The Navy Curtiss NC4, the first plane to fly the Atlantic in 1919
National Air Museum, Smithsonian Institution
NC-4 in flight
From Maurice Holland's Architects of Aviation
8--     Seaplane Division One, comprised of three NC flying boats, took off from NAS Rockaway, NY at 10:00 AM for Halifax, Nova Scotia on the first leg of a projected transatlantic flight. Commanding the Division, and the NC-3, was Commander John H. Towers. The NC-4 was commanded by Lieutenant Commander A.C. Read. The NC-1 was commanded by Lieutenant Commander P.N.L. Bellinger.
16--     At about 6 pm, three NC flying boats took off from Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland, for the long overwater flight to the Azores.
17--     After more than 15 hours in the air, the NC flying boats neared the Azores. At 1323 GMT, the NC-4 landed at Horta. The other NC boats were not so fortunate; both had lost their bearings in thick fog and landed at sea to determine their positions. But in landing they sustained damage and were unable to resume flight. The NC-3 drifted backwards toward the Azores and arrived at Ponta Delgada 1830 on 19 May. The NC-1 sustained additional damage in the heavy seas and was taken under tow by the Greek steamer Ionia, but the tow lines soon parted. Gridley (DD 92) then attempted to tow the NC-1 but the aircraft pulled adrift again and broke up and sank. Her entire crew was taken on board Ionia and arrived at Horta at 1230 on 18 May.
27--     At 8:01 pm the NC-4 landed in the harbor at Lisbon, Portugal, completing the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by air. The only one of three NC boats to reach the Azores by air, the NC-4 arrived the afternoon of the 17th, and after a layover of 10 days, covered the last leg of the crossing to Lisbon. Lieutenant Commander Albert C. Read was in command and Lieutenant E. F. Stone, USCG, Lieutenant J. L. Breese, Lieutenant (jg) W. K. Hinton, Ensign H. C. Rodd and Chief Machinist's Mate E. S. Rhoads made up the crew. The NC-4 flight terminated at Plymouth, England, on 31 May.
From the Naval Historical Society

Commander Towers
Library of Congress Collection

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