Although Aug. 19 is National Aviation Day, the month of November is National Aviation History Month and is dedicated to exploring, recognizing and celebrating America’s great contributions and achievements in the development of aviation.
Aviation history goes back to the earliest attempts to develop mechanical flight – from early kites to powered, heavier-than-air aircraft and ultimately spacecraft. The earliest record of flight is around 200 B.C. when a Chinese general flew a kite over enemy territory to gather intelligence. Later advancements in aviation led to the development of the glider, whose maiden flight was by Abbas ibn Firnas in 875 A.D. in Córdoba, Spain. Throughout the 15th century, Leonardo daVinci continued to refine earlier designs, creating more sophisticated flight designs.
Beginning in the 3rd century, at the same time mechanical flight designs were developing, buoyancy was used to make hot air balloons. The first attempt to make an unmanned flight was in the third century, when Zhuge Liang used hot air balloons to scare enemy troops and convey military signals. Advances with hot air balloons, coupled with the principles of mechanical flight, formed the groundwork for the development of aircraft as we know them today. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the development of various theories in mechanics and fluid dynamics, as well as Newton’s laws of motion, became the foundation of the science of aerodynamics.
By the early 20th century, advancements in aerodynamics and engine technology made controlled, powered flight a possibility for the first time. Orville and Wilbur Wright are recognized as the pioneers of the first free-controlled flight and powered airplane. Their first flight was December 17, 1903.
It has not only been the aircraft that have inspired and driven the aviation community throughout the years. Aviation has given us tremendously influential role models, the likes of the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. Much later, early astronauts like Neil Armstrong, would have never landed on the moon if it were not for the pioneering science of aviation. This month is for celebrating those daring dreamers who paved the way and those who, to this day, continue to support and embody the same spirit as those early aviation pioneers. Here at NAS Lemoore, every day is a celebration of the talented men and women whose contributions have made Naval Aviation a flagship for excellence in the aviation community.
Among the world’s flying forces, U.S. Naval Aviation’s reputation for quality is second-to-none. Boldness, moxie and steady nerves were in the heart of Navy pilot Eugene Ely, who in 1911, first launched from the bow of a ship, less than a year from when the Navy took delivery of its first airplane.
These qualities have been at the heart of American aviation ever since: the first crossing of the Atlantic by air; the daring missions in Korea; the first Americans in space; the missions at risk that led to capture in Vietnam; dominating displays of striking power during the Cold War, the first Gulf War and beyond. That boldness and moxie continues to this day. It is part of who we are as a community.
This boldness occurs daily here at NAS Lemoore and it requires a talented team of more than just aircrew. That team consists of air traffic controllers, logistics specialists, maintainers, Search and Rescue, crew chiefs, weapons system specialists, administrative specialists, intelligence, training and a secure place to operate. They too are the heroes that we celebrate.
NAS Lemoore continues to lead the charge for excellence, innovation and most importantly, boldness in aviation. We are the home of the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft, the F-35C, Lightning II. The F-35C will enhance the flexibility, power projection, and strike capabilities of Carrier Air Wings and joint task forces and complement the capabilities of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, that currently serves as the Navy's premier strike fighter.
Our squadrons continue to deliver the fight to the enemy in far-flung corners of the world. We continue to respond to the call our country has made. Air superiority may not necessarily be the birthright of the United States, but it is the birthright of our aircrew and their entire team who willing act boldly and adapt when necessary.
NAS Lemoore is the west coast home base for both superior platforms with the continued addition of F-35Cs arriving through approximately 2028. We will be ready. We will continue to carry on the 106-year old legacy of Naval Aviation. NAS Lemoore is home to nearly sixty percent of the U.S. Navy’s strike fighter airpower that launches and recovers from the flight decks of the most incredibly capable platform ever built, our U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. Wherever and whenever U.S. Navy presence is needed, we are there. This month, we celebrate those who support aviation. This month is for all of us.
All my best,
Captain David James
Commanding Officer, NAS Lemoore