May 21- marks the birthday of the man who built the first airplane to fly across the Atlantic — an aviation pioneer who now is largely forgotten. Glenn Curtiss was born in Hammondsport, New York. He was the first U.S. motorcycle champion and was clocked at 136 miles an hour in 1907. Turning to aviation, he set many speed and distance records in the first decade of powered flight. Curtiss delivered the Navy’s first aircraft and later built huge four-engined flying boats for the service. One, the NC4, made the first transatlantic crossing by an airplane in 1919. Glenn Curtiss held U.S. pilot’s license number one. Today, nearly 610,000 Americans are licensed pilots.
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