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  [...]

Crossing Of The Atlantic 1919, Part II

NC-4 had a rough start to the mission after leaving NAS Rockaway on 08 May.  First, she had an oil pressure problem and then broke a connecting rod.  NC-4 landed off Cape Cod and taxied to the Chatham Naval Air Station. It took several days to change the engine and wait for good weather. NC-3 [...]

Three Naval Aircraft Takeoff To Attempt Crossing Of The Atlantic 1919

On 16 May 1919, three naval aircraft, NC-1, NC-3 and NC-4 launched from Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland to attempt the first crossing of the Atlantic by aircraft. The NC (Navy Curtiss) aircraft were built by the Glenn Curtiss company and were nicknamed “Nancy” boats. They were developed for World War I to combat German submarines, but [...]

Navy Helicopter Squadrons Receive H Designation 1944!

Did you know that helicopter squadrons were first designated VH plus a mission letter O, N, R (for observation, training or transport) in the early days of rotary flight. On 13 May 1944, helicopter squadrons  received the H designation minus the V. Originally navy aircraft squadrons were designated with either a Z (Zeppelin) for balloons/airships [...]

USS Enterprise, CV-6, Commissioned 1938

“Sleep softly my old love, my beauty in the dark, night is a dream we have, as you know as you know…” M. S. Merwin USS Enterprise, CV-6, was commissioned at Newport News, Virginia, on 12 May 1938.  She was a Yorktown class carrier and would be one of  only two prewar carriers to survive [...]

First Successful Head-on Attack Of A Missile By A Missile, 1962

On 10 May 1962, a Navy Sparrow III launched from a Navy Phantom jet successfully intercepted head-on another Navy missile, a Regulus II, while both were at supersonic speeds in the test range of the Naval Air Missile Center at Point Mugu, California. The Regulus had originally been the Navy’s first nuclear missile deployed on [...]

Naval Aviators Fly Over The North Pole, 1926!

Naval aviators Warrant Officer Floyd Bennett  and Lieutenant Commander Richard Byrd flying a Fokker trimotor named Josephine Ford reached the North Pole at 9:03 GCT on 09 May 1926. The polar mission was a result of planning and preparation by Commander Byrd and it was privately funded by Edsel Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Vincent Astor [...]

First Naval Aircraft Hit By Enemy Gunfire, 1914

There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result. Winston Churchill South Carolinian and naval aviator Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Patrick N.  L. Bellinger flew an AH-3 hydroaeroplane in combat over Veracruz, Mexico, on 06 May 1914. Born in Cheraw, SC, on 08 October 1885, Patrick Bellinger graduated from the Naval Academy in [...]

First American In Space: Naval Aviator Alan Shepard, 50 Years Ago

Here are videos on our Video Thursday celebrating Naval Aviator and Astronaut Alan Shepard‘s achievements in space from 05 May 1961 and beyond… Enjoy this look at the past! Of all the achievements of naval aviators in its first 50 years, it is amazing that the first American in space would launch in the 50th [...]