For four years there has been an increasing fire of ambition burning in my mind to make an East to West transatlantic flight. Disappointment followed disappointment but when over all Ireland the word was flashed that the glorious son of America, Colonel Lindbergh, was soaring across our green hills toward France in the Spirit of St. Louis, the embers of those smouldering hopes burst forth into renewed flame. With the crossing of Chamberlin and Levine in the Wright-engined Bellanca monoplane, followed by Commander Byrd and his valiant crew, Acosta, Balchen, Noville, as well as by Brock and Schlee, intrepid round-the-world fliers who crossed from Newfoundland to London, I determined to do everything within my power to bring the honor of an East to West flight to Ireland. Four times in as many months American pilots had dared to face the raging tempests of the North Atlantic and had reached the shores of the Old World. Pioneers they were from the Western Hemisphere—aerial pioneers of the Twentieth Century. Four times they have brought the challenge to the airmen of Europe.

Plane after plane vaulted into the gray European skies and hurled itself against the curtain of impregnable fate. Mystery will forever surround the tragic end of these brave European airmen; pilots who buffeted a succession of treacherous gales, perilous fog, and relentless sleet, until their planes had become but tragically staggering ice-covered tombs of death. Immortal on the pages of aviation history are the names of those who have pierced the veil of eternity: Nungesser and Coli, Hamilton, Minchin, and Princess Lowenstein-Wertheim, Hinchcliffe and Eleanor Mackay. To the flying fraternity in Europe these names have constituted a debt of the dead which must be paid by the living. It was inevitable that the Atlantic should be spanned from East to West by the pilots of Europe.

The flight of the Bremen was not one undertaken as the result of a sudden impulse. It had been carefully planned by Captain Hermann Koehl and Baron E. G. Von Huenefeld for many months before they landed at the Irish Free State Aerodrome at Baldonnel on March 26th from the Dessau Aerodrome eighty miles south of Berlin. As the sturdy all-metal Junkers monoplane landed and taxied up to the line there stepped from the cockpit the smiling and rotund little pilot Koehl, followed immediately by Baron Von Huenefeld, a typical product of German aristocracy. This was not the first time that I had had the pleasure of associating with these two intrepid airmen. On their first attempt to cross the Atlantic when they, like Captain MacIntosh and myself had struck impossible flying weather, and had returned to Ireland they landed at Baldonnel. As Commanding Officer I was happy to be able to offer them all the facilities of my post and aided them in every way possible in gathering weather reports and data for their transatlantic flight. Due to the lateness of the season and the continued bad weather they were forced to postpone their attempt until 1928.

As so often happens in the lives of those in the flying fraternity a chance meeting such as this frequently leads to a bond of unbreakable friendship.

Hearing of the arrival of the German plane quite a number of interested spectators had gathered on the scene. The Air Corps men and mechanics wheeled the Bremen into one of our hangars which had been vacated in order to accommodate the plane. For the next hour or so we stood about discussing the various features of the plane which had been specially prepared for the long arduous task which laid before it.

Special flotation gear had been incorporated in the wing structure so that in the event that the Bremen was forced to land upon the water, there would be a reasonable chance that it would float until aid could reach the scene of disaster. All the skill and science of the German designers and mechanics had been put into the all-metal Junkers. It had fuel enough for forty-four hours flying which amounted to about 520 gallons of petrol weighing nearly two and one-half tons. After scrutinizing the cockpit and installation features I became convinced that indeed the Bremen had every chance of success.

Later in the evening when the lads had tucked away a bite of food and a cup of tea the Baron extended to me the invitation to accompany them on their East to West flight. And here again I wish to thank my gallant German comrades in the name of Ireland for allowing me to participate in this epoch-making event. The fact that I was able to accomplish this flight with Baron Von Huenefeld and Captain Koehl in itself demonstrates the great progress which has been made in transforming aviation from a weapon of war into a messenger of peace. It is a striking example of the understanding of human beings by closer association when only a brief few years ago we were hurling ourselves at each others throats in mortal combat. We fought for years and yet it only took a matter of a few days for our understanding to implant an perishable friendship.

In this flight we have fought side by side with the hope that our attempt would bring greater good-will and better understanding between the peoples of the earth. The history of civilization and progress has been based to a tremendous extent upon the development of communication and transportation. Misunderstanding becomes more and more difficult when our neighbors are brought closer home to us by the rapid communication of the ideas, thoughts and motives which go to make up the traditions of that country. The airplane will be a tremendous factor in bringing about a universal peace. It is not hard to realize that many years ago, when a hundred miles seemed a formidable distance, suspicion, greed and hatred were allowed to run rife. As the feudal systems of the Old World gave way to nationalism so will nationalism give way to universalism when our systems of communication are perfected to a degree that we are all bound together with a common understanding.

The radio, telegraph, television, telephoto, steamships, railways, automobiles and airplanes are forging communication links between nations that envoys and foreign chancellors will find difficult to break through petty political quarrels and personal greed.

 In that days that followed March 26th at Baldonnel Captain Koehl and myself made several test flights in the Bremen in order that I might become completely familiar with the fuel system and the flying qualities of the machine which was soon to carry us far out to sea. These hops were joyous little affairs filled with the tingle of anticipation and with the thrill of novel intricacies of a new aircraft. The Bremen is one of the best ships that it has ever been my good fortune to fly. I found her to be exceedingly stable not only in level flight but in gentle banks. The aileron control was so light that it was possible to turn the ship in the air by a gentle touch of the finger. On the cross country hops which we made in order to test our navigation instruments I found that it was possible to remove both my hands and feet from the controls and the Bremen would remain in level flight without deviation for a considerable period of time. Needless to say these features of the plane filled me with a sense of great satisfaction for after many hours flying and after the tired nerves have become almost stupefied from lack of rest, a plane which has any treacherous in flight is liable to become especially.

These preliminaries, however, were soon over and we settled down to the unwelcome task of waiting for favorable weather reports. Mrs. Fitzmaurice did everything to add to our coin_ fort and peace of mind during the restless days that we wandered about feeling very much like caged lions. Never once did she allow the slightest note of fear to creep into her voice; in fact she accepted my proposal to fly the Atlantic with Captain Koehl and Baron Von Huenefeld as stoically as though I had casually mentioned the fact that I was going to fly from Baldonnel to London. Her fortitude and bravery added greatly to my peace of mind during these days.

Late in the evening of April 11th we received a weather report from the British Air Ministry which indicated that there was a general improvement in the conditions over the Atlantic. We decided at 9:00 o'clock that night to hop off at dawn on the following morning. I was elated; as cheered as a boy who has just learned that the little old red schoolhouse has been burned down. Waving the weather report I dashed into the officers' mess and called out to the lads: "Crack goes the whip, off go the horses, round go the wheels. At 5:00 o'clock tomorrow morning we will be heading for the good old U.S.A."

A cheer greeted my announcement and we all proceeded to drink a toast to the success of our attempt. Word was flashed through the camp in an instant and friends poured in from every side to toss off a bit of the cup that cheers and to pipe out a farewell ditty for good luck.

"Now look here, Fitz, you'd better push off to sleep," they urged.

"Not a bit of it," I replied. "It is silly to go to bed too early and besides I know that I won't be able to sleep. Why should I worry to-night just because I have a bit of work to do tomorrow? We'll just carry on in the usual manner."

The time stretched from 10:30 on past 11:00 and to 12:30 o'clock. There was no use protesting. The boys finally insisted that I go to bed and without more ado I tucked away in the room next to Patricia. Little Pat was sleeping the sleep of the just but I feel sure that had she known at 5:00 o'clock in the morning I was about to hop off across the Atlantic, she would have immediately insisted that she be allowed to go along.

Everything had been made ready for the morning. The tanks were filled with petrol. The oil supply had been stored away and the last final touches had been made. As the Bremen stood through that night in the silent hangar it must have sensed the air of tense expectancy which permeated the Aerodrome.

