At ten o’clock on Wednesday morning, April 2, the Stinson cabin monoplane, Pilot, powered by a 300-horse power Wright engine, swooped down and settled its pontoons in Hamilton Harbor – the first airplane to bridge the 666 miles of water between New York and Bermuda.
The plane, navigated by Captain Lewis A. Yancey, who guided the Bellanca monoplane, Pathfinder, from Old Orchard, Maine, to Rome, Italy, last Summer; piloted by William Alexander, and with Zeh Bouck, radio engineer, left New York at 9:39 (New York time) Tuesday, April 1, expecting to make Bermuda in eight hours’ time.
Encountering head winds, however, the men decided to land and spend the night at sea rather than hazard overshooting their mark or making a night landing. So, at 5:59 they set the plane down on water, sixty miles north of Bermuda, first notifying The New York Times of their decision to proceed to their destination in the morning.
Notified of their predicament The Canadian National Steamship Company’s Lady Somers, en route to Halifax, turned back and located them without difficulty. Captain Armit, Master of the ship, spoke to them and, finding them to be in no difficulties, proceeded on its way.
At 5:45 the next morning, Pilot Alexander took off again, despite heavy ground swells that were running – a great feat of airmanship – and at 6:30, the plane was forced down again four miles off the Islands because of fuel exhaustion. By taking advantage of what little gasoline remained in the various tanks, they were able to make another “take off” and this time they flew five minutes longer when they came down in Murray’s Anchorage, not far away from the point where Admiral Sir George Somers and the “Sea Venture” made a “first” landing on July 28, 1607.
First to reach them were E. P. T. Tucker and W. E. Meyer of St. George’s who went back for gasoline and at 8:45 they were off again, carrying the Hon. J. P. Hand, Chairman of the Bermuda Trade Development Board, and W. D. Richardson as passengers.
After circling over Tom Moore’s Cottage, paying their respects to William and Polly Travers, they turned and went down the South Shore and then nosed down into the Harbor, having successfully completed an epochal flight.
LOG OF FLIGHT
Tuesday, April 1
9:39 – Left New York
5:59 – Landed in sea sixty miles north of Bermuda
Wednesday, April 2
1:00 – Spoke to Lady Somers
5:45 – Took off again
6:20 – Sighted Bermuda
6:30 – Forced down near North Rock by fuel exhaustion
7:15 – Took off again
7:20 – Landed in Murray’s Anchorage
8:45 – Took off
9:00 – Landed in Hamilton Harbor
(All times given are New York time).