Out of the Hangar: History Office Explores First Coast-to-Coast, Dawn-to-Dusk Flight (VIDEO)

  • Published
  • By Joe Danielewicz, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Public Affairs
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s History Office regularly produces work that connects current acquisition professionals to that of their predecessors. Many of the summaries can be found in weekly dispatches posted online.

Continuing to expand on historic events and how they can relate to today’s missions, AFLCMC Chief Historian Kevin M. Rusnak explores the first coast-to-coast, dawn-to-dusk flight in 1924, which demonstrated the Army Air Service’s technical skills and served to showcase aviation’s increasing importance in national defense matters.
Quickly flying an airplane from one coast to the other served to highlight the airplane’s utility with national defense. “If we have airplanes that are agile and fast, we could deploy them from anywhere in the United States to any other part of the United States much more quickly than the Army or the Navy could get there,” Rusnak states in the video.

The 1924 demonstration can also be viewed as a predecessor to priorities for today’s Air Force, particularly Operational Imperative 5 - Readiness to Deploy and Fight.  

In the video, Rusnak explains how the June 23, 1924 flight was the third attempt by Lt. Russell Maughan to travel from Mitchel Field in Long Island, New York to Crissy Field in San Francisco, California within a single day, following the sun as it moved westward . 

The flight was closely tracked by the nation. “It's hard to imagine what a big deal this was at the time, but [Maughan] had crowds in New York following him. The newspapers were following him every step along the way,” Rusnak states. “Even the President of the United States at the time had telegrammed to the various Army posts saying, 'Keep me updated on the progress.'”


Watch the full video above or on YouTube.