page 11  
Chapter 3
The First Flight over Tierra del Fuego

On the 3 of December of 1928, at 19 hours, the surprised inhabitants of Ushuaia observed from the coast the first aqua-landing of an airplane flown over Tierra del Fuego. Its a Heinkel hd24, a fragile, two winged hydroplane powered by a BMW engine. From the open air cockpit, Captain Gunther Pluschow climbs down smiling and greets his mechanic and co-pilot Ernest Dreblow.

For the pilot, the flight had been the completion of a life-long aspiration. Four decades back, at five years of age and in his native Germany, Pluschow discovered the post card that presented him with his first gaze of Tierra del Fuego's coast line. Impressed by its natural beauty, and later with the legends of these exotic lands, Pluschow swore to one day explore and scan them from the wide open perspective of its skies.

Pluschow was born in Munich in 1886. From early childhood he distinguished himself by a seemingly inexhaustible curiosity and a precocious intelligence that enabled him by age 11 to learn to speak fluently four languages. Pluschow first became an accomplished seaman and later a skillful aviator.

During the first world war he distinguished himself for bravery for his actions in the German colony located in Tsingtau, China. After the war, Pluschow would transform himself into an important writer. Also, among other activities, he learned photography and cinematography. It is primarily as a photographer and a film-maker that Pluschow decided to set out for Tierra del Fuego to dazzle the world with the natural wonders of the land at the end of the world.
Pluschow organized his expedition thanks to the support from many German firms,

one of which was Ullstein Publishers in Berlin. For the expedition, Pluschow commissioned a sailing ship to be build with a 50 hp motor, and, also, managed to acquire an open air cockpit hydroplane whose wings were wrapped and finished in cloth. This would be the aircraft in which he would fly over desolate and frozen regions while risking the worlds worst climatic conditions known to man. Pluschows´ flights over Tierra del Fuego would also have to be accomplished without communications, meteorological forecasts or land support.

In November of 1927, Pluschow sent his unassembled hydroplane in a steam ship to Punta Arenas, Chile. Meanwhile, with a crew of five men, he began his journey in his sailing ship from a harbor in Busum, Germany, to Tierra del Fuego. The trip would take 279 days, including the traditional and generous fare of dangers and delays that intrepid young men have evoked historically from their expeditions toward the unknown. Shortly after he arrived, Pluschow began to explore the numerous Tierra del Fuego canals. Twelve days later, with the help of his mechanic Dreblow, he assembled his two winged hydroplane in Punta Arenas. Soon, Pluschow began to make the first films of Tierra del Fuego, shot from the same skies that had once been a source of fantasy and adventure in his childhood’s restless imagination.
On the 28 of December at 17:30 hours, the German pilot made his take-off from Punta Arenas and, after a flyover of one hour and thirty minutes, made an aqua-landing in


      page 11  
1-2-3-4-5-6     INTRODUCTION  
7-8     CHAPTER 1 - From Far West to Patagonia - BUTCH CASSIDY  
9-10     CHAPTER 2 - Tragedy of the Cervantes - THE “MONTE CERVANTES” SHIPWRECK  
11     CHAPTER 3 - The First Flight over Tierra del Fuego - GUNTHER PLÜSCHOW  
12     CHAPTER 4 - The Promised Land - THE ROAD OF THE WELSH PEOPLE  
13-14     Chapter 5 - The Watchman of the South - LUIS PIEDRA BUENA  
15-16     Chapter 6 - The Prison of the End of the World - Ushuaia’s Prison  
17     Chapter 7 - The Perito Moreno Glacier - FRANCISCO PANCRACIