Polar aviation

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Polar aviation refers to aviation in polar regions of the Earth. Specifically, one may speak of Arctic aviation and Antarctic aviation in the Arctic and Antarctica respectively.

The major factors which define the character of the polar aviation is the remoteness from the major populated areas, specific physical geography and the climate. Major factors include low temperatures, frequent changes of meteorological conditions, polar night, uncertain work of compass, difficulties in radio communication, lack of landmarks.

Early history[edit]

The dream of air travel to the Pole has a lengthy prehistory. As early as the 1870s, John Powles Cheyne, a veteran of three British Arctic expeditions, was proposing a voyage to the pole via balloon.[1] Nevertheless, in terms of actual flight, S. A. Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 is commonly considered to mark the beginning of polar aviation. Later, Zeppelins were used for exploitation of the Arctic, and eventually airplanes.[2] In 1914, a Russian plane (Farman MF.11, pilot Jan Nagórski, mechanic Yevgeni Kuznetsov) flew beyond the Arctic Circle in the area of Novaya Zemlya in search of the North Pole expedition of Georgiy Sedov. The beginning of the century witnesses the aviation quest for the North Pole. By the mid-1920s polar aviation had become feasible.[2]

Antarctic aviation[edit]

Early history[edit]

Fokker Super Universal Virginia piloted by Richard Evelyn Byrd was the first aircraft to land on the mainland of Antarctica [3] during Byrd's first Antarctic expedition, 1928-1930, when he was first to fly over the South Pole on November 29, 1929.


  1. ^ Lewis-Jones, Huw, "Commander Cheyne's Flights of Fancy," Polar Record 44:231 (October 2008) 289-302.
  2. ^ a b "Red Arctic: Polar Exploration and the Myth of the North in the Soviet Union, 1932-1939", by John McCannon, 1998, ISBN 0-19-511436-1, p. 26.
  3. ^ Antarctic Aviation Preservation Society

Further reading[edit]

  • Prospects of polar aviation in tourism are discussed in the book "Prospects for Polar Tourism" by John Snyder, Bernard Stonehouse, 2007, ISBN 1-84593-247-1, p. 26

See also[edit]