When I think of distance learning it's the Internet that comes to mind. I'm sure there must be some Open University stuff on TV these days, but I never seem to stumble across it, or its seventies style lecturers.
So what's this? This DC-6 was operated by Purdue University, it took off, lowered its TV transmission antenna and loitered at 23,000' while broadcasting educational programmes. The DC6 was operated from Purdue's very own airfield.
I'm told the crew had access to parachutes, just in case the antenna failed to retract for landing!
There's a great Popular Science article from January 1961 here.
As an aside, Purdue has recently ordered some more aircrfat for its Flight Training program - they'll soon be taking delivery of nine new SR20s and a Phenom 100 jet. Not a bad fleet!
I took the picture below from the entrance of the Niswonger building, which 'honours' the old aviation department. The hangar the other side of the brick wall is where Amelia Earhart's Electra was prepared.
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