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Raimond Goerler on: The North Pole Flight
Raimond Goerler Q: What's the biggest fear about the North Pole flight? Isn't landing a big problem and why? Didn't Byrd encounter some major difficulty when he was on flight?

RG: The North Pole flight had some unexpected adventures to it. Based on their experience with the skis, there is not a desire to do emergency landings. However, near the Pole, they detect an oil leak in one of their motors and Byrd asks the pilot, Floyd Bennett, who'd been with Byrd on the 1925 Expedition whether they can in fact make it back all the way back on two motors. That's the drama. As it turned out, the oil leak was caused by a malfunctioning rivet and as soon as the oil dropped below the loose rivet, the leak disappeared. But, it caused of course great consternation.


Q: The main thing about flying over the North Pole, you don't want to be in a position to have to land and take off because it's floating ice, it's not land, is it?

RG: The North Pole is a very difficult place to land. Keep in mind, in 1925, Lincoln Ellsworth and Amundsen had the experience of doing emergency landing in the Arctic and they spend 30 days on the ice trying to do an emergency takeoff. And it is an extremely risky business and it's one of the reasons why Byrd wants a three engine airplane. He's desperate for a tri-motor, which is in it's infancy in this period, simply because he believes it gives him more flying range and less dependence. Witness Amundsen on one motor and in fact all of his exploration flying is done with three motor aircraft.

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