Macready reached an altitude of 40,800 feet, but this modest pilot considered this feat to be routine test work done in an open cockpit airplane. Although he didn’t think it was spectacular, the flight was the first entry into space, which provided information to allow later space flight.
- As flight instructor at the Army Pilot School, he wrote The All Thru System of Flying as Taught at Brooks Field, which became the basic manual for student pilots.
- As a test pilot at McCook Field, he set an altitude record of 34,509 feet in 1921 and received his first Mackay Trophy.
- Set an endurance record of over 35 hours in 1922 and received a second Mackay Trophy.
- For his third Mackay Trophy he and a fellow pilot completed the first non-stop transcontinental flight in 1923.
- During World War II he commanded several Army Air Force groups and served in North Africa with the 12th Air Force.
After becoming an Army pilot in 1917, Macready was in charge of flying at Brooks Field, Texas until after the war. He then served as a test pilot at McCook Field, Ohio, where he set an altitude record of 34,509 feet in 1921, for which he received the Mackay Trophy.
After flying in the 1921 Pulitzer Trophy race, Macready and his fellow pilot had to abandon a non-stop transcontinental flight. Instead they went on to set an endurance record of over 35 hours in October 1922 over Rockwell Field, California, for which Macready again received the Mackay Trophy. In April 1923 they set a world’s endurance record of over 36 hours and several world’s distance, payload and speed records over McCook Field. Finally, on May 2nd, 1923, they successfully took off from Roosevelt Field, New York, and flew their heavily-loaded T-2 monoplane 2,516 miles westward to Rockwell Field. This completed the first non-stop transcontinental flight and earned them the Mackay Trophy for the third consecutive year. Macready made additional high altitude flights in a special biplane. Some of these flights exceeded 40,000 feet, and Macready set an official record of 38,704 feet on January 29th, 1926. After resigning from the air service in 1926, Macready continued to promote aviation by participating in exhibition and racing events. During World War II, he was recalled to active duty, commanded several Army Air Force groups, and served in North Africa with the 12th Air Force. Macready retired from active duty in 1948 and died on September 19th, 1979.
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