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American Trans-Antarctic Flight

Nature volume 134, page 246 (18 August 1934) | Download Citation



THE original plan of the Ellsworth Antarctic Expedition for a flight across Antarctica from the Ross Sea to the Weddell Sea and back to the base had to be abandoned last January owing to serious damage to the aeroplane on the pack-ice. Mr. Ells-worth now proposes new plans for the southern summer of 1934-35, and explains them at length in Natural History of July-August 1934. His ship, Wyatt Earp, will reach Deception Island about November 1. From there, Messrs. Ellsworth and Balchen propose to fly southward along the unknown western edge of the Weddell Sea to the ice-barrier at its head and then straight across Antarctica to the Bay of Whales on the Ross Sea, a total distance of 2,800 miles over virtually unexplored areas. The ship will go round to the Ross Sea to pick up the expedition, which will no doubt have the use of Byrd's base in the Bay of Whales. The plane has a maximum speed of 210 miles an hour, and it is proposed to fly at 150 miles an hour. Fully loaded, with pontoons in place of ski, its cruising radius is 3,200 miles. The use of pontoons, which materially increases the weight, is necessary because Deception Island does not offer a land surface sufficiently extensive for a ‘take off’ for this heavy machine.

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