Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The President’s Flight

My husband and I were wandering around downtown Cleveland and found an antique-type store and were looking through old magazines and I found this old edition of Flying Magazine, which my husband actually subscribes to today.  This one was from 1943 and I found an article about a flight of Franklin Roosevelt’s in it!  So this is from the April 1943 edition of Flying and the article is the “The President’s Flight” by John Murdoch. I thought I’d transcribe some of it for you!
Most of the time the President was too engrossed in official business to pay attention to exact location of the Clipper, but Capt. John McCrea, White House Naval aide who one of the official party aboard the President’s plane, spent considerable time on the flight deck. The captain’s keen interest in the intricate and mathematical procedure of flying one of the big Boeings extend to nocturnal visits to the flying bridge at odd hours, and once Captain Cone was surprised on looking up to see Captain McCrea entering the flight deck door clad in pajamas.

The precautions taken to guard both the nature of the flight and the person of the President were evidence at Trinidad. Naval guards were everywhere. While the big ships rested easily at their moorings mechanics swarmed over them, checking all mechanical equipment so that the planes would be in top notch shape for the take-off in the early dawn. For security reasons, the entire flight was planned leg by le g and it was not until reaching Trinidad that it became known that the next hop would be the 1,200 mile jump across the green jungles of the South American coast to Belem at the mouth of the Amazon.

An hour out of Belem the Dixie Clipper made the first of what were to be four crossing of the equator with the President aboard.

The next hop, it then was disclosed, would be the 2,400 mile transatlantic flight to Bathurst, on the coast of West Africa. So, after a three-hour check, the two planes roared off eastward at dusk to land 18 hours later across the ocean.

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