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Journal of a Seaplane Cruise Around The World
Part Two: Europe

Monday, September 24

The flight from Stockholm to Stettin was something to be remembered. These windshift lines are getting to be a habit and they are faintly unpleasant. The eastern coast of Sweden is much like the Maine coast, only on a much grander scale. The islands may run to a hundred or more as seen from a single perch, and they surround fine sheltered waters through which passes nearly all of the traffic, even the big passenger boats. We were making poor time along this stretch (about 60 knots) and were pitched about so much that the lad in the rear soon had his head out the back window. He kept up good radio work, however. The sketch in the lower right hand corner shows what I suppose was the weather map at the time. There was a strong southeast wind all the way to Kristianopal and, during the last 100 miles, while we were opposite the island of Oland, there was heavy rain and low ceilings, so that it was necessary to fly by instruments for the most part. Maintained 1700 foot altitude in order to miss the islands, which were occasionally visible to us when it didn't rain quite so hard as at other times. We were supposed to avoid the fortified area at Karlskrona, but it was difficult enough to avoid anything. We crossed over what we guessed were the Kristianopal islands and started off blind toward Germany. Some 20 or 30 miles out it grew just light enough so that a long curtain of rain became visible ahead, and as we bumped through it the drift changed suddenly from -12 to +11 and, with relief, the windshift line was passed through. The sun soon appeared and we came out in fine weather, but all the way into Stettin there was the storm, not 10 miles to our left.

Bornholm is the greenest land you ever saw, and the farms are extremely well kept. We could see nearly all of it, and tried to guess its value to Denmark, which might, be placed at 25 to 50 millions. There must be 3,000 inhabitants. We entered Germany from the north, and Pomerania lay below us green even against the grey clouds to the east, and Asulinak slipped along past waving farmers, the cheery sailboats in the Oder, a large paper mill and finally to Altdamm, the location of the seaplane station. It was a Sunday afternoon and an air meet was in progress on the large airdrome behind the mooring basin. The sky was empty but there were 30 to 40 planes on the ground and many were just ready to take off. We came down directly in front of the hangar and beached the ship on the sand.

The decision to come to Germany must have been born of an impudent curiosity, because everyone has warned us that in these days Germany does not welcome foreign aircraft, so it was not a surprise to have an inspector come aboard immediately and inquire about our cameras. The English seals were cut and the cameras were put into a locker. On our return, and to my amusement, I found one of the films had been developed! We were examined with great efficiency, but it was not in the least unpleasant and generously they carried out a detailed examination only of the goods which we were taking ashore, leaving the great bulk of equipment undisturbed in the cabin. Our money was counted, of course, for one may not leave Germany with more than he enters. They wanted in fact more documents than we possessed, and even sent a man to the airplane to get the Department of Commerce license from its case; I was aghast to notice, when they brought it, that it was only a 30 day temporary license, issued some four months earlier, but the officials did not discover the restriction. We were lucky from the start, because a pilot named Brill came forward and offered his services in translation, which he could do well having been pretty much over the world. He was a fine chap, big and husky, built like Straubel, and with much the same temperament. With all arrangements finished, he walked with us to the field gate a half mile away through the crowd, and generously loaned us 10 R.M. so we could get into town.

The air meet was a good exhibition of the much discussed preparations which Germany is making in aviation. Brill was careful to point out that this is entirely for commercial training, but the school had more the earmarks of a military center. There is an enrollment of about 50 young men who are undergoing full-time training for a year or two. Subsequently we saw them at their early morning calisthenics, and they went through these much like a class of flying cadets at Kelly Field would be set in shape for their flying day. During the meet, a pilot was aloft in a single seater monoplane, in which he did slow rolls out of split S's with power to spare, and he was followed by a tight three ship formation which gave a demonstration of formation loops, diving circles (Lufberry), etc. that would do the "Sea Hawks" proud. A large new hangar is under construction, which will accommodate the thirty ships now standing outside. Most of the planes are low wing metal monoplanes and the larger ones are powered with the B.M.W. Cyclones.

We have bumped into a disagreeable situation in Stettin. None of the hotels will accept American Express checks and it defeats our intention to go up to Berlin. We must wait over until tomorrow (Monday) when the banks open.

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