The Library and Archives houses the personal collection of world renowned aviator Bernt Balchen. Bernt Balchen was born in Tveit, Norway on October 23, 1899. Colonel Balchen, a native Norwegian, started flying in 1921. He became a U.S. citizen in 1930. His career spanned 35 years, serving both the United States and Norwegian governments in cold-weather aviation. His many accomplishments include: pilot of the “America” transoceanic flight, searching for Amundsen, Byrd Antarctica expedition, building a secret air base in Greenland, rescues of downed planes, flying arms to Norwegian Resistance movement, rebuilding SAS Airlines, the DEW Line, and many other notable achievements.
The collection consists mainly of articles, letters, awards, telegrams, and correspondence regarding the aviation career of Colonel Balchen, most of which was donated by his wife Audrey S. Balchen. Colonel Balchen passed away in 1973 and was buried in Arlington on his 74th birthday.
The San Diego Air & Space Museum is a proud member of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, a collaboration of 26 arts, science, and cultural institutions in San Diego's Balboa Park. Learn more at www.bpcp.org.