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Umberto Nobile being decorated by Admiral Okadad. Umberto Nobile (1885-1978) was an Italian aeronautical engineer and professor, and Arctic explorer. He took part in two flights over the North Pole, the first as the designer and pilot of the Norge (11-14th May 1926) from Rome to Alaska. It was a huge success and was the first undisputed attainment of the North Pole by air and the first crossing of the polar sea from Europe to North America. The second flight, however, ended in tragedy. Nobile was the sole leader of the Italia expedition (departing 22nd May 1928) and, although reaching the North Pole, the airship crashed just before its return to King's Bay, Spitsbergen. Nobile was lucky to survive the crash.
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