United States Navy

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Despite the recommendations of a commission that the Navy investigate aeronautics, it didn't get involved in airflight until 1911, when it ordered two airplanes from Curtiss Aircraft Company. These were called "Curtiss A-1s" and might be classifiable as hydroplanes.[1]

Officers were trained at the "naval aerodrome" at Annapolis, Maryland.[2]

The Navy began using the Experimental Model Bason at the Washington Navy Yard to conduct aerodynamic experiments. In 1914 it built an "Experimental Wind Tunnel" for the same purpose. An official Aerodynamics Laboratory was instituted. This fell within the The Bureau of Construction & Repair (C&R), headed by David Taylor. In January 1917 Taylor hired Albert Francis Zahm as the director of the lab.[1]

("Once in charge of the laboratory, Dr. Zahm wasted no time getting to work and the first three Aeronautical Reports were issued in January 1917. The second of these reports described a wind tunnel test on the 'Resistance and Controllability of School Dirigibles' [...].")[1]

The Bureau of Construction & Repair had an Aviation Division. Within this division, Starr Truscott was the assistant for LTA from 1916–1917.[3]

The 1917 Textbook of Naval Aeronautics may give some some insight into the means and methods used by the Navy during the war. It also contains some quotations and political comments regarding the strategic importance of aeronautics & aviation for maritime warfare, including Josephus Daniels to Henry Woodhouse 19-Jun-1917.

Josephus Daniels was the Secretary of the Navy from 1913–1921.


Organization names United States Navy; U.S. Navy; U.S. Department of the Navy
Entity type
Country US
City Washington, DC; Annapolis, Maryland
Affiliated with
Started aero 1911
Ended aero
Keywords military
Key people Josephus Daniels, David Taylor, Albert Francis Zahm, Starr Truscott
Wikidata id