|100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation
100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation
Today the United States depends on the ability to safely operate airplanes from the deck of a ship to maintain the national defense and respond to humanitarian emergencies around the world. A century ago, the very idea of a frail contraption of wood and fabric flying from one of the Navy's ships seemed absurd. Yet one of the first steps towards the acceptance of airplanes at sea occurred in San Francisco Bay on January 18th, 1911.
Saturday January 15
10AM - 2PM
On Saturday, January 15th, 2011, the Hiller Aviation Museum joins the naval aviation community in commemorating the 100th anniversary of Eugene Ely's landing in San Francisco Bay. Join us as the Museum highlights its full-scale replica of Ely's airplane with a panel of distinguished speakers, a WWII Wildcat Fighter on display and special flight simulations in the Flight Sim Zone.
|10am-2pm || WWII Wildcat on display|
|10:30am || Bill Larkins presentation on Bay Area Navy Aviation History|
|11:30am || Marland Townsend presentation on the progression of Aircraft Carriers|
|1:00pm || Neil "Waylon" Jennings presentation on flying an FA-18 Fighter Jet|
|2pm || Wildcat departure *weather permitting|
|2pm || FA-18 Jet Fighter Fly-by|
William "Bill" T. Larkins
Bill Larkins has been photographing and researching aircraft for more than 75 years, having started in 1934. He was the founder of the American Aviation Historical Society. He is the author of several books and numerous magazine articles. An early indication of his interest in aviation is shown by his membership numbers Ð No. 1 in AAHS; 17 in the Antique Airplane Association; 201 in Air Britain; 22 in the National Ryan Club; 28 in the North American Trainers Association.
Mr. Larkins presentation will focus on early Bay Area Navy Aviation including Alameda Naval Air Station and US Navy Aircraft 1921-1941. Mr. Larkins has had a lifelong interest in Navy aircraft and in 2006 he was honored with the Admiral Radford Award for excellence in naval aviation history and literature. Mr. Larkins will be available to sign some of his books after his presentation.
Marland Townsend past experience includes: command of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk CV-63 and its' task group (1972-73); design responsibility for US Navy fighter aircraft (1970-71); commanding officer of Navy Fighter Squadrons 143 and 121 (1965-68); project coordination and test pilot duties at the Naval Air Test Center
Marland Townsend, presented the fighter training proposal to the US Navy, which became what is known in the United States as "TOP GUN". Mr. Townsend explains, "I was the Commanding Officer of VF-121 when this was begun; more than that I participated in the test against the MIG 21. It was my proposal to AIRPAC that we needed more than the training I could provide in VF-121 and that we needed a dedicated training unit like the old Fleet Air Gunnery Unit at El Centro that was disbanded in 1956. I made that proposal to Captain Whitney Feightner, Operations Officer at ComNavAirPac and that was the start of the "TOP GUN" program."
Mr. Townsend will discuss the progression of aircraft carriers throughout history, starting with the USS Langley to present day nuclear carriers.
Neil "Waylon" Jennings
CDR Neil Jennings is a retired Naval Aviator who served in the United States Navy for 20 years. He has flown from the flight decks of six aircraft carriers, logging more than 900 carrier landings. During his various assignments Neil piloted the F-14 Tomcat, A-4 Skyhawk, F-16N Viper, and F/A-18 Hornet. His flight qualifications include Adversary Instructor PIlot, F/A-18 Instructor Pilot, F/A-18 Airshow Pilot and Combat Strike Lead. During his tenure Neil deployed overseas six times and flew missions in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Desert Fox, and Enduring Freedom. He has led strikes against targets in both Iraq and Afghanistan, one of which nearly cost him his life when six SA-3 surface-to-air missiles were locked onto his aircraft. During one particularly memorable training mission at sea, he ejected out of an ailing Tomcat that caught fire and exploded. He has also watched his wingmen eject from disabled aircraft on two different occasions, and has acted as the On Scene Commander, coordinating rescue efforts. During his final tour in the Navy Neil served as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of an F/A-18 Hornet squadron assigned to the USS Lincoln. While aboard the Lincoln he planned and led dozens of combat missions that were flown over Afghanistan in support of the hundreds of American heroes who served on the ground, in direct contact with enemy forces. Neil's contributions to Naval Aviation have been numerable, and he has lived through and has witnessed some of the most turbulent periods and crowning successes of recent Naval Aviation History.
Special Flight Sim Ops:
Test your skill at landing an F/A 18 "Hornet" Navy Fighter Jet on an Aircraft Carrier in the Flight Sim Zone. 11am - 2pm. A special $3 Pass is required, Free for museum members. The pass can be obtained in the museum gift shop.