraft tours and many other events to be announced, there will be an Open House hosted by Santa Monica Airport. The Museum of Flying, located on the south side of the Airport, will offer half-price admission of $5 all day Saturday. Stop by the Museum and watch Mike Machat painting his new mural “Fly DOUGLAS!” depicting legendary Douglas airliners inflight.

October 23, 2012 – Mike Machat Becomes First Artist to win the Combs Gates Aviation History Award, Santa Monica, CA
The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) awarded its 11th Annual Combs Gates Award to aviation artist, Mike Machat, of Woodland Hills, California.  Machat is being recognized for his 10’ by 20’ mural titled Fly DOUGLAS!, located at the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica, California.  Machat received the $20,000 Combs Gates Award in a formal presentation at a special session of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) 66th Annual Meeting & Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Presenting Machat with his award were NAHF Chairman of the Board, Philip A. Roberts, accompanied by Hall of Fame enshrines including former astronaut and the last man to walk on the moon, Eugene Cernan; business aviation pioneer and cinematographer, Clay Lacy; former Chairman and CEO of Cessna Aircraft, Russ Meyer, Jr.; and air show legends Bob Hoover and Sean D. Tucker.  NAHF Enshrinement Director, Ron Kaplan, led the presentation ceremony. http://nationalaviation.org/

October 25, 2012 – American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) Presentation and Book Signing, Republic Airport, Farmingdale, NY
Mike Machat is honored to be able to address AIAA members and former employees of the Republic Aviation Corporation with his noted lecture “Republic, A Company and Its Aircraft.” Program will be held at the 56th Fighter Group Restaurant located on historic Republic Airport, and will include rare photos of the Republic plant and the famed history-making aircraft built there.

December 2012 – Two Machat Paintings Exhibited at Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington D.C.
A new exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum explores an aspect of aviation and space technology that is not usually touted – aviation art. “High Art: A Decade of Collecting,” showcases 50 works of art that the museum acquired since 2003, and all inspired by space exploration and flight. The exhibit is on display until December 31st, and is organized by theme: Visions of Flight, Faces of Flight and Looking Back. With paintings inspired from the vantage point of aerobatic fliers to portraits of such luminaries as John Glenn and Carl Sagan to early drawings by Chesley Bonestell, the artworks capture significant moments in the history of aviation and space flight. Mike Machat has two paintings in the exhibit depicting late-20th Century California aviation history. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Ten-Years-of-Flying-High-with-Air-and-Space-Art-216765141.html

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