Pioneers of Naval Aviation

During World War I, the U.S. Navy operated scouting and patrolling aircraft and developed new technology at the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia. After the war, aviation became an integral part of the traditional seagoing navy. The creation of a dedicated naval aviation service, the Bureau of Aeronautics, in 1921 led to the expansion of aircraft roles to dive-bombing and fighter pursuit.

Lt. Cmdr. Godfrey Chevalier lands on the Langley on October 26, 1922, in an Aeromarine 39-B.

William A. Moffett was an articulate and effective advocate for naval aviation.

Joseph Mason “Bull” Reeves and his naval aviators pioneered the use of the aircraft carrier and naval air forces.

USS Langley was the first American aircraft carrier.

Kenneth Whiting was one of the most experienced naval aviators and shaped the future of carrier aviation.

Alfred M. Pride worked to make flying from aircraft carriers practical.

The Lexington represented the next generation of aircraft carriers after learning the lessons of the Langley.

America's aircraft carriers proved decisive in formulating naval aviation doctrine and tactics.