12.05.

1926: Italians Achieve First Manned Flight Over the North Pole

1926: Italians Achieve First Manned Flight Over the North Pole
Photo Credit To http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%22Norge%22_over_Ny-Ålesund_ved_avreisen_mot_Nordpolen,_11._mai_1926.jpg

The airship Norge was built in Italy and commanded by the engineer and polar explorer Umberto Nobile.

On this day in 1926 the Italian airship Norge flew over the North Pole, a very important achievement that nonetheless remains relatively unknown. It was most likely the first manned flight over the North Pole, since most claims of earlier flights are considered hoaxes today (e.g. Peary’s flight of 1909 is disputed due to many contradictions in his diary).

The airship Norge was built in Italy and commanded by the engineer and polar explorer Umberto Nobile, who managed to attain the rank of general in the Italian air force. The main organizer of the expedition was Roald Amundsen. In addition to Nobile and Amundsen, the expedition also included 14 other people from various countries.

The Norge dropped three flags while flying over the North Pole – Italian, Norwegian, and American. Amundsen was allegedly annoyed that the Italian one was larger than the others. Namely, there was a certain amount of hostility between him and Nobile, which continued after the successful conclusion of the expedition. The expedition took place when Italy was under the fascist regime, and was of course used to promote both the country and its ruling elite.

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