In 1928, Edsel Ford donated a Ford Tri-Motor airplane to Commander Richard E. Byrd, polar explorer and naval aviator, which would be used to attempt the first flight over the South Pole. Ford had previously assisted Byrd with an aircraft for his flight over the North Pole in 1927. Byrd would name the Ford Tri-Motor aircraft after his colleague and naval aviator friend, Floyd Bennett who died of pneumonia in 1928.
Byrd assembled a task force of two ships and three aircraft for his first Antarctic expedition, 1928-1930. Additionally he selected from many Boy Scout applications, an Eagle Scout, 19 year-old Paul Allman Siple, to accompany the expedition.
Byrd founded the camp of “Little America” in January 1929 and his team began their explorations of the Antarctic. After eleven months, just after midnight on 29 November 1929, Commander Byrd flew over the South Pole in his Ford Tri-Motor, the Floyd Bennett.
Here is a video showing some footage of “Little America” and Byrd’s expedition…
Upon his return to the United States, Commander Byrd and his expedition team were invited to the White House by President Hoover on 20 June 1930 and were presented medals by the President.