In 1911, Cal Rodgers became the first person to fly across the United States. Cal flew to Long Beach, California in a Wright Flyer EX biplane from New York with dozens of stops along the way. This was a brave venture at the time and a caravan of supplies and support mechanics were necessary to complete the historic journey.
As part of a prize offered by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, Cal gathered support and named his aircraft the Vin Fiz, a popular soft drink in the early 20th century. Due to the rudimentary nature of aviation at the time, his aircraft was repaired numerous times. There were no airports and early aviators relied on landmarks and railroad tracks for guidance. Although Cal was unable to receive the prize of $50,000 for anyone to fly cross country in 30 days, he stayed true to his mission to fly coast to coast. Eighty-four days after leaving the East Coast, Cal Rodgers flew over 4,000 miles to touch down on the beaches of Long Beach on December 10, 1911. - Go to Photo Gallery