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Welcome To Old Airplane Pictures

This web site is dedicated to Photography Mate 1st Class Thomas Doughty and all the other Naval Aerial Photographers over the years!

Thomas Doughty Photographs

This collection of photographs belonged to Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Thomas Doughty. He was a Navy Aerial Photographer in the late 1930’s when these pictures were taken.

I can’t imagine being in a Navy Biplane, standing in the rear cockpit and leaning out over the side with such a big camera and still take a good photograph. Some of the conditions he had to contend with, vibration of the aircraft, the cold wind rushing by, turbulence and bouncing of the aircraft, and then holding the camera steady enough to take a good photograph. When you consider all these conditions, these photographs are amazing.

Many of the “Official Navy Photographs” from the late 1930’s are in this collection and I presume were taken by Mr. Doughty. I know of at least one instance where there was a picture of a couple of PBY aircraft flying in formation and two “Official Navy Photographs” were cropped from the one picture.


Pointer Dogs Squadron

Vought SBU dive bomber in the liveries of the section leaders of USS Saratoga’s “Pointer Dogs” Scouting squadron. The squadron was renumbered from VS-2B to VS-3 in the great fleet reorganization of 1937, but they kept their white tails and stayed aboard the Saratoga. Right after the redesignation they traded in their SBUs for Curtiss SBC-3s.

Indain Chiefs Squadron

Vought SBU VS-3B dive bomber of USS Lexington’s “Indian Chiefs” Scouting squadron. The squadron was renumbered from VS-3B to VS-2 in the great fleet reorganization of 1937, but they kept their yellow tails and stayed aboard the USS Lexington.

USS Langley (CV-1)

USS Langley (CV 1), converted from the collier USS Jupiter (AC 3), was placed in commission at Norfolk, Va., on 20 March 1922 as the Navy’s first aircraft carrier.

17 June 1922 — LANGLEY

Unattached until ready to relieve Aroostook; prior to proceeding to the Pacific Coast the Langley will conduct flying off and flying on experiments with operating allowance of planes previously authorized. At the earliest practicable date, proceed to San Diego and relieve Aroostook as flagship of Aircraft Squadrons Battle Fleet. Thereafter act as base for all personnel of Fighting Plane Squadron 3 until train ships, to be designated later, are equipped to receive planes; thereafter act as base for personnel of Fighting Plane Squadron 3 less sections on train ships, Observation Plane Squadron 1 less section on battleships, and Observation Squadron 3 less sections on Scout Cruisers.


Utility Aircraft

Navy Utility Aircraft

Aircraft NO.  9447  Model  JF-1                Engine Model  R-1830-62

Contractor  Grumman                             Date Stricken  30 Nov. 1939


Navy Fighter Bomber Aircraft

Curtiss BF2C-1 Fighter Bomber Aircraft

The Curtiss BF2C-1 aircraft’s primary function in the Navy was as a dive bomber and secondary as a fighter. The BF2C-1 was assigned to VB-5B “Pegasus” squadron on the USS Ranger (CV-4) Because of vibration problems this aircraft had a very short life. It was delivered to the Navy in October 1936 and withdrawn November 1937.


BFC-2 Bomber Fighter Aircraft

Curtiss BFC-2 Fighter Bomber Aircraft

In 1934, the Curtiss F11C-2 was modified with a higher turtleback supplied as a field modification, and the designation changed to BFC-2 and it was used primarely as a bomber. This ariplane was the first vertical dive bomber in Naval history. It remained in service until 1938 when it was replaced with the Vought SB2U-1. The photographs of the BFC-2 in my collection show both the VF-1B and the VB-2B “Highhat” Squadron. VF-1B was redesignated VB-2B on 1 July 1934.


Airplane Crash Photos

Every once in a while something will happen and the aircraft will crash. Part of the investigation of a crash scene is taking pictures to help the investigators in determining what happened.

When an incident like this happens, the Navy Photographer is called in to do the picture taking.


Naval Aerial Photography School

On June 30, 1923 the Navy Department sent orders for the Transfer of Photographic School from NAS Anacostia, DC to NAS, Pensacola, FL.

Thomas Doughty started school at Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL. in the middle of August, 1935. He was a student in the Naval Aerial Photography class 1-36.

The staff of the Photography School are as follows: The officer in charge and chief pilot was USMC Lt. P. A. Putnam. The chief instructor was Shuford and the assistant instructor was Pelter. The station personnel were Dominick, Mueller, Chamblin, Abrame and Roach.


Antarctic Expedition II

This collection of photographs was found in a couple of photo albums that belonged to Thomas Doughty.

The majority of these photographs, where Pelter is not in the picture, were taken by Joseph Pelter, the official Navy Aerial Photographer, chosen by Admiral Byrd to be the aerial cameraman. Joseph Pelter had a 4 x 5 Speed Graphic camera that he used to take the pictures on the ground.

After BAEII Joseph Pelter was assigned as an instructor at the Naval Photography School in Pensacola, Florida. On a “Photo Christmas Card” for the aerial photography class of 1-36, Joseph Pelter is shown as an assistant instructor. Thomas Doughty is shown as one of the students. To see the picture of the Christmas card, click the Joseph Pelter link, on the left.