“The Everest of Aviation Mysteries”


Two weeks before Lindbergh’s famous crossing, two French war heroes set out in a biplane to attempt the first nonstop transatlantic flight from Paris to New York.

They took off early on May 8, 1927, and were sighted at the French coast and later off Ireland. But no further sightings were made, and after 42 hours the White Bird was listed as lost.

Possibly she was simply the victim of an Atlantic squall. An extensive search between New York and Newfoundland discovered nothing. But witnesses there claimed to have heard the aircraft, and scattered sightings were reported on a line south from Nova Scotia into coastal Maine. Later, struts and engine metal were found that are not manufactured in North America.

But none of this is conclusive, and no definitive trace of the wooden craft has yet been found — in particular, its engine. In 1984 the French government declared officially that the pair might have reached Newfoundland. But whether they did remains unknown.