13 MAY 2019
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A celebrated sculpture of aviation pioneers John Alcock and Arthur Brown travelled from its home at the Heathrow Academy to Ireland last week ahead of celebrations to mark the centenary of the first non-stop transatlantic flight from North America to Europe.
The limestone statue by artist William McMillen is on show at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in Clifden, Co Galway, until the anniversary on 15 June before returning to Heathrow. It was commissioned by the British government and unveiled at Heathrow in 1954.
Responding to a Daily Mail challenge, Alcock and Brown left Newfoundland on 14 June 1919 in a modified WWI Vickers Vimy and crossed the Atlantic in 15hr 57min, crash-landing in Derrygimlagh Bog, near the Marconi radio station in Connemara.
Their feat is being commemorated with a special festival in Clifden from 11-16 June. Events will include a live re-enactment of the 1919 landing in Derrigimlagh and the premiere of an Alcock and Brown documentary.
The frail-looking craft (below) in which they completed their journey is now in the Science Museum in London. A 1990s replica which flew the Atlantic in 2005 piloted by Steve Fossett and Mark Rebholz is a major attraction at the Brooklands Museum in Surrey.
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