Archive for the 'Naval Aviation' Category

Jul 2

Women in Aviation: an Uplifting Tradition

Monday, July 2, 2018 3:22 PM

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(Photo: National Archives Catalog)

On the anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance, we remember the women who made female aviation possible. Eighty-one years ago today, Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe. In a society where women’s capacities to physically and mentally cope with the rigors of aviation faced heavy scrutiny, Earhart overcame barriers and established new standards to pave the way for women in the field. After first flying in an airplane in 1920, she worked odd jobs to purchase her own aircraft and received an international pilot’s license in 1923. Earhart set about breaking altitude and… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 28

Here’s How the French Created Military Aviation

Thursday, June 28, 2018 8:28 AM

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On June 26, 1794, the French army launched their military balloon, L’Entreprenant, for reconnaissance during the Battle of Fleurus — the first use of an aircraft for military purposes. The Committee of Public Safety approved the creation of the French Company of Aeronauts in 1794 and sponsored the development of the hydrogen that would be used to raise the craft. After much testing and experimentation with gases and structures, L’Entreprenant was born [1].   Following a brief debut during a bombardment on June 2, L’Entreprenant was used to report enemy movements during a conflict with Austrian forces [2]. At Fleurus, the balloon… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 22

The Diligence of the Blue Angels

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 12:01 AM

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Blue Angel F11F-1 Tiger aircraft fly past the Golden Gate Bridge in formation.

It’s that time of year once again, dear reader: Graduation Week. Lots of speeches, potlucks with family, and celebrations are held around the country to commemorate the completion of years of hard work for students young and old. And with everyone wanting to make these celebrations special, it’s no surprise that the Naval Academy goes all out for this event. Which brings me to my topic for this blog post: The Blue Angels. Tomorrow the windows of my building will rattle as the Blue Angels zip by on practice runs for their Wednesday performance. If I go out to the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 1

Blue Angels Skipper, Captain Arthur R. Hawkins, USN (Ret.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 12:01 AM

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Future Captain Arthur R. Hawkins, USN (Ret.)

In this U.S. Naval Institute oral history excerpt, Captain Hawkins speaks about his becoming the first man to perform a through-the-canopy ejection from a jet aircraft on 4 August 1953, when his aircraft, an F9F-6 Cougar of the Blue Angels, encountered trouble at 42,000 feet. After enlisting in the Naval Reserve in April 1942, Hawkins went through cadet training in Texas prior to being designated a naval aviator and commissioned in January 1943. During World War II, as a fighter pilot in VF-31, he flew in combat from the light carriers USS Cabot (CVL-28) and Belleau Wood (CVL-24). In all, he shot down 14 Japanese aircraft. He… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 10

Seaplanes: The End (of the beginning)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 12:01 AM

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P6M Seamaster takeoff

By the end of the war, the Navy had a number of advanced seaplane designs in the works – the JRM Mars and H-4 Hercules, the Spruce Goose, in particular. These were developed as large (or, in the Hercules case, extremely large) transport seaplanes. The H-4 had a similar mission to some of the earliest Navy seaplanes: crossing the Atlantic, although it would do it with a 150,000 pound payload. With the end of the war, however, development largely stopped to make way for new operational challenges and design paradigms. Captured German hydrodynamics and aerodynamics research complemented contemporary American knowledge… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 29

Flying the Rubber Cows

Thursday, March 29, 2018 10:54 AM

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A kite balloon, viewed from the deck of a battleship ca. World War I. Naval Institute Photo Archive

This article by Alan L. Morse originally appeared in the February 1984 issue of Proceedings. What’s in a nickname? Today’s Goodyear Blimp was named after the fat, fictitious British Army Colonel Blimp. But one of its ancestors – the World War I kite balloon – was whimsically christened the “rubber cow,” and went to sea tethered to a “tin can.” They were the least glamorous of World War I pilots. Their aircraft were unlovely, unromantic, uncomfortable, and unpowered. They fought no aerial duels with the Red Baron or skimmed the trees on reconnaissance missions. These pilots never fired a shot… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 15

Seaplanes Go To War

Thursday, March 15, 2018 12:01 AM

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PBY Catalina Sights IJN Fleet 6/42 by John Hamilton

World War II for the flying boats started sooner than many. PBY Catalinas and PBM Mariners, a newer flying boat built to complement the PBY, were sent to Iceland, Newfoundland, Bermuda, and other bases as part of the Neutrality Patrol where they searched for German U-Boats. In May of 1941, Lieutenant Leonard Smith was helping train RAF pilots in PBY operations when he took part in a mission that spotted the German battleship Bismarck, which led to its sinking. The seaplanes escorted the Marine contingent to Iceland in July of the same year.[1] When hostilities commenced, the seaplanes were there…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 6

Meeting “Butch” O’Hare

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 12:01 AM

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Admiral John S. "Jimmy" Thach, USN (Ret.) (1905-1981)

In this excerpt from his 1970 Oral History Interview with CDR Etta-Belle Kitchen, USN (Ret.), then-Admiral Thach recounts his first first meeting with future Medal of Honor recipient and fighter ace Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare in 1940. The complete oral history is a delightfully told memoir from the man who was probably the Navy’s foremost fighter plane tactician of World War II. He is best known as the inventor of the “Thach Weave,” whereby U.S. fighters could successfully combat Japanese Zeros. Thach tells of devising the maneuver at home with kitchen matches. In a series of enjoyable tales, Thach describes his Naval Academy… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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