The North Island era: Birth of naval aviation
First take-off from a ship
One of Curtiss' motives in developing the hydroplane was to sell airplanes to the U.S. Navy. His first effort was to arrange for a land plane takeoff from a wooden platform built over the bow of the USS Birmingham.
On November 14, 1910 at Hampton Roads, Virginia, one of his exhibition pilots, Eugene Ely, took off from this deck and flew to shore.
It was intended that the ship be under way to aid in the takeoff but Ely took off while the Birmingham was still anchored. He barely made it, touching the water before he gained full flying speed.
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