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For some time Curtiss had been trying to convince the United States Navy that an airplane could takeoff and land on board ship, and knowing that a takeoff would be less hazardous than a landing, he wanted to try to accomplish that first. He finally received Naval approval and preparations were made. On November 14th Ely flew off a platform on the deck of the U.S. Cruiser "Birmingham" at anchor in Hampton Roads, landing ashore on the beach at Willoughby Spit. This notable achievement was made on a foggy miserable day when success seemed most improbable. Reportedly this first takeoff with an airplane from a ship was made with the same plane Curtiss had used on his famous flight from Albany to New York earlier that year.

Ely then flew an exhibition at Norfolk on the 15th, and was at Raleigh, [[strikethrough]] South [[/strikethrough]] North Carolina, on the 16th and 17th. He flew at Birmingham, Alabama, on November 21st and 22nd, and at Jackson, Mississippi, on the 28th and 29th. December 1st to 3rd, he was at New Orleans, with McCurdy and Ward, then at Columbia, South Carolina, with McCurdy the 7th to 10th, and Atlanta, Georgia the 15th to 18th. He was the[[strikethrough]]m[[/strikethrough]]n a contestant in the second annual Flying Meet at Dominguez Field, Los Angeles, California, on December 24--January 2, 1911. There, also on the Curtiss Team, were Curtiss, Willard, Robinson and Beachey. On the Wright Team were Hoxsey and Parmelee. From Europe were Latham and Radley. It was at this Meet that Glenn Martin made his public flying debut. Ely made second best showing of the Curtiss men.

Following this, Ely was a Curtiss contestant at an air meet at what was then Selfridge Field, San Francisco, California, January 7 - 25, 1911. Also flying there were Willard, Beachey, Robinson, Brookins, Parmelee, Latham, Radley, Fred Wisemen and Clarence Walker, in addition to a number of local amateur aviators entered in [[strikethrough]]thsl[[/strikethrough]] their events. At this meet several tests of a military nature were carried out, including bomb dropping contests, wireless experiments and similar activities. During the meet both Parmelee and Willard carried wireless sets and successfully received messages in flight instructing them to perform certain

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