Accession Number:

ADA558168

Title:

Birth of U.S. Naval Aeronautical Engineering and Phenomenal Rise to Excellence

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.

Corporate Author:

NAVAL SURFACE WARFARE CENTER CARDEROCK DIV BETHESDA MD HYDROMECHANICS DEPT

Report Date:

2011-12-01

Pagination or Media Count:

24.0

Abstract:

In January of 1911, a small airplane landed on a specially prepared wooden platform on the cruiser Pennsylvania, then a few hours later took off. The following month, near the coast of San Diego, a small hydroplane took off directly from the surface of the water, landed back on the water, and was hoisted from the water aboard ship. With these early demonstrations, Naval Aviation in the United States was born. Thousands of miles away at the Washington Navy Yard, then Captain David W. Taylor and his assistants were beginning work in aeronautics that would lead to a wind tunnel larger than any in the world at that time. Within a few short years, Taylors vision brought the U.S. Navy to the forefront of aeronautical engineering and naval aircraft design. His focus on rigorous scientific methods and state-of-the-art experimental facilities was rooted in his earlier experience as an accomplished naval architect, and his pivotal role in the establishment of the Experimental Model Basin at the Washington Navy Yard in the late 19th century. The wind tunnel facility would form the foundation of the Navys Aerodynamics Laboratory and began a new era in aeronautics in the United States. Early tests at the Aerodynamics Laboratory covered a broad range of models including airplane control surfaces, semi-span wing models, and complete aircraft. Less than nine years after those early demonstrations, the U.S. Navy would rise to become a world leader in sea based aviation. The spectacular progress in the design of flying boats by Taylor and his team culminated in 1919 with the first crossing by air of the Atlantic Ocean. This paper highlights the early development of aeronautical engineering and scientific methods for aircraft model testing within the U.S. Navy and the extraordinary successes achieved in the short span of history from 1911 to 1919. It is written from the authors present perspective as Aerospace Engineers.

Subject Categories:

  • Aircraft
  • Test Facilities, Equipment and Methods
  • Military Forces and Organizations

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE