National Geographic : 1953 Oct
IRTUMNWIN*WVDAYSTO At.S iattanal (t ra! #g .... 4..953. .mo rr~rolf APO, )1 SIXTEENTH AND M STmETS MAAY 2! the reassuringly familiar runways. In a moment our wheels touched down, 13 hours and 39 minutes after our take-off that morning. We had flown 2,323 miles-enough to have taken us from Thule to Dublin, Stockholm, Liverpool, or Oslo; almost enough to have let us glide over Warsaw, Moscow, Copenhagen, or Lenin grad. Thule's significance as a military air base was by now no novelty to us. Talking with officers, we were impressed by the magnitude of the logistical problem in maintaining these remote northern out posts. It was easy for us to see the need for these on-the-spot inspections, and to realize that such installations require far more than long-range di rection from the Penta gon. Radar to the Rescue 01tA/1& V y4s Rvji^.^ v 3 A41 ---. W-4 0 1953 Already Thule has proved invaluable to the t4 planes of other nations crossing the polar wastes. 44t. The radar defense unit has helped many an un certain navigator get his Bc bearings and avoid direc tional errors which could be not merely tedious but tragic. A dramatic instance came recently when a British four-motored transport carrying high ranking officers from the Royal Air War College flew over the Greenland North Pole Mail cap from Iceland on its As their C-54 headed way to Alberta. Plagued Knew wrote notes to hower, Admiral Byrd, ai by low ceilings and poor dropped off at Thule, f visibility, the big plane by air. Mrs. Peary rece hovered above Thule, unable to land. Its pilot didn't dare risk an i instrument approach, and the towering icecap c kept him from spiraling down low enough to r be picked up by Ground Control Approach radar, c The only hope lay in being "talked down" ( by Thule's defense radar unit of the United h States. Unluckily, the unit had just been in- r stalling new equipment-and it wasn't ready. f A-L4AfAa c !PIM ! 0 d i __ 9.,pi ..LJ IIC o~ a~ C i tc 483 Went to Mrs. Peary and Her Daughter back from the Pole, Mr. Grosvenor and Mr. Mc friends of The Society, including President Eisen id Commander MacMillan (page 477). Letters were wn to Ice Island T-3 for postmarking, and forwarded ived hers on her 90th birthday. As the plane circled and circled above the :louds, with its gas running low, Thule's radar nen feverishly reassembled their gear. An hour later the pilot radioed: "I say, :haps, our petrol is rather low. We'll have to litch the aircraft." He had hardly finished, however, when the "blip," or spot of light, de loting his ship circling east of Thule at 24,000 eet turned up at last on Thule's radarscope. c"ll4~ cr""~ ~~~"' !