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Naval Aviator Richard Byrd Makes 1st Flight Over The South Pole, 1929.

Waring Hills Nov 29, 2011

Edsel Ford (left), Richard Byrd (center) and William Stout in front of Ford Tri-Motor airplane, 1935 (Photo Ford Motor Co.).

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.

Here is Byrd's Ford Tri-Motor before the letters "Floyd Bennett" were painted on it (Photo Naval History and Heritage Command).

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.

Here is Eagle Scout Paul Siple, center, meeting with a group of Boy Scouts (http://www.eagleonice.net).

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.

Dressed in furs, with his dog "Igloo", outside a hut during his first Antarctic Expedition, 12 April 1930 (Photo Naval History and Heritage Command).

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.

Despite the caption above, Byrd and his expedition received an Expeditionary Medal for their 1st Antarctic Expedition (see below). Byrd had earlier received a Medal of Honor along with Floyd Bennett for their North Pole flight in 1927. (Photo Naval History and Heritage Command).

Expeditionary medal for the First Byrd Antarctic trip.

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One thought on “Naval Aviator Richard Byrd Makes 1st Flight Over The South Pole, 1929.

  1. karen johnson says:

    did admiral byrd once describe seeing men animals and grass while flying over the south pole in 1929. and wasn’t his broadcast heard in the us?

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