November 14, 1910 in the sky: Eugene Ely takes off from a boat

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History of aviation – November 14, 1910. On this Monday, November 14, 1910, a great first will take place in Virginia in terms of naval aviation: namely the takeoff of an airplane from a military vessel. A performance to be credited to Eugene Ely, a civilian aviator of American nationality, who managed to take flight from the deck of a cruiser in Hampton Roads today.

Installed at the controls of a biplane type aircraft from the aircraft manufacturer Curtiss, he took to the sky, on the afternoon of November 14, 1910, from the American cruiser called “USS Birmingham”, the latter then being positioned in the Chesapeake Bay. The boat had a 25 meter inclined ramp on its front deck to help the pilot carry out his maneuver.

Once the exercise is completed, Eugene Ely will make a short flight, reaching Willoughby Spit with his airplane, a journey not exceeding 3,500 kilometers. The fault lies with a problem with his propeller: by touching the water, he damaged a blade, so he preferred to shorten his flight.

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