The Flying Vikings

Roald Amundsen hanging out at Pole

Thor Tjøntveit was a Norwegian-born naturalized US citizen and a pilot for Wien Airlines in Alaska, and Einar Pedersen was a Norwegian and a navigator with SAS. Their venture was a "pole to pole" flight home to Norway after finishing second in the London-Sydney air race. Their Cessna turboprop aircraft, named "Roald Amundsen," had been fitted with extra fuel tanks to augment the normal 4000-mile range. On 15 January they received Antarctic landing and clearance from the US program in Washington. O'Hare International?They left Invercargill in the evening of 18 January, and after a brief fuel stop at McMurdo they continued on to Pole. Originally they had not planned (or requested) a landing; their intention was to descend to 50' and drop Norwegian and American flags over the geographic Pole. However, they landed at Pole on the 19th, the same day as Max Conrad, who had arrived 12 hours earlier (left; the Vikings' Cessna is in the foreground and Max's Aztec is in the distance). Their unplanned arrival caused a bunch of extra work for the station crew, who had to warm them up (above) as well as dig and push them out after the aircraft became stuck in the soft snow. Below left you can see where the landing gear has become bogged down, note that the propeller blades have been dragging. At right they are taxiing on a more compacted surface.


oof da
goodbye Max

They left Pole about 5 hours later, returning to McMurdo. They stayed there for 3 days before leaving for Punta Arenas on the afternoon of 23 January--a 19-1/2 hour flight. Their final destination was Norway. Below is a photo of the Cessna at McMurdo where they also had trouble with the soft snow.

home to Norway

The top photo is from Bob Little, the Pole color slides are by Bob Hutt, and the McMurdo photo is from Billy-Ace Baker.