Balchen, Bernt bârnt bäl´kən [key], 1899–1973, Norwegian-American aviator. He headed one of the search expeditions for Amundsen and Ellsworth in 1925 and was a member of their 1926 expedition to the Arctic. Richard E. Byrd, meeting Balchen at Spitsbergen in 1926, brought him to the United States. He was second pilot on Byrd's transatlantic flight in 1927 and was the hero of the forced night landing of Byrd's plane in the surf on the Normandy coast. He was the chief pilot on Byrd's expedition to Antarctica (1928–30), which included the first flight (1929) over the South Pole. Serving in the U.S. air force during World War II, Balchen again distinguished himself.
See his autobiography, Come North With Me (1958).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Explorers, Travelers, and Conquerors: Biographies