National Geographic : 1957 Jul
useful load of passengers or cargo. This had never been done before, though two other at tempts had been made. Byrd and a crew of three (Bernt Balchen, Bertram B. Acosta, and Lt. George O. Noville) took off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, in rain and fog on June 29, 1927, just 40 days after Lindbergh's flight. Later, in the National Geographic, he described the awful tension of the flight.* Putty Seals Leaking Gas Tank In mid-ocean an incident occurred that illustrates Byrd's remarkable ability to an ticipate problems and prepare for them be fore they arose. "We discovered a leak in the gasoline tank," he wrote, "but we had provided against that by bringing along a putty substance. Although we stopped the main leak, a little gas continued to seep out. After awhile it ceased...." "About the time we expected to hit Paris we got temporarily out of the thick weather. I saw bright lights ahead and a flashing light which I at first mistook to be Le Bourget. My astonishment was great when I found that the flashing light was a lighthouse on the coast of France! "The compass had taken us in a circle.... I watched the course carefully after that and checked compasses every few minutes.... * See "Our Transatlantic Flight," by Richard E. Byrd, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, September, 1927. International Newsreel + Polar Hero Receives the Hubbard Medal Six thousand members and friends saw President Coolidge present The Society's coveted award on June 23, 1926, for the first flight over the North Pole. Gilbert Grosvenor, then President of The Society, mirrors the explorer's pleasure. , A trimotored Fokker monoplane carrying Byrd and Floyd Bennett takes off from Spitsbergen on the epochal polar flight. "The dream of a lifetime," Byrd called it.