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The airplane is a distinctly American invention, though initially regarded as entertainment or a toy for the wealthy. By 1913 Europe had taken the lead in aviation, developing the aircraft as a weapon.
The start of WWI on April 6, 1917 brought new significance to aviation. In 1917, the Navy decided to produce and control it’s own supply of aircraft. The Naval Aircraft Factory (NAF) was built at a cost of $900,000.00.
The Navy felt the need to establish quality and price controls, while meeting the specific requirements of the military. The NAF would be at the forefront of aircraft development and testing while being the only factory to produce both engines and airframes.
The factory employed 2,000 workers, up to 24 percent were women. The NAF built the rugged and dependable N3N trainer shown here. The N3N served during WWII on nearly every naval training field.