Arising at 3:30 the following morning April 12th I was handed the following weather report:

Wind to Longitude 15 degrees West is mainly between South and East averaging 15 to 20 miles an hour at the surface and 30 to 35 at an altitude of 2000 ft. West of Longitude 30 degrees winds tend to decrease toward New York. All along the route the sky is three-fourths to fully overcast, with a cloud base mainly 1000 to 2000 ft. above the surface of the sea. There probably will be a slight or moderate rain about Longitude 20. General visibility is five to ten miles, apart from precipitation. There is no danger of fog, sleet or hail. Barometric disturbances are such that an error in the altimeter will be in favor of the Bremen's pilots.

The darkness on the Aerodrome was giving place to the first gray streaks of dawn as we packed away the provisions in the cockpit. Koehl was silently walking about the plane fingering the charts. The Baron nervously glanced at the sky as though impatient for the hour to arrive when it would be light enough for our departure. Soon after 4:00 A.M., fifty of our Irish Free State soldiers wheeled the Bremen out of the hangar.

President Cosgrave, a number of government officials, the German Consul General, and quite a large crowd had motored or cycled out from Dublin after midnight to witness the start. How. graphically I recall the faces of those dear friends of mine who I feel sure were doing their best to suppress their emotions. It was bad enough to have to get up at such an unearthly hour without adding to it the feeling that most of them shared. Personally, I was feeling quite chipper at the time and we were all anxious to cut short the farewells and get under way. Friendly faces appeared everywhere with a "Cheerio and good luck, boys. Give our best regards to the Yankees."

A newspaper reporter pushed his way through the crowd and asked me for a statement before the hop-off. Somehow I recalled the remark now famous in aviation which was made by Wilbur Wright when he was approached by a member of the press for details regarding the progress that he and his brother Orville were making on their first airplane. He said, "The parrot is a bird which talks most and flies the least." It was an ideal phrase for this moment. We all wanted to get on with the job of completing the conquest of the North Atlantic, bringing nearer the next stage in aeronautical progress of long distance trans-oceanic commercial air lines. Such is the way of progress and a complete answer to those who ridicule transatlantic flying is that only by such means can progress be made. We smile gently now at Bleriot's effort in crossing the English Channel in 1909. Who knows but that our children will doubtless have the same outlook on the present-day transatlantic flying.

The feat of crossing the Atlantic is looked upon as a courageous effort. The voyage of Columbus was in his time an equally if not more courageous effort. The difference lies mainly in the means of locomotion that man has at his command. To-day transatlantic boat service is so safe and comfortable that such trips are known as pleasure voyages ; the day is coming when aerial transportation between the Old World and the New will be looked upon in exactly the same way.

The large silver-gray monoplane stood on the runway in front of the hangar. Baron Von Huenefeld was seated in the cabin in the rear of the tanks surrounded by packages of food and other necessary utensils for our many hours in the air. On the left hand side of the cockpit Captain Koehl waited for the mechanic to swing the propeller. On the right hand side I glanced over the edge of the fuselage to catch the last fleeting glance of some late arriving friend on the field. It is hard to explain just how each of us felt at this moment. The chocks in front of the wheels held the plane from moving while our engine was warming up. The wind blew coldly back against our faces and the sun cast the first clear rays of daylight across the runway. Everything was clear. We tested our switches and glanced about to be sure that every bit of necessary equipment was in the ship.

Both Koehl and myself had hoped that we would have a bit of helping head-wind down the runway to aid us in our take-off but not a breath of air was stirring.. The heavily loaded Bremen would get off the ground much more easily had we been aided by the wind. We were now faced with the necessity of breaking away from Mother Earth by the sheer power from the motor. "All clear," the mechanics sang out. The chocks were jerked away from the wheels. Koehl nodded to me and I replied with a wave of my hand. One more fleeting glance down the runway; a peep into the cockpit to see that Baron Von Huenefeld was all set and Koehl opened the throttle wide.

The motor seemed to gulp ravenously at the sudden flow of gasoline through the carburetor into the cylinders. With a roar the propeller flashed through the air ripping a mighty wind over the wings and back against the tail. The wheels began turning and we both gripped the control column. Faster and faster we gained momentum. The tail rose into the air as the ship assumed flying position while still held to the ground by lack of speed. We were tearing along about fifty miles an hour, having travelled more than 1200 yards along the runway which had been specially prepared for the flight. We still lacked flying speed but were gaining acceleration at each moment.

