May 15th -16th
World Flight Crosses the Pacific!
by Lt. L.P. Arnold "Chicago" Mechanic
Sort of a case of "As you like it." Having crossed the 180th meridian time advances a whole day so while we left Wednesday morning and flew five hours, we arrived Thursday afternoon.
We arose at five this morning and after much delay secured suitable weather reports and left Attu at 11:25. At 12:05 we passed the end of North America and headed west across the Pacific for the Kurile Islands. At 12:20 we passed our ever present friend the Haida some miles out to sea and rolling heavily -- all hands were on deck to wave to us as we sailed by and to better observe some deck signals we circled around her once and then shot on.
The weather was most peculiar -- to the south of us we could always see snow and squalls while to the north it was clear as a bell. Gradually we were being forced to the north and as the middle of the Bering Sea is no place for airplanes to tangle up with snow storms we altered our course and headed for the Commandorsky [sic] Islands, which we reached at 3:05. Three hours over the sea and then to absolutely strike your mark was a clever piece of navigation and Smith cannot be given too much credit for same.
Copper Island was the first place we struck and while it's not anything to look at, it sure looked good to us. We then headed northwest to Bering Island thru a snow squall, and at five landed in Nikoloski Harbor alongside the Eider, which was here just in case of emergency. These islands being Russian and there being no diplomatic relations between them and the U.S. makes it somewhat embarrassing. The port officials came aboard and while very pleasant informed us that we'd have to stay aboard the Eider and that they had wired Russia regarding us -- but if only we have decent weather in the morning we will be gone.
The harbor here is very much exposed to the southwest and quite a ground swell is rolling -- at present there is a light north wind and as long as it stays there we should be O.K., but I'd hate to see a southwester.
One thing strange to us is the long hours of daylight -- at four in the morning it is light enough to work and we have just stopped now, at ten o'clock.
by Lt. L. H. Smith Commanding
For this flight, it was planned to have Haida about 50 miles from Attu Island with the Eider off the Komandorski's. Weather messages from the Eider were relayed to us through the Haida and thence to the shore station. On May 15th, favorable weather reports were received late in the morning. The flight took off at 11:25, passing the Haida at 12:30, 30 miles from shore, and arrived at Komandorski Islands at 4:50, where it was deemed advisable to remain overnight because of various conditions which would make the continuation of the flight to Paramusshiru impracticable. The Eider placed satisfactory mooring for us. The Russian authorities at Nicholski boarded the Eider to determine our mission and authority for visiting Russian Territory. A satisfactory explanation was given to them and they sent a radio message to the Soviet Government requesting permission for us to come ashore.