Apr 8

First Planned Night Carrier Landings

Thursday, April 8, 2010 10:46 AM


On 8 April 1925, Lieutenant John D. Price, piloting a TS biplane of Fighter Squadron 1, made the first planned night landing on a U.S. aircraft carrier, followed by Lieutenants Delbert L. Conley, Aldolphus W. Gorton, and Rossmore D. Lyon. The landings took place off San Diego, California, on USS Langley (CV 1), the converted collier aboard which so many of the Navy’s first lessons in shipboard aviation were learned in the 1920s.

These were the first planned landings. The actual first night landing occurred on 5 February when Lieutenant Harold J. Brow stalled while practicing night approaches, thus accidentally performing the very first night landing on a U.S. carrier. Aside from this, Lieutenant Brow was one of the Navy’s more noteworthy early aviators. He had enlisted in 1917 and earned his wings the next year. He was a well-known air racer, and held the world outright air speed record at 259.14 mph for two days in 1923 before being superceded by fellow Navy pilot Alford Williams, Jr. Brow went on to serve as the first commanding officer of Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island; retired as a commander; and died in 1982. He was a 2005 inductee into the Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame.