National Geographic : 1953 Dec
Photographs by Maynard Owen Williams Richard E. Byrd: First to Fly Above the Poles Rear Adm. Richard E. Byrd, recently elected a Life Trustee of the National Geographic Society, was first to make polar explora tions by plane. From the air he discovered more than a million square miles of the earth's area. In 1925, with Comdr. Donald B. MacMillan, he flew some 6,000 miles on an Arctic expedition sponsored by The Society in co operation with the U. S. Navy. Next year he and Floyd Bennett flew from Spitsbergen to the North Pole and back. After hopping the Atlantic in Lindbergh's wake, Byrd led the first of his expeditions to Antarc tica and in 1929 circled the South Pole with three companions. Above: Byrd's NA-1 and Mac Millan's Bowdoin take shelter in Robertson Bay, Greenland, 1925. (-Planning his first Arctic expedi tion, Byrd asked the late Albert H. Bumstead, The Society's chief cartographer, for help in con structing a device that would sim plify navigation in areas where the North Magnetic Pole made magnetic compasses useless. Mr. Bumstead solved the major prob lem in his home workshop, de signing and building the Bumstead sun compass, here held by Byrd. The explorer returned it after his North Pole flight in 1926 with this inscription: "To Albert H. Bum stead-for getting us there!"