100 Years of Flying Squids
Hockey celebrations in Detroit notwithstanding.
On this date in 1911, Eugene Ely landed a Curtis biplane on an improvised flight deck on the USS Pennsylvania anchored in San Francisco Bay. An hour later, he successfully took off again.
[Capt. Charles F. Pond, commanding officer of the Pennsylvania] praised Ely's flight as "marvelous" and "extraordinary," but also struck a cautious note. "To say what effect Ely's demonstration will have on naval development, of course," is debatable...Rear Adm. E.B. Barry, commander of the Pacific Fleet, thought flying machines would be useful for scouting, but little else. As for a plane attacking a warship, he noted that every warship carried U.S. Marine riflemen. "It seems unreasonable that the bird men could get close enough to become effective," the admiral said.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/01/16/MNDK1H97FO.DTL#ixzz1BPfqzPmb
The caution of Capt. Pond and Admiral Barry would reign at least until 1922, when the Navy commissioned its first aircraft carrier. It was left to the Japanese in 1941 to truly enlighten the US Navy.
Also of note, on Eli's landing, a display of what today would be called 'jointness':
When he landed back at San Bruno 15 minutes later, Ely was hailed as a hero by Army soldiers at the airfield.
Some folks think I'm a bit nutty for jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. But I'm not crazy enough to try to land a plane on a boat.