|Eugene Ely heads down before heading up|
In any case, we are lucky that Ely, or the Navy, had someone with a camera positioned off the port side of the ship. Whoever it was had great timing, because the photo taken that day shows Ely's plane just as it plunged off the ship's bow and headed down toward the water. Apparently, the plane's wheels actually dipped into the water of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard before starting to climb. Ely shortly thereafter landed his flying machine on a nearby beach.
Because of the picture that was taken, the moment has become a piece of our collective memory, another piece of evidence of man's intrepid nature. And Ely was certainly intrepid. Perhaps a bit too much so.
|Ely the intrepid|
|Note life preserver|
|The fatal crash|