First Crossing: The 1919 Trans-Atlantic Flight of Alcock and Brown

First Crossing: The 1919 Trans-Atlantic Flight of Alcock and Brown

by Robert O Harder
First Crossing: The 1919 Trans-Atlantic Flight of Alcock and Brown

First Crossing: The 1919 Trans-Atlantic Flight of Alcock and Brown

by Robert O Harder


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The first to cross the Atlantic non-stop wasn't Charles Lindbergh, but two long-forgotten British airmen. This is their story.

On June 14-15, 1919, Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown flew their flimsy wood and fabric modified Vickers Vimy bomber from St. Johns, Newfoundland to Cliveden, Ireland-eight years before Lindbergh's epic New York to Paris flight.

Alcock & Brown's story unfolds on two levels-an action/adventure tale that reads more like fiction blended with a lay history of early technological breakthroughs that brought about the modern aviation age.

In First Crossing, we follow the two Royal Air Force officers from their separate upbringings in Manchester, England through terrifying Great War aerial combat. Both would be shot down and become prisoners of war. While incarcerated, both independently dreamed and schemed of a way to win Lord Northcliffe's £10,000 prize for the first non-stop Trans-Atlantic crossing.

At war's end, in an incredible moment of serendipity, they chanced to meet for the first time at Vickers Aviation near London and discovered their mutual interest in the race. Alcock needed an over-ocean navigator; Brown needed a pilot-what proved to be an ideal marriage. Through a combination of luck and their competitor's bad fortune, Alcock and Brown launched themselves into aviation immortality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620068762
Publisher: Sunbury Press, Inc.
Publication date: 04/19/2022
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.55(d)

About the Author

Robert O. Harder has much in common with his subjects. Like Captain John Alcock he was a multi-engine (piston/propeller) pilot-as well as an instrument-rated commercial pilot. As with Lieutenant Ted Brown, he was an Air Force navigator. Like both men, he has flown heavy bomber combat missions over the ocean using dead reckoning and celestial navigation (sextant).Harder was an Air Force ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate, commissioned in 1966 at the University of Minnesota, Duluth as a Regular Air Force Second Lieutenant. A set of slightly myopic eyes set him on a course to Mather AFB, California, where he won his Navigator wings. He was assigned to Navigator-Bombardier (Radar) Training, which included a four-week Special Weapons (Hydrogen Bombs) School. During the Cold War, he served in the 306th Bomb Wing of the Strategic Air Command flying nuclear training sorties and standing Pad Alert. Harder flew 145 combat missions as a B-52D Stratofortress Navigator-Bombardier during the Vietnam/Southeast Asian War. Decorations include the Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with V (Valor).A retired retail executive and real estate investor, Harder is a freelance writer. He has authored a four-volume regional history of northern Minnesota, over a half-dozen aviation/military history articles, and five short stories-several of which won awards. This is his third published book about aviation history. He and his wife, Dee Dee, live in Chicago and at their summer cabin on Big Sandy Lake, Minnesota.
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