Those Magnificent Men: 100 Years Of Naval Aviation

A century ago, a skilled and fearless stunt pilot landed a wire-and-wood aircraft on a ship's deck -- and introduced the era of naval aviation

On November 14, 1910, a professional “aviationist” named Eugene Ely stood by his plane on a temporary platform built over the foredeck of the USS Birmingham, a scout cruiser moored at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. On this rainy day, the 24-year-old pilot proposed to be the first man to fly an “aeroplane” from a ship at sea, seven years after the Wright Brothers’ initial flight. Read more »

Death Of A Dirigible

“Come and see the boiling cloud, ” said a woman on the ground; aloft, the slender Shenandoah headed straight into the eye of the vicious squall

Over Lakehurst, New Jersey, the sky was unsettled on the afternoon of September 2, 1925. At times it was almost clear; then ominous clouds would scud across the field of the Naval Air Station and disappear as quickly as they had come. The airship Shenandoah , nose to her high mooring mast, was floating gracefully with the variable breezes. Her twenty gas bags were about 91 per cent full, her tanks loaded with 9,075 pounds of water and 16,620 pounds of gasoline. Sailors were riding up the elevator to the top of the mast.