Bernt Balchen: Polar Aviator

Bernt Balchen: Polar Aviator


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He set polar flight records, organized a series of daring wartime air operations, and became a leader in Arctic aviation. But despite these achievements, Norwegian-American aviator Bernt Balchen saw his public image and military career repeatedly undermined by his one-time mentor, the famous and influential Admiral Richard Byrd.

In this new biography, Carroll Glines describes how Byrd's respect for Balchen's talents gradually eroded even as Balchen steadily gained a wider reputation for courage and technical skill. Glines contends that Byrd derailed Balchen's postwar promotion to brigadier general, forcing his retirement from the military in 1956. He also documents how Balchen's publisher bowed to pressure from Byrd's supporters to remove material from a 1958 autobiography. Balchen had argued that Byrd's claims to have been the first to fly across the North Pole in 1926 could not be supported by speed and distance calculations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781560989004
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
Publication date: 07/17/2000
Pages: 310
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Carroll V. Glines is a retired Air Force colonel and curator of the Doolittle Military Aviation Library at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the author of thirty-one books, including Roscoe Turner: Aviation's Master Showman (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995).

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Foreword Chapter 2 Acknowledgements Chapter 3 Introduction Chapter 4 1. Spitsbergen Chapter 5 2. The Lad from Tveit Chapter 6 3. Introduction to a New World Chapter 7 4. The Flight of the America Chapter 8 5. Tragedy and Prelude to Triumph Chapter 9 6. To the South Pole Chapter 10 7. Fame and Misfortune Chapter 11 8. Prelude to War Chapter 12 9. The Challenge of Bluie West 8 Chapter 13 10. "War Below Zero" Chapter 14 11. Operations Sonnie and Ball Chapter 15 12. Operation Where and When and the Sepals Project Chapter 16 13. From Airline Copresident to Squadron Commander Chapter 17 14. "The Most Unpleasant Years of My Life" Chapter 18 15. An Autobiography Raises a Storm Chapter 19 16. The World's Polar Consultant Chapter 20 Appendix

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