“Roald Amundsen – Lincoln Ellsworths flyveekspedisjon 1925” is a new DVD release of film footage from the nearly disastrous 1925 aeroplane expedition led by Norwegian polar hero Roald Amundsen. Financed by american businessman Lincoln Ellsworth, who also was a member of the expedition, the aeroplanes were registered as N24 and N25 and subsequently equipped for polar flights. They took off from King´s Bay in Svalbard on May 21st in an attempt to carry out the first transpolar flight of the North Pole, in order to establish once and for all whether there was in fact land in the area.
After only eight hours in the air, engine trouble caused them to make an emergency landing at 87° 44′ north, in which the N24 was broken beyond repair. Trapped on the constantly moving ice, the crew of six did not know if they would survive. The film shows them struggling to make a temporary runway long enough for the remaining aeroplane to take off, which took them more than three weeks. It was the northernmost latitude reached by plane at that time.
Shoveling over 600 tons of ice while consuming only 400 grams of daily food rations, the crew finally managed to take off in the N25 piloted by Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen, barely becoming airborne above the cracking ice. They managed to reach a fjord on the coast of Nordaustlandet at Svalbard before running out of fuel, making this one of the most exciting episodes in the history of aviation.
The newly restored film is released by The Norwegian Film Institute and The National Library of Norway as a feature length documentary and has a new soundtrack by Matti Bye and Kristian Holmgren and a choice of norwegian, russian, german or english text.
You can buy the DVD from the Norwegian Film Institute here.
Short clip from the film here
I have not seen this DVD yet, but several short clips have been featured in documentaries before. As an owner of a copy of the excellent release “Roald Amundsens South Pole Expedition 1910-1912” also by the Norwegian Film Institute, I am certain this release holds up to the same high technical and historical standard.
The Nansen-Amundsen-Year article
A detailed account of the expedition can be found here