National Geographic : 1924 Jul
THE NON-STOP FLIGHT ACROSS AMERICA Photograph by Samuel M. Burka, of U. S. Army Air Service A FOKKER PLANE ABOVE THE CLOUDS AT DAYTON, OHIO cult to fly from behind, as the pilot can only see out of a door at his left side. Most of the space within the fuselage is taken up with a i8o-gallon gasoline tank. Five hundred and fifty-seven gal lons of gasoline are carried in the wing. Communication within the plane was maintained through the use of written messages, transmitted direct by crawling over the wires through the communicat ing tunnel to the small aperture behind the front cockpit and passing them up by hand. The pilots took turns of six hours each. Lieutenant Kelly piloted for the first six hours, until noon; I until 6 p. m., and Lieutenant Kelly again until midnight, I until 6 a. m.; Lieutenant Kelly until noon the second day and I until dusk, when the airplane was landed. On the completion of six hours at the controls in the front cockpit the pilot would signal energetically, by shaking the wheel, for the pilot in the rear to take the controls, and when satisfied that every thing was functioning satisfactorily, would open the small door to his rear, pull out the back of the pilot's seat, and drop it on the floor through this hole, to gether with the parachute and cushion. Lifting up one side of his hinged seat, he would crawl through this small door and back through the narrow passageway paralleling the gas tank to the rear pilot. By yelling in a very loud voice, the pilots could converse in the rear, one being at the controls and the other seated along side. After placing the plane in a safe flying attitude, the change at the wheel was made by the active pilot quickly stepping out and forward and the new pilot sliding in from the rear. Crawling up over the wires through the tunnel and into the front seat, the pilot on duty took the controls and flew the plane, the other pilot placing the parachute cushion and seat back in position. Five changes were made, one being accom plished at midnight without light. NO SLEEP FOR EITHER FLYER DURING ENTIRE 35 HOURS Although it had been expected that the pilot off duty would be able to sleep and relax for short periods, neither pilot had any sleep.