Byrd and Floyd Bennett became the first to fly to the pole
when their Ford tri-motor Fokker completed the flight from Kings
Bay, Spitzbergen on May 9, 1926. A small packet of mail was franked
by a U.S. stamp.
addressee became concerned that the name change to Ny-Alesund
would confuse people and added Norwegian stamps and a "clarifying"
postmark to the perfectly valid covers.
From Europe to America Over the Pole
dirigible NORGE flew over the pole to Teller,
Alaska, in 1926 using a multi-national crew. An unofficial
mail used cards printed for the 1924 Amundsen flight and a
label prepared by the Italian crew.
reverse side shows another cachet and the autograph of the Norwegian
focusing attention on the importance of the Italian crew of the
airship NORGE was dropped during the flight to Spitzbergen.
The international rivalry continued throughout the flight.
The Mail was Lost for Nine Years
packet of 51 letters originating at Ciampino Airport near
Rome and apparently intended to be carried over the pole on
the NORGE flight was misplaced at Spitzbergen
and Eielsen Added to Their Experience in Flying Over the Arctic
first flight from Fairbanks to Barrow continued on a survey
leg over the ice for 550 miles before landing at Barrow. Mail
carried on the plane was canceled and returned to Fairbanks
on the same plane although a storm delayed the return flight
until April 7.
Long Range Flights Over the Ice
Wilkins experimented with aircraft in cold weather conditions
as part of a plan to fly to Europe. His 1927 flight from Barrow,
Alaska, was a test that ended in abandoning the plane and
walking back over a hundred miles of pack ice.
small number of covers were carried as souvenir mail.
An Air Polar Route to Europe
Wilkins and Carl Eielsen flew from Barrow, Alaska, to Spitzbergen
in 1928 to prove that an air polar route was feasible from
east to west.
small amount of personal mail was carried and stamped on arrival
at the Svalbard Radio facility . . .
The Virtually Annual Expeditions
MacMillan led thirty-two expeditions to the Arctic by the
time of his death in 1970. Mail is known from many of them,
however, identification is often made from the return addresses.
Unusual handling appears in the acceptance of a precanceled
stamp on a registered letter and acceptance of Canadian stamps
by the U.S. Postal Service in 1928.