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History of Flight Online Extra

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Navy and Army Tame an Ocean and Girdle the Globe
Photograph from U.S. Navy, Official

On May 16, 1919, three Navy seaplanes took off from Newfoundland, hoping to conquer the Atlantic. Two failed to complete the trip, but the NC-4 with a crew of six reached Lisbon via the Azores in 11 days, then flew on to Plymouth, England. It was the first aircraft to cross any ocean. Destroyers at 57-mile (92-kilometer) intervals patrolled the course. Amid ovations in Paris, President Wilson advised the flyers "not to get too high, for the higher you get the harder the fall will be." Navy men here check the NC-4 in Lisbon.

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