With the U.S. Navy’s year-long celebration to mark naval aviation’s first century approaching its fifth month, and air show season heating up, there’s likely to be several opportunities to see a few of the aircraft that were on display at the opening event in San Diego, Calif, this February. Here’s a selection of images, all taken on the press preview day at North Island Naval Air Station. All photos by Guy Norris unless otherwise stated.
A replica of the Curtiss A-1 Triad, the U.S. Navy’s first aircraft, alighted briefly from San Diego Bay on Feb 11 to mark the start of the centennial of naval aviation. Rebuilt specifically for the commemorative event, the Triad represents the aircraft flown by Theodore Gordon Ellyson, the first naval officer designated as an aviator. Trained at the Glenn Curtiss Aviation Camp at North Island, San Diego, Ellyson became Naval Aviator No.1 in April 1911. Credit. Alan Radecki/Northrop Grumman
RQ-4A Global Hawk in Navy markings to represent MQ-4A broad area maritime surveillance demonstrator (BAMS-D) with X-47B unmanned combat air system-demonstration mock-up.
MQ-8B Fire Scout
F/A-18A from VFA-204 “River Rattlers” representing 1950s color scheme of aircraft flown from NAS New Orleans.
EA-6B of VAQ-129 Vikings in Battle of Coral Sea markings.
V-22B Osprey of VMM-166 Sea Elks
F-5F ‘Franken-Tiger’ looking sleek in VFC-13 Saints ‘Aggressor’ scheme
Boeing E-6B Mercury in foreground with Bell UH-1Y Venom and AH-1W Super Cobra on deck of USS Peleliu (LHA 5) amphibious assault ship.
Air Test and Evaluation Squadron VX-31 F/A-18 ‘Coso 101’ from Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, Calif wears the retro-scheme of a late 1950s-early 1960s Douglas A-4C Skyhawk, which was China Lake’s primary weapons test platform in that period.
SH-60B Seahawk HSL-43 “Battle Cat”
Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer – one of a handful of PB4Y survivors and thought to be the only aircraft currently flyable. Derived from the B-24 Liberator (18,482 built), an additional 774 PB4Y-2/RY-3 versions were produced by Consolidated in San Diego.
McDonnell Douglas TA-4J ‘Scooter’ privately owned and flown on FAA 'Experimental' ticket.
EA-18G of VAQ-129 Vikings in colors of F4U-4 Corsair from VBF-85 Sky Pirates flown from USS Shangri-La in 1944.
S-3B Viking of VX-30 Bloodhounds in Battle of Midway (1943) colors.
North American Rockwell OV-10B Bronco
General Motors-built Grumman TBM-3U Avenger
Lockheed EP-3E Orion (Aries II) of VQ-1 World Watchers