Acosta, (Bertram Blanchard) Bert(1895–1954) aviator, aeronautical engineer; born in San Diego, Calif. One of the best-known civil aviators in the 1920s, he helped establish the first transcontinental (North America) mail service (1920) and set a number of early speed and endurance records. He was a member of the crew of the America that made the sixth nonstop transatlantic flight (June 1927). Although he made one more brief bid for glory by flying for the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War in 1936, he was frequently in trouble with the law and his own alcoholism, and he died penniless.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.