Archive for the 'Aircraft' Category

Feb 20

Harriers from Nassau

Sunday, February 20, 2011 12:01 AM


On 20 February 1991 the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA4) launched four AV-8B Harriers of Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 331, flight call sign ‘Magic’ just before dawn. This flight was the first combat strike by fixed-wing aircraft from the flight deck of an amphibious assault ship, and was directed at Iraqi anti-aircraft batteries and surface to air missile (SAM) sites at Az Zwar on the western end of Faylakah Island. Bad weather diverted the flight, however, and they instead hit targets near Iraq’s IJmm Qasr Naval Base on the Iraq-Kuwait border. The strike was successful, despite Iraqi opposition including… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 12

First Test of Angled Deck

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 12:01 AM


On 12 January 1953, the first test landings occurred on USS Antietam’s new angled flight deck. Angling the axis of an aircraft carrier’s landing area slightly off the axis of the ship allows longer landing length (important for the first shipboard jets), affords simultaneous takeoffs and recovery, and ensures that a landing aircraft that misses the arresting gear won’t then plow into parked or launching aircraft. This British idea was originally tested by repainting the landing areas on axial-deck carriers, and the results were good enough that the U.S. Navy installed the first true angled deck on Antietam (CV 36)… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 5

Variable Time Fuse’s Combat Debut

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 12:01 AM


On 5 January 1943, Task Group 67.2, commanded by Rear Admiral Mahlon S. Tisdale, carried out a bombardment against airfields and military installations at Munda, on the Japanese-occupied island of New Georgia in the Solomons. Shortly after the remainder of Task Force 67 joined up with Tisdale’s warships, Japanese aircraft launched attacks on the force—air strikes that resulted in the near miss of the light cruiser USS Honolulu (CL 48) and the damaging of the New Zealand light cruiser HMNZS Achilles. During this action the light cruiser USS Helena (CL 50) became the first U.S. Navy warship to employ the… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 3

Frank Erickson and the First Helicopter Rescue

Monday, January 3, 2011 12:01 AM


 CDR Frank A. Erickson, USCG, struggled to keep his Sikorsky HNS-1 helicopter in the air as high winds drove blinding snow squalls and sleet into him. A fierce storm swept the Atlantic coast and forced authorities to ground aircraft and close airfields, however, Erickson persevered because men’s lives depended upon him. Devastating explosions ripped USS Turner (DD 648) apart as she lay anchored off Ambrose Light near Lower New York Bay, during the morning watch on 3 January 1944. The fires cooked-off ammunition and despite the crew’s gallant attempts to save their ship, she sank within hours. Rescuers brought survivors to the… Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 3

Navy Ace Bill Davis and The Last Ship

Friday, December 3, 2010 8:48 AM


Naval History Blog is pleased to present a guest post by author Doug Keeney about his friend Bill Davis: In October of 1944, a young Navy lieutenant nosed over his F6F Hellcat and began a dive towards a Japanese aircraft carrier below. “I screamed down on the carrier which now completely filled my gunsights,” the pilot wrote in his memoir Sinking The Rising Sun. “I rested my finger on the bomb release button. I kept going.” And go he did. U.S. Navy fighter pilot William E. “Bill” Davis had no idea of it then but he was just seconds from taking… Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 1

December 1, 1921: First flight of airship filled with helium

Wednesday, December 1, 2010 1:32 PM


Blimp C-7 was piloted by LCDR Ralph F. Wood from Norfolk, Virginia to Washington, DC during the first flight of an airship filled with helium on December 1, 1921. The design of the “C” model was based upon operational experience and was a decided advance over the “B”. The “C”s were 192 feet long and 42 feet in diameter, and had a streamlined car for the six-man crew. Speed ranged from 45-60 mph.  

Nov 20

World Record Flight

Saturday, November 20, 2010 1:01 AM


On November 20th 1933, LCDR Thomas G.W. Settle, USN and MAJ Chester I. Fordney, USMC set a world record balloon flight into the stratosphere at 62,237 ft. The Soviet Union had captured the imagination of the world by sending men higher than anyone had ever gone before. America’s response was made shortly afterward by a naval officer and a Marine officer. Their names were not Shepard and Glenn, and the time was not the Sixties, but the Thirties. In an all-but-forgotten flight, two American military men carried their country’s colors to a world altitude record and began the race for… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 15

“Saving American lives” Andrew P. Hayes and the hunt for the Taliban

Monday, November 15, 2010 12:01 AM


Army Green Berets fighting the enemy in Afghanistan on 15 November 2001 had discovered a hornet’s nest as Taliban tanks and armored vehicles rumbled up to within two miles of the special operators. They obviously intended to attack at any moment, and the men did not have the heavy weapons to stop tanks. They needed help, and fast. Lieutenant Andrew P. Hayes of Fighter Squadron (VF)-102, the radar intercept officer of a Grumman F-14B Tomcat, launched as the lead of call sign Brando 01, a flight from aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). As Lieutenant Hayes assumed forward air controller… Read the rest of this entry »

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