. By 1880, only a handful of antiquated ships were in commission, and the aerial program was anemic and underfunded. Indeed, many private American shipyards had produced more ships for export than constituted the entire US Navy.
Under the 1883 "New Navy" Authorization Act (March 3, 1883), the US Congress set aside funding to construct several sea-going ships and some “preliminary” flying ships. Notably, Naval Secretary Hunt’s proposal for a flying Cruiser had been approved.