National Geographic : 1924 Jul
THE NON-STOP FLIGHT ACROSS AMERICA to various studios to get into the pictures and meet the celebrities. Both Kelly and I expected to get some leave in California, I for a honeymoon and Kelly to rest up, but we received orders to fly the T-2 back across the con tinent, stopping for demonstration of the plane en route, and arrive in Washington before June I. We started back without delay, arriving in Washington in time for the Shriners' Convention, where the T-2 was placed on exhibition. THE PLANE IS PLACED IN THE SMITH SONIAN INSTITUTION This finished the important flights of the T-2. It is now reposing in the Smith sonian Institution at Washington, where it belongs. It did its work in excellent shape and deserves a good rest. We think of the T-2 as a living object, which came through the tight places with honor, rather than as an inanimate thing of metal and wood. During the course of our flights with the T-2 Lieutenant Kelly and I flew a total of five and one-half complete nights, the great majority of which time was in total darkness, either without moonlight or during periods of cloud and storm. On our first transcontinental flight we passed through parts of six States at night and spent 12'2 hours in darkness. During the second trip, the one from east to west, we passed through parts of seven States at night and were in darkness for 13/2 hours. On both of these transcontinental non stop flights we encountered storms and rain at night. This was the condition that we most dreaded. No one had flown at night across country under storm condi tions, and we did not know whether a pilot could handle the unknown difficul ties which might arise. The general public marvels at our speed in crossing the continent without landing, and at the fact of being able to fly in darkness, in bad weather, and for such a long period of time without rest; but the experienced pilots of the Army Air Serv ice give us most credit for flying through those long nights and coming out of the darkness in the morning directly on our course. Kelly and I take most pride in that feat of navigation. We drew a line across the continent on the map and followed it at night and dur ing the day, with our compass the main reliance a large part of the time. We fol lowed no railroad or established air or mail route and kept our course and exact location throughout, except when high elevations forced us temporarily to deflect from this line. Two "Round the World" flights are now in progress and other noteworthy flights will be made, but it will probably be a considerable time before such a heavily loaded airplane will continuously fly at its ceiling for such a long period of time over rough and rugged elevations and encounter such long periods of dark ness and bad weather. Most long flights are merely a succes sion of comparatively short trips of a few hours' duration, each one a unit in itself. The pilot has opportunity to rest, repair his plane, and pick his weather, and flies without excessive load or weight. Both Kelly and I, in addition to the long non stop flights, crossed the continent four times by airplane in easy stages within the same year, and there was little effort in connection with the trips; but the non stop flights were considerably more diffi cult. We feel grateful for the opportunity to attempt the task and very much pleased that by successfully accomplishing our work we fulfilled the trust imposed in us. We made our own decisions, personally developed and oversaw all preparations, and are proud of the fact that the final result showed that the work had been well planned. INDEX FOR JANUARY-JUNE, 1924, VOLUME READY Index for Volume XLV (January-June, 1924,) of the National Geographic Magazine will be mailed to members upon request.