In an episode of From The Earth To The Moon there is dialog about the historical significance of being the first person to set foot on the Moon. ‘Who remembers the second person to fly solo across the Atlantic?’
As someone who was raised around aviation, I do.
Without looking it up, do you know who the second person to fly solo across the Atlantic was?
Well, yippee ha for the Federal regs. You win a beer if I ever meet you.
What I don’t get is why it’s so important, historically, to solo the Atlantic as opposed to nonstopping it. The biggest challenge with aircraft in the 20s was range and fuel capacity, not just payload. Asking who soloed second (or even first really) is kind like asking who was the first to fly the Atlantic in street shoes or without a bag lunch.
But then again, I couldn’t name who was the first to make it across the Atlantic by aircraft, anyways. AIUI Lindy was actually #29, or something like that. Just the first to do it solo and non-stop.
I think it’s also worth noting that for a number of reasons Lindberg’s accomplishment was made into regular fodder for flag-waving for years. (Some of it his own self-promotion.) And I think that’s got as much to do with remembering his accomplishment as anything about whether the accomplishment was note-worthy in its own right.
OTOH, considering how the Wright brothers are remembered after the way that so many people tried to push the myth that Langley was the first to fly (Yes, I’m looking at you, Smithsonian!) for so many years… I may be wrong.