World Flight Arrives in Greenland
by Lt. L. P. Arnold, "Chicago", Mechanic
We reached the hotel as early weather reports were coming in & at 3:00 [a.m.] things looked good so breakfast was ordered & plans made to sail right away. About 5:00 we went to planes & at 6:00 taxied out to harbor. From previous experience we spurned the rough water & taxied to some islands & at 7:00 took off from there. #4 [New Orleans] had slight trouble & landed again but at 7:15 we both headed out to sea; the Italian joined us but could not fly at our speed so passed on & disappeared.
The weather for 500 miles was perfect -- the wind being little & our ships, the Richmond, Reid, Billingsby, & Barrey we picked up fine. Shortly after passing the Barrey we ran into fog & rain & had a hell of a time. We were forced to fly close over the water on account of the fog & entirely missed the Raleigh so headed west for the coast. A very heavy sea was running & soon we passed over the ice fields & then were always worried for fear of smashing into an iceberg. It was an unusual sight to us to see a great sea of heaving ice in large & small cakes, icebergs of all sizes & descriptions floating about, and great cakes of ice "blue" in color standing out sharply in contrast to the white field.
Eventually we reached the coast and there the fog was more dense than before. #4 was flying close to #2 & in an extra dense bank #2 made a sharp turn to avoid a berg while #4 turned off in the other direction & thus became separated. We continued & eventually rounded Cape Farewell & headed up the west coast of Greenland & broke through in clearer weather.
We headed for Fredriksdal but before reaching it, we ran into more fog banks laying close on wtaer . When over Fredriksdal, through a hole in fog spied the Danish cruiser Island Falk emitting clouds of smoke to guide us in. We dropped through the hole & landed alongside the ship & then taxied down the fjord & between numerous floating icebergs to the moorings. About 50 minutes later, #4 taxied in & moored -- greatly to our relief for in the weather during which we separated anything could have happened. Locatelli & crew did not arrive at all & we all hope he is safe somewhere.
The crew from the Island Falk had boats & fuel awaiting us, took us aboard where we were dined, wined, and put to bed. The crewmen are wonderfully hospitable in every way.
Having been without sleep for 42 hours, 11 of which was spent in the air, and having flown the worst storm imaginable (even worse than those of Alaska) Smith [Lt, pilot of "Chicago"] and I were ready & willing to sleep.
by Lt. L. H. Smith, Commanding
This morning the two American planes took off for Fredriksdal at 6:55 a.m. accompanied by the Italian plane. Soon after the flight left Reykjavik, the Italian plane forged on ahead and was seen out of sight. Five naval vessels were used to patrol the line of flight, the flight clecking by Richmond, 90 miles from Reykjavik; then 115 miles farther on, the Reid was passed; 140 miles farther, the planes checked by the Billingsley and 150 miles farther, the Barrie was passed. It was displaying the signal for dangerous weather ahead. This was correct for we soon plunged into a fog. The Raleigh was 160 miles for the Barrie but was not seen because of the very low visibility. After striking the fog, about 150 miles from the coast of Greenland a course was set to reach shore about latitude 61°. Long before shore was reached, the flight began to encounter large icebergs and a very strong wind, estimated at about 60 miles an hour. It is very unusual to find such a heavy fog with a strong wind blowing. The icebergs together with the rocky nature of the coast off of Greenland made flying extremely hazardous. Just before rounding Cape Farewell , the two planes lost sight of each other while dodging icebergs and proceeded to Fredriksdal separately.
At Fredriksdal, the harbor was almost entirely covered with a dense fog, landing being made through a small hole and harbor charts used for navigation to the mooring place. The Island Falk, a Danish Government Coast Guard Cutter was here, it having established a very satisfactory temporary base. The officers were especially courteous to us and rendered every possible assistance.
The landing in Fredriksdal at 5:30 p.m. marked the completion of the longest and most dangerous trip of the entire flight.