Photos of First Aircraft Carrier

Discussion in '1800-1914' started by comiso90, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    #1 comiso90, Jan 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    See link for more pics:
    Photographs of the World's First Aircraft Carrier - Nicholas Jackson - Technology - The Atlantic



    On November 14, 1910, Eugene Ely became the first pilot to successfully launch a plane from a stationary ship. The Curtiss pusher airplane, one of the first models in the world to be built in any significant quantity, flew for two miles before Ely landed on a beach. Using the same aircraft, Ely landed on the USS Pennsylvania on January 18, 1911, while the ship was anchored at the San Francisco waterfront. He had to use a braking system made of ropes and sandbags, but he was able to quickly turn around and take off once again, proving that ideas proposed in Clement Ader's 1909 L'Aviation Militaire could work.

    These rare photographs of the USS Birmingham, an armored cruiser considered to be the world's first aircraft carrier, were recently resurfaced by TechEBlog. The Birmingham, which launched on May 29, 1907, was commissioned several times before being used to patrol the northeast coast of the United States after the American entrance into World War I. On June 14, 1917, she escorted the first American troops to France and then was used as an escort between the British Isles, Gibraltar, and France. After several more trips that included tours of the eastern Mediterranean, Central America, and South America, the USS Birmingham was decommissioned on December 1, 1923, and sold for scrap seven years later.
     
  2. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Very cool find Comiso, very cool! I did not know the Birmingham was the first Aircraft Carrier. Learn something new every day. Thanks.
     
  3. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Very cool find, and to think that it happened 100 years, one and a half months ago!

    Question, though...the website says that it was the Birmingham, but the captions on the photos (and the fantail of the ship) say "Pennsylvania". Was the ship renamed when it was re-commissioned?

    Edited to say that I'm an idiot, I just re-read the article. There were two ships (at least) with carrier-decks built. He landed on the Pennsylvania in 1911. Okay...where's the coffee...
     

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  4. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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  5. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Then landing:
    [​IMG]

    .
     
  6. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Interesting finds! Thanks for sharing.
     
  7. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I always thought the Langley was the first carrier. Shows you what I know!
     
  8. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    I believe this article is incorrectly named. Experimental TO and landing does not constitute an "aircraft carrier".

    IMO, Langley is the first.

    .
     
  9. P40NUT

    P40NUT Member

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    Nice find, thanks for sharing.
     
  10. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Heh. Ya gotta love that sloped end-ramp (for lack of better terms)!!! If the sandbags don't work, we can always flip the frikkin plane over! :lol:
     
  11. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    I'm right there with you Thor.
     
  12. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

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    damn, that is one far cry from the nuclear powered cities patrolling the waters, today
     
  13. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    #13 buffnut453, Jan 6, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
    What about HMS Argus completed Sept 1918 (pic from Wikipedia)?

    [​IMG]


    She was the first ship with a full flat-top which has been the pattern ever since for all carriers. The first landing on HMS Argus was by a Sopwith Strutter on 1 Oct 1918. I think that beats Langley by a few years??
     
  14. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    I think the Brits are credited with the first real carrier. As usual, the Brits seemed to be step ahead of the USN in carrier technology until the CVNs show up. Of course that does not apply to the aircraft.
     
  15. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    Technically the first “aircraft” carrier might be the armed US transport FANNY. This ship was used in 1861 to tether and transport observation balloons for the US Army during the Civil War.

    “The ultimate air superiority is a tank on the runway.”
     
  16. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    I'll see your USS Fanny and raise you an HMS Pallas which launched and recovered a kite in 1806. Kites are rather closer to fixed wing aircraft than are balloons so I still think the RN has it. However, HMS Argus was still the first true aircraft carrier in the modern sense of the word.
     
  17. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    True enough, Davparlr. Picking up on your latter point, I think that's largely due to the RAF being formed in 1918, generating a 3-way tug-of-war between the armed forces during the financially constrained inter-war period as the RAF sought to justify its existence (often with considerable over-claiming of capability, such as gaining control of all aircraft operating from carriers) while the RN and the Army sought to have the junior service disbanded and revert back to the RFC and RNAS. Air power hadn't really proved its combat worth yet and the political infighting, coupled with the RAF's marginalization maritime aviation, set back the development of carrier aircraft considerably.
     
  18. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    I too seemed to have The Langly in mind when it comes to that subject. I'm embarrassed that I didnt think of the Argus. I'm sure I knew that at one time or another.

    Thanks for the correction
     
  19. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    I stand corrected, no doubt the RN led the way in carrier development.
     
  20. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, then lost it in the 20's and 30's because the RAF insisted on operating all military aircraft, including those afloat, with disastrous consequences for the development of aviation in the RN.
     
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