The Forgotten Flyers

NC-4 Aircraft
An NC-4 that is on exhibit at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida.

The Forgotten Navy Flyers: Brave Airmen From Queens Were the First to Fly Across the Atlantic

Ninety years ago, eighteen brave men faced an almost impossible challenge; to be the first to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. The journey began on May 8, 1919 when they departed at 10:00 am in three huge flying boats from the Naval Air Station in Rockaway. This fateful and historic departure site is now part of Gateway National Recreation Area's Jacob Riis Park.

The crew's mission was to be the first to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.They faced formidable obstacles.

Their huge planes were made out of wood, fabric, and wires and were held together by wood screws, glue and paint. The crews were not even sure if the engines would withstand the distance that had to be covered let alone the time it would take to cross the vast ocean.

Navigation was crude and communications with the mainland almost non-existent.

But these brave men still set out to conquer the enormous span of the Atlantic Ocean. They had engine problems navigation, and horrible weather conditions. Two of the planes crashed in the Ocean, but thankfully all crew members were rescued.

One airplane made it – the NC-4.

Would you like to learn more about this historic flight? Join the rangers on May 8th at 1:00 PM to learn more about this little known great American adventure and the brave flyers who undertook it. The National Park Service will be commemorating this flight at the Visitor Center at the Jacob Riis Park Bathhouse in Rockaway, Queens.

Rangers will be showcasing a new exhibit in the gallery including a scale model of the NC-4. The Marine Academy band will be performing the National Anthem and the "NC4 March" as composed by F.E. Bigelow. You can also take a trip back in time watch the multimedia presentation called “Into the Danger Zone –The First Transatlantic Flight”.

For directions and further information, call 718 318-4300.

Last updated: March 31, 2012

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