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First across the Atlantic?

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I hope Steve Cartwright will forgive me for appearing to nit-pick when I point out that in his excellent

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That Lindberg was the first to fly the Atlantic solo is beyond doubt and you may well be correct when you say his flight set the pace for the future. Nevertheless the honour of the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic goes to Alcock and Brown. While they would not be the first to make the crossing, they aimed at being the first to do so without intermediate stops.Their ambition was achieved on the 14th of June, 1919 when they departed Lester

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While it is true that the "First" to cross the Atlantic in an aircraft were the team of Alcock and Brown, it has generally been accepted that it was Charles Lindbergh that did it in a fashion that truly demonstrated the future possibilities of aviation. As an example, it is generally accepted that Chris Columbus discovered America, but in fact it was the Norweigen Vikings that had sailed here many many years before. There are even some corners of study that have concluded the possibility that the Egyptians may too have completed sailing journey's to the new world as early as 1,100 BC. The Vikings accomplished their journey by hop skipping their way from Iceland, Greenland, and then finally down the Canadian eastern seaboard. Alcock & Brown (using a seaplane) managed to make it eventually to the United States, but only after several stops and several days and in a fashion not too different than the Vikings of ages before.The faster Cruise ships of that time period (1919) could and were completing the journey from England to New York in less time than what Alcock & Brown required. Now, you can say that technicially, Alcock & Brown were the first, but it was Lindbergh that was first to do it where it proved the value of aviation and set the pace for the future.Steve (Bear) Cartwright

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Whoops! What a plonker I am. It was, of course, a Vickers Vimy and not an H-P.Gavin

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SteveI hate to 'nit-pick', but I'm going to anyway ;-)Alcock and Brown didn't use a seaplane, they used a modified Handly-Page WW1 bomber and they ditched in a bog in Ireland, not the USA. I think!This in no way detracts from Lindburg's magnificent achievement. Nor from the fact that I look forward to and enjoy your monthly review!!Best regards!Gavin

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Did some further research on Alcock and Brown and this is what I found at Encarta Online:(I should also comment that my statements in response above were based on the Curtis flight, which took 3 weeks, and obviously not on the Alcock & Brown flight. I still stand behind my original comments in my Bear Picks though, because the route used by Alcock & Brown was barely half the distance flown by Charles Lindbergh and their trip ended by their crashing in Ireland. I sure don't wish to belittle the accomplishment of Alcock & Brown, particuarly considering the type of aircraft they were using and the early date they did it, but Charles Lindbergh flew between two major cities, New York and Paris, and his aircraft could just as easily have been refueled and in all likelihood would have completed a return trip! If anyone is asked today, Who flew across the Atlantic first?, the answer would invaribly be "Charles Lindbergh"!)Alcock, Sir John William (1892-1919), British aviator, the pilot of the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Alcock was born in Manchester, England. During World War I (1914-1918) he served as a pilot in Britain's Royal Naval Air Service. He was captured by the Ottomans when his plane was shot down after a bombing raid on Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) but he managed to escape.After the war, Alcock became a test pilot for the Vickers Aircraft Company. Just before the outbreak of the World War I, the London Daily Mail newspaper had offered a prize of 10,000 pounds ($46,000) to the crew of the first airplane to fly nonstop across the Atlantic. The war prevented pursuit of the prize, but immediately after the war many aircraft manufacturers took up the race in earnest.The first flight across the Atlantic was made in May 1919 in the NC-4, the fourth of a series of amphibious airplanes designed by the United States Navy and built by the Curtiss Aircraft Company. With the support of more than 200 U.S. Navy ships strung out in a line along the intended route, three NC-series planes left from Long Island, New York, bound for Plymouth, England, via the Azores Islands. Although all three planes made it to the Azores, only one was fit to continue the trip. It taxied into Plymouth Harbor three weeks after it left New York.Two weeks after the Curtiss flight, Alcock and fellow British aviator Arthur Whitten Brown launched their attempt at a nonstop crossing. Choosing a shorter, more northerly route than the Curtiss crew had taken, the two took off from St. John's, Newfoundland, on June 14, 1919, in a Vickers Vimy, a converted World War I bomber. Alcock served as pilot and Brown as navigator. They crash-landed the next day in a bog near Clifden, Ireland, after traveling 3140 km (1950 mi) in only 16 hours 27 minutes. At one point during the flight, Alcock took the plane up to 3700 m (12,000 ft) to clear a bank of fog and regain a view of the stars. Reentering the fog, he became disoriented. When the plane broke out of the clouds, it was only 15 m (50 ft) above the ocean. At other times during the flight, Alcock and Brown took turns climbing out on the wings to chip away the ice that threatened to end their flight prematurely.Soon after their historic feat, Alcock and Brown were knighted by English king George V and presented with the London Daily Mail's prize. Six months after his famous flight, Alcock died when a plane he was flying crashed on the Normandy (Normandie) coast in bad weather.Bear!

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Gavin: What a fine pair of knit-pickers we make. I gave only part of the departure in my previous posting. The Alcock and Brown flight was from Lester

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