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Polar search and rescue
Prior to the start of World War II, Hollick-Kenyon participated as a pilot during several search-and-rescue missions for polar expeditions which had gone missing. These missions included searching for the MacAlpine Expedition in 1929 and Sigizmund Levanevsky who went missing during a trans-polar flight from Moscow to Alaska in 1937.
The Ellsworth Expedition
Hollick-Kenyon is most widely known as a pilot in the trans-Antarctic flight of Lincoln Ellsworth in 1935.
Ellsworth had made a prior attempt to fly across the south pole in 1934 with a different pilot, Bernt Balchen. Poor weather and a dispute over the number of crew members in the expedition (Ellsworth wanted 2, Balchen wanted 3) ended the trip.
Hollick-Kenyon (serving as a replacement for Balchen) and Ellsworth left on November 23, 1935 from Dundee Island bound for Richard E. Byrd's base camp at Little America. They flew 3500 km across the breadth of Antarctica, claiming 350,000 square miles (910,000 km2) of land for the United States of America.
They were forced to land 25 miles (40 km) short of their goal due to the lack of fuel. They began walking, but due to the loss of their radio at the outset of the trip, had been assumed lost by the United States. They arrived at the Little America camp, where they remained for nearly two months. They were eventually spotted by the British research ship Discovery which took them aboard and returned them safely home.
Hollick-Kenyon flew a Northrop Gamma (serial number 2B), a single-engine, low-winged airplane called the Polar Star. Hollick-Kenyon later recovered the aircraft and it was donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1936 by Ellsworth.
Awards and Distinctions
- A major land area in Antarctica is now named the "Hollick-Kenyon Plateau" in his honor.
- Hollick-Kenyon was inducted into the Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1975 for his achievements.
- "Ellsworth and Kenyon Found Safe: Missing Men Located At Byrd's Camp", Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner. January 17, 1936. Page A1.