US Army Airco (de Havilland) DH.4
First Albuquerque Visit: 1919
The Airco DH.4 was a British two-seat biplane from the First World War. It was designed by Geoffrey de Havilland for Airco and was the first British two-seat light day-bomber with a defensive capability. The DH.4 was to be powered by the newly-developed 160 hp Beardmore Halford Pullinger (BHP) engine. The prototype DH.4 made its first flight, powered by a prototype 230 hp BHP engine. After the War, surplus DH.4s were available and affordable in sufficient quantities for the growing aviation market.
After the end of World War I, many “state-side” US Army military aviators were left with nothing to do but train. Part of that training was cross country flying and in 1919 a four aircraft team of DH.4’s planned and begun a flight from Ellington Field near Houston to San Diego, California stopping in El Paso.
On the return trip, the DH.4’s flew to San Francisco and then headed southeast to Texas and became the first aircraft to fly over the Grand Canyon. From there the flight proceeded to a stop in Albuquerque and then returned to Houston. The description of their epic flight entitled “Coast to Coast,” may be found in the April 1, 1919 issue of the Ellington Newspaper Flying Tales.
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