First United States Navy catapult launch, 12 November 1912

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The first catapult launch of a United States Navy aircraft.

The first launch of a naval aviator and naval aircraft took place from a catapult mounted on a barge at the Washington Navy Yard. On  12 November 1912, Lieutenant  Ellyson, Naval Aviator #1,  made the first successful launch of an airplane by catapult in the Curtiss AH-3.

Naval Aviator Number 1, Gordon "Spuds" Ellyson

This first catapult used by the Navy was powered by compressed air, later the Navy would progress to hydraulic catapults, steam catapults and our next generation catapults will be powered by electromagnets.

Click on these links to learn more about steam catapults and electromagnetic catapults.

Navy officers and workers with the first full-scale catapult of the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS). US Navy photo

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