Navy F4D Skyray Sets Climb Record 1955

On 23 February 1955  Douglas Test Pilot R. O. Rahn piloted his F4D Skyray to an altitude of 10,000 feet in 56 seconds. This was the fourth unofficial Navy climb record set in less than a month! The unofficial nickname of the F4D Skyray was “Ford.” Navy and Marine Corps fighter pilots would fly this […]

Civil War Cannons At Patriots Point

As visitors pull into the parking lot at Patriots Point, they may notice four large cannons on the shore pointed at the USS Yorktown. Some astute observers will recognize them as Dahlgren guns. The guns take their name from a career Naval officer, Rear Admiral John Dahlgren, who was especially qualified in the development of  […]

Video Thursday 2.17.11 Planes and Seacoast Mortars

Today we start off with some classic rare video clips from the 1941 movie “Dive Bomber.” Stars Errol Flynn and Fred MacMurray were the main characters in the movie, which was filmed with the assistance of the U. S. Navy at North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego and onboard the USS Enterprise CV-6. […]

Boeing Model 205 Fighter

The first monoplane  designed to fly off of aircraft carriers, a Boeing Model 205 fighter, was delivered to Naval Air Station Anacostia for evaluation on 14 February 1930. The fighter was designated the XF5B-1 for Navy purposes. The aircraft was tested for  several years, but no orders were forthcoming from the Navy.  The aircraft was […]

First Corsair Combat Mission 1943

The first Vought F4U Corsair combat mission was flown on 11 February 1943. VMF-124 flew 12 aircraft from Guadalcanal to escort a PB2Y to pick up a downed pilot at Vella Lavella. The mission was uneventful. Entry of the Corsair into the Pacific theater gave Navy and Marine Corps fighter pilots an aircraft that could […]

Birth of Radial Engines!

On 07 February 1922 a Lawrance J-1 radial engine passed the 50 hour test requirement for the U. S. Navy at the Washington Navy Yard. The J-1 was the first successful air-cooled radial engine in the United States. This achievement led to the pursuit and development of other radial engines for the Navy. After World […]

The Birth Of Soaring In America

Another Navy first, today eighty-one years ago a glider was dropped from the USS Los Angeles, ZR-3 (seen above). The idea of dropping a glider from an airship was the Chief of the Bureau of Naval Aeronautics, Rear Admiral William A. Moffett. The pilot was Navy Lieutenant Ralph S. Barnaby and he held glider pilot […]

From Joy To Tears: The Challenger Tragedy, 25 Years Ago Today

I was a young Navy Lieutenant on this date in 1986 and was performing my watch standing duty as Squadron Duty Officer (SDO).  I was just completing my briefing on squadron events that day to our Executive Officer (XO)  Commander Bob Ponton. He was excited about his former squadron room-mate,  Navy Commander Mike Smith, being […]

First Seaplane (Hydroaeroplane) Flight 1911!

  Today one hundred years ago, Glenn Curtiss made the first successful seaplane or as known then, hydroaeroplane, at North Island, San Diego, California. Navy Lieutenant T. G. Ellyson was a witness and helped Curtiss prepare for the first seaplane flight. Below are a takeoff and landing of a replica Curtiss A-1 built for the […]

A-4's Fly Coast To Coast 1959!

On 24 January 1959, two A-4D Skyhawks flew from El Toro, California, to Cherry Point, North Carolina (2,082 miles)  in 4 hours and 25 minutes. The pilots of the two jets were Marine Corps naval aviators Major J. P. Flynn and Captain C. D. Warfield of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW). In order to […]