Centennial of Naval Aviation

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Next year, 2011, will mark the centennial of Naval Aviation in the United States Navy. It will be a year marked by many celebrations and remembrances across the nation of the contribution of men and women who served flying or fixing or servicing the many aircraft of the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. Stay tuned for events information on Centennial programs on the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point and for national events and information check out the United States Navy’s page on the Centennial here.

The first pilot to take off and land on board United States Navy ships was civilian pilot Eugene Ely, seen below with his aircraft and wife.

One of the fascinating events occurring next year are demonstration flights of a 1911 Curtiss-Ely Pusher replica built by retired Naval Aviator Bob Coolbaugh. Two weeks ago, at 8 a.m. Friday, October 8, Bob  successfully flew the replica aircraft at the New Market Airport in Virginia. His replica Pusher was built to celebrate Eugene Ely’s first-ever carrier landing, on January 11, 1911, on the deck of the United States Navy’s USS Pennsylvania in the San Francisco Bay – beginning the era of naval aviation.

Coolbaugh said he plans to participate in as many as eight designated Centennial of Naval Aviation events in 2011, including AirVenture. He’ll fly the aircraft, which took a little less than two years to build, to each event, and said Oshkosh was the farthest west he would travel. It’s powered by a 125-hp Continental engine turning a Sterba 74 x 40 propeller. Watch him fly this beast below!

For detailed info on Bob’s test flights go to his EAA article here

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