- Historic Sites
First To Fly The Atlantic
The commander of the NC-4 called the trip “uneventful,” but the men in the other planes of the mission could not quite agree
June 1969 | Volume 20, Issue 4
The accomplishment was superb. Though two planes were downed no lives went with them, and the fault was partly in the judgment of their captains, who had landed in bad weather to take old-fashioned sea-level bearings. Read and his crew, on the other hand, had simply fulfilled their contract with engineering. They had faithfully used the equipment as planned, and it had functioned admirably. Reporters noted a certain calmness, almost indifference, among the NC-4 ‘ s crew. “We hardly realized that we were doing anything extraordinary,” said radio officer Rodd, while Read himself declared the trip “uneventful.” Except for the fog, “everything went off as we planned.” The stance was not merely the expected modesty for the newspapers; it was realistic. The fliers had simply recognized the proper relationship between man, equipment, and technique. They had been so unspectacular, in fact, that their achievement fell into near obscurity. Fifty years later many Americans are still under the imnrpssinn that Charles A. Lindbergh’s New York-to-Paris hop was the first transatlantic flight. But that honor belongs to the United States Navy and the NC-4 .