A blast from the naval aviation past

Back in 1962, a Swedish sailing ship entered the Mediterranean Sea for a cruise.  On board were a camera crew using 70mm. film technology to record the voyage.  They filmed all sorts of extra bits and pieces, including an extended visit to the US aircraft carrier Shangri-La.

A few years ago, that film was restored and digitized, offering a high-definition view of life at sea almost 60 years ago.  Here’s the footage shot on board the USS Shangri-La.  Note the aircraft in daily use;  Skyhawks, Skyraiders, Skyrays, Crusaders, and so on.  There’s a lot less clutter and equipment on the flight deck, too.

That’s a remarkably clear film, given how old it is.  It’s held up well, even by modern digital standards – and preserved a piece of aviation history for us.



  1. Reminds me of my days on the USS Midway in the late 50's – early 60's. I took care of the SPS-8 heightfinder radar, so being up on the 07 level of the island during flights ops was normal for us ET's. Good times.

  2. If you are thinking about moving a Crusader on a flight deck you'll be the deadly enemy of clutter.

  3. Hehehe, and the A-4 and F-8 DID NOT have steerable nose wheels… That's why you see the PCs hanging on the right wingtip when the A-4 starts out of the landing area. HMS is also correct. F-8s WILL suck up anything within 20 feet at low power and a man at 40 feet at full power!

  4. It's an interesting story about how USS Shangri-La got its name.

    Right after the Doolittle raid on Tokyo, which had been launched from the carrier USS Hornet, a news reporter asked president Roosevelt where the raid had come from. Never before had Army bombers been launched from the deck of an aircraft carrier, so the president answered: "…from Shangri-La."

    Shangri-La was a fictional place from the then very popular novel and movie "Lost Horizon". Later in the war, the Navy decided to name one of its newest carriers Shangri-La in order to honor the raiders.

  5. The Crusaders seemed to get airborne in a shorter distance and more easily than the Skyrays, and did not sink below the deck after running off the end. I did not notice the deck crew helping the Skyray to turn after unhooking until reading the comments so watched the video again. Wondering about steering with the brakes as well. Great video.

  6. That's a voice I know…Burl Ives. Notice the swabbies wearing bell bottoms? My brother was in from 68-72 and they still wore bell bottoms. Not log after they started doing away with them.

  7. This brings back old memories as I was on the USS Shangri-La CVA38 in 1956-1957. I was with fighter squadron VF64 and spent 6 months on the Shangri-La in a cruise to Japan, Philippines Hong Kong and other ports.
    Donald Udy AD2.

  8. Paul Saharoff

    Spend two years on the flight deck "USS ORISCANY". Was crew leader 4 for
    Gas and Jet planes. 1959/1961. Great memories

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