By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (May 3, 2024) – In this edition of Fun with Maps we celebrate the anniversary of a first in flight.

Transcontinental Flight

The first transcontinental flight in the Americas left New York on this day in 1923.

Two US Army Air Service Lieutenants flew nonstop 26 hours 50 minutes from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York to Rockwell Field in San Diego, California.  This was the longest flight at the time.

They flew a Fokker T-2, a single engine plane with capacity to carry 12 passengers.   The plane was designed and built by the Dutch Anthony Fokker and was powered by a 12-cylinder Liberty engine. The plane had a 2500-mile range, which is just a bit longer than the distance it flew on this mission, at the maximum speed of 93 mph.

Anthony Fokker was inspired by the Wilbur Wright’s exhibition and flights in 1908 in France. He subsequently attended a prestigious mechanical school in Mainz, Germany and became a bit of a celebrity in Holland flying his first plane, de Spin, around the Grote in Haarlem in 1912. 

He designed and built planes for the Germans during World War I, including the famous Fokker Dr I triplane flown by the “Red Baron”.

It is a small but very quickly changing world in many ways, and to further illustrate that here is a view of San Diego from 1848 by Emory. A small place, to say the least, back then.

San Diego – Circa 1848 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.