Byrd, Richard (Evelyn)(1888–1957) aviator, explorer; born in Winchester, Va. (brother of Harry Flood Byrd). Son of the lawyer who founded the Byrd political dynasty in Virginia, he joined the navy's aviation service in 1917, five years after graduating from Annapolis. On May 9, 1926, he and his co-pilot Floyd Bennett made the first flight over the North Pole, flying round trip from Spitsbergen Island. Both men received the Congressional Medal of Honor for the feat. As part of his Antarctic expedition of 1928–30, during which he established the Little America base, Byrd (with Bernt Balchen) made the first flight over the South Pole (November 28–29, 1929). He made four more expeditions to Antarctica for exploration and mapping (1933–35, 1939–41, 1946–47, 1955–56); he directed the U.S. Antarctic program for the International Geophysical Year (1957–58) and was planning future explorations of Antarctica at his death. He published several accounts of his experiences, including Little America (1930) and Alone (1938).
Born Oct. 25, 1888, in Winchester, Va.; died Mar. 12, 1957, in Boston. American polar explorer, pilot, and admiral. Leader of four major American Antarctic expeditions.
During his first expedition (1928-30) aircraft, radio communication, and mechanized transport allowed Byrd to penetrate the interior regions of Antarctica, which are difficult to reach. In November 1929, Byrd flew over the South Pole. Meteorological and geographical observations as well as geological studies were conducted in the Queen Maud Mountains. The second expedition (1933-35) carried out seismological research on the Ross Ice Shelf and confirmed the presence of large deposits of coal (Mount Weaver and Mount Blackburn in western Antarctica). The third expedition (1939-41) had the chief goal of asserting American sovereignty over specific portions of Antarctica (Marie Byrd Land, Graham Land, and others). The fourth expedition (1946-47), organized by the U. S. Department of the Navy, did aerial photography of a considerable part of the coast of western Antarctica and its interior regions.
During Byrd’s expeditions to Antarctica the Rockefeller Plateau, Grosvenor Range, Edsel Ford Range, Amundsen Glacier, Marie Byrd Land (1929), Horlick Mountains (1934), Hobbs Coast, Kohler Range, Walgreen Coast, Fletcher Islands (1940), and American Highland Plateau (1947) were discovered. An American scientific station was named after Byrd.
WORKSLittle America.… New York-London, 1930.
Antarctic Discovery: The Story of the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition. London, 1936.
In Russian translation:
Nad luzhnym poliusom. Leningrad, 1935.
Snova v Antarktike. Leningrad, 1937.