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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Big Fokker: 1923

The Big Fokker: 1923

An unlabeled Harris & Ewing plate showing the U.S. Army Air Service Fokker T-2 that set a number of aviation records for unrefueled flight, including a nonstop transcontinental run from New York to California in just under 27 hours in May 1923, piloted by Lieutenants Oakley Kelly and John Macready. View full size.

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One Impressive Thing that aviation progressed so rapidly that less than twenty years after the Wrights' first flight, there's an airplane with an essentially modern shape and a wingspan two-thirds as great as that first flight was long, able to cross the US non-stop. Wow.

Great and small

That spiffy little bi-plane under the Fokkers wing was no doubt selected for that duty because it was the smallest aircraft in the Army's inventory while the T2 was one of the largest. See more on the Sperry Messenger ( wingspan 20 feet ) here.

Few rewards

They did receive the 1923 MacKay Trophy, a major award in aviation (no, not like A Christmas Story). The Distinguished Flying Cross would not be authorized by Congress until 1926 and no rapid promotion to captain came their way. Both would retire as colonel years later. I suppose it was like a limp handshake and thanks from a grateful Nation, rather like what I got when I left the Air Force.

Hearing check

It seems they offset the engine to the right and the cockpit to the left. Imagine flying for hours right next to that V-12. At least they ran the exhaust up over the wing.

Can any aviation experts identify the fighter? It seems to have a three cylinder radial like the experimental sub-launched plane previously on Shorpy, but I can find no mention of an Army variant.

Thanks, Roverist. Should have known to check the Smithsonian.

The pilots

should have been given medals for flying 27 hours in May in an open cockpit.

Stay on the sidewalk

I like the idea that the pilots need a concrete sidewalk to stay clean on their way to the aircraft, but there's no real concern about the equipment sinking up to the axles in that nasty-looking turnip field.

Dutch Craftsmanship

I'm sure that there are practical limits to the size/capacity of aircraft with a single reciprocating engine. And I strongly suspect Fokker is at the margins of that envelope with this design.

Fokker T-2 AS64233

That's the same 1923 T-2 that is currently hanging in the National Air & Space Museum.

Big Guy

I find this picture interesting because it gives a perspective to the size of some of the aircraft in those days. There were some very large planes, such as this one, but seldom if ever pictured so as to show just how large they were.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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