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 »

The Intrepid Mr. Curtiss

America has long been celebrated as a nation of inventive tinkerers. As President Grant’s patent commissioner remarked a century ago, “our merchants invent, our soldiers and sailors invent, our schoolmasters invent, our professional men invent, aye, our women and children invent.” On occasion one of these tinkerers among us is touched with enough genius to influence history. Glenn Hammond Curtiss is a case in point. Read more »