- March 3, 2015
- / Emmalee Sutton
- / Post Tags
As the first permanent naval air station in the U.S., Pensacola Naval Air Station (NAS Pensacola) became a pioneer in many fields of aviation. Since Pensacola has a climate that is suitable for year-round flying, the decision to build was apparent, and in 1914, after its creation, NAS Pensacola began a legacy of production. Within three years, the station produced the first altitude records as well as the development of aircraft catapult launching.
As WWI developed, Pensacola remained a stable flight center where the first Navy aircraft carrier managed experiments, the first aerographical officer reported for duty, and the Navy aerial photography school relocated. One of the first aviators to train at NAS Pensacola was Lt. Whiting. Whiting specialized in making some of the first catapult launches from ships and interestingly, received his first lessons in flight from the Wright Brothers. Research and production of catapulting planes and taking off from and landing at sea quickly developed at the flight center.
Although the war ended just four years after it began, the Pensacola community had entered a long-term bond with the military. WWI advanced Pensacola’s tie to Naval aviation for decades to come. As years progressed, the air station began offering more than just aeronautical technology and aviation mechanics, and by 1939, Pensacola NAS had expanded facilities to include aviation medicine.
Today, NAS Pensacola is still the headquarters for the Chief of Naval Education and Training, and the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute, providing training for all naval flight surgeons, and aviation physiologists and psychologists. As the base for the Naval Air Technical Training Center, NAS Pensacola also provides technical training for the majority of aircraft maintenance and enlisted aircrew specialties in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Perhaps one of its most reputable claims to fame is the base for the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, or more commonly known as the beloved precision flying team, the Blue Angels.