Suddenly glancing over the side of my cockpit I beheld a ghastly sight—an obstruction in the form of a wandering sheep appeared directly on the runway in the path of the plane. To strike the animal at this time would have meant wrecking the plane. It was simply an awful moment. We felt that we were struck bang up against serious disaster at the outset. Turning for a second I yelled at the top of my lungs above the roar of the engine "Sheep!" Fortunately sufficient speed was obtained to enable Koehl and myself to raise the machine off the ground. The sheep was clear and we rose into the air just in time to prevent crashing into a large tree at the end of the runway.

We were soon speeding over the mist-covered hills of Ireland, passing over Kildare, Kings and Galway counties, before heading over Galway Bay toward the open Atlantic.

It was a beautiful sight. About half-way across, the country was covered with a thick blanket of ground fog above which the conical shaped tops of the mountains appeared.

Here and there a sleepy hamlet passed below us. In the still morning air a few wisps of smoke rose as a token that the occupants were soon to begin another day's work. Winding roads and rivers entwined themselves in the green foliage of the hills. Dear old Ireland seemed nestled in peaceful sleep as we smashed through the air on our great adventure.

It does not take long to cross from Dublin to Galway. In fact the flight consumed somewhat less than an hour and a half. I could picture my dear old friends in Baldonnel slowly returning to their cars and beginning the ride to the city. And Bill—I wondered how she felt when she returned alone to Patsy. My last memory had been a kiss and a smile with a "Good luck, Fitz, I know you'll make it." A little lump seemed to rise in my throat. It was a shame to leave my old comrades of the air without being able to tell them how much I appreciated their friendship of the past. For a moment I almost wished that I could wave to them once more but the trail of mist was closing in behind us and far ahead I could faintly discern the coast line.

Captain Koehl and the Baron—I wondered what they too were thinking about—silent companions of our aerial voyage. Talking was impossible and the only way that we could convey a message to one another was in writing. A further handicap in the communication of our ideas was the fact that Captain Koehl spoke little or no English. It was indeed a strange feeling to be seated there next to a companion, facing the unknown, with one who did not even understand your language.

Soon we were over the ocean speeding along the edge of the mountainous coast towards Slyne Head Lighthouse at which when passing we gazed longingly and waved a fond farewell. Ahead of us stretched the limitless Atlantic bathed in the flood of glistening sunlight. Great long ocean swells were ceaselessly curling up and falling into a trough in a steady march toward the sheer precipitous cliff-hewn coast line of Ireland. As the last visible signs of land faded into the mist behind us it seemed as though we were poised over a huge rough gray expanse. Our progress now had to be measured by time. The ceaseless beat of the motor pounded on our consciousness.

We dropped closer to the surface of the ocean to observe our drift by checking the direction and the approximate velocity of the wind. This was done by dropping smoke bombs upon the water. When our charts and instruments indicated that we were holding our course, I would nod to the stolid little German pilot. When it was necessary to make a correction I would point to the number of degrees deviation of the wind marking it on our Atlantic chart.

Here and there on the horizon we could see the gathering clouds of a local storm and during the day we skirted the edges of these disturbances. One beautiful spectacle was that some of these isolated snow and sleet storms appeared like huge sprays of steam issuing up from the ocean, with sheer edges all around. We skirted the fringe of these snow storms for the purpose of ascertaining their density and to observe, if possible, the formation of the sleet and snow clouds. In each case we found that the snow and sleet was caused by precipitation in a cold area, usually on the fringe of an iceberg formation. At times we thought we saw icebergs in the distance but by the use of our binoculars we found them to be merely shadows of clouds on the water. Throughout the day Koehl and I flew in turn, each taking three hours on and three hours off and we navigated almost entirely by the sun. From Ireland to the mid-Atlantic line east and southeast winds were encountered for we were passing over an area that had been a low pressure area a few days earlier and which had started filling up the evening before we left.

These light, variable winds did not have much effect on the navigation of the Bremen. In the mid-Atlantic we ran into a fairly gusty northwesterly wind. As soon as we sensed the new turbulent atmospheric conditions we dropped some more "White Horses" and found by the smoke direction that the wind had a velocity which we estimated to be between fifteen and twenty miles an hour at the surface.

Such a wind merely meant the further checking of our course and showed us that it was a slight disturbance of local nature. In fact after an hour and a half to two hours flying we left our friend, the gusty little wind, far behind. The long rolling swells of the ocean seemed to smooth out and during the evening the sea looked like a sheet of glass with scarcely a ripple on it and hardly any noticeable wind.

Suddenly in the midst of our reverie and calm observations I heard the motor begin to splutter. The tachometer needle which indicates the number of revolutions of the propeller per minute began to bob back and forward. My heart stood still. With a glance at Koehl I could see that he was intensely listening to our engine. In the rear the Baron was sitting bolt upright and staring forward with a questioning look. Frankly, I got a terrible wind up for a moment. To have the motor fail six hundred or seven hundred miles out over the open Atlantic is rather an unpleasant feeling.

The ghastly vision of the Bremen waterlogged and rolling in the long swells of the Atlantic while we frantically waited for a passing steamer to see us, flashed before me. I visualized at that instant the lives of the others who had gone before us. Brave trail-blazers! For an instant my heart seemed struck with a cold chill.

It is difficult to say how long the motor spluttered; possibly for only a couple of seconds. It seemed like an eternity to me. Koehl smiled reassuringly as the throb of our sturdy power plant settled down to a rhythmic tone again. I hardly needed the advice of an expert mind-reader to realize that he, too, had sensed the extreme danger which had faced us.

The moments passed and I settled back to my thoughts. I pictured a giant multi-engined transatlantic air-liner leaving Ireland. In the cabin were seated men and women, voyagers of the future to whom the ocean means but a barrier between the nations and to whom the airplane represented the most rapid means of overcoming the obstacle. A spacious cargo compartment was loaded with precious bundles, negotiable securities, money and bank notes. The interest on this investment was being cut down from four days and nights of inactivity between Europe and America to a brief forty hours. This saving alone means much to the speeding up of international commerce. Below the pilot's cockpit would be a radio-room in which one of the two radio operators would keep in constant communication with ground and ship radio stations ascertaining and checking the position of the plane at all times both day and night. These reports after being handed to the navigator were used by the active pilot on duty for checking his instruments.

As the darkness came I could visualize the passengers entering their berths in a similar manner to which the train passengers do at night. During the long hours of the day the passengers were either occupied by reading or eating light nourishment which was provided from a small electrically operated compartment in the rear of the passengers' salon. The failure of any one or even two of the power plants in this giant transatlantic air-liner would cause but a momentary readjustment of the other motors in order to take the additional load. I could see the motors installed in such a manner that they were easily accessible to the flying mechanic who would attempt to make repairs, if possible, while the plane was in flight.

The flight of the Bremen was no mere stunt. It was a carefully prepared scientific endeavor in which every possible danger or cause for failure

was written down and considered from every possible angle. The best precautions were adopted to eliminate or reduce these hazards to a minimum. The question of wireless received serious consideration but it was decided that an efficient and useful wireless set would weigh approximately 180 pounds. It was our opinion that this weight of benzol would be better.

This was the one weak point in the organization of the flight, as we now realize that had we had a wireless set on board upon our estimated arrival in the neighborhood of Newfoundland we could have been given almost our exact position by the direction-finding stations along the coast and informed of the precise direction and velocity of the wind over the area. Thus we would have been able to reach New York easily and therefore accomplish our objective. Wireless is absolutely necessary for all transatlantic flying of the future.

As time goes on and transatlantic flying is given even more serious consideration, I feel sure that a small Gyro compass should be perfected which would eliminate the dangers attendant upon the use of the ordinary magnetic compass. The magnetic needle is so often affected by large magnetic ore deposits that it renders the use of such a compass practically negligible.