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Testing Times
Fokker D.Vll - Langley Field, 1922.
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first Air Service base built especially for air  power, and is the oldest continually active  air force base in the world. During World  war l, the US Army trained aircrews and  tested aircraft there. Several buildings had  been constructed on the field by late 1918. Aircraft on the  ramp at that time included  the JN-4 Curtis Jenny, used by Langley's  School of Aerial Photography, and the  deHavilland DH-4 bomber, both used  during World War I. In the early 1920s, Langley became the  site where a new air power concept was  tried and proven. Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell  led bombing runs from Langley by the 1st  Provisional Air Brigade over captured  German warships anchored off the coast  of Virginia and North Carolina. These first  successful tests set the precedent for the  future role and development of strategic  bombardment by air. The painting above depicts a Fokker D.VII,  taking off at Langley Field in 1922. The  Fokker D.VII was one of the best fighter  aircraft of World War I, it was a difficult  aircraft to meet in combat, even in the  hands of an average pilot. Hermann  Goering had no less than 22 kills - the last  whilst flying the D.VII.   In December, 1918 Goering was  commander of Jagdgeschwader 1, and  when ordered to surrender his D.VII’s to  the Allies, he and his pilots deliberately  damaged them on landing. The Allies were  fortunate, indeed, that the Fokker D.VII did  not arrive earlier in the war. Over 140 Fokker D.VII’s were surrendered  at the close of the war, and the Fokker  company sold more to the U.S. Air  Service. Several of which were regularly  flown and tested at Langley Field.
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Langley Field was founded in 1916, and  established after the entry of the United  States into the First World War, April 1917. Langley Field was the home of a  pioneering military air strip and the civilian  aeronautics lab of the National Advisory  Committee for Aeronautics. Together, they  transformed American aviation and  remade the once mostly pastoral town of  Hampton.  Named after Samuel Pierpoint Langley, an  aerodynamic pioneer and a former  Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.  Langley began aerodynamic experiments  in 1887 and formed a basis for practical  pioneer aviation. He built and saw the first  steam model  aeroplane in 1896  and the first gasoline  model in 1903. Both  planes were capable  of flight. He also built  the first man-carrying gasoline aeroplane  in 1903, which he  never succeed in  launching. It was,  however, flown successfully by Glenn  Curtiss during 1914. Langley Field was the
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