Nobile, Umberto

Nobile, Umberto

(o͞ombĕr`tō nō`bēlā), 1885–1978, Italian aeronautical engineer and arctic explorer. He designed the dirigible Norge and piloted it in the Amundsen-Ellsworth flight over the North Pole in 1926. He later quarreled with AmundsenAmundsen, Roald
(Roald Engelbregt Grauning Amundsen) , 1872–1928, Norwegian polar explorer; the first person to reach the South Pole. He served (1897–99) as first mate on the Belgica
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 over the question of credit for the achievement. In command of the Italia, the sister ship of the Norge, Nobile flew over the pole in 1928 as a rebuttal to critics who were skeptical of dirigible polar exploration; on the return trip the airship crashed NE of Spitsbergen and eight lost their lives. Nobile was rescued by the Swedish aviator Einar Lundborg, and the other survivors were reached by the Russian icebreaker Krassin. Severely censured for his conduct of the expedition, he resigned his commission as a general in the air corps but later (1945) was cleared of the charges and reinstated with the rank of major general. From 1931 to 1936 he was a technical adviser for airship construction in the Soviet Union, and later taught aeronautical engineering at what is now Lewis Univ., Romeoville, Ill. After the fall of Mussolini, Nobile returned to Italy to teach at the Univ. of Naples.


See his With the "Italia" to the North Pole (tr. 1930); E Lundborg, The Arctic Rescue (tr. 1929).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nobile, Umberto


Born Jan. 21, 1885, in Lauro, Avellino. Italian dirigible designer.

In 1926, Nobile took part in R. Amundsen’s expedition as commander of the dirigible Norge, which he had designed. In 1928 he led the Italian expedition to the North Pole in the dirigible Italia, which crashed near Spitsbergen (of the eight members of the expedition who survived, seven were rescued by the Soviet expedition on the icebreaker Krasin; Nobile was saved by the Swedish pilot Lundborg). From 1932 to 1936, Nobile worked in Moscow as a leading dirigible designer. In 1939 he went to the USA. He returned to Italy after World War II and taught at a university in Naples.


La preparazione e i resultati scientifici della spedizione potare dell’ Italia. Milan-Verona, 1938.


Begounek, F. Tragediia v Ledovitom okeane. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Czech.)
Samoilovich, R. L. Na spasenie ekspeditsii Nobile, 4th ed. Leningrad, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.