Flight 19

Today in History, December 5: 1945 –

Flight 19, a squadron of 5 TBM Avenger Torpedo planes on a navigational training flight out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, disappears without a trace within the “Bermuda Triangle”. Land based personnel could hear them by radio trying to find their way before apparently ditching at sea. 14 crewmen were lost.

In the efforts to find the lost men, a flying boat, a PBM Mariner, was also lost without a trace…almost doubling the loss of life with her 13 man crew. Hundreds of aircraft and ships searched for the lost crews without success.

Many ships and aircraft have been lost in this area…leading to speculation about aliens, magnetic anomalies, the lost civilization of Atlantis, etc. The Navy is likely correct about disorientation, but there have been an unusual amount of losses within the “Triangle.”

A Navigational Landmark

 

Today in History, June 29: 1927 – Five weeks after Charles Lindbergh’s much more famous flight, Army Air Corps Lieutenants Lester Maitland and Albert Hegenberger completed the first trans-Pacific flight from San Francisco to Hawaii. They traveled over 2400 miles over ocean, using instruments to find their way to an island, as opposed to Lindbergh’s 3600 miles to find a continent. They used a Fokker Tri-Motor for their 25+ hour flight so that they would still have power if they lost an engine. The two men had spent the previous decade developing the navigation technology for the flight and repeatedly lobbying their superiors for the opportunity to test it. Both would continue to be heroes in WWII.