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Major Jack Pritchard, OBE AFC

"The first man to arrive in America by air".


John Pritchard was a mining & aeronautical engineer who worked extensively with airships. He was with the crew who were the first to cross the Atlantic by airship in RMA R 34 in July 1919.


The Pritchards are part of the Macdonald branch related to the Scottish Bartholomew family. Hilda Caldwell-Smith was Alexander Sinclair Macdonald's granddaughter and first cousin of Jennie Macdonald (who married John George Bartholomew).

On the morning of July 6th, 1919, the R 34 approached Mineola, New York. Jack donned a parachute and whilst the ship circled overhead, dropped to the ground and became the first man to arrive in America by air. He hastily arranged the ground crews, and helped ease the ship to the ground. The R34 landed at 9.54am after 108 hours 12 minutes flying time.

Jack died two years later in the R 38 airship accident in 1921 over the Humber Estuary.

His wife, Hilda, died in 1974.



The outbound and inbound  routes of the historic R 34 Airship crossing in July 1919. 

The journey from East Fortune (east of Edinburgh, Scotland) to Long Island, NY took 108 hours.  With prevailing winds, the return trip took only 75 hours.

Click here for close-up of map. 




2009 All Rights Reserved John E A Bartholomew