Q: What's Byrd trying to accomplish with the Trans-Atlantic flight?
LR: I think Byrd made it very clear that really what he was looking at was
something different than what Lindbergh was looking at. Lindbergh was wanting
to be the first person to fly from New York to Paris. That was the prize money
that had been put up and was there for years. Byrd was trying to do something
else. Byrd was after the North Pole flight, very much taken up with the notion
of international air travel, and what he wanted to do was to prove that a large
multi-engine plane carrying a number of people could fly from New York to
Paris. It didn't necessarily have to be first, he certainly would have wanted
to be first. I don't think he would have turned down the opportunity to be the
first, one of the first men to fly from New York to Paris, but that wasn't his
objective. His objective was a larger one. It wasn't the stunt of getting
there first. It was to demonstrate the feasibility of large heavier than air
craft, to provide the foundations of international air travel that would, in
effect, transform international life, which of course it has.