- Historic Sites
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
Winter 2011 | Volume 60, Issue 4
Curtiss called his young pilot “the highest type of American aviator, as good as the best.” And so he was. Yet Ely’s name today evokes scant recognition, mostly perhaps at Hampton Roads, which saw a replica of his plane fly to celebrate the centennial, and at the Naval Aviation Monument in Virginia Beach, where his statue stands not far from the waters he crossed when giving the Navy its first wings.