Lindbergh, then a 25-year old U.S. Air Mail pilot, emerged from virtual obscurity to almost instantaneous world fame as the result of his Orteig Prize-winning solo non-stop flight on May 20–21, 1927, from Roosevelt Field located in Garden City on New York’s Long Island to Le Bourget Field in Paris, France, a distance of nearly 3,600 statute miles, in the single-seat, single-engine monoplane Spirit of St. Louis. Lindbergh, a U.S. Army reserve officer, was also awarded the nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his historic exploit.
The Wright brothers historic first powered flight on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk North Carolina. Wilbur won the coin toss for the first trial but does a belly flop and loses his turn to Orville. After take- off he flew for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet.
During the 1920s, barnstorming became one of the most popular forms of entertainment. It was also the first major form of civil aviation in the historyof flight. For many pilots and stunt people, barnstorming provided an exciting and invigorating way to make a living, not to mention a challenging outlet for their creativity and showmanship.
From August 8, 1908, through January 2, 1909, Wilbur Wright made over a hundred flights like this one at Auvours military field in France. While he was there he won the Michelin prize of twenty thousand francs for staying in the air for almost two and a half hours.
After Lindbergh’s transatlantic crossing, daring aviators in search of money and fame sought to be the first to cross the pacific. Many lost their lives in the process. In this Travelair 5000 named the Woolaroc, Art Goebel and William Davis won what became known as the Dole Air Race from Oakland California to Honolulu in August 1927.
During the 1920’s and 30’s Frank Hawks was known as a record breaking aviator, setting 214 speed records in the United States and Europe. On June 2, 1933 he flew this Northrop Gamma 2A “Sky Chief” sponsored by Texaco from Los Angeles to New York in a record 13 hours, 26 minutes, and 15 seconds. A popular saying at the time was: “Don’t send it by mail…send it by Hawks”.
Captain John Alcock and Lietenant A.W. Brown of Britain in a Vickers Vimy bomber make the first transatlantic flight of 1,960 miles nonstop from Newfoundland to Ireland in 16 hours, 12 minutes. June 14/15 1919
Although Lindbergh was the first to fly nonstop from New York to Paris, he was not the first aviator to complete a transatlantic flight in a heavier-than-air aircraft. That had been done first in stages between May 8 and May 31, 1919, by the crew of the Navy-Curtiss NC-4 flying boat which took 24 days to complete its journey from Jamaica Bay at Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, to Plymouth, England, via Halifax, Nova Scotia, Trepassey Bay (Newfoundland), Horta (Azores) and Lisbon, Portugal.