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28 June 2022

30º 17’ 18” N / 81º 23’ 38” W

Obviously aviation has advanced by leaps and bounds since the Wright Brothers historic flight at Kitty Hawk NC in 1903. The Wright Flyer barely stayed aloft and for a mere 12 seconds, flying just 120 feet, on that flight. But flew under power as well as control they did–a first and a launching of a new industry.

Amazingly, just about 20 years later Jimmy Doolittle (the man behind the famed Doolittle raid in World War II) flew an Airco DH-4 (an aircraft designed by the brilliant Geoffrey did Havilland) across the width of the United States from Pablo Beach FL (presently Jacksonville Beach) to San Diego CA. He did so in less than 24 hours, as well while flying in an open air cockpit using only primitive navigation (e.g., magnetic compass and railroad tracks).

2022–a century later, I can drive to Jacksonville International Airport and fly from there to San Diego in air conditioned ease, above the worst of the weather and with the option of an aisle or window seat. Leaps and bounds indeed. A great-grandparent can tell a child of today about Jimmy Doolittle’s feat back in the day–imagine!

Historic sign honoring Jimmy Doolittle’s record flight in 1922 at the Beaches Museum in Jacksonville Beach FL–Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2021
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