The Vin Fiz Crosses America

Scenes from Cal Rodgers’ first transcontinental flight in 1911.

(Charles Wiggin Collection)

Final Destination

Cal Rodgers
(Charles Wiggin Collection)

Perhaps Cal Rodgers should have left well enough alone. Pasadena was close, but it wasn’t the Pacific, so Rodgers took off again, determined to fly all the way to the coast. He crashed in Compton, and spent the next month recuperating and allowing his sprained ankle to heal. On December 10, he lashed his crutches to the airplane and flew to Long Beach, crossing the final dozen of the 4,321 miles he traveled. On April 3, 1912, he died in the crash of a Wright Model B he had bought at the same time he purchased the Vin Fiz.

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