P-3 Orion In Action (Aircraft number 193)
By Richard S. Dann
Publisher: Squadron Signal 2004 52 Pages
PDF 21 MB
The use of aircraft for long-range patrols of the world's oceans goes back to just before World War One. The United States' unquestioned pioneer of the 'Hydroaeroplane' was Glenn H. Curtiss of Hammondsport, New York. On 26 January 1911, Curtiss made the first flight of an aircraft from water in the Spanish Bight, an area in San Diego Bay that is now part of Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island. The United States Navy (USN) was rather slow to see the aircraft's military value, but it did sec the worth of aircraft for long-range patrol and scout missions. On 8 May 1911, CAPT Washington I. Chambers, the USN's officer in charge of aviation matters, ordered two hydroaeroplanes - the Curtiss A-1 and A-2 Triads. These were the first two aircraft purchased by the USN, and 8 May is considered the birthdate of Naval Aviation.
The German U-Boat (unterseeboot; submarine) threat of World War One inspired the first operational use of aircraft in pursuing and destroying enemy submarines. Large multi-engine flying boats, including the British Felixstowe F.2.A and Curtiss H-16, were among the first of this class of aircraft to see action in this role. Aircraft sank German submarines on at least three occasions during World War One.