Nobile, Umberto

Nobile, Umberto o͞ombĕrˈtō nōˈbēlā [key], 1885–1978, Italian aeronautical engineer and arctic explorer. He designed the dirigible Norge and piloted it in the Amundsen-Ellsworth flight over the North Pole in 1926. He later quarreled with Amundsen over the question of credit for the achievement. In command of the Italia, the sister ship of the Norge, Nobile flew over the pole in 1928 as a rebuttal to critics who were skeptical of dirigible polar exploration; on the return trip the airship crashed NE of Spitsbergen and eight lost their lives. Nobile was rescued by the Swedish aviator Einar Lundborg, and the other survivors were reached by the Russian icebreaker Krassin. Severely censured for his conduct of the expedition, he resigned his commission as a general in the air corps but later (1945) was cleared of the charges and reinstated with the rank of major general. From 1931 to 1936 he was a technical adviser for airship construction in the Soviet Union, and later taught aeronautical engineering at what is now Lewis Univ., Romeoville, Ill. After the fall of Mussolini, Nobile returned to Italy to teach at the Univ. of Naples.

See his With the “Italia” to the North Pole (tr. 1930); E Lundborg, The Arctic Rescue (tr. 1929).

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