Here in this great museum stands on exhibit the first aircraft to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The aerial voyage of the NC-4 covered thousands of miles over the expanse of open water, but is here where it and the crewmen who made that flight are honored.
In May of 1919 just months after the end of World War One, the US Navy made the crossing. The plans were finalized before the war ended as well as the aircraft were built for the effort.
The large cash prizes which had been offered to anyone who could cross the Atlantic before the war were reinstated. The US Navy would make the attempt without applying for any of the prizes as they said, “the immortal glory of being the first is enough for the United States Navy”.
There were 4 of the “Nancy” boats which set off from Newfoundland. The term nancy coming from the designation NC. The Navy had stationed a ship every 50 miles across the ocean, and the flying boats navigated from ship to ship, and able to “land” on the water to refuel.
Of the four that set out, only the NC-4 completed the journey, the others were forced down with mechanical problems and from weather. One of them having to taxi nearly across 200 miles of open water to a safe harbor.
The first harbor reached was in the Azores and then a flight to Lisbon, where the crews were met with wild celebrations. Finally on to Plymouth, England completing the journey.
The total time was nearly 11 days.
Among the crewmen of the NC-4, was Elmer Fowler Stone assigned from the US Coast Guard,who is USCG Pilot Number One.
This is the first aircraft to ever cross any ocean. One month later Alcock and Brown crossed non-stop. Charles Lindbergh’s flight came 8 years later.