So You Want to be a Naval Pilot in 1919?
Only applicants of “unquestionable high moral character’ and under thirty years of age may apply.
Circular Letter Number 238-19 Training of Enlisted and Warrant Aviation Pilots, 10/25/1919
"First Lieutenant E. V. [Eddie] Rickenbacker, 94th Aero Squadron, American ace, standing up in his Spad plane. Near Rembercourt, France." 10/18/1918
From the series: Signal Corps Photographs of American Military Activity, 1754 - 1954
Modern Aviation’s First Fatality
"Bystanders help extricate the mortally wounded US Army (USA) Lieutenant (LT) Thomas Selfridge from the wreck of the Wright Brothers Flyer after its crash at Fort Myer, Virginia (VA). At right, several men attend the injuries of Orville Wright, who lies on the ground at their feet, 09/17/1908”
Lieutenant Selfridge became the first fatality of powered aviation, succumbing to his injuries shortly after this crash. The flight had been part of a series of tests by Orville Wright to demonstrate the aircraft’s ability to carry a passenger.
Around the World with the Concorde
The Concorde was jointly developed by by Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC). The fleet of aircraft had an average cruise speed of Mach 2.02 (1334 mph), which is more than twice the speed of conventional aircraft.
The Concorde is seen above at the Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, during an around the world test flight on September 1, 1977.
Happy National Aviation Day!
Orville Wright takes flight with observer Lt. Frank P. Lahm at Ft. Myer Virginia to win the Army’s prize for sustained flight with a passenger in September 1908.
National Aviation Day was proclaimed by President Franklin Roosevelt in honor of pioneering aviator Orville Wright’s birthday (August 19, 1871).
“Make America First in the Air" from the series Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities, 1947 - 1984, from the Records of the U.S. Air Force.
The Berlin Airlift begins 65 years ago, June 24, 1948
WORLD IN FILM. Issue no. 176, 100 DAYS OF BLOCKADE, 1948
On June 24, 1948, Soviet forces began a blockade of West Berlin, severing all land connections between the city and western Europe. In response, U.S. and British Commonwealth Forces launched the Berlin Airlift (aka “Operation Vittles” for the Americans) to supply their garrisons and the population of Berlin.
At its height, the airlift delivered 5000 tons of supplies daily, including food, milk and coal, with aircraft arriving at Berlin every 30 seconds (at multiple airports). The blockade was eventually lifted on May 12, 1949.
"Civil Air Patrol - Eyes of the Home Skies", 1941 - 1945
The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) was established on December 1, 1941 as the civil auxiliary to the Army Air Force, with a view to supplement America’s military operations in times of war. Following World War II, during which CAP pilots performed border and coastal patrol missions (even sinking 2 U-boats), CAP was reorganized, removing any combat role, and made permanent with Public Law 557 passed on May 26, 1948, 65 years ago today.
Bill to Break the Sound Barrier
If you were the first woman to break the sound barrier, who would you pick to fly the chase plane behind you?
Jacqueline Cochran tapped her friend, Colonel Chuck Yeager for the task for her May 18, 1953 flight. A logical decision, since he was the first pilot to break the barrier in 1947.
Here is his final bill for his expenses, including the replacement of dead chickens that stampeded when her low-flying Sabre jet flew over a ranch.
-from the Eisenhower Library
Pilot William C. Hopson of the U.S. Mail Service in Winter Flying Clothing
Regularly scheduled airmail service first began in the United States on May 15, 1918. "Wild Bill" Hopson remains one of the more colorful of the early airmail pilots. A former cab driver who survived several close calls (once landing upside down in a cornfield), he perished when his plane crashed during a storm in 1928. Check out his “Pilot Story” at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.
70 years ago on April 18, 1943, a squadron of American P-38 Lightnings intercepted and shot down a flight carrying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy and planner of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In an intelligence coup, U.S. Naval Intelligence had earlier decrypted Japanese transmissions detailing Yamamoto’s travel plans to the Solomon Islands. The P-38 Lightning was selected as one of the few fighter aircraft capable of making the 1000 mile roundtrip intercept mission.