Wikipedia:Main Page history/2011 August 17

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The air-tractor sledge

The air-tractor sledge was a converted fixed-wing aircraft taken on the 1911–14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, the first plane to be taken to the Antarctic. Expedition leader Douglas Mawson had planned to use the Vickers R.E.P. Type Monoplane as a reconnaissance and search and rescue tool, and to assist in publicity, but the aircraft crashed heavily during a test flight only two months before Mawson's scheduled departure date. The plane, stripped of its wings, was nevertheless sent south with the expedition, and converted to a sledge; brakes were fashioned from a pair of geological drills and a steering system from the plane's landing gear. The air-tractor was first tested in November 1912 and subsequently assisted in laying depots for the summer sledging parties, but its use during the expedition was minimal; the freezing conditions resulted in the jamming of the engine's pistons, and its frame was left on the ice when the expedition returned home in December 1913. In 2008 a team from the Mawson's Huts Foundation began searching for the remains of the air-tractor sledge; a seat was found in 2009, and parts of the tail a year later. The foundation believes that the air-tractor is still at the expedition's base, buried beneath the ice. (more...)

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Hohenzollern Bridge, Cologne

The Hohenzollern Bridge crossing the Rhine in Cologne, Germany, with the Cologne Cathedral in the background. The bridge is a tied-arch railway bridge, as well as a pedestrian bridge. Originally built in 1911, it survived numerous Allied bombings in World War II, only to be destroyed by German engineers as the war drew to a close in 1945. Reconstruction began soon after and the bridge was opened to pedestrian traffic in 1948 and completely opened in 1959.

Photo: Thomas Wolf

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