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The Naval Aviation Monument in Virginia Beach is inside the Naval Aviation Monument Park. This monument was officially dedicated in 2006, by the Hampton Roads Squadron of the Naval Aviation Foundation Association.
The park also features other hero statuary. There are actually three bronze statues to look at here and the total price of this astonishing monument is $1.5 million. The intent is to show three eras of naval aviation, starting in the early 20th century, and then progressing to World War II and then to modern times.
The first statue is of Eugene Ely, who was the first aviator to fly off a ship’s deck. Next, is a WWII pilot and his crewmen who are leaving their hatch, hoping to get to an aircraft. Finally, there are two modern-day pilots, a maintenance man, and a woman with her foot on an empty cart.
Sculptor Michael Maiden designed the Virginia Beach Naval Aviation Monument. Before his sculpting career, Maiden was actually in the Army National Guard and so relied on his experience to shape the vision. Before starting this ambition project, Maiden researched the subject of naval aviation and toured Midway in San Diego. He even hired models to pose in period piece clothing. Thanks to Fred Metz of the Hampton Roads Squadron, Maiden’s work was chosen for the 2004 Virginia Beach project.
The monument features laser-etched granite storyboards, along with a tribute to aviators past and present. There is also a monument that includes the names of maintenance personnel and aircraft carriers.
You can find the Virginia Beach Naval Aviation Monument along the boardwalk, right next to another well-known statue: the Norwegian Lady Monument. The monument overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. The park containing the monument encompasses 16,000 square feet. It is located right where 25th Street and Atlantic Avenue meet.
The purpose of the Hampton Roads Squadron of the Naval Aviation Foundation Association is to support naval aviation and inform the public about naval aviation, not to mention sharing in the local community spirit. Recently, Squadron members gathered at the site of the Virginia Beach Naval Aviation Monument to lay a wreath at the park. It is as much a sentimental site as it is a site of national curiosity.
Why not come and catch a glimpse of this patriotic and historical site? Come see and appreciate aviation history in beautiful Virginia Beach, Virginia!