Significant Dates in Naval Aviation
January 18, 1911 – Civilian pilot Eugene Ely becomes the first person to ever land an aircraft on board a ship, flying a Curtiss pusher onto a makeshift wooden platform constructed on the armored cruiser Pennsylvania in San Francisco Bay.
January 26, 1911 – With LT Theodore G. Ellyson, destined to become Naval Aviator Number 1, observing, Glenn H. Curtiss makes the first successful hydroaeroplane flight in San Diego, demonstrating the application of airplanes for naval purposes.
May 8, 1911 – Capt. Washington Irving Chambers prepares contract specifications for the Navy’s first aircraft. This date is later designated the birthday of U.S. Naval Aviation.
July 1, 1911 – The Navy’s first aircraft, the A-1 Triad, makes its maiden flight from Keuka Lake at Hammondsport, New York.
May 22, 1912 – 1LT Alfred Cunningham, USMC, reports to Greenbury Point, Maryland, for flight training, marking the birth of Marine Corps aviation.
April 24, 1914 – An AB-3 flying boat flown by LT Patrick N.L. Bellinger completes the first combat flight by a U.S. military aircraft, flying a reconnaissance mission in support of operations at Veracruz, Mexico.
Mar 30, 1916 – Second LT Charles Sugden and Third LT Elmer F Stone become the first two Coast Guard aviators assigned to flight instruction.
September 24, 1918 – LTJG David S. Ingalls shoots down his fifth enemy aircraft over the Western Front, becoming U.S. Naval Aviation’s first fighter ace.
May 27, 1919 – The NC-4 flying boat lands in Lisbon Harbor, Portugal, completing the first transatlantic crossing by air.
July 12, 1921– The Bureau of Aeronautics (later the Bureau of Naval Weapons) is established by an Act of Congress.
March 20, 1922– The U.S. Navy commissions its first aircraft carrier, Langley.
October 26, 1922 – LCDR Godfrey DeC. Chevalier records the first landing on board a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier aboard USS Langley.
July 16, 1927 – In the first combined arms action in the Marine Corps, DH-4 aircraft provide close air support for leathernecks on the ground in a battle against Sandinistas in Ocotal, Nicaragua.
May 7-8, 1942 – U.S. Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carriers square off in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first naval engagement in which ships of the opposing forces are not within sight of one another.
June 3-6, 1942 – U.S. Navy carrier aircraft sink four Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carriers and a Japanese heavy cruiser, offensive blows that lead to victory in the decisive Battle of Midway.
September 29, 1946 – A P2V-1 Neptune patrol aircraft nicknamed the Truculent Turtle completes a non-stop flight of 11,235.6 miles from Perth, Australia, to Columbus, Ohio, in 55 hours and 17 minutes.
February 20, 1962 – LTCOL John H. Glenn, Jr., USMC, becomes the first American to orbit the earth.
July 21, 1969 – Astronaut Neil Armstrong, a former naval aviator, becomes the first human to set foot on the surface of the moon.
February 22, 1974 – LTJG Barbara Ann Allen becomes the first woman to be designated a naval aviator.