|BCFL05||100th Anniversary of the First Non-Stop Transatlantic Flight||£15.00||Limited Availability|
Issue Date: 15/06/2019
Issue Name: 100th Anniversary of the First Non-Stop Transatlantic Flight
Producer: Buckingham Covers
British Aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown made the first non-stop transatlantic flight in June 1919 - leaving from St. John's, Newfoundland on the 14th June, they flew their Vickers Vimy, arriving in Connemara, County Galway at 8:40am on the 15th.
John Alcock was born in Old Trafford, England, in 1892 and his interest in flying was sparked in his late teens. In November 1912 he qualified as a pilot and regularly took part in competitions at Hendon throughout 1913/14. He served as a military pilot during WWI, during which he was shot down and taken prisoner in Turkey. After the war he took up the challenge of the Transatlantic Crossing.
Arthur Whitten Brown was born in Glasgow in 1886 and his career began in engineering just before WWI. He was shot down over Germany during the war too and also spent time as a prisoner of war. Once back home however, he continued to hone his navigational skills and was asked to act as navigator on the proposed Transatlantic Flight with John Alcock.
Facts & Figures
The aircraft in which Alcock & Brown made their historic flight was a modified WWI Vickers Vimy bomber, which they flew at an average speed of 115 mph. The altitude varied between sea level and 12,000 ft (3,700m) and 865 gallons of fuel were on board. The length of time it took to complete the 1960 nautical mile (3630km) journey is, after all this time, still a matter of debate but it appears to be quoted at somewhere between a remarkable 16hrs 12mins – 16hrs 27mins.
Their £10,000 prize was presented to them by Winston Churchill and they were both knighted by King George V a few days after the flight.
The main problem that faced early aviators included engine unreliability, navigation, unpredictable weather and of course, limited range of the aircraft itself. Although it’s something we take for granted these days, Transatlantic flight at the turn of the 20th Century was a very dangerous undertaking to say the least!
The flight was fraught with danger and nearly came to an abrupt end several times. Engine trouble, fog, snow and ice were all problems they faced during the perilous journey and it was only Brown’s continual climbing out on the wings to remove ice from the engine air intakes, plus Alcock’s excellent piloting skills, that saved them.
Alcock came to a tragic end when the new Vickers Viking aircraft in which he was flying to the Paris Airshow on December 18th 1919 crashed in fog. Brown passed away on October 4, 1948. A monument to their staggering achievement in the form of a statue of Alcock and Brown stands at London's Heathrow Airport.
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