May 10th Clipper Anniversary

On this day in 1937, aviation pioneer Glenn Martin, who built the China Clipper class M-130 flying boats, retraced his 1912 flight plan twenty five years earlier in a self-built seaplane from Newport Bay California thirty four miles to Avalon on Catalina Island. Doing so broke the earlier English Channel record for an over-water flight and helped usher his name and his new Los Angeles aircraft company into aviation history. Martin’s total distance was 68 miles round trip with the Newport-Avalon leg taking 37 minutes. While on Catalina,  he was given a bag of mail along with $100 ($2500 in 2016) prize for his achievement.

Martin on May 10The company he founded in an old LA Methodist church was not the same company that built the clippers (merged and sold to Wright Company).  Martin took his fortune and ambitions to start anew in 1917 by moving to Cleveland, Ohio and then eventually to Middle River near Baltimore in 1928.

Martin factory

At this new strategic location on the Chesapeake Bay, Martin built a thriving aircraft complex that still survives today in the form of a Lockheed / Martin facility that also houses the Glenn L. Martin Aviation Museum located at 701 Wilson Point Rd, Middle River, MD 21220.

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