Around the world in 175 days part 31. Kirkwall Scotland, Hofn Iceland,

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July 30, 1924:  At Brough they would overhaul the aircraft to prepare them for the north atlantic.  The cowlings, radiators and engines were all removed and replaced, all the metal parts of the planes were covered with  rust-resistant oxide, all the fabric that was damaged by the hot and humid climates they had passed through was repaired and the wheels were replaced by floats.  The flyers were invited to a formal banquet in London they night after they arrived but as Arnold wrote “we were about as well equipped with clothes as the head-hunters of Borneo”.  Eventually Arnold was sent with a shopping list to London to get what they needed.  The banquet was held at the Savoy hotel with many with many Lords, Earls and Dukes in attendance.  Many speeches were given, Smith said in his that the flight was being made for personal glory but to further aviation progress. They were invited up to meet the Prince of Wales in his suite who said he was going to sail to New York in a few days and bet each of them five dollars he would beat them there.  They waited until the 29th when they received word from the U.S. Navy that there ships were in position and the weather was favorable, so they were up at 4am on the 30th to launch there planes into the humber river and fuel up the planes.  There was a low fog that hung over the area and they could not get away until 10am as they headed north to the Orkney Islands. They flew over Drunkensberry point and then Scapa Flow and landed near the Village of Kirkwall where the Cruiser U.S.S. Richmond was waiting in the harbor for them.

September 24, 2017:  For the next leg we will be using de Havilland Heron.  The de Havilland DH.114 Heron was a small propeller-driven British airliner that first flew on 10 May 1950. It was a development of the twin-engine de Havilland Dove, with a stretched fuselage and two more engines. It was designed as a rugged, conventional low-wing monoplane with tricycle undercarriage that could be used on regional and commuter routes. 150 were built, also exported to about 30 countries.   They model I am using today is by Flight Replicas and is quite nice.

The weather was reasonable for the flight, we flew north at 3000 feet to stay under the clouds.  Flying over the Scottish highlands, I flew past patches of fog, hoping a hill would not appear in front of me, they did appear through the clouds but fortunately stayed below me, heading out over the sea we arrived at Kirkwall, visibility dropped to about 5 miles but managed to find the airport and make a safe landing. Since I few from Carlisle instead of Brough the flight was a little shorter, the 242nm flight took 1.5 hours.
Here are the pics.

Ready for takeoff.

Climbing out of Carlisle.

Glamour shots.

Heading into Scotland.

Taking a break in the cabin.

Out over the sea.

Our destination.


August 2, 1924:  After arriving on the 30th they had expected to be able to leave for Iceland the next day but heavy fog prevented them from leaving until the 2nd.  Five miles out they ran into heavy fog.  After 30 minutes of flying Lt. Nelson flying New Orleans, not being able to see the other planes got into the propeller wash of one of the other aircraft and went into a spin, coming out of it just above the water.  Now being just under the fog they continued to fly until they were out of the fog, but there was no site of the other planes.  After circling for a period waiting for them they continued toward Iceland.  They continued to Horna Fjord Iceland where sailors from the Cruiser Raleigh had established a base for them.  They radioed that they had arrived and learned that Chicago and Boston had turned around in the Fog and returned to Kirkwall.

September 25, 2017:  For the next leg I am using the Douglas A-20C.  I know by using this aircraft I am breaking my own rule of not going back in time for the aircraft I am using but Milton Shupe finally released a beta of his new model that I had been waiting for it for a long time and could not pass it up.  They A-20 first flew in 1939 and almost 7500 were built before production ended in 1944.  It saw service with the USAAF as well as the Soviet, British and French air forces and was used as both a Light Bomber and night fighter.  At least I am using the Aeroflot photo mapping livery from 1953 so at least that is not going back in time.

Weather for the flight was foggy with 14 knot winds and 1000m visibility with a temperature was 12C/53F.  I tried to stay low but the fog was too thick, after flying past a hill where I could see the windmill was higher than me I climbed to 7000 feet to get above it.  Eventually the fog cleared and it was a pretty easy flight into Hofn Airport.  The 475nm flight took 1.7 hours.  Note to tell the story properly I am breaking this into three parts so I can better tell the story of each aircraft better.

Ready for takeoff.

Its quite foggy.

Finally above the fog.

Observer selfie!

August 3, 1924:  The weather the next day was excellent at Kirkwall, anxious to join Nelson and Harding in Iceland,  they were in the air by 9:30, with the still tail wind Lt Smith estimated they were going at least 100 mph.  At around 11am Lt. Arnold looking back could not see Boston, they circled back looking for them and found them floating in the sea, smothered in oil leaving a oil trail in the water behind them.  Wade was waving at them to not try to land as the water was too rough.  Smith circled a few more times then headed for the Destroyer Billingsley 100 miles away.   Arnold wrote two notes describing Wade and Ogdonís situation and position and the tried to drop them on the deck of the destroyer, the first missed, the second tied to Arnold's only life preserver also missed the deck but a sailor dived overboard to get it.  ìNever have I seen a vessel jump to high speed so quicklyî.  Later they learned they traveled so fast they burned all the paint off there smoke stack.  Having did what they could Smith turned toward Iceland.  They flew through light rain and fog before sighting the Raleigh off Horna Fjord and they knew they were at there destination.

Finally past the fog.

Glamour Shots.

A little rain.

Please fasten your seatbelt.

August 3, 1924:  Although Wade ditched seemingly without difficulty he knew the water was too rough for Smith to take off again so he frantically signaled him not to land.  Boston’s oil pump had failed they had no replacement and the left pontoon had been damaged when they landed in the rough water so even if they could repair it they could not take off.  So feeling very alone in ocean, they waited for help to arrive. Three long hours later they were spotted by a British fishing boat who took them in tow.  Billingsley arrived and took over the tow, followed shortly by Richmond and the line was passed to the larger ship.  After emptying everything they could from Boston to make it lighter they prepared to hoist the plane onto the ships deck.  When she was 3 feet in the air the ship rolled suddenly and the boom came down on top of the plane with a thunderous crash, damaging the propeller, upper wing and center section of the hull.  With the increasing storm they decided the safest course of action was to tow Boston to the Faeroes islands to attempt repairs there.  In the night Boston’s front spreader bar had collapsed allowing the pontoons to squeeze together and with the storm Richmond was having difficulty maintaining a safe speed while towing the plane.  Wade agreed they should abandon the plane, she was pulled alongside the cruiser where sailors climbed down and chopped holes in the pontoons and she was then set loose. At 5:30 am as the two flyers saluted, Boston capsized and sank.

Iceland in site.

The town of Hofn.

Our destination.


Thanks for reading, as always your comments are welcome and appreciated.

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Sad to hear about Boston....North Atlantic will not be kind to aviators!


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Love the way you arranged the screenshots and weather to bring us in to the final destination.  Felt like I was watching snippets from a movie!


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Very dramatic story this time. Northern Atlantic is taking its tribute! The time I read this I am flying with my DC-6 from Iceland to Canada and I ditched my wings in honour to Boston.

Second thought: I learned about an Aeroflot's photogrammetry version of the A-20 for the first time today.

Third thought: So nice to see the city of Höfn again, which gave me the best time of my this summer's real world holidays.

Thanks for sharing this adventure!



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