2009-12-18 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Aftermath of the Atlantic Crossing by Air-US Navy
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

s faithful followers of Historical Views will recall, the US Navy aviation

branch was the first to fly aircraft over the Atlantic Ocean to England.

The flight was performed in May of 1919 and was accomplished by a flight of Navy/Curtiss seaplanes designated as NC-1, NC-3, and NC-4. The latter did finish the flight to Bristol, England but the other two were forced down by some heavy weather and fog. NC-1 was taken in tow by a freighter nearby to the landing site and the crew was taken aboard. The heavy seas which prevented a takeoff by NC-1 caused it to take the deep six. The crew of the NC-3, however, sailed their disabled and weather-beaten seaplane to the place called Ponta Delgada in the Azores, a group of islands off the coast of Spain. This feat was accomplished in the best traditions of the US Navy.

Today's view was taken on May 21, 1919 at Ponta Delgada and shows the NC-3 under repair. Lower wing damage is readily noticeable.

The two downed crews joined the crew of NC-4 in England for the official greeting and ceremonies. Both planes were packed up and loaded onto a ship for the trip back to the states, along with the naval aviators that performed an American first. They also led the way for the later creation of the Atlantic corridor, which airlines still fly to Europe today.

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