Who was Daniel Weitzenfeld? If you have anything to do with Naval Aviation, you should be thankful for this:

USS Midway (April 1971)

epecially in light of the way things used to be:

midway-1952

Why angled flight decks are good (note landing F6F)

From the Washington Post:

Daniel Weitzenfeld, 90; Navy Innovator
Tuesday, May 13, 2008; Page B08

Daniel Kehr Weitzenfeld, 90, a retired Navy rear admiral who was involved with the “angled deck” innovation on U.S. aircraft carriers, died of cardiopulmonary failure at the Jefferson, a retirement community in Arlington County. He was a former McLean resident.

He served aboard the cruiser Boise and the destroyer Craven before receiving his wings in 1942. He served with a bombing squadron in World War II and the Korean War.

As assistant director of the Ship Installations Division for the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics in the early 1950s, he helped with implementing the angled deck, a Royal Navy innovation that accommodated the higher landing speeds of jets. The configuration, also known as the “skewed deck,” allowed for simultaneous launch and recovery.

Although the British received credit for the angled deck, Adm. Weitzenfeld claimed in a 2000 letter to the editor of Smithsonian Air & Space magazine that “the British had absolutely nothing to do with the American aircraft carriers’ angled deck! Nothing!”

Adm. Weitzenfeld recalled that he persuaded his boss to allow him to paint an angled deck on the aircraft carrier Midway and had an air group make touch-and-go landings. “The fleet pilots indicated that the flying and landing part was outstanding,” he said.

This too – especially for those familiar with the foibles of the hydraulic cats:

Adm. Weitzenfeld also was involved with the introduction of the steam catapult on aircraft carriers…

Those two improvements are credited, in no small measure, with the substantial reduction in the mishap rate during the late 50’s/early 60’s (along with other changes like the NATOPS program). So if you wear (or have worn) wings of gold and count your experience by number of traps, hoist one in memory and recognition of Dan Weitzenfeld’s contribution to ensuring your lengthened lifespan…

1 Comment

  1. kathy rose

    Admiral Weitzenfeld was my father and he did indeed design the angled deck.

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