Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cape Town to Goodwood Day 46: Now for Split

After their adventures yesterday (see Facebook), Spirit of Artemis is heading for Split and Dubrovnik today. 

From Naples, Mary Heath headed for Rome. She had hoped to set off at 6am, but officer in charge didn't arrive until 8am. She passed the time by putting in some "useful hours' work" on the Avro.
Taking off she narrowly missed hitting the trees surrounding the aerodrome. "It was probably all right for the high-power service aircraft, but a little too small for my peace of mind in an overloaded light aeroplane."
She "followed the wind" to Rome with  the Via Appia her guide on the last few miles. In Rome she had her choice of aerodromes; she came down at  Littoria and went to the wrong sheds, taking about about ten minutes to taxi across the "vast stretch of landing field"  when she discovered her mistake.
In Rome, she stayed a week, partly to recover from the rheumatic fever she had picked up in  north Africa and partly because General Balco, the head of the Italian Air Force, offered her a free overhaul of her engine.
During her visit, she met the fascist dictator Mussolini and was impressed by his knowledge of flying matters. General Balco allowed her to fly some of the service aeroplanes and the aviator and author Marquis Francesco de Pinedo held a dinner in her honour on the night before her departure. Pinedo was to die in 1933 - he was attempting to take off  from New York for Baghdad in an overloaded Bellanca monoplane and crashed into nearby buildings.
See for some film of him in happier days.

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