Hamilton Branch Meeting "Items of Military Aviation"

DATE: Wed 26 July 2017
TIME: 19:30 hrs / 7.30pm
VENUE: Glenview Club, Peacockes Road, Glenview, Hamilton.
GUEST SPEAKER : Alan Reynolds
SUBJECT: Items of Military Aviation

Alan will present items of Military aviation from his own collection and from Classic Flyers Museum, Tauranga. This will be interesting and may just have some surprises, so grab a friend or bring your wife/partner. Just remember guys, if everyone was to bring a friend, then we would double the number at our meetings, which as you know is getting very low. This talk will be aided by slides and powerpoint presentation.

Thanks to those (16) who attended last month's meeting, when Mr. Bruce Belfield from South Pacific Home Rotors,Te Awamutu gave us all a very informative talk on his Safari 400 and helicopters in general. I'm sure we now all know how they work a lot more than we did before his talk. This was another win for a Kiwi local who saw an opportunity in the market and ended up making modifications to an existing make/model and improving it to such a degree,that the manufacturer now buys his product and incorporates his ideas into their production models. So well done Bruce,and thanks for your time and expertise in the rotary world and sharing it with us.

I have always found the development of carrier aviation such a fasination. Its history and developing foresight from the first bird flight takeoff which was from the American cruiser Birmingham in 1910 by stunt pilot Eugine Ely. Through private fundings and grit cheek, he had secured the use of the cruiser's aft deck for this inaugral flight deck takeoff, but only for the day. As the weather began to pack in, he was resolved to the launch regardless of conditions. As he revved up the (pusher) engine, he desended down the makeshift 83 foot deck as the bird fought for lift, the wheels nearly touching the water, spray off the water, he assended keeping his craft aloft. He flew on to land at a nearby Army post airfield. The takeoff was highly successful. However, the Navy brass were not impressed. Just a mere stunt they said.

The media was electrified and embalished the reporting of the event with such headlines as 'Eugene Ely Revises Worlds Naval Tatics'. The following year, he secured the cruiser ship Pennsylvania and had a longer platform ramp fitted over the stern. Together with ropes laid across the deck, sand bags, pulley systems and hooks fitted to his craft, he proposed a daring landing onto the short ramp.

On January 18, 1911, he took off in his Curtiss Pusher from a nearby Army airfied and flew toward the waiting anchored cruiser. As he approached, he cut the throttle back when 50 feet from the deck, and set the plane down, stopping it within 30 feet of touchdown! Captain Chambers then announced to all that "this was the most important landing, to have occurred since the dove flew back to the Ark in Biblical times". Eugene then turned his craft around and positioned it for takeoff. He roared down the 120 foot ramp and flew off back to the Army airfield and landed safely. The event raised the hackles of the traditionalist Admirals who could see no further than their heavy battleships. Hence, no aircraft flights were performed in combat or obserevational sorties during WW1 using ships for a base. These flights had to succeed as Eugene Ely could'nt swim!! The rest is history. ::: Brian.

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