Colonel James Fitzmaurice visits Baldonnel Aerodrome for the first time since he and two Germans made the first east-west crossing of the Altantic in 1928.
Colonel James Fitzmaurice is in Dublin to attend the International Air Transport Association's 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM). He and the other guests are taken on a cruise of Dublin Bay aboard the Cambria.
The day before, Colonel Fitzmaurice visited Dublin's Baldonnel Aerodrome for the first time since 12 April 1928. On this date, he along with Germans Captain Hermann Koehl and Baron Von Huenefeld made the first east-west crossing of the Altantic in the Bremen, a German-built, single-engined monoplane. Colonel Fitzmaurice and Captain Koehl co-piloted the plane while Von Huenefeld was a passenger for the entire flight.
The Bremen took off from Baldonnel Aerodrome and landed over 36 hours later at Greenly Island, off Labrador. Colonel Fitzmaurice was delighted to be back in Baldonnel Aerodrome again,
I was filled with nostalgia and it was a tremendous pleasure.
Colonel Fitzmaurice would love to be able to fly a plane out of Baldonnel again. He recalls the morning of his historic flight. Weather conditions were not ideal and the Bremen was heavily overloaded with fuel,
Our take off was the most dangerous thing I have ever experienced in my life.
To sustain themselves on the lengthy flight across the Atlantic, the aviators survived on sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, oranges, tea and coffee.
At just 300 horse power the Bremen is the sort of plane used by cadets in later years. It did not even have radar. Colonel Fitzmaurice recalls the worst part of the journey came near the end, when they discovered the aircraft had an oil leak.
Despite the many challenges, Colonel Fitzmarince was totally calm throughout the flight,
An Irishman is never scared.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 15 September 1962. The reporter is John Ross.