TRANS-ATLANTIC FLIGHT. Up to May 1919 the aerial passage of the Atlantic Ocean was a surmise with a hope of early suc cess, because its possibilities had been worked out, in theory, as beyond a peradventure. The American navy had several sea-planes trained for the endeavor; Capt. Harry Hawker had landed his British Sopwith biplane parts at Mount Pearl, four miles west of Saint Johns, Newfoundland, already on 4 March. On 5 April Captain Raynham and Major Morgan had left Liverpool, England, with their Martin syde aeroplane and arrived at Saint Johns, Newfoundland. The British authorities had tested their ((dirigibles') and R-34 was expected to sail very shortly.
On 16 May three United States navy sea planes (NC-1, NC-3 and NC-4) started, from Trepassy Bay, Newfoundland, Europeward with the Azores in view as first landing stage. NC-4 arrived at Horta, Azores Islands, on 17 May under Commander A. C. Read. He had started from Trepassy at 6:07 P.M. 16 May and arrived at Horta 17 May at 9:25 a.m., having accomplished the distance of 1,200 nautical miles in 15 hours and 18 minutes, at a speed of 81.7 knots per hour. NC-1, under Lieut. Commander P. N. L. Bellinger, got caught in a fog just short of the mark and had to be towed to Horia, where the plane sank. NC-3, under Commander J. H. Towers, was at first supposed to have been lost, no word arriving as to his whereabouts or existence. But he also had suffered from the fog and, after 48 hours, managed to get to Ponta Delgada under his own power. NC-4, on 20 May, continued its flight to Ponta Delgada, leaving at 8:40 A.M. and ar riving at 10:24 P.M., accomplishing a flight of 150 nautical miles in 1 hour 44 minutes, a speed of :: knots per hour; on 27 May the trip from Ponta Delgada to Lisbon was made in 9 hours 43 minutes at a speed of 81.3 knots per hour for the 800 miles; on 30 May Lisbon to Mondego River was negotiated, a distance of 100 nautical air miles, in 1 hour 20 minutes; Mondego River to Ferrol, 220 miles, was the next stage accomplished the same day in 3 hours 7 minutes. On 31 May the final stage,
from Ferrol to Plymouth, was accomplished in 6 hours 59 minutes, a distance of 476 miles. Thus the first passage over the Atlantic from the start at Rockaway to Plymouth, a distance of 3,936 nautical miles, was completed in 59 hours 56 minutes flying time. United States destroyers were distributed along the ocean course to give assistance if necessary.
NC-4 Construction.— The extraordinary size of the NC flying boats and their general make-up was due to Rear-Adm. D. W. Tay lor, chief constructor of the navy. The title NC stands for Naval Curtiss and they were constructed for war purposes. The NC-4 has beneath the flying apparatus a strong sea worthy boat adapted for rough water. The hull is 45 feet long with 10 feet beam. Bottom is a double plank _with It is divided by bulkheads into six water-tight compartments, the front one having a cockpit for lookout and navigator. Wings are 12 feet long, weighing but 26 ounces each. There are four Liberty engines of 400 brake horse power per engine and minimum power 1,600 horse power. One of the engines is mounted with a tractor propeller each side of centre line; one engine is mounted on centre line and two others are mounted tandem. The front engine actuates a tractor propeller, the rear engine drives a pusher propeller. It was a new system. Control apparatus was the same as on small aeroplanes. The metal fittings were of special alloy steel, having 150,000 pounds tensile strength per square inch. This permitted much weight reduction. The gasoline tanks (nine of 200 gallons each) were of sheet aluminum, the seams welded; each tank weighed 70 pounds. With its load the machine weighed 28,000 pounds and empty but entire 15,000 pounds. Dimension in length is 60 feet 554 inches; height 24 feet inches. Personnel of NC-4 was: Commanding officer, Lieut-Com mander A. C. Read; pilots, Lieuts. E. F. Stone and Walter Hinton; radio operator, Ensign H. C. Rodd; engineer, Chief Machinist's Mate E. S. Rhodes.