Clarence Chamberlin
Clarence Chamberlin
Collection of Tim Gould, 5-31-06
Clarence Chamberlin
  Col. Chamberlin's "Miss Columbia", first plane to fly the Atlantic with a passenger - New York-Berlin, June 4, 5 and 6th, 1927 - 3927 miles in 43 hours, 31 minutes. Col. Chamberlin is now manufacturing planes and war material and training thousands of men and women for top pay Victory jobs.  
Clarence Chamberlin
Clarence Chamberlin
Collection of Timothy J. Gould
Gould Auction Company
947 Village Rd.
Smithfield, ME 04978
Phone -362-6045

Chamberlin Memorabilia
via email from Tim Gould, 5-31-06
Hello Ralph,
A GREAT website indeed!! Thanks for your efforts!! I am attaching a photo of Clarence Chamberlin (I have several others) that is amongst a wonderful Chamberlin collection that we will be selling in our next auction (date yet to be determined) here at Gould Auction Company. Our website is You are welcome to use this photo on your website and please keep watch for more photos of Chamberlin along with several items that were presented to him upon the completion of his famous flight. Included in the collection is a very large German (.800 silver) bowl presented to him by the German government inscribed "Dem Bezwinger des Ozeans.....Herrn Chamberlin... ...ihrem ehrenburger.....zum Andenken andie Landung...bei Cottbus am 6 Junis 1927....gewidmet bonder Stadt Cottbus" (could you translate this???). A Sterling silver pin presented to him by the Austrian Aviators Association inscribed "Presented with Highest Esteem to the Conqueror of the Air"; a 1927 bronze medal presented by the German government comemmorating his flight; a Sterling silver plate presented to him by Air Associates in 1959 and other jewelry. The photos are superb so please look for them on our website in the next few days and weeks. Please find a neat postcard included in the collection with a hand written message from Chamberlin on the back. Thanks again for your fine website.....we enjoyed the history lesson thoroughly.
Best regards,
Tim Gould

Clarence Chamberlin
Chamberlin's Wright-Bellanca WB-2
Photo Courtesy of Roy Nagl
Ancient Aviators Website
     In the spring of 1927, three planes gathered at the best field in America, the Roosevelt-Curtiss complex on Long Island. Byrd, in his repaired Fokker, made last minute adjustments in the early days of May. Charles Levine's powerful Wright-Bellanca WB-1, Columbia/NX-237, proved it could endure the time barrier of an ocean flight when Clarence Chamberlin and Bert Acosta kept it aloft for fifty-one hours over Roosevelt Field. But the ocean may have seemed a more formidable barrier than the clock, and Levine was still puttering with the plane and arguing with his pilots when Charles Lindbergh arrived on May 12.
From Getting Off the Ground by George Vecsey & George C. Dade,
E. P. Dutton, 1979
Clarence Chamberlin
Chamberlin's Wright-Bellanca WB-2
Photo Courtesy of Roy Nagl
Ancient Aviators Website

via email from Louis Keefer, 11-3-05
     When I was ten or possibly eleven years old. living in Wheeling, WV, my father took me over to the grass field at Yorkville, OH, just across the Ohio River from Warwood, a northern suburb of Wheeling, to take my first-ever airplane ride with the famed Clarence Chamberlin in one of the two Curtiss Condors he had bought used from Eastern Airlines when they were phased out.This would have been either in 1935 or 1936. As I understand it he barnstormed the USA offering rides to one and all for $5 a shot; he is alleged to have given their first airplane rides to more people than any other man in history.
     I remember that old Condor fairly well. It had biplane stabilizers and twin rudders mounted in a box-like arrangement. Twin engine biplane, carried about 12-15 passengers I think. On takeoff we sort of angled out over the Ohio River and with each little bump I felt like oh-my-god the wings are going to fall off. We flew south 7 or 8 miles, did a shallow figure-eight over downtown Wheeling, flew back and landed. Maybe fifteen minutes altogether. My dad gave me the window seat and to see the city far below me was a thrill I've never forgotten. Needless to say, I was hooked on aviation forever.
     By the way, my last book was titled, From Maine to Mexico: With America's Private Pilots in the Fight Against Nazi UBoats. I don't have any left for sale or giveaway, but you can find a copy for reading through your local library. A few of the pilots I interviewed may have been Early Birds. In any case I think you'd enjoy reading about the old Wacos and Fairchilds and Stinsons they used to patrol our coastal waters in 1942-43..
All the best.

