Naval Aviator Richard Byrd Departs On His First Polar Expedition 1925

Lieutenant Commander Richard Byrd departed Boston 17 June 1925 onboard the SS Peary, a former minesweeper, with three Loening amphibian aircraft on loan from the Navy. He was headed to Greenland as part of the MacMillan Expedition. Besides Navy endorsement, he was also supported by the National Geographic Society and had the backing of Edsel [...]

Everyday Is Flag Day At Patriots Point!

On 14 June 1777, the Continental Congress passed a resolution which stated: Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation. It was not until President Truman signed a Congressional Act in August 1949, [...]

USS Yorktown Rescues Fifty-three Merchant Sailors 1960

On 10 June 1960, seven helicopters from HS-4 flying from the USS Yorktown (CV-10) rescued 53 merchant sailors from the British freighter Shun Lee which had run aground on Pratas Reef (500 miles northwest of Manila). Under storm conditions in the wake of Typhoon Mary, the helicopters picked up 25 men from the wreck and [...]

Navy's First Airship, 1915

On 01 June 1915 the United States Navy signed a contract for its first lighter-than-air (LTA) ship with the Connecticut Aircraft Company in New Haven, Connecticut. This first naval airship was designated the DN-1 and cost the Navy $45,636. The DN-1 was shipped to Pensacola, Florida, in December 1916 and assembled in the floating hangar [...]

Crossing Of The Atlantic 1919, Part III

On 27 May 1919, LCDR Read resumed his flight with NC-4 to Europe and took off from the Azores for Portugal. The overall commander of the attempt to cross the Atlantic was LCDR Towers.  He could have opted to take command of NC-4 since his aircraft NC-3 had been damaged back on 17 May, but [...]

Curtiss Marine Trophy Winner 1929

On 25 May 1929, Lieutenant William G. Tomlinson, United States Navy, took first place in the Curtiss Marine Trophy race held at Naval Air Station Anacostia. He  flew the XF7C-1 with an average speed of 162.52 MPH.  He completed the 100-mile race course before his nearest competitor had entered the final twenty miles. Naval aviation [...]

Aurora 7, Second Orbital Space Mission

Astronaut M. Scott Carpenter in his capsule, Aurora 7, was launched on 24 May 1962. A Navy Lieutenant Commander and aviator, he became the second American to orbit the earth. Carpenter’s mission completed 3 orbits of the earth and lasted 4 hours and 56 minutes. Unfortunately for astronaut Carpenter, he seemed distracted, quickly fell behind [...]

Navy Transition From Wooden To Aluminum Aircraft 1927

Despite aluminum being declared superior to wood by NACA in 1920, only 5% of all aircraft were constructed of all metal by 1930. Aluminum proved a very difficult material for engineers in constructing a workable aircraft.  First, aluminum tended to buckle when compressed. Secondly, pure aluminum had a low melting point.  Several Junker all metal [...]

Self-Sealing Fuel Tanks 1917!

Have you ever heard of a self-sealing fuel tank? It is one of the amazing technical devices used by Americans to stay alive in the dangerous business of flying, particularly when someone is shooting at you! Above is pictured a burning Japanese bomber, official American name of Betty. Japanese aviators had another name with the  [...]