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Loening Amphibian: 1925

Loening Amphibian: 1925

January 19, 1925. Loening amphibian plane. Maj. Henry Clagett, Gen. William Mitchell, Grover Loening at Bolling Field. View full size. National Photo Co.


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Oh, Billy, we hardly know ye

The "Gen. William Mitchell" identified so casually was, of course, THE Billy Mitchell, considered by many to be the father of the U.S. Air Force. He alienated his superiors after the Great War and into the 1920s, attacking the War and Navy departments for their failure to see the need for a strong national airpower.

Most of the brass scoffed at the thought of an airplane being able to sink big ships, for example, so Mitchell arranged to prove his ideas by sinking several surplus ships in the Atlantic about 50 miles from the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. Well, things boiled to the point that Mitchell was brought up for a court martial ("insubordination") and found guilty. One of the judges voting not guilty was Douglas MacArthur. Two months or so after this photo was taken (note he's wearing civvies), Mitchell was demoted to colonel and sent to a non-aviation assignment. Then he resigned and spent the years until his death in 1936 preaching the need for airpower.

The true aviators in government Washington knew what he was all about: Notable is that the only military aircraft named for a person is the Mitchell B-25 (a bomber, of course, made famous by Jimmy Doolittle's Tokyo raid from a carrier deck just five months after Pearl Harbor).

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I love the felt uniform coat with the embossing that the major is wearing. Reminds me of Winsor McKay's drawings. ~~~

Loening OL

That there is a Loening Aeronautical Engineering Corporation OL amphibious biplane. An interesting picture, to say the least.

Loening Amphibian

A Time magazine article dated Feb 2, 1925, describes the plane leaving leaving the East River in Manhattan and arriving at Bolling Field two hours later for its first public appearance. Maj. Clagett (later Brig. Gen. Clagett) was commanding officer of the field at the time, Mitchell the assistant chief of the Air Service, and Loening of course built the thing.

Same plane here?

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