Wednesday, May 16, 2018

There were some mighty big Goodyears on Admiral Byrd’s Antarctic Snow Cruiser in 1939

Admiral Byrd’s Antarctic Snow Cruiser was built in 1939 to support his third Antarctic expedition, and built by the Pullman Company of sleeping car fame at a cost of $150,000.

Unfortunately, the Snow Cruiser proved much slower in the field then her specified cruising speed of 10-13 miles per hour. Though she may have been adept at fording crevasses, she was unable to climb the 35 percent grade she was designed for, due to it's 30-ton weight.

Byrd’s Snow Cruiser proved so problematic that it only managed to cover 96 miles in 12 months of activity and much of that in reverse!

As a result, when the expedition ended the vehicle was abandoned. She was rediscovered sometime in the 1950s only to float away on an ice shelf and sink to the bottom of the sea.

I posted about this 8 years ago,  and this is the first time new photos have popped up online since then that I've come across. Back in 2010 I posted the very few I could find, some were even in color, and that video is pretty cool too, but that was all there were online at the time, and luckily, as the years go by more and more photos are scanned and uploaded

1 comment:

  1. Since I was a boy i never understood why they built a vehicle to travel on snow and ice but put slick tires on it. I've seen photos of the cruiser with chains on the tires, but wouldn't it have gone better with some kind of tread? The electric motors driving the wheels seems like a great way to save space inside the vehicle, but with the technology of the time, heavy and underpowered. It one of those inventions that you really really wish it would have worked because it's so outrageous and bold. Maybe it'll be found someday, the freezing water may be preserving it for a future generation to be inspired.