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In an issue of LIFE magazine from October 30, 1939 that I have is a great cutaway drawing of Admiral Byrd’s snow cruiser.  Admiral Byrd was a naval officer who was the first person to reach the North and South Poles by air.

At 55 feet 8 inches long and 16 feet high, Byrd’s Snow Cruiser was intended to ply the snowy wastes of Antarctica at 30 mph max.  Snow crevasses would be surmounted by retracting the massive Goodyear front tires, sliding the front over the crevasse as if the cruiser were a sled (back wheels pushing).  Once the front was fully across, the back tires would retract and the front tires would pull the cruiser ahead.

 

byrd-snow-cruiser-cabin-detail

Above, detail of cutaway of Byrd’s Snow Cruiser, showing operating room, engine room, and chart room.

Byrd-snow-cruiser-tire-chains

Above, mounting snow chains to the approximately 10 foot diameter Goodyear tires.

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