June 8, 2006 – Reston, Virginia –The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) June 12 will designate Naval Air Station Patuxent, Maryland, as a Historic Aerospace Site.
Commissioned in 1943, the Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River is the only Navy installation dedicated to research, development, test and evaluation of Naval aircraft. It was established by the Navy to consolidate disparate aircraft test and evaluation efforts into one centralized location.
The Naval Air Test Center (NATC) was established in 1945 and the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School (USNTPS) was established at NAS in 1958. During the early years of the Cold War, the mission of NATC focused on testing Naval aircraft and supporting the Naval Air Transport Service. Today Pax River is home to the Naval Air Systems Command, the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, USNTPS and nearly 50 other tenant commands.
Station Commanding Officer Capt. Zachary Henry and Tom Milnes, AIAA Region I director, will unveil a plaque commemorating the historical significance of the site to the aerospace profession and the public.
AIAA established the Historic Aerospace Sites Program in January 2000 to promote the preservation of, and the dissemination of information about, significant accomplishments made in the aerospace profession. In addition to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, other sites recognized by the AIAA Historic Sites Committee include the original Bendix Aviation Company in Teterboro, New Jersey; the Boeing Red Barn, Seattle, Washington; Kitty Hawk, North Carolina; the site of the first balloon launch in Annonay, France; and Tranquility Base on the moon.
AIAA advances the state of aerospace science, engineering, and technological leadership. Headquartered in suburban Washington, D.C., the Institute serves over 35,000 members in 65 regional sections and 79 countries. AIAA membership is drawn from all levels of industry, academia, private research organizations, and government. For more information, visit www.aiaa.org.