Fire and water attend the birth of a new sea fighter | National Geographic Magazine, vol. 104, 1953


The Convair-built Navy Sea Dart is the world's first hydro-ski, delta-wing seaplane. Hydro-ski landing gear operates on the same principle as the water skis used by sportsmen. While taxiing slowly, the airplane floats on its fuselage, with skis submerged. As speed picks up, it rises and planes on the relatively thin, curved slats of retractable gear.

Developed by Convair utilizing NACA research, the Sea Dart was tested as a model in the towing tanks at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory in Virginia. There Dr. Dryden and John B. Parkinson watch a towing test.

To test the plane's behavior at extremely high speeds, models attached to the heads of rockets were fired at Wallops Island off the Virginia capes, 125 miles from Kitty Hawk where man first flew.

Larger research models, powered with jet engines and controlled by radio, were built and flown by Convair.