17:13 Saturday, 15 June 2019
Alcock and Brown crash landed in County Galway.
It’s commonplace today – but it’s exactly 100 years since the first transatlantic fight.
Two British aviators, Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown, landed in County Galway from Newfoundland.
The pioneering airmen battled snowstorms, thick fog and rain in the open cockpit of their modified Vickers Vimy bomber, almost crashing several times.
They wore electrically heated clothing, overalls, fur gloves and fur-lined helmets.
Engineer and historian, Shane Joyce, says they didn’t quite get the welcome they were expecting after crash landing in Galway;
“Alcock got out first and then Brown came out and the Marconi guy said ‘Where are you from?’…and they said ‘We’re Alcock and Brown. Yesterday, we were in America.’
People laughed, thinking they were joking.”
Captain Alcock’s nephew, Group Captain Tony Alcock, says the men made a great pairing:
“At one stage, Alcock had lost complete control…they just broke cloud, didn’t know whether they were upside down or not, they saw the sea, and he just managed to save them from crashing into the sea by his wit and skill and pure strength.”