Historians and aviation enthusiasts were shocked by the disappearance of L’Oiseau Blanc – the White Bird – in 1927. A man in Oxford, Penn., has spent the past 40 years trying to uncover the mystery.
The large French biplane, along with its pilots Charles Nungeser and François Collie, disappeared during an attempt to make the first non-stop transatlantic flight between Paris and New York City and win the $25,000 Ortig prize.
Exactly two weeks later, Charles Lindbergh successfully took off – and history, as the first solo pilot to cross the ocean. [British pilots John Alcock and Arthur Brown made the first transatlantic flight in 1919, flying from St. John’s to Clifden, Ireland.]
At the time, residents of Cape Shore, on the southeast coast of Newfoundland, said they saw Nungeser and Collie’s plane flying overhead. Later, some people also reported seeing pieces of plane wreckage at Gul Pond near St. Mary’s Bay.
No conclusions were ever drawn and the aircraft itself has never been found.
Rick Gillespie, executive director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, hasn’t given up hunting since he first heard about the legend in 1980.
“This is the most important missing airplane in history,” Gillespie told Nation World News in an interview. He said his research has taken several turns over the years, with researchers following speculation about accidents in New York and Maine.
“We began to search [and] Eventually started a non-profit organization that conducts historical investigations. We looked for eight years in Maine and found nothing but stories.”
“Newfoundland has so much more than stories. There are witness reports. We moved our search to Newfoundland in 1992 and started looking for things.”
Gillespie has made several trips to the province since 1992, but no conclusive evidence has yet been found that the flight had crashed in or near the island, although on one such visit the search group was found to have a piece of blue-painted steel cylinder. Part found, some of Gillespie is of unknown origin.
He said witness reports from people in St Mary’s at the time said that they had seen the plane crossing the bay while it was on fire, but note that it may have been steam rather than liquid cooling of the engine.
There are more than stories in Newfoundland. witness reports are— Rick Gillespie
“These people swore an affidavit before a magistrate at that time. It’s good, solid, solid evidence,” Gillespie said.
“Pond on Cape Shore, it’s a legend. [There are] People’s stories told years later – much more obscure but worth checking out. There were no active aircraft in Newfoundland on May 9, 1927. If these men heard and saw an airplane, as they swore at the time, it was the White Bird.”
one more shot
Gillespie is back in Newfoundland this week to give a presentation and discussion about the history and mysteries of the disappearing L’Oiso Blanc.
He also filmed a campaign with the Discovery Channel for the show. campaign unknown, which aired on Wednesday.
“What we hope is that the people of Cape Shore, or anyone who has information or wants to hear about White Bird, comes by … and hopes that people share their stories with us,” They said.
“My long-disappointed hope that someone put something back in their closet on Cape Shore that their uncle said, ‘It’s from that plane across the pond’ and no one came forward with it before.”
A presentation begins on Saturday at 7PM NT at the Anglican Church of St. Luke in Placentia.
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