Whiteout in Antarctica
Richard Paul Smyers
I have some additional information that could further illuminate Norman Polmar’s June column (“Historic Aircraft: The Little Birds,” pp. 14–15) about one of the ten Bell HTL-1 helicopters acquired by the Navy. One was based on board the icebreaker USS Burton Island (AG-88) during the Antarctic expedition Operation Windmill from 1947 to 1948.
On 14 January 1948, the helicopter crashed at 65° 21’ South 110° 13’ East in the Bunger Hills when trying to land during a “whiteout.” The pilot, Lieutenant (junior grade) Hubert Glenzer, and the passenger, Aviation Machinist’s Mate Robert F. Phelps, both escaped with only minor cuts and bruises. Later, a ground party salvaged electronic equipment and the HTL-1 was abandoned where it had crashed.
If anyone knows the Bureau of Aeronautics number of this HTL-1, I would appreciate hearing from them about it.