Friday, August 6, 2010

It's a Byrd! It's a Plane!........

Buffalo Evening News - August 29 1928

Bernt Balchen Pilots the Aristocrat on Flight to New York
Admiral Richard Byrd
    The newly christened monoplane, "Aristocrat", made in Buffalo by the General Airplanes Corporation for the Byrd Antarctic Expedition, took off Wednesday for New York, with Bernt Balchen, transatlantic flier and chief pilot of the expedition, at the controls. G. Maclean Gardner, General Airplanes factory manager, was the only passenger.  The plane, painted a bright green and with the words "Byrd Antarctic Expedition," vivid on its sides, was towed to the airport Tuesday and groomed for immediate departure.  The Propeller which did not arrive from Detroit via plane until late in the afternoon, forced postponement of the takeoff until Wednesday morning.
    When the blade had been mounted by mechanics under the direction of John D. McPhail, a former Fokker chief field mechanic, the plane was wheeled out of the hanger. After a short warming, Balchen  entered it and started it down the runway for a short test flight.  It slid gracefully into the air within 70 ft of it's starting point....  The order was placed with the Buffalo firm, following a report by Balchen on a similar model which he flew on its test flight six weeks ago. Mr. Gardner which supervised building of the plane, also supervised construction of the machines which carried Byrd to the North Pole and across the Atlantic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A scale model of this aircraft i.e. 32" wing span, will be added to the Niagara Aerospace Museum collection in November 2016.