Steve Robinson, grandson of one of the mechanics who undertook the first trans-continental flight, will give a talk at the Chattanooga Public Library on May 14 at 7 p.m.
Flying from New York to Los Angeles does not sound like anything out of the ordinary and is done today hundreds of times a day. In 1911, this had never been done as airplanes were only seven years old, but that did not stop William Randolph Hearst from offering $50,000 for the first flight to accomplice this in 30 days.
A challenge was given and Calbraith Perry Rodgers, grandson of Admiral Matthew Perry felt he was up to the race. With his 41 day old pilot’s license and a crew of four mechanics he started on Sept.17 in an airplane built by the Wright Brothers. Here begins a monumental undertaking, with no guidelines, no maps, no radio and very few airfields scattered across the vast United States.
Mr. Robinson's presentation will detail many of the trials and tribulations of the first flight across America known as "The Flight of the Vin Fiz." The program is free and open to the public as presented by the Chattanooga Area Historical Association. Light refreshments will be served prior to the presentation.
One side note, Mr. Robinson’s grandfather took his life savings out of the bank, all $63 of it. He told his wife he would leave her $3 and he would take the $60. When he arrived in New York after his trip from Dayton, Ohio where he worked for the Wright Brothers, he discovered he had given his wife the $60 and he only had $3 to live on from the months he would be gone. This is just one of the tribulations faced by the entire crew.