New York

Solo Trans-

May 21, 1927-On May 21, 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh completed the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight in history, flying his Ryan NYP "Spirit of St. Louis" 5,810 kilometers (3,610 miles) between Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, and Paris, France, in 33 hours, 30 minutes. With this flight, Lindbergh won the $25,000 prize offered by New York hotel owner Raymond Orteig to the first aviator to fly an aircraft directly across the Atlantic between New York and Paris. When he landed at Le Bourget Field in Paris, Lindbergh became a world hero who would remain in the public eye for decades.

The aftermath of the flight was the "Lindbergh boom" in aviation: aircraft industry stocks rose in value and interest in flying skyrocketed. Lindbergh's subsequent U.S. tour in the "Spirit of St. Louis" demonstrated the potential of the airplane as a safe, reliable mode of transportation. Following the U.S. tour, Lindbergh took the aircraft on a goodwill flight to Central and South America, where flags of the countries he visited were painted on the cowling.

Above: Charles Lindbergh. Below: Aviator Glenn Hammond Curtiss, August 1909.

Some New York State Aviation Firsts

1908: First recorded aircraft flight

1908: First Exhibition Flight

1910: Issued first U.S. pilots license

1910: Long distance flying record

1910: First demonstrated bomb drop
from an aeroplane

1911: Blanche Stuart Scott,
first American woman pilot

1911: Curtiss invents first dual pilot control

1911: First retractable landing gear

1911: First transcontinental flight
(Cal Rodgers flew from Long Island to California in 49 days).

1912: First flying boat

1919: Curtiss NC-4 flying boat first to cross Atlantic


Aviation Firsts Logo

Glenn Hammond Curtiss: Pioneer, Inventor, Aviator

January 23, 1907, found Glenn Hammond Curtiss indulging his penchant for speed. In a motorcycle race at Ormond Beach, Florida, his V-8 powered motorcycle was officially clocked at 136.3 mph. On that day, and for many years thereafter, Curtiss carried the title "Fastest Man on Earth."

In 1909, Curtiss flew his "Golden Flyer" a distance of 24.7 miles to establish a new world distance record and win the second leg of the Scientific American trophy.

By the end of WWI, Curtiss's reputation was unsurpassed in the field of aviation. He had invented the hinged wing control surface known as the aileron and had pioneered the design of the float plane and the flying boat. It was also a Curtiss aeroplane that was first launched from the deck of a Navy shop by Curtiss-trained pilot Eugene Ely, and it was a Curtiss aeroplane that, in 1919, became the first to successfully fly across the Atlantic.

Curtiss is remembered today as one of the greatest of the aviation pioneers who made the dream of manned flight a reality.