Fly Navy 100: Royal Navy Celebrates a Century of Aviation

by OldSailor on May 9, 2009


Fly_Navy_100_1The Royal Navy celebrated a century of aviation on May 07, 2009.

The Royal Navy’s Naval aviation was born on May 07, 1909. On that day an order was placed by the Admiralty for an airship. Airship, HMA 1 or the Mayfly, was not entirely successful. It was too heavy to fly and after modifications it was too light and was damaged due to  strong winds when it was taken out of hangar.

Presently, Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm is actively involved in Afghanistan.

Fly Navy 100 celebrations were started in February and are expected to go on throughout this year. An impressive midday fly-past over the strike carrier HMS Illustrious in London on May 07 provided the highlight of celebrations to mark Fly Navy 100.

Here are some important milestones to look back on the occasion of Fly Navy 100:

  • 1909: The birth of Naval Aviation
  • 1911: First four pilots trained
  • 1912:
    • First aircraft launched from a ship
    • First aircraft launched from a ship underway
  • 1914:
    • Naval air service recognised
    • First strategic air raid
    • First night bombing raid
    • First ship launched attack on a shore target
  • 1915:
    • Victoria Cross awardedFly_Navy_100_2
    • First torpedo attack on a ship
  • 1916: First use of aircraft in sea battle
  • 1917: First aircraft to land on a moving ship
  • 1918:
    • RNAS merges with RFC to form RAF
    • An ocean liner was converted and commissioned as the first aircraft carrier, HMS Argus
  • 1923: HMS Hermes, first aircraft carrier to be designed, built and commissioned
  • 1924: Naval elements of RAF named as Fleet Air Arm
  • 1926: First night deck landing
  • 1935: First rotary wing landing on a carrier
  • 1937-1939: FAA returns to Admiralty control and renamed as Naval Air BranchRoyal_Navy_first_airship
  • 1939: First German aircraft shot down
  • 1940: Battle of Taranto
  • 1941: 9 Swordfish attack the Bismark
  • 1942: Victoria Cross awarded
  • 1945:
    • First carrier landing of multi-engined aircraft
    • Victoria Cross awarded
    • First take off and landing of a jet aircraft from an aircraft carrier
  • 1948-1960: Malayan Emergency
  • 1950-1953: Korean War
  • 1951: First small ship designed to operate a helicopter
  • 1952: Naval Air Branch renamed Fleet Air Arm
  • 1953: First helicopter lift of assault troops
  • 1954: Steam catapult developed
  • 1956:
    • Suez Crisis – an action fought by Britain, France and Israel against Egypt, over control of the Suez CanalRoyal_Navy_aviation
    • First helicopter assault from sea
  • 1963: First landing of a VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft on a carrier
  • 1977: Introduction of Sea Harrier
  • 1982: Falklands War
  • 1990: Gulf War
  • 1992-2005: Bosnia Operations
  • 2001: Present Afghanistan deployment
  • 2003-2008: Second Iraq deployment

View some interesting features of Fly Navy 100:

View an interesting video clip: Royal Navy – 100 years of flying

Download and read including programme of events as pdf: 100 years of Naval Aviation – Issue 1 and Issue 2.

All the above images are from the Royal Navy.

Post in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:

Thrilling Underwater Hockey

Update: May 09

A fly-past of rotary-winged naval aircraft passes over the Old Royal Naval College and other historic buildings at Greenwich, London, as part of the Fly Navy 100 celebrations on 7 May 2009. The salute was taken by HRH The Duke of York on board HMS Illustrious, seen moored in the River Thames below. [Picture: Sgt Andy Malthouse RAF]


View an amazing video clip: Navy celebrations on GMTV

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