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Fokker D.Vll - Langley Field, 1922.
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first Air Service base built especially for air power, and is the oldest continually active air force base in the world. During World war l, the US Army trained aircrews and tested aircraft there. Several buildings had been constructed on the field by late 1918. Aircraft on the ramp at that time included the JN-4 Curtis Jenny, used by Langley's School of Aerial Photography, and the deHavilland DH-4 bomber, both used during World War I. In the early 1920s, Langley became the site where a new air power concept was tried and proven. Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell led bombing runs from Langley by the 1st Provisional Air Brigade over captured German warships anchored off the coast of Virginia and North Carolina. These first successful tests set the precedent for the future role and development of strategic bombardment by air.The painting above depicts a Fokker D.VII, taking off at Langley Field in 1922. The Fokker D.VII was one of the best fighter aircraft of World War I, it was a difficult aircraft to meet in combat, even in the hands of an average pilot. Hermann Goering had no less than 22 kills - the last whilst flying the D.VII. In December, 1918 Goering was commander of Jagdgeschwader 1, and when ordered to surrender his D.VII’s to the Allies, he and his pilots deliberately damaged them on landing. The Allies were fortunate, indeed, that the Fokker D.VII did not arrive earlier in the war. Over 140 Fokker D.VII’s were surrendered at the close of the war, and the Fokker company sold more to the U.S. Air Service. Several of which were regularly flown and tested at Langley Field.
Langley Field was founded in 1916, and established after the entry of the United States into the First World War, April 1917.Langley Field was the home of a pioneering military air strip and the civilian aeronautics lab of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Together, they transformed American aviation and remade the once mostly pastoral town of Hampton. Named after Samuel Pierpoint Langley, an aerodynamic pioneer and a former Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Langley began aerodynamic experiments in 1887 and formed a basis for practical pioneer aviation. He built and saw the first steam model aeroplane in 1896 and the first gasoline model in 1903. Both planes were capable of flight. He also built the first man-carrying gasoline aeroplane in 1903, which he never succeed in launching. It was, however, flown successfully by Glenn Curtiss during 1914. Langley Field was the
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