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  • #16
    Plane to recreate historic Atlantic flight

    11/04/2003 - 2:56:06 pm

    The 75th anniversary of the first east-west crossing of the Atlantic by air will be marked this weekend by a repeat flight in a modern-day propeller aircraft.

    The Bremen, a low-wing German-built Junkers monoplane, took off from the Casement Aerodrome at Baldonnel, near Dublin, just nine years after the first air transit from the United States - by Britons John Alcock and Arthur Brown, whose aircraft landed on a bog at Clifden, in the Connemara area of Co Galway, in June 1919.

    And one of the pilots on the historic later journey from Dublin was Irishman James Fitzmaurice, the son of a prison officer from Portlaoise, Co Laois.

    A private ceremony to salute that feat will be go ahead at Baldonnel - now a military airbase - tomorrow, and will include the unveiling of a plaque marking the spot at which the Bremen took off.

    Afterwards the 1928 flight will be recreated in a 21st century twin-propeller plane, piloted by Brigadier General Ralph James, the chief of the Irish Air Corps.

    The event is being orchestrated by the Air Corps, in partnership with the South Dublin County Council and the Bremen 75 committee, made up of a number of historical and local interest groups.

    The original flight has come to be regarded as one of the most important in aviation history.

    It was achieved against prevailing westerly winds, and lasted a marathon 36 hours in the air, landing on April 13, 1928, on a frozen reservoir on Greenly Island, between Newfoundland and Quebec.

    Later, two million people turned out in New York to greet James Fitzmaurice and fellow pilots Captain Hermann Koehl, a Bavarian, and Baron von Huenefeld, who came from Prussia.

    They were all awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by US President Calvin Coolidge, becoming the first foreigners to receive that honour.

    Later the fliers also got a tumultuous reception in Dublin's O'Connell Street - and were subsequently received by the ex-Kaiser ilhelm II at Dorens in Holland.

    Then, the Irish take-off was witnessed by the president of Ireland's Executive council, WT Cosgrave, Defence Minister Desmond FitzGerald - whose son, Dr Garret FitzGerald, was later to become Taoiseach - and the German Consul-General, as well as other dignitaries.

    This time, Brigadier James will make a pre-breakfast take-off tomorrow morning.

    The airbase was today the focal point of an Air Corps military ceremony, which was followed by a blessing and re-naming of the aircraft that will recreate the flight as the "Fitz", the name by which the Irish co-pilot was known.

    The flight will be followed by a campaign to return the original plane to Baldonnel, to become the centrepiece in an interpretative centre in one of the original hangars.

    James Fitzmaurice joined the flight after a distinguished career in the First World War, when he was twice wounded.

    He later joined the Royal Flying Corps and then became a pioneer member of the Royal Air Force.

    Afterwards, he quit the British forces to become part of the Irish Army Air Corps in the newly-independent Ireland.

    He was involved in a previous east-west Atlantic crossing a year before his 1928 success.

    In the years before the crossing was finally achieved, six aircraft and 16 lives had been lost

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


    • #17
      An interpretive centre in Baldonnel ?
      Air Corps Museum finally, perhaps ?

      Is the Beechcraft being designated "The Fitz" for the commerative flight (or another aircraft) ?

      IRISH AIR CORPS - Serving the Nation.


      • #18
        a campaign to return the aircraft to Bal'.
        Why, the Bemen is the property of the German people and we would have no claim over it, except, mayby for a loan for a short-term display.
        Besides have any of you seen the state of the 'preserved' aircraft in Bal' at the moment,and I am not talking about the stone-age aircraft, which are laughingly regarded as the current Air Corps.
        Have a better one!!!!!!!

        Museum indeed!!!!!

        Amusing,the reference to the Beech as a 21st century aircraft.:-patriot:
        "We will hold out until our last bullet is spent. Could do with some whiskey"
        Radio transmission, siege of Jadotville DR Congo. September 1961.
        Illegitimi non carborundum