John A. Macready
John Macready was born in San Diego, CA on October 14, 1887,
long before the birth of aviation. He attended Los Angeles
public schools and graduated from Stanford University in
1912 with a degree in economics. He was the Pacific Coast
light-weight boxing champion in 1924.
Beginning in the the early 1920s he was a test pilot for
developing and testing an early General Electric turbo-supercharger.
Over a period of six years he pushed an open cockpit biplane
higher into the atmosphere exploring regions as high as 40,800 feet.
He survived temperatures as low as -80 degrees F. and breathed
oxygen straight from a welder's tank.
He landed only once at
Tucson as a civilian pilot flying Lockheed Vega NC926Y,
owned by the Shell Oil Company. Macready was the aviation
manager for Shell. Click this link to
see other images of him on this site.
He carried four unidentified passengers in this airplane
painted orange-yellow with red trim and named "No. 4".
They arrived on June 2, 1931 from Phoenix, having
left San Francisco on their way to Douglas, AZ.
Below, an image of Vega NC926Y with Macready in vignette at the upper right corner. It is signed "Sincerely, Till we fly again. Capt. J.A. Macready."
John Macready, NC926Y, Signed Souvenir, Ca. 130-35 (Source: Howard)
Compare this photograph with the similar one at the airplane's link. Notice the difference between the portraits of Macready, while the image of the airplane remains the same. These souvenirs were probably given to passengers as a memento of their flight.
Earlier, Macready and fellow military pilot Oakley
G. Kelly set a
major east to west trans-continental flight record in May,
1923, when they flew a single-engine, high wing Army Fokker
T-2 over the 2,625 miles from Mitchel Field, NY to San
Diego, CA in 26 hours 50 minutes and 48 seconds. They contacted
the ground only once over Ohio by throwing down a message
that read, "Expect to have lunch in San Diego tomorrow.
Everything all right. Averaging about 92m.p.h. and engine
working fine." They executed their flight without
beacons or radio communication or navigation aids, depending
only on their compass, road maps, rivers and railroad tracks for landmarks.
Below, courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum (SDAM), a photograph of their airplane, 64-233, on the ground with a contemporary automobile.
Fokker T-2 64-233, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)
Below, Macready (L) and Kelly give perspective on the fuel
and oil load carried by their airplane to get it across
the continent (U.S. Army Air Service Official Photograph). An image and additional information about Fokker 64-233 is at the NASM Web site.
Fuel & Oil Load for the Record Attempt
Image, below of the airplane in flight (U.S. Army Air Service
Fokker T-2 64-233 Aloft During Record Flight
Below, a color portrait of Macready courtesy of the SDAM.
John Macready, Post-Transcontinental Flight, Ca. 1923 (Source: SDAM)
achievement had been preceded by two aborted attempts for
west to east. The first attempt on October 5, 1922 ended
when they couldn't get their heavily laden (with fuel)
airplane over the mountain ranges east of San Diego.
John Macready, 1940
The second attempt ended in Indianapolis
a month later when a leaking radiator resulted in engine
failure and a forced landing. Their final attempt from east
to west on May 2, 1923 easily cleared the mountains, since
the fuel most mostly burned off by the time they reached
that far west.
Macready resigned from the air service in
1926, but was recalled during WWII and flew with the 12th
Air Force as a Colonel. Image, right, from the Los Angeles
Times 9/24/1979. John Macready died September 16, 1979 at
age 91 at Mariposa, CA.
The following table summarizes Macready's many early achievements.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 01/13/07 REVISED: 10/12/07, 03/12/09, 01/06/10, 06/25/11