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Saturday, 19 March 2011

Eugene Ely & First aircraft carriers

First successful take off
In 1910 the US Navy put flat decking on USS Birmingham off of waters in Virginia. They were conducting experiments for the first ship to be able to launch an aircraft at sea. Their man who undertook the mission was called Eugene Barton Ely - a stunt pilot. He took off from the flat deck of USS Birmingham on 14th November 1910. His craft dived towards the water at first but he managed to level out skimming the surface before lifting up and flying just over two miles to land at a navel base. This was the first take off success.

First successful landing
From this achievement, Eugene Ely then travelled to San Francisco for his second big contribution to naval aviation. On 18th January 1911, Eugene Ely flew over San Francisco Bay to land his aeroplane upon the flat deck of USS Pennsylvania. This was also a success. The dashing young stunt pilot had burnt his name into the history books.

On 19th October of the same year, Eugene Ely was killed during a flying exhibition at Macon Georgia. He pulled out of a dive too late and crashed his plane. He was 31 years of age.
Eugene Barton Ely
1879 - 1911



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