SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Air Forces and Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) will kick off the Centennial of Naval Aviation (CONA) at the 100th Anniversary Parade of Flight and North Island Open House, Feb. 12.
The Parade of Flight is the first of several events happening nationwide celebrating 100 years since inventor and aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss taxied his "hydroaeroplane" to the cruiser USS Pennsylvania (ACR 4), anchored in San Diego Bay, Feb. 17, 1911.
It was hoisted aboard the ship, lowered back into the water, and then Curtiss returned to North Island. This historic event, more than any other, prompted the secretary of the Navy's decision to purchase the Navy's first aircraft, the A-1 Triad.
NASNI will host an open house event welcoming military and civilians aboard. Guests will be able to stroll the runways to view historic static aircraft displays, witness the Parade of Flight, and tour the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) and the guided missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91).
The event will include a performance by the "Metal Mulisha" motorcycle stunt show, viewings of antique cars, sponsor and vendor booths, live entertainment, food and beverages, and children's activities.
Static displays will include naval aircraft from all eras and all three sea services. In addition, "Heritage Garden" will host a large number of the "retro" aircraft painted in "throwback" naval aviation paint schemes, as well as modern Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aircraft. During the morning, a replica of an A-1 Triad will taxi in San Diego Bay, courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
In the early afternoon, more than 200 naval aircraft from pre-World War II to the present, will take to the sky and participate in the aerial Parade of Flight over San Diego Bay.
This parade of flight is the first of its kind since July 1932, when 420 aircraft flew over San Diego in honor of visiting members of the National Editorial Association and other news reporters on the West Coast attending the opening of the 10th Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
"This event promises to be something that the entire San Diego region will not soon forget," said Capt. Tim Wilson, director, CONA Task Force. "It will also mark the beginning of numerous other centennial events and activities taking place all year long, nationwide."
Gates at NASNI will open at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12. Parking is limited by the physical size of the island, so car pooling and ride-sharing is encouraged. Additional public transportation is also in planning. This Celebration of Naval Aviation kickoff event is open to the public. Admission and parking are free.
For more information, please visit www.mwrtoday.com/cona.
For more news from Commander, Naval Air Forces, visit www.navy.mil/local/airpac/.