Clarence Duncan Chamberlin (November 11, 1893 – October 30, 1976) was the second man to pilot a fixed-wing aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean, from New York to the European mainland, while carrying the first transatlantic passenger.
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In the monoplane Columbia owned by Charles Albert Levine, Chamberlin registered for the $25,000 ($1M by 2007 standards) Orteig Prize offered by Raymond Orteig through the Aero Club of America for the first people to fly directly from New York to Paris or vice versa in 1927. He competed with several others such as Cdr. Richard Byrd (United States Navy) in the America, who had recently completed the first flight over the North Pole, Capt. Charles Nungesser of the French Air Service with Francois Coli in their plane L’Oiseau Blanc (The White Bird), and Capt. Charles Lindbergh (United States Army Air Corps) who had arrived in his plane The Spirit of St. Louis. Only Nungesser & Coli would be flying in the opposite direction, from Paris to New York.
Chamberlin would probably have won the contest since Nungesser’s plane which was the first in the air had disappeared, and the early attempt by Byrd had crashed, but for a legal technicality. The plane’s former navigator filed an injunction against Levine claiming he had been fired in breach of his contract. It wasn’t until late May that the injunction was lifted. By then they had received news of Lindbergh’s safe landing in Paris.
It was then they decided to try for Berlin and set a distance record. With Levine as his navigator, even though he had almost no navigational experience, he made a record nonstop transatlantic flight from Roosevelt Field, Long Island (the airfield from which Lindbergh and Byrd took off) to Eisleben, Germany, a distance of 3,911 miles, in 42 hours and 31 minutes. The flight was from June 4, 1927 through June 6, 1927. The plane used was a Bellanca monoplane, designed by Giuseppe Mario Bellanca with a Wright Whirlwind engine, same as used by Lindbergh and Byrd. On June 6, 1927, Chamberlin’s monoplane ran out of fuel 43 miles short of his goal of Berlin, Germany.