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Cigar-smoking Calbraith Perry Rodgers set off from Sheepshead Bay, New York, on the first flight across America on September 17, 1911. Rodgers, seen here looking over his aircraft in front a throng of curious onlookers.  He flew the fragile Wright B biplane in pursuit of a $50,000 prize offered to the first person to make a transcontinental flight in 30 days or less. Rodgers failed to win the prize because his 4,321-mile flight took 84 days–of which only 3 days, 10 hours and 4 minutes was actual flying time! By the time he landed at Long Beach, California, on November 5, Rodgers had made 70 crash landings, suffered numerous minor injuries and had rebuilt his Vin Fiz so completely that only one strut and the rudder were its original equipment.