Did you know that in 1926 the first airship flew over the North Pole? The name of the ship was the Norge. It was a lighter-than-air ship or dirigible that used hydrogen to ‘float’. The Norge was about 348 feet wide and 85 feet in diameter. It could lift almost 21,000 pounds and move at a top speed of 71 miles per hour. The expedition to the North Pole had 16 men, including famed explorer Roald Amundsen. When the Norge passed over the North Pole, Norwegian, American, and Italian flags were dropped from the airship to the ice covering the North Pole.
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The Norge was built in Italy. The name ‘Norge’ means “Norway”.
The Norge used 670,000 cubic feet of Hydrogen as the lighter-than-air gas.
This trip is also known as the Amundsen – Ellsworth 1926 Transpolar light. The expedition was funded by the Aero Club of Norway.
The 16 men onboard the Norge were
- Roald Amundsen, the expedition leader and navigator
- Umberto Nobile the airship’s designer and pilot
- Lincoln Ellsworth polar explorer and expedition sponsor
- Oscar Wisting who served as helmsman.
- 1st Lt. Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen, navigator
- 1st Lt. Emil Horgen, elevatorman
- Capt. Birger Gottwaldt, radio expert
- Dr Finn Malmgren of Uppsala University, meteorologist
- Fredrik Ramm, journalist;
- Frithjof Storm-Johnsen, radioman
- Flying Lt. Oscar Omdal, flight engineer
- Natale Cecioni, chief mechanic
- Renato Alessandrini, rigger
- Ettore Arduino, mechanic
- AttilioCaratti, mechanic
- Vincenzo Pomella, mechanics
- Nobile’s dog, Titina, also came aboard as mascot
One of the airship masts is still standing in Ny-Alesund, another mast is on display in Vadso, Norway.