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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

 

Eyes of the Fleet
Joseph Hirsch #31
Watercolor, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-EY

Curtis scout-observation planes, ship-based, wing off on scouting missions over the sea. Catapulted from the deck, the chief mission of the SOCs is scouting the enemy and spotting gunnery fire. Termed the eyes of the fleet, scouting pilots extend the vision of shipboard officers hundreds of miles in every direction.

 

Ready On the Line
Joseph Hirsch #2
Oil on Canvas, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-FB

But first, before the Navy gives its airplanes into the hands of the crews, a rigid schedule of inspection and maintenance must be observed. This is the 30-hour check, when plane captain and his crew swarm over their Beechcraft transport to insure airworthiness. The engine, propeller, cowling, skin, controls, rudders--every part is checked and inspected for the effects of wear and weather. Note here the quartet beneath the empennage going over every inch of the elevator and its controls.

 

Making the Buoy
Joseph Hirsch #30
Oil on Canvas, circa, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-EX

Back from hours in the air on patrol, a flight of four-engine patrol bombers settle to the water and maneuver up to the beaching buoys preparatory to beaching. To weary, hungry pilots and crew, the signals of the beaching crew are a welcome sight. After making their planes fast to the buoys, handling wheels and lines will be attached to the plane's hull and it will be towed up to the ramp. The beaching crew, clad in swimming trunks, wait until time to wade down the ramp to attach beaching gear.

 

Flight's End
Georges Schreiber #8
Oil on Canvas, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-JA

 

His parachute swung comfortably over his shoulder, a Navy pilot returns to squadron headquarters to check in after a flight at Pensacola, Florida. Behind him, a beaching crew hoists a Vought-Sikorsky observation-scout onto the concrete hangar ramp. This operation is the same as that followed at sea, where scouting planes are hoisted back aboard after being catapulted from the deck of cruiser or battleship.

 

Into the Rigging
Adolf Dehn #12
Watercolor, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-CI

 

Blimp maintenance crews need a lot of the same agility aloft required of sailing men in the days of the windjammers. To scan the outer surface of a blimp envelope for rents or rips is a high job on lines or portable extension ladders. Navy crews periodically go over the big airships from engine to gas cells in a hunt for signs of stress or wear. Note the size of fins and rudder at the trail of the blimp.

 

Off to War
Adolf Dehn #10
Watercolor, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-CG

With ground crews on the handling lines, these Navy non-rigid airships are being walked out of their vaulted hangars to go about the day's business of protecting our shores. With a roar from their engines, they will take off to patrol coastal waters and convoy merchant shipping against the menace of the submarine. One of the big naval blimps is being towed by a portable mooring mast outside the hangar doors.

 

Blimp Nest
Adolf Dehn #3
Watercolor, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-BZ

Engines humming, these Navy airships set a course over their great high-ceilinged hangars after casting off on a morning flight. Air-borne, the airship is at home in the elements. Great skill, however, is required to maneuver these giants to a landing and to stow them in their hangars.

 

Out to Sea
Adolf Dehn #13
Watercolor, 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-CJ

Coast line and inland tidal waters pass astern as two Navy airships, caught by the artist against the setting sun, take advantage of a brisk breeze on the first leg of their coastal patrol. Armed with depth charges and with light armament in the control car, they are formidable lookouts above the ship lanes. The crews stand watch aboard ship on long cruises, always scanning the surface of the sea for suspicious craft or lights.

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01 August 2001