Transcontinental flight across the United States

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In the United States the term Transcontinental flight is traveling by air coast-to-coast over the continental United States.[dubious ]


The first transcontinental flight across the United States[clarification needed] was made by Calbraith Perry Rodgers in an attempt win the Hearst prize offered by publisher William Randolph Hearst. Hearst offered a $US 50,000 prize to the first aviator to fly coast to coast, in either direction, in less than 30 days from start to finish. Previous attempts by James J. Ward and Henry Atwood had been unsuccessful.

Rodgers persuaded J. Ogden Armour, of Armour and Company, to sponsor the flight, and in return he named the plane after Armour's grape soft drink "Vin Fiz". Rodgers left from Sheepshead Bay, New York, on September 17, 1911, at 4:30 pm, carrying the first transcontinental mail pouch. He crossed the Rocky Mountains on November 5, 1911, and landed at Tournament Park in Pasadena, California, at 4:04 pm, in front of a crowd of 20,000 people. He had missed the prize deadline by 19 days. He was accompanied on the ground by a support crew that repaired and rebuilt the plane after each crash landing. The trip required 70 stops.

On December 10, 1911 he flew to Long Beach, California, and symbolically taxied his plane into the Pacific Ocean.


  • 1911 James J. Ward, failed attempt [1]
  • 1911 Henry Atwood, failed attempt
  • 1911 Calbraith Perry Rodgers start: September 17, 1911 at 4:30 pm; finish: November 5, 1911 [2][3]
  • 1912 (circa) Robert George Fowler
  • 1929 The Buhl Airsedan "Spokane Sun-God" was the first aircraft to make a non-stop US transcontinental round-trip flight on 15 August 1929 (Nick Mamer and Art Walker flew it from Spokane, Washington to New York City and back between 15 and 21 August 1929, taking 120 hours 1 minute 40 seconds[4]).
  • 1930 Frank Hawks in April
  • 1933 First through airline flights for passengers (i.e. no overnight stops, no change of plane)
  • 1934 First three-stop airline flights (TWA DC-2s)
  • 1946 First one-stop airline flights (United DC-4s, TWA Constellations)
  • 1953 First sustained nonstop airline flights (TWA may have flown some LA-NY nonstops in 1947)
  • 1957 then-Major John H. Glenn, Jr., USMC, on 16 July

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Flier, Seeking to Reach San Francisco, Lands at Calicoon Late in the Afternoon". New York Times. September 15, 1911. Retrieved 2010-11-25. James J. Ward, who left New York for San Francisco Wednesday, flying for the W.R. Hearst $50,000 prize for a transcontinental flight, reached Callicoon, N.Y., a few miles from here, at 4:35 o'clock this afternoon. He covered 59 1-10 miles in 57 minutes, having left Middletown, N.Y., at 3:38 o'clock. 
  2. ^ "C. P. Rodgers' Aero Plunges Into Surf at Long Beach. Hundreds See Tragedy. Hero of First Transcontinental Flight Victim of His Own Daring. When Lifted From Wrecked Machine His Neck Is Found to Be Broken. Birdman's Home in Havre de Grace, Maryland. Cousin of Lieut. Rodgers in Navy's Aerial Corps. Victim Author of Theory of 'Etherial Asphyxia.'". Washington Post. April 4, 1912. Long Beach, California, April 3, 1912. Calbraith P. Rodgers, the first man to cross the American continent in an aeroplane, was killed here almost instantly late today, when his biplane, in which he had been soaring over the ocean, fell from a height of 200 feet and buried him in the wreck. His neck was broken and his body mangled by the engine of his machine. 
  3. ^ Pattillo, Donald M. (28 February 2001). Pushing the Envelope: The American Aircraft Industry. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. p. 14. ISBN 9780472086719. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  4. ^ The Flight of the Buhl Airsedan Spokane Sun-God first airplane to make a non-stop transcontinental round-trip flight