An Unlikely Naval Aviation Pioneer
(See E. E. Christensen Jr., pp. 48-53, September 2008 Proceedings)
Commander James J. Coogan Jr., U.S. Navy Reserve (Retired)—Just a side note on Rear Admiral Ernest E. Christensen Jr.'s piece on the successful 1919 transatlantic flight of the NC-4. The aircraft was about 80 miles north of Cape Cod when it had to turn back due to one of the rear engines overheating. After taxiing at sea for 12 hours, the NC-4 was towed into the Chatham Naval Air Station. It was determined that the faulty rear engine could be rebuilt but the forward engine had to be totally replaced. Under the supervision of Chief Machinist's Mate Charles Devine, the work took four days. Another day was lost when one of the electric starter motors failed and a replacement had to be flown up from Rockaway Beach on Long Island. The NC-4 belatedly re-joined the other "Nancys" in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Despite all of the problems, the NC-4 was the only aircraft to successfully complete the flight to the continent.