Flying the Atlantic tells the story of the first ever transatlantic flight from Britain to America. Whilst most people are familiar with Alcock and Brown?s transatlantic flight from Canada to Ireland in June 1919, it is often forgotten that only a month later a British military crew successfully crossed the Atlantic in the other direction ? this time, unlike Alcock and Brown, going all the way from Britain to the United States.
Flying the Atlantic tells the story of the first ever transatlantic flight from Britain to America. Whilst most people are familiar with Alcock and Brown’s transatlantic flight from Canada to Ireland in June 1919, it is often forgotten that only a month later a British military crew successfully crossed the Atlantic in the other direction – this time, unlike Alcock and Brown, going all the way from Britain to the United States.
This epic flight was made in an airship, the R 34. At the time, the five engined R 34 was the largest flying machine in the world – at over 630 feet (192 m) it was equivalent in length to almost three Jumbo Jets laid end to end. The R 34 must have presented quite an extraordinary site as it arrived over New York in July 1919.
Before the R 34 landed on July 1919, one of the crew, Major Pritchard, parachuted onto Long Island - making him the first man to arrive in America by air from Britain. After spending a few days in the United States, where their feat was widely celebrated by New Yorkers, the crew made the return trip from the United States to Britain.
Flying the Atlantic – which was originally published in 1921 under the title The Log of the HMA R 34 - contains an account of the R 34’s flight, written by Edward Maitland, the most senior officer on board the flight. The account is full of interesting human details, which give a good idea of what it must have been like to be on the R 34 as it crossed the Atlantic. The trip included struggling through strong winds and an electrical storm, the discovery of two stowaways – one a cat, the other a human - and an engine failure which had to be repaired with chewing gum. Maitland’s account even records details such as the rations carried on board – which included 30 boiled eggs and 24 tins of Horlicks.
Flying the Atlantic includes a short letter from Rudyard Kipling, written to Edward Maitland, as well as a number of illustrations.
Extract from the book:
"A great cheer comes up to us as we rise into the sky and steer straight for New York, having promised to fly over the city before heading out into the Atlantic ... New York at night looks wonderful from a height of 1000 feet - miles and miles of tiny bright twinkling lights. We wonder if it is necessary to go higher than 1000 feet to avoid bumping into the "sky scrapers," so Scott puts her up to 1500 feet to be quite sure! ... The Times Square, Broadway, is a remarkable sight-we see thousands of upturned faces in spite of the early hour (1 a.m.), and the whole scene is lit up by the gigantic electrical sky signs, which seem to concentrate about this point ..."