World-class aviator and a four-year-old stowaway
Clarence Chamberlin:
The man who would be Lindbergh

by Ken Brooks
     "Charles Lindbergh earned everlasting fame for being first to fly non-stop across the Atlantic, on May 20, 1927. The second pilot to accomplish that feat--Clarence Chamberlin,who has a Panama City connection--has been largely forgotten. But for an untimely legal dispute, in fact, Chamberlin would have beaten Lindbergh across the Atlantic and into the history books."
     To read the rest of this article, which the author, Ken Brooks, has graciously shared with us, click in the title above.

gives No. 2 aviator P.C. link
     Back in January, 2003, I found this very interesting article on The News Herald website. It was featured in their "Bay Book" section and reported a unique incident which occurred during his visit to Panama City, Florida in 1937.
     Unfortunately, today, (11-4-05), as I was updating the Chamberlin webpage, I discovered that the link had become obsolete. Luckily, I had made a copy of the original article and you may still enjoy it by clicking on the title above.

via email from Jim Wilson, 8-26-06
     I saw your article on Chamberlin and I just wanted to tell you a personal story about him. My father, American born, had a job in Warsaw Poland from 1925 to 1930. He was the chief accountant for an American construction company who had a contract with the Polish government to build water and sewage systems in many of the larger cities of Poland. I was born there in 1928. My father talked about Chamberlin and his meeting with him. In 1927 Chamberlin flew with a passenger to Berlin in an attempt to better Lindy's record. His plane was impounded at the Berlin airport for non-payment of gas charges. In the middle of the night he and his passenger broke into the hanger, pushed it out and flew to Warsaw. They were entertained at the the American embassy, which apparently was not recognizing the restrictions of prohibition because my father was invited to a party with a number of Americans living in Warsaw and from what I have heard they had a great evening with Chamberlin.
     Now, fast forward to about 1938. My father had lost his job with the construction company and had found another one. We were living in Baltimore. There was an article in the paper about Chamberlin coming to the airport and rides would be available. My dad remembered him and we went there. Mom, dad, me, now about nine and my sister about 3. My dad bought tickets for me and my mother. He held my sister and stayed on the ground. The plane was not the one that he flew the Atlantic in, but was a multi-engine with Amoco painted on the side. It held maybe a dozen passengers. While my mother and I were in the plane waiting for Chamberlin to board, an announcement was made on the loudspeaker. We were told that Chamberlin would be delayed because he had met an old acquaintance from Warsaw. That was my dad. They talked for a few minutes. When Chamberlin walked past us my mother told him that it was her husband he was talking to and I think he gave us a longer than normal flight. The flight was exciting. I remember very well watching the exhaust pipes turn every color of the spectrum, in fact I remember that better than the scenery. The plane was a horrible old crate with wires going every which way holding things together. Just thought I'd add to the store of knowledge on Chamberlin.
Jim Wilson
Editor's Note: I am so very grateful to Jim for sharing his memories with us. I just love to receive stories such as this and add them to the pages of the pioneers.

via email from Jim Wilson, 8-29-06
     Ralph, thanks for putting me on your site. By the way, Levine was Jewish. Flying to Berlin was not really a smart idea for him at that time. The nazis were starting their persecution of the Jews. As an American he was probably safe, but it show how little anyone in the US knew about what was going on in Germany. My folks saw some of it on their trips to Berlin. They saw men training with wooden rifles, the brownshirt, the blackshirts, etc. .
     Another story not related to Chamberlin is that my father flew commercial from Warsaw to Prague and back one time in about 1926. My sister now has the postcard with a picture of the plane. The pilot sat outside in a cockpit, behind a windshield. The passengers were inside. My father wrote to his mother in Brooklyn about the flight. He said that it was a great way to travel and was the way it was going to be in the future. He said that he got to sit outside with the pilot for a while too. The plane went about 90 miles per hour.
Jim Wilson

Happy Foursome Take Swift
Journey From New York, Here
Clarence Chamberlin
       Clarence D. Chamberlin, famous Atlantic flyer, aiding Lee Clark,
New York showgirl, from the cabin of his Crescent monoplane, following
their arrival at the Buffalo Airport Saturday afternoon. Below are
Michael Gregor, Russian Plane designer and Mary Ellen Tremaine, "fly-
ing schoolma'm," who also accompanied Chamberlin on his cross-state
       One of America's greatest fliers, who flew a single-motored monoplane from New York far into Germany, was a visitor in Buffalo Saturday.
     It was Clarence D. Chamberlin.
     Chamberlin dropped on the Buffalo Airport runways at 3:40 p. m. to make a hurried visit to the Buffalo aviation show in Broadway auditorium and to spend a few moments with Major R. H. Fleet, president of the Consolidated Aircraft corporation, who invited the intrepid flyer to Buffalo.
     Possibilities were that Chamberlin would negotiate with Major Fleet for the purchase of several Consolidated modesl for use in his contemplated training schools.
     He was accompanied on his cross-state flight Saturday by Michael Gregor, famous Russian aviator and his chief assistant; Mary Ellen Tremaine, flying "school ma'am," of East Orange, N. J., and Lee Clark, New York show girl.
     The party traveled in a Crescent monoplane, powered with a 300-horsepower Wright J-6 motor. The craft was designed by Gregor and built in Chamberlin's factory in New York.
     Chamberlin has been flying all over the Eastern states during the last few weeks in the interests of his proposed string of flying schools, the first of which opened in Norfolk,k Va., recently.
     Thursday he flew from New York to Washington personally to invite President and Mrs. Hoover to attend the Aviation ball in New York. Friday he delivered a new Crescent plane to a Philadelphia training school.
Collection of SallieGerry Adamson, 2-12-07

     If you search for "Clarence Chamberlin", using the Google search engine, (11-4-05), you will find about 439 links!


     To visit his entry on this site, first click on National Aviation Hall of Fame to go to the homepage. Next, highlight and click on "Enshrinees List" at the lower left corner of the page. You will find an alphabetical listing of all enshrinees on this page. Then highlight and click on his name.
Use your "BACK" button to return to this site.

Charlie Levine and his flying machine
The saga of the first transatlantic air passenger
By Herb Geduld
     As we have seen, it was Clarence Chamberlin who crossed the Atlantic carrying a passenger, only weeks after Lindbergh had made his crossing. The passenger was Charles Levine, who owned the Bellanca and arranged the flight. On this page you will find a complete story of this almost forgotten pioneer, the first man to cross the Atlantic as a passenger. You can access the site by clicking on the title above..

     You will find a beautiful photograph of the AMOCO biplane which Jim Wilson flew in, as described in his "Personal Recollections" above. When I found this photograph, for sale on the Scripophily website, I sent a copy to Jim for his comments. Here is what he responded:

     "All I can say is that I think it is the same plane that I rode in. I remember all the wires between the wings. We were sitting near the forward of the center and that is where I watched the exhaust pipes as they turned different colors. Frankly, it did not give the feeling of a very safe airplane and I doubt if today anything like that would be approved for passengers.
      The other thing is that in all I have read, I see no reference to his "escape" from Berlin and his flight to Warsaw.
Glad to hear my info was of interest to you.
Jim Wilson "

     You can see a photo of the plane by clicking on the title above. In addition, you will find a very comprehensive biography of Clarence on the page. Included is a brief mention of his experiences in Germany.

You will find a reference to Clarence on the AeroFiles website. Included are several photos of his planes.You can visit that reference by clicking on:
Clarence Chamberlin
You may want to use the "Find" function on "Chamberlin"

Clarence died in 1976

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