August 1920 brought excitement for Wrangellites as they participated in the history-making effort of four planes and eight aviators who few from New York to Nome.
The planes didn’t actually stop in Wrangell. Instead, lunches were packed and residents boarded vessel to Sergief Island, where the transcontinental flight stopped for refueling.
The purpose of the 4,500 mile flight was to prove commercial airlines could function practically in Alaska. Originators of the idea hoped the flight would result in establisment of mail routes by air in Alaska.
Men in the U.S. Army Air Service were selected for their sense of adventure and flying ability. De Haviland 4-B’s – similar those used in World War I – were equipped with 400-horseower Liberty motors.
Mechanics flew along with the pilots on the New York to Nome flight. Organizers said they understood the success of the flight would depend on the men being able to make repairs enroute.
Rain, fog, mechanical repairs, broken axles, damaged props and minor accidents confronted the four planes as the pilots maneuvered them toward Nome…
New York to Nome via Wrangell in 1920 by Patricia Neal
It was big news in 1920!