NPS Honors The Forgotten Rockaway Flyers
Ninety years ago this week, on May 8, 1919, eighteen Navy aviators took off in three huge flying boats from Naval Air Station Rockaway, which was located on the site where Jacob Riis Park is located today.
Their mission was to be the first to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Using aircraft that would be considered crude by today's standards, the aviators made the brave attempt.
Two of the planes failed to make the entire trip, but the NC4 ("N" for Navy, "C" for the Curtiss Company that built the flying boats) completed the multileg journey on May 31, landing at Plymouth, England.
Most people, of course, think of the 1927 non-stop, solo flight of Charles Lindbergh as the "real" first flight across the Atlantic, but the historic fact is that some Navy pilots crossed "the big pond," several years earlier.
The National Park Service will commemorate the flight today, May 8, with a multi-media presentation entitled, "Into the Danger Zone - The First Transatlantic Flight," at the Jacob Riis Bathhouse at 1 p.m.
The park will also open a new exhibit in the visitor center gallery that chronicles the flight of the NC-4.