On March 20, 1922, the 11,500-ton Langley was commissioned into the U.S. Navy as America’s first aircraft carrier. Langley was not regarded as a beautiful ship. Her flight deck was 533 feet long and 64 feet wide with an open-sided hanger deck, inspiring the nickname ‘the Old Covered Wagon.’ Under the leadership of Commander Kenneth Whiting, Langley served as a base for reconnaissance aircraft and a laboratory to develop new procedures for launching and recovering planes, such as the use of cross-deck arresting wires to brake incoming aircraft. This photograph shows a Douglas DT-2 airplane taking off from her flight deck.
Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center