First Airplane Trip Across Long Island Sound – 1910

First Airplane Trip Across long Island Sound – 1910

August 20, 1910

     Clifford B. Harmon of Greenwich, Connecticut, is reportedly the first man to fly across Long Island Sound from Garden City, Long Island, to Greenwich, Connecticut, on August 20, 1910.   

     In an age when man travels in space aided by computer technology, it might seem trivial to mention something as mundane as an airplane flight across Long Island Sound.  Yet such a trip was newsworthy in 1910, for nobody had ever done it before, and the press was eager to report any and all aviation “firsts”.   After all, men had only been using airplanes for seven years.

     Mr. Harmon was described as a “business man and amateur aviator”, who’d made several previous attempts to fly across the Sound without success. 

     Prior to beginning the day’s flight, Harmon met Charles K. Hamilton at the Garden City, L.I. aviation field and took him as a passenger on a test flight of his Farnum biplane.  After circling the field and finding the plane in good order, he landed and discharged Hamilton before starting his flight across the Sound.

     Once aloft, Harmon caught a good tail wind and headed out across Hempstead Bay and Long Island Sound.  There he flew over the water, at one point reaching an altitude of 1,000 feet.  As he neared the Connecticut shore he dropped to 400 feet and circled the Larchmont Yacht Club where he knew some friends of his were dinning.  From there he headed towards the estate of his father-in-law, Commodore E. C. Benedict, where a section of lawn had been mowed and leveled for the occasion, but in the fading dusk he had trouble locating his intended landing spot, and came down instead on a patch of ground about a quarter of a mile away.  As he touched down, his plane ran into a section of tall grass which caught the wheels and broke the chassis and some wires connected to the wings.  Harmon, however, was unhurt.  He’d made the 28 mile trip in just 30 minutes. 

      Shortly after his landing, Harmon’s wife arrived by automobile, having watched his trip across the sound through a large telescope at her father’s estate.    

     For successfully completing the trip, Mr. Harmon was awarded the Doubleday, Page Company Cup, said to be worth $2,000.      


     Norwich Bulletin, “Aeroplane Trip Over The Sound”, August 22, 1910.


Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