Bernt Balchen
Bernt Balchen
Bernt Balchen
Byrd's pilot on South Pole flight, Nov. 29, 1929. Learned to fly in 1921 in the Norwegian air force. Became Col in the USAAF and then USAF.
Collection of the Library of Congress

by Bess Balchen
Recovered from an obsolete website
by means of the program
Bernt Balchen, who was born in Norway, was a reserve pilot/engineer
on the 1926 Amundsen/Ellsworth/Nobile Norge expedition in Spitsbergen when Commander Richard E. Byrd attempted to fly to the North Pole and return in the Josephine Ford. Byrd invited Balchen to come to the US with him; he became a pilot on Byrd's 1927 transatlantic flight and chief pilot on Byrd's flight to the South Pole in 1929. During World War II, as commanding officer of Task Force 8, Bernt Balchen established the air base Bluie West 8 on the southwest coast of Greenland. During his two-year tour of duty he performed some spectacular rescue missions on the Greenland icecap. In 1943, now a colonel, he was assigned to the 8th Air Force and operated into Sweden and Norway, among other tasks dropping supplies and weapons to the Norwegian "underground" and evacuating allied personnel from Sweden to England. While commanding officer of the 10th Rescue Squadron in Alaska, he flew a C-54 from Fairbanks over the North Pole to Oslo, thereby becoming the first to pilot a plane over both poles. An accomplished watercolorist, he had three one-man shows at the Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City. He died in October, 1973. On October 23, 1999, the centennial of Balchen's birth, King Harald V of Norway unveiled in Kristiansand a statue of him.

  Norway's first airman
By Hans Olav Lĝkken
Translation by Rob Mulder
Published in; Flynytt. 6/2004
Paragraph Extracted from Full Version

After Oliver A. Rosto retired from the Foreign Service in London, he worked for Transocean Airlines in Oakland, California. Although he should have been retired, he was given a personal compensation by President Truman. He made 4,500 flying hours as a pilot. Rosto was honorable member of the Norse-American Club in San Francisco and held good contact with his friends in Norwegian aviation; Rüser-Larsen, Bernt Balchen and Ludvig G Braathen.
This article was kindly shared with us by Al Grady, 10-27-05
To read the entire article, click on:
Norway's first airman

     If you search for "Bernt Balchen" +aviation, using the Google search engine, (9-9-06), you will find about 686 links! The one immediately below is perhaps the key to the whole subject.

Bernt Balchen
     This page offers links to seven other valuable websites which deal with Balchen's life and career. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

Bernt Balchen
Colonel, United States Army Air Corps
     This page on the Arlington National Cemetery website offers a very nice biography of Balchen which was written by his wife Bess. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

"June 29-30 Cdr. Richard Byrd, Bertrand B. Acosta , Rex Noville and Bernt Balchen flew the Fokker monoplane America from New York to a crash landing in the sea off the French Coast."
From National Aeronautic and Space Administration
Aeronautical and Astronautics Chronology, 1925-1929

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator.
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper
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