April 19, 1919
The longest non-stop flight up to that time was made by Captain Earl French White of the U.S. Army Air Service (USAAS) when he piloted a plane between Chicago and Long Island. The aircraft used for the flight was a Dayton-Wright DH-4 biplane. White was accompanied on this record-setting journey by a mechanic named H.M. Schaffer. The two-man crew took off from Ashburn Aviation Field in Chicago at 9:50 a.m. Central Standard Time.
The next day’s edition of the New York Times recounted the early-evening arrival of the plane in the skies above New York City. According to this newspaper, “About 5 o’clock [Eastern Standard Time] yesterday persons visiting on the ships of the Atlantic Fleet in the Hudson River and pedestrians on Riverside Drive saw a dark blue airplane come down from the north at high speed, turn sharply to the east when it was about opposite Fiftieth Street and then gradually came to a lower level as it circled about over the city.”
The New York Times further reported, “All thought it was only one of the many airplanes and seaplanes that take their daily practice flights over the Hudson River and Manhattan Island, but it was Captain White and the first Chicago-New York non-stop airplane, bearing the army number 30,130.”
White landed the plane at 5:40 p.m. at Hazelhurst Field in the vicinity of the Long Island village of Mineola. This flight, covering a total of 738.6 miles (1,188.7 kilometers), took six hours and 50 minutes to complete. The Aero Club of America (the present-day National Aeronautic Association), acting on behalf of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (International Aeronautics Federation), subsequently certified that flight’s record-breaking status.
The above photo of a Dayton-Wright DH-4 biplane was taken in 1918.
Photo Credit: Public Domain
For more information on USAAS Captain Earl French White’s unprecedented 1919 non-stop flight between Chicago and Long Island, please check out https://www.thisdayinaviation.com/19-april-1919/