|John H. Towers.|
June 27. Lieutenant (jg) J. H. Towers, who became Naval Aviator No. 3, reported for duty and instruction in flying at the Curtiss School in Hammondsport, N.Y.
October 25. Lieutenant T. G. Ellysson and J. H. Towers on a flight in the A-1 from Annapolis to Fort Monroe, VA, to test the durability of the aircraft on cross-country flight, were forced down by a leaking radiator near Milford, VA, having covered 112 miles in 122 minutes.
December 20. Experiments with airborne wireless transmission were conducted at Annapolis by Ensign C. H. Maddox in the A-1 airplane piloted by Lieutenant Towers. The trailing wire antenna, reeled out after take-off, was found to be too weak, and no definite results were obtained.
October 6. Lieutenant J. H. Towers flying the Curtiss A-2, took off from the water at Annapolis at 6:50 a.m. and remained in the air 6 hours, 10 minutes, 35 secs, setting a new American Endurance record for planes of any type.
You will find many other entries on that site.
May 8. Washington, D.C.., Lieut. John H. Towers, head of the Naval Aviation Corps, with Ensign Godfrey de C. Chevalier as a passenger, made a remarkable flight from Washington to Annapolis today over an all-water course. The distance covered was approximately 169 miles and the actual flying time wa three hours and five minutes, so that the machine was driven at an average speed of nearly fifthy miles an hour.
The flight was made in what is known as the flying boat, a product of the Curtiss factory, which was recently added to the equipment at the aviation camp at Annapolis. The course was from the Washington navy yard, down the Potomac river and up Chesapeake Bay to the Naval Academy. The airmen maintained an average altitude of 1,700 feet.
Not until 1913 was sufficient interest aroused in the United States to warrant a contest for water craft. Under the auspices of Aero & Hydro , a Great Lakes "Reliability Cruise" was organized for the week of July 8--the course to follow the shoreline from Chicago to Detroit via the Straits of Mackinac. It was heralded as the biggest competitive aerial event of the year.
Most of the pilots who had taken up the practice of flying over water were on the entry list - a total of fifteen names. John B. R. Verplanck, an affluent sportsman from the Hudson River Valley, and his seasoned pilot, Beckwith Havens, entered a Curtiss flying boat with a 90-hp Curtiss motor, as did Charles C. Witmer, Jack Vilas, G.M. Hecksher, and Navy Lieutenant John H. Towers, Antony Jannus, Hugh Robinson, and Tom Benoist entered Benoist flying boats, each with a Hall-Scott motor of 100 hp.
Backed by philanthropist Rodman Wanamaker, a twin-engined Curtiss flying boat was designed for the Atlantic crossing. With a wingspan of 74 feet, this was the largest craft yet constructed in the United States. Lieutenant John Henry Towers of the U.S. Navy, holder of the world nonstop distance and duration records for hydroaeroplanes-- 392 miles in 6 hours 10 minutes 38 seconds -- was designated one of the pilots. He was to be accompanied by Lieutenant John Cyril Porte, an early British pilot of the Deperdussin.
8--Seaplane Division One, comprised of three NC flying boats, took off from NAS Rockaway, NY at 10:00 AM for Halifax, Nova Scotia on the first leg of a projected transatlantic flight. Commanding the Division, and the NC-3, was Commander John H. Towers. The NC-4 was commanded by Lieutenant Commander A.C. Read. The NC-1 was commanded by Lieutenant Commander P.N.L. Bellinger.
16--At about 6 pm, three NC flying boats took off from Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland, for the long overwater flight to the Azores.
17--After more than 15 hours in the air, the NC flying boats neared the Azores. At 1323 GMT, the NC-4 landed at Horta. The other NC boats were not so fortunate; both had lost their bearings in thick fog and landed at sea to determine their positions. But in landing they sustained damage and were unable to resume flight. The NC-3 drifted backwards toward the Azores and arrived at Ponta Delgada 1830 on 19 May. The NC-1 sustained additional damage in the heavy seas and was taken under tow by the Greek steamer Ionia, but the tow lines soon parted. Gridley (DD 92) then attempted to tow the NC-1 but the aircraft pulled adrift again and broke up and sank. Her entire crew was taken on board Ionia and arrived at Horta at 1230 on 18 May.
27--At 8:01 pm the NC-4 landed in the harbor at Lisbon, Portugal, completing the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by air. The only one of three NC boats to reach the Azores by air, the NC-4 arrived the afternoon of the 17th, and after a layover of 10 days, covered the last leg of the crossing to Lisbon. Lieutenant Commander A. C. Read was in command and Lieutenant E. F. Stone, USCG, Lieutenant J. L. Breese, Lieutenant (jg) W. K. Hinton, Ensign H. C. Rodd and Chief Machinist's Mate E. S. Rhoads made up the crew. The NC-4 flight terminated at Plymouth, England, on 31 May.
March 12, DISTINGUISHED GUEST TODAY -- Naval aviation was new when the earnest young man above was photographed at the controls of this strange looking craft. Today as Rear Admiral John H. Towers , chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, Washington, he is here to inspect the new Naval Air Station at Corpus Christi. He was one of the earliest officers of the navy in the Aviation Service and was commander in the first trans-Atlantic flight in 1919. He has been on aviation duty since 1911.
NAVAL HISTORICAL SOCIETY
There are a number of entries regarding John Towers on the webpage of the "Naval Historical Society". If you wish to learn more about his career, you may click on the blue highlighted title:
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Naval Aviation History
Chronology of Significant Events in Naval Aviation
Naval Aviation Chronology 1898-1916
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Additional details in:
Naval Aviation Chronology 1917-1919
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