Thursday, May 9, 2013

Searching for Remains of an Early Transatlantic Flight

The search continues for evidence that two French pilots made the trip in 1927. 

Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli standing in front of 'L'Oiseau Blanc' in France.  

The search continues for evidence that Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli, two French pilots who disappeared in a 1927 attempt to cross the Atlantic, made it to North America. 

Eighty-six years ago this week, Charles Lindbergh did what everyone remembers him for: He completed the first solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, taking off from New York and landing in a field outside Paris, France.

But 13 days before he made history, in a gambit that few remember, two former World War I flying aces set off to accomplish a humbler feat: completing a transatlantic flight from continental Europe to North America eight years after a pair of British pilots had made the first transatlantic flight the other way, from Newfoundland to Ireland.

The plan was to soar over England and Ireland before gliding into New York Harbor the following day.

To save fuel for the flight, the pilots jettisoned everything nonessential from their wood and cloth biplane, including a lifeboat, parachutes, and a radio. Once the craft was aloft, they even tossed the landing gear.

The two pilots were sighted as they crossed the English Channel and flew over Ireland. And then they disappeared. Charles Nungesser and François Coli were never heard from again.

For the rest of the story:

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