A Century of ship-operated aviation

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Unread post15 Nov 2010, 13:43

14 Nov. 1910

Civilian pilot Eugene Ely flew off the Light Cruiser USS Birmingham's makeshift wooden deck as a demonstration of capabilities in his cutting edge Curtiss Model D pusher... the first aircraft take-off from a ship.

As an aside, less than 2 yrs earlier, an ancestor of mine (RADM USN) and at the time Chief of the Bureau of Equipment, submitted a report on
aviation to the Secretary of the Navy including specifications of an airplane capable of operating from naval vessels on scouting and observation missions. The report discussed the tactical advantages of such capability for naval forces and recommended that a number of aircraft
be purchased and
placed in the hands of the
personnel of the Navy to further develop special features
adapted to naval uses.”

The recommendation was apparently initially turned down by SecNAV, as was again almost a yr later by the Bureau's follow-up (a rational, careful reason being that aviation had not yet matured to an apporpriate level for Navy use), but given the blistering fast pace of private aviation development each passing month (and US Army's growing use of it) speaking for itself, pretty much things took off in no time, via funding and official organizational effort in 1910 for the provision of ship-based aviation.

An intriguing sounding process really, imho (as one could interpret it). Sounds a little like a 'Try before you buy', with private vendors taking the risk and incentive to create working technology, then testing/evaluating and further developing the requirements incrementally by the operator as things advance..

Anyway, respects to humankind's creative initiatives, innovation and ingenuity... and God speed for a successful, visionary, practical next Century at sea ~
The Super-Viper has not yet begun to concede.

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