This Day In Aviation History – Feb 13th 1917

This Day In Aviation History – Feb 13th 1917

Francis Thomas Evans, Sr. (3 June 1886 – 14 March 1974) was a pioneer aviator. He was one of the earliest United States Marine Corps aviators and the first person to perform a loop in seaplane and a pioneer of stall and spin recovery techniques. Evans was born in Delaware, Ohio, on 3 June 1886. He became one of the earliest United States Marine Corps aviators, being designated Marine Aviator Number 4.

By early 1917, Evans was the most experienced Curtiss N-9 floatplane pilot in the world. Although the consensus among aviators and even the N-9 ’​s manufacturer was that the N-9 could not be looped, Evans believed it was possible. On February 13th 1917 he flew an N-9 over the Gulf of Mexico off Pensacola Florida and began attempts to loop it. He succeeded on his fourth try becoming the first person ever to loop a seaplane. Lacking witnesses, he flew over Naval Air Station Pensacola and repeated the feat. In 1936 he received the Distinguished Flying Cross for this achievement.

During World War I, Evans was stationed in the Azores in 1918 in command of a seaplane squadron. Evans took actions after the 29 June 1925 earthquake in Santa Barbara California, to help save the city from fire, for which he received a letter of commendation from the United States Secretary of the Navy and a resolution from the City of Santa Barbara.

The Marine Corps lacked any kind of ambulance aircraft in the 1920s and early 1930s, so Evans came up with a way of housing a stretcher and a medical attendant aboard a modified Douglas P2D-1 patrol floatplane, and the Marine Corps used the modified aircraft in support of its occupation duties in Haiti and Santo Domingo. Francis Thomas Evans, Sr. a true American aviation hero!

Francis Thomas Evans, Sr.

Photo (L) Francis T. Evans USMC – Artwork (R) NAS Whiting Field – T-6, Pensacola, FL

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