Shows several aviation "firsts" accomplished by U.S. Army Air Service aviators in the period from 1918 through 1924. A close formation of biplanes in flight. President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson chat with Major Fleet, Officer in charge, on the occasion of the first air mail flight, inaugurated on May 15,1918 between Washington DC and New York.The mail is loaded into the Curtis JN-4 aircraft. Pilot in the cockpit. The aircraft takes off and in flight. Air Service. Mention of aviators helping spot forest fires. Smoke rising from forest fires and mountain ranges. In 1920, U.S. Army Captain St. Clair Streett is seen with some of his Squadron who flew four De Havilland DH-4 aircraft 9,000 miles, from New York City to Nome, Alaska. Two of the men play with pet dogs. Their itinerary is painted on the side of one of the aircraft, along with the names of pilot and mechanic (C.E. Crumline and J.E. Long). In 1923 the first non stop coast-to-coast flight was made in the Fokker T-2 aircraft. . A sign on the aircraft reads 'Army Air Service non stop coast to coast'.First Lieutenants Oakley O.Kelly and John A. Macready board the aircraft, at Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York, on May 2, 1923. Their Fokker T-2 in flight. Their arrival at Rockwell Field, on Coronado Island (San Diego) California. In 1924, Lt. Russell Maughan is seen boarding his P-1 Hawk airplane at Mitchel Field, on Long Island, New York, and taking off , bound for Crissy Field at the Presidio, San Francisco, California. His goal is the first dawn-to-dusk, coast-to-coast flight. Views of his P-1 Hawk airplane flying over Manhattan, New York City.
People gathered early on a misty morning at Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York, to watch as Charles Lindbergh attempts to make a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in his airplane, The Spirit of St. Louis. The plane starts its takeoff role between groups of spectators, raising dust. The spectators move to get a better view as the plane continues, out of sight in the fog and mist. It is not clear where the plane is, although engine sound has changed. Spectators strain to see it through the mist. Then, some cheers are raised when the crowd realizes that Lindbergh has successfully taken off in his heavily laden airplane. The opening caption refers to Curtiss Field, where the Spirit of St. Louis was test flown and reportedly maintained in Hanger 16. there, from May 12th through the 20th. However, for the Paris flight, the plane was towed a mile to Roosevelt Field where, heavily loaded with fuel, it could take advantage of the longer runway for takeoff. (Note: Both fields were originally part of the old Hempstead Plains Field renamed Hazlehurst Field when taken over by the U.S. Army in 1917. U.S. Geological survey maps of 1918 show three areas named, respectively, Hazelhurst Aviation Field No. 1; Aviation Field No. 2; and Camp Albert L. Mills, abutting it. Field No. 2 was renamed Mitchel Field on July 16, 1918. The eastern part of Field No. 1 was dedicated as Roosevelt Field, on September 24, 1918. After the war, the western part of Field No. 1 became known as Curtiss Field, associated, as it was, with the Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Company located there.)
View from the front, of Curtiss P-40 aircraft, from the U.S. Army Air Corps 8th Pursuit Group parked side-by-side with engines running on the flight line of Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York. View from their rear. Next, three flights of three aircraft each are flying at low altitude, over the shore and waters of Long Island.
Remains of the Lockheed XP-38 that crashed at Mitchel Field, New York, the day before, after a cross-continental flight from March Field, California. The airplane was flown by Lieutenant Ben Kelsey, who escaped without injury. But the airplane was totally destroyed.
Aerial views of Mitchel Field in Hempstead Plains of Long Island, New York. Major General Frank Andrews of U.S. Army Air Corps, General Headquarters Air Force, and staff standing around a large plotting board, with models of airplanes, guns and boats on the plotting board. They are planning a test of the defense of aircraft factories in the region from air attack. Five PB-2As parked in a row at Mitchel Field. Crew operating range finder and aircraft sound detector. Soldiers turn searchlight to the right. Fireman opens switch box door on wall and pulling switch to notify power station staff of the drill, which was the first aerial bombardment blackout drill of its kind in the United States. Workman pulling main power switch in power station to create blackout conditions in city as protection from aerial bombing. Night time aerial views of City of Farmingdale in New York lit up and then going dark all at once as power is cut during blackout. Batteries of the 62nd anti aircraft post artillery swing into action operating searchlights directed at incoming bombers. The bombers drop flares during the test, as ground crews practice locating the "enemy" aircraft in search light beams.B-10, the all metal monoplane bomber in flight during night. Flares descending. In the mock test, the bombers prevail and the defenses fail to protect all of the aircraft factories. End of clip shows elevated night time views of New York City and Times Square area as seen from the air and from high up tall skyscraper buildings of Manhattan. Bright lights and lit signs of city seen from above as narrator suggests the threat against New York City from aerial bombardment by a foreign force (early in World War 2).
Sergeant R. L. Bose demonstrates reliability of Air Service parachutes and disproves a theory that a man falling 500 feet or more loses consciousness. Civilians and military spectators watch the demonstration. Views from the airplane as Sergeant Bose free-falls from 3000 feet, delaying his chute opening until 1500 feet. Some of his free fall in slow motion. He makes a routine parachute landing. Spectators and an ambulance come as a precaution to his landing point.