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Wilkins' Lockheed Vega monoplane
Title : Wilkins' Lockheed Vega monoplane Wilkins' Lockheed Vega monoplane
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Creator : Wilkins, G. H. (George Hubert), Sir, 1888-1958
Source : Geographical review, vol. 19, no. 3 (July 1929), p. 355
Place Of Creation : [New York]
Publisher : American Geographical Society
Date of creation : 1928
Format : Magazine
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
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Description :

Wilkins used the same Lockheed Vega, which was only the third of its type, in his Antarctic flights as he had used for his successful flight across the Arctic from Alaska to Spitsbergen. As backup he took another of the same aircraft. His pilots were Carl Ben Eielson, who had made the Arctic flight with him and Joe Crosson another experienced Alaskan pilot.

The planes were equipped with extra fuel tanks and with skis for taking off and landing on the ice. Conditions were unusual that year at Deception Island at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, and the sea ice was already too thin to take the weight of the planes.

There was a small stretch of snow covered shoreline reaching out into the sea ice. They used this and on 16 November the first flight in the Antarctic was made. This first flight was short, and was not able to be repeated until 26 November when both planes took off, flying in opposite directions to look for a better landing site. When none could be found they landed at Deception Island, but Eielson slightly overran the tested stretch of ice and broke through the surface. The plane was rescued from the water with the assistance of the men from the whaling station, and no damage had been sustained. Pontoons were then fitted.

Wilkins pioneering flight on which he discovered a number of channels separating Graham Land from the Antarctic mainland was made on 20 December.

Related names :

Eielson, Carl Ben (1897-1930)

Lockheed Aircraft Corporation

Coverage year : 1928
Place : Antarctica
Further reading :
Mill, Hugh Robert The significance of Sir Hubert Wilkins' Antarctic flights in Geographical review vol. 19 (3) July 1929 pp. 377-386

Nasht, Simon The last explorer: Hubert Wilkins Australia's unknown hero Sydney: Hodder Australia, 2005

Thomas, Lowell, Sir Hubert Wilkins: his world of adventure; a biography New York, McGraw-Hill [1961]

Wilkins, G. H. (George Hubert), Sir, Flying the Arctic New York, London, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1928

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