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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Paintings of Naval Aviation

 

Easy Does It
Joseph Hirsch #25
Pen & ink, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-ES

 

The big three-blade hollow steel "prop" which pulls a fighter airplane through the air at 400 miles an hour is a precision instrument. Mounting one on a propeller shaft requires care and skill, since inexpert manhandling can rip threads or cut mating splines and thereby put an airplane out of commission as effectively as a 20mm shell. Navy mechanics, however, universally have personal interest in their squadron's airplanes, and no plane captain ever wants it said his plane is not ready for combat.

 

Rolling Out the Beach Gear
Georges Schreiber #5
Pen & ink, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-IX

 

A ground crewman trundles out a wheel used in beaching flying boats or pendant seaplanes. If a scouting plane, hoisted ashore by a crane, the plane is lowered onto the gear. If a flying boat, the wheel gear is attached in the water.

 

Lens Hawk
Joseph Hirsch #16
Pen & ink, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-FP

 

Aviation photography is a vital function of modern reconnaissance, and the big battles of today invariably are fought after preparations based on photographic scouting. The camera likewise has a vital function in recording the results of battle or bombing missions. Navy photographers are schooled in the camera arts from use of the grand snapshot to the aerial "big Bertha". Here, a candidate for a photographer's rating works out with a pocketful of film holders in reserve.

 

Learning Their Altitude Ropes
Joseph Hirsch #12
Charcoal, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-FL

An essential training feature for Navy aviation cadets is to learn to live and fight in the thin of high altitudes. From the safety of the low pressure chamber, they get their first experience with the tricks which lack of oxygen can play on the human system, and with operation of their oxygen masks. Under the watchful eye of a Navy rating, a pharmacist's mate, or hospital corpsman, they "ascend" to 25,000 feet in the low pressure chamber at training school.

 

Getting the Once-Over
Georges Schreiber #4
Pen & ink, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-IW

 

The observation and check tower of a naval air station keeps close watch over the air traffic. Here an incoming pilot is checked on having his wheels down, a practice followed at all naval fields. The air field personnel also checks all traffic moving in and out of the station, and notes any breaches of field rules.

 

Heave Away
Joseph Hirsch #15
Watercolor, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-FO

 

Lines fast and beaching gear in place, a Navy PRM patrol bomber swings tail-to to the seaplane ramp preparatory to being hauled ashore after a patrol flight. Supervising the operation from the wing is an officer of the plane crew. Note the stinger gun in the big tail.

 

Back From Patrol
Joseph Hirsch #8
Watercolor, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-FH

A Navy PRM, the Martin Mariner, rides with idle engines off its ramp waiting to be hauled out. Already the beaching crew, clad in summer suits, is wading out to attach lines and beaching gear. An officer of the bomber crew has climbed through a hatch and stands on the starboard wing roof to observe operations.

 

Onto the Ramp
Joseph Hirsch #11
Watercolor, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-FK

 
Caught by the tail like some dripping sea monster, a Navy PRY patrol bomber is hauled from the water up the seaplane ramp at the end of a mission. Beaching these big flying boats is a precision performance. Beaching crews must first wade out and attach wheel fittings under the hull to permit the plane to be rolled onto the ramp. A towing line is fitted to the tail, and up she comes under the tug of a snorting tractor.

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01 August 2001