NC Flying Boats

proceedings-first-issueOne of the many interesting projects done by the USS Midway (CV-41) Carrier Museum Library  is the ongoing partnership with the Naval Institute Proceedings in Annapolis, Maryland.  The Naval Institute got funding to digitize every issue of the Proceedings.  CDR Phil Eakin (USN Ret) led the charge with volunteers of  Midway Proceedings Summary Project to provide keywords and summaries for every article in each each Proceedings issue since it’s beginning in 1874.  The jounal is one of the oldest continuously published magazines in the United States.

Phil recently shared the summary of the NC Flying Boats from the 4th Quarter, 1919 issue of Proceedings.  The NC Flying Boat was the first plane to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.

The summary was written by “Steve Sheldon, a full-time NCIS agent at 32nd Street Naval Station. It is just background on the flying boats’ design and construction but provides a different angle on the cross-ocean jaunt.”

The summary and the link to the actual article:

This 53-page article relates the author’s first-hand account of the design and construction of the Navy, Curtiss (NC) Flying Boats. The article includes numerous illustrations and photos of aircraft designs and construction techniques. On America’s entry into WWI in April 1917, no definite air policy or program existed. Two months later, a joint Army-Navy team was ordered to Europe to study air matters among the principal governments arrayed against Germany and to recommend development of an American air service. The author was a member of that team. After carefully studying aircraft types in England, France and Italy, the team concluded kite balloons should be tethered to destroyers for observation and flying boats used for patrol and to bomb submarines. After discussions, Chief of Navy Construction and Repair, Rear Admiral Taylor, issued requirements for the design and construction of flying boats with capabilities far beyond current types. The Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Corporation was the only aeronautical manufacturing company with a force capable of handling the requirements. On award of contract, the Curtiss organization worked out all design and construction details under navy supervision. Curtiss would build four aircraft, designated NC-1 through NC-4. Numerous technical problems were attacked, especially regarding the use of aluminum or wood for wing strut and other foundational parts. Navy engineers contributed much to the NC design, especially regarding hull design and construction. Design concepts were rigorously tested and improved by subjecting scale models to wind tunnel testing at the Washington Navy Yard. NC-1 was delivered in September 1918. Modifications were made for subsequent models included changes in tail section configuration and addition of a fourth engine. Though details of NC-2 through NC-4 are not discussed the author concludes, “Such is the story of the design and construction of the NC flying boats. The performance of these machines in the recent trans-Atlantic flight, both in the air and on the water, shows the excellent results that may be obtained by the application of real engineering principles of design to the solution of problems seemingly as impossible of solution as was this one when first proposed by Admiral Taylor.”  Keywords: Naval Aviation history.

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USS Midway and the Naval Institute Proceedings Project

proceedings-first-issueOne of the USS Midway  Carrier Museum Library’s projects is a joint project with the US Naval Institute  in Annapolis, MD.  The Proceedings has been published since  1874 and is one of the oldest continually published magazine in the United States. From Wikipedia;

Proceedings covers topics concerning global security and includes articles from military professionals and civilian experts, historical essays, book reviews, full-color photography, and reader commentary. Roughly a third are written by active-duty personnel, a third by retired military, and a third by civilians. Proceedings also frequently carries feature articles by Secretaries of Defense, Secretaries of the Navy, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and top leaders of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Phil Eakins is the project lead.  From  the USS Midway Library webpage.

In a joint project with the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI), we have volunteers reading every article in the Proceedings back to 1874. These volunteers catalog and summarize all important articles from each issue. The volunteer team compiling summaries for the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) Proceedings Database cruised into its fourth year of work recently in what appears to be a 10-year project. The searchable database, which will eventually be accessible via the USS Midway Museum and USNI websites, will provide interested parties with a valuable research tool heretofore unavailable. Over 5,000 summaries have been completed of a target set of over 12,500 main articles covering the period 1874 to date. As part of the join project, USNI has recently digitized its entire Proceedings collection and will soon have that available on their website.

Phil was kind enough to send me a VT-8 related summary from the Proceedings Project.  Ferrier, the wounded sailor from the VT-8 blog post, wrote this piece when he was a lieutenant in 1964.


usni photo of topedo squadron eight
USNI Photo from Ferrier’s article in USNI Proceedings, Oct 1964


USNI Proceedings, October 1964, pg. 72

Title: Torpedo Squadron Eight, the Other Chapter

Author: Lt. H. H. Ferrier, USN

Summary by: Bill O’Hara

Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8) was commissioned at Norfolk, Virginia, in the late summer of 1941 as an element of carrier Air Group Eight, better known then as the Hornet Air Eight. The first commanding officer of Torpedo Eight, who also led the squadron in their fateful flight, was Lieutenant Commander John C. Waldron, U.S. Navy, a veteran of more than 20 years of naval service. The first aircraft assigned to the squadron were SBN-18s, which were a mid-wing design of the Brewster Aircraft Company, manufactured by the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia and were used to provide pilot training for this newly commissioned squadron. Following a shakedown cruise by the USS Hornet and her embarked air group in January 1942, the Hornet left Norfolk with the main portion of the squadron and headed for the Pacific.  She left behind a detachment of 80 officers and men who were to be sent to the Grumman factory on Long Island to learn as much as possible about the airplane from the engineers and builders before taking delivery of the new Grumman Avengers (the Avenger tag was given to the airplane after the Battle of Midway to exemplify the mission and dedication of all torpedo squadrons – to avenge the heroic sacrifice of their predecessors.) During this time of testing the new airplane, the first high-speed torpedo drops of a newly designed torpedo which was capable of surviving drop speeds of 125 knots and 125 – 150 feet of altitude were made. Following completion of these tests the planes were flown across country to San Diego to join their shipmates in the Pacific on the Hornet. Because the Hornet was at sea in the Pacific the planes were loaded onto the USS Kitty Hawk (APV-1) in San Diego for transport to Ford Island in Hawaii. Following arrival in Hawaii a message came from Midway Island for volunteers to fly six of the Avengers to Midway.  Upon arrival the planes were prepared for combat which included loading one each of the newly tested torpedoes and ammunition for the two .30 caliber machine guns and the .50 caliber gun. On the morning of June 4, unknown planes were spotted approaching Midway Island and the order was given to take off and find the Japanese carrier force that had been sighted some 15 miles off the coast.  The Japanese force consisted of four carriers and seventeen other ships in formation.  The six Avengers were attacked almost immediately after they had sighted the enemy ships and were outnumbered six to one by Japanese fighters.  Only one of the Avengers made it safely back to Midway Island with one of its gunners killed and the pilot and other gunner severely injured.  Overwhelming odds claimed the other five planes and their crewmembers on that fateful day. Keywords: Naval battles.


Bonnie and Pat share the Midway Magic on the Road–at the Naval Institute Proceedings in Annapolis, Mar 2018
Phil get's his 9000 hr award  Apr 2016.JPG
Phil upon getting his 9000 hour pin (He now has over 13,000 volunteer hours.)