wenty-four year old Eugene Ely sat inhis ﬂying machine as he calculatedthe wind and observed the weather.The weather had been bad,but the rain hadstopped and the wind had let up a little. “Theship is running on a ﬂood-tide,”someone said.Ely,a farm boy from Iowa,had been crazyabout all mechanical things,especially auto-mobiles. After moving to California,he estab-lished himself as one of the best mechanicsand car drivers on the West Coast. He lovedthe speed and the challenge of racing. Whilein Oregon,his wife Mable,whose sister livedin San Bruno,had told Eugene of a Curtissaircraft on display in Portland. It was a 1,000-pound “pusher”aircraft that aviator andinventor Glenn Curtiss had put on display,butit was not for sale. Ely talked the salesmaninto selling it,however,and he immediatelytaught himself the fundamentals of ﬂight,putthe plane into shape to ﬂy and took off into theair. Before long he was “barnstorming”throughout the northwest,making as much as$1,000 per performance. A lot of money at thetime.Ely met Glenn Curtiss in Minnesota oneday,and Curtiss signed him on with theCurtiss Air Shows. While in Virginia to see anair show,Ely met Naval Captain WashingtonIrving Chambers who was in charge of avia-tion matters for the Navy. Ely convincedChambers that taking off from a ship wasentirely possible and Ely accomplished thisfeat from the USS Birmingham in November1910.Ely felt that landing on a ship was also pos-sible and,while in San Francisco in January1911,he convinced the Navy to let himattempt this feat on the armored cruiser USSPennsylvania. The ship was outﬁtted with a120-by-32-foot wooden landing platform atMare Island. Strips of rope were strung acrossthe platform and tied to canvas bags full of sand that were to stop the aircraft by means of a metal hook anchored to the bottom of theplane. A canvas tarp was strung up at the endof the platform in case the plane overshot thelanding area. Ely’s plane was modiﬁed so thewings were longer,and a pair of metal tankswere secured underneath to ﬂoat the plane incase the pilot ended up in the Bay.After the rain stopped,Ely felt it was now ornever for the ﬂight. He had prepared himself for this moment and he was now ready. Theplane was ready. He took off into the windfrom the Tanforan race track center ﬁeld. Heheaded north to the Hunter’s Point area andturned right. He was now over the Bay andagain headed north to rendezvous with theUSS Pennsylvania.All of a sudden he ﬂew into an area of fogand he lost his bearings. The ship was not inview as he continued north. Suddenly the airwas clear again,and he sighted the ship withher nose pointed toward the Golden Gate. Thecaptain of the ship,Captain Pond,and Ely had
Eugene Ely’s ﬂight into the history books
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A residential frontdoor lock was damaged on Briarﬁeld Waybefore 8:12 p.m. on Friday,April 5.
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A window to a vehicle wassmashed on Emmett Avenue before 1:52 p.m.on Saturday,April 6.
A green Honda Accord wentmissing on El Camino Real before 9:37 p.m.on Wednesday,April 3.
An iPad was stolen from an unlockedvehicle on Concourse Drive before 12:53p.m. on Sunday,March 31.
A woman came home to ﬁnd aman burglarizing her residence on MarlinAvenue before 12:10 p.m. on Monday,April8.
A vehicle registration tab wasstolen on Cartier Lane before 10:38 a.m. onMonday,April 8.
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