100 years ago today, British pilots John Alcock and Arthur Brown became celebrities worldwide for completing the first nonstop transatlantic flight—a harrowing 16-hour journey through ice and fog with a broken radio that led people to believe they had crashed into the ocean. The aviators were freezing cold, drenched with rain, navigating in their open cockpit through a snowstorm and their instruments and carburetor were crippled by ice.
16 hours and 1890 miles later they spotted the Irish coast and landed nose first after the green field they spotted in Galway turned out to be a bog. Despite it all, Alcock and Brown took home an enormous prize of £10,000 offered by The Daily Mail and were welcomed back to London by King George V. They carried several items of mail with them when they took off from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, and in doing so, effectively transported the first transatlantic airmail to Britain. WATCH some historical film from the day... (1919)