Press Release

Aluminum: The Miracle Metal of Aviation


Charles Schuler
Director of Marketing & Communications
San Francisco International Airport

Aluminum: The Miracle Metal of Aviation
New exhibition presents a survey of the use of aluminum in aviation over the last century

SAN FRANCISCO - Without aluminum, the rapid advancement of aviation in the twentieth century would have been impossible. Aluminum’s lightness, strength, malleability, and durability was unmatched by any other material.  Easily formed into a wide range of shapes, and combined with other metallic elements to form alloys, aluminum continues to have desirable qualities for many aeronautical applications.  Aircraft have flown higher, farther, and faster with engines, wings, control surfaces, and internally braced, semi-monocoque, streamlined fuselages made of this miracle metal.  Exhibited objects include a seat from a DC-3, an airplane door, a DC-9 jet engine intake cowling, a Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial engine, and fuselage sections—all illustrating the variety of uses for aluminum in aviation during the past century.  

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Aluminum: The Miracle Metal of Aviation is located pre-security in the Aviation Museum and Library in the International Terminal of San Francisco International Airport. This exhibition is on view to all Airport visitors from March 16, 2019, to September 15, 2019.  There is no charge to view the exhibition. The Aviation Museum and Library is open daily from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, closed holidays.

About SFO Museum

SFO Museum was established by the Airport Commission in 1980 for the purposes of humanizing the Airport environment, providing visibility for the unique cultural life of San Francisco, and presenting educational services for the traveling public.  The Museum was granted initial accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 1999, reaccredited in 2005, and has the distinction of being the only accredited museum in an airport.  Today, SFO Museum features approximately twenty galleries throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions, as well as the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, a permanent collection dedicated to the history of commercial aviation. To browse current and past exhibitions, research our collection, or for more information, please visit Follow us on,, or


About San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop flights to more than 50 international cities on 42 international carriers. The Bay Area's largest airport connects non-stop with 85 cities in the U.S. on 12 domestic airlines.  SFO is proud to offer upgraded free Wi-Fi with no advertising.  For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation and more, visit Follow us on and