This site was acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II from the
Brewster Aircraft Corporation; it served as a strategic locale for
weapons development and testing of modern aircraft. Later, it was a training facility for America’s Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs.
JOHNSVILLE NAVAL AIR DEVELOPMENT
Following the United States entry into World War II in 1941, the US Navy
acquired these facilities from the Brewster Aircraft Corporation. By 1947,
the facility was converted into the US Naval Air Development Station; an
independent facility under the US Navy und the Bureau of Aeronautics. This
new designation assigned the facility mission to perform development
functions in the fields of aviation electronics, pilotless aircraft and aviation
armament. In addition the Aviation Medical Acceleration Laboratory was
added to pursue research on the effects of high performance aircraft on pilots
and the world’s largest human centrifuge was installed in 1952; this device
would prove invaluable as America expanded its space program. By 1955,
the site became known us the Johsnville Naval Air Development Center.
In addition, to the development of a series o modern naval aircraft,
Johnsville proved itself a vital role as part of America‘s Space Program. The
X-15. and the Project Mercury, Gemini and Apollo Program personnel and
astronauts, including John Glenn & Neil Armstrong, all trained at this
facility. The astronauts heavily utilized the facilities and equipment at
Johnsville which played an important role in America‘s quest to put a man on
I mentioned already the Johnsville Centrifuge & Science Museum
has opened around the corner. I love the place, so stop by and check it out. Its web site is: (visit link
) At the time of publishing this the cost is free, but a donation is accepted.