Balchen, Bernt

Balchen, Bernt

Balchen, Bernt (bârnt bälˈkən), 1899–1973, Norwegian-American aviator. He headed one of the search expeditions for Amundsen and Ellsworth in 1925 and was a member of their 1926 expedition to the Arctic. Richard E. Byrd, meeting Balchen at Spitsbergen in 1926, brought him to the United States. He was second pilot on Byrd's transatlantic flight in 1927 and was the hero of the forced night landing of Byrd's plane in the surf on the Normandy coast. He was the chief pilot on Byrd's expedition to Antarctica (1928–30), which included the first flight (1929) over the South Pole. Serving in the U.S. air force during World War II, Balchen again distinguished himself.

Bibliography

See his autobiography, Come North With Me (1958).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Balchen, Bernt

(1899–1973) air force officer, aviator; born in Tveit, Norway. He came to the United States in 1926, becoming a citizen in 1931. He piloted Admiral Byrd's first flight over the South Pole in 1929. During World War II, flying from Sweden, he evacuated several thousand Norwegians and 1,000 American airmen. In 1944 he commanded a supply operation for the Norwegian underground.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.