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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Diego in San Diego County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation

The Pioneers 1911-1924

 
 
San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, June 21, 2015
1. San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation Marker
Inscription. Six weeks after the arrival of the USS California in San Diego Harbor, aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss established a flying school in an inlet just across the bay to your left where you are standing. There he trained Lieutenant Theodore Ellyson and three Army officers who became our nationís first military pilots.

In addition to training pilots, Curtiss developed a “hydroaeroplane” that could take off from and land on water. On January 28, 1911, Curtiss proved the adaptability of this airplane when he flew his new aircraft across the bay, landed in the water, had it hoisted aboard the cruiser Pennsylvania, then lowered it back into the water alongside the ship. After flying his aircraft back to his base in Spanish Bight, it was hard for anyone to deny that aircraft could indeed play a practical role in our nationís Navy.

On September 25, 1917, the Navy established its first permanent Naval Air Station on North Island, directly across the bay from where you are standing. This station consisted of a pilot training station, a mechanicsí school, and a patrol plane base.

By 1924, the U.S. Naval Air Station North Island had grown to a modern facility sporting a number of red tiled administrative building above which stood a control tower you can still see today directly across the bay.
 
Erected by

San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, June 21, 2015
2. San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation Marker
USS Midway Museum.
 
Location. 32° 42.826′ N, 117° 10.607′ W. Marker is in San Diego, California, in San Diego County. Marker is on North Harbor Drive, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 910 North Harbor Drive, San Diego CA 92101, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation (a few steps from this marker); Bridle-Arrest "Horns" (a few steps from this marker); Clifton A. F. Sprague, Vice Admiral, USN (approx. 0.2 miles away); United States Aircraft Carrier Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Diego.
 
Categories. Air & SpaceWaterways & Vessels
 
San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation Marker detail image. Click for full size.
3. San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation Marker detail
Glenn Curtiss sitting at the controls of one of his aircraft designs. Note the aileron control rods he operated with his shoulders. This was an improvement over the Wright brothers' system for changing the direction of the aircraft.
San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation Marker detail image. Click for full size.
February 17, 1911
4. San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation Marker detail
On February 17, 1911, Curtiss stood atop the upper wing of his aircraft while it was being hoisted aboard the USS Pennsylvania.
San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation Marker detail image. Click for full size.
March 30, 1911
5. San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation Marker detail
Curtiss worked at improving his early version of the hydroaeroplane at this base in Spanish Bight. The Navy ordered three aircraft from him but required that he mount flotation devices on the wings of the aircraft.
San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation Marker detail image. Click for full size.
6. San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation Marker detail
By 1924, Naval Air Station North Island had grown into a major naval installation. Note the aircraft parked next to the two landing and takeoff areas marked with arrows.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 6, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 3, 2018, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. This page has been viewed 40 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 3, 2018, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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