Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Early history of US aircraft carrier

On November 14, 1910 Curtis Aircraft’s chief test pilot Eugene Ely made the first takeoff from a ship, launching a Curtiss Pusher from a modified wooden deck affixed to the scout cruiser USS Birmingham, which was anchored in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Two months later on January 18, 1911 Ely landing his Curtiss aircraft on a 127x32 ft wooden platform mounted to the deck of the armoured cruiser USS Pennsylvania, marking the frost use of a tailhook landing system.

Historians commonly agree that the first American aircraft carrier was the USS Langley (commissioned on March 20, 1922) a collier converted for the US Navy by having a platform built over the main deck to allow fixed-wing aircraft to land on and launch from the ship while at sea.

Technically, the USS Langley can be considered the first American fixed wing aircraft carrier. The first recorded form of an aircraft carrier came many years before the modifications of the Langley, and been many years before the aircraft carriers used during the Civil War.

USS Langley was the test tube for the Navy’s carrier aviation program and would be so until by the Saratonga and Lexington. USS Langley career spanned fifteen years until elected for a more mundane role.

As the technology matured and the US navy became more familiar and confident with carrier operation in the 1930s, the carrier took on an important role in the fleet. It had spent considerable time during the pre-war in mastering the basics of carrier operations. Going into the war US possessed a number of large carriers and almost all of these saw action against the Japanese. The Yorktown class was a truly excellent design which demontrated the US navy’s emphasis on ships that could carry a large air group, thus giving the ship maximum offensive fighting power.
Early history of US aircraft carrier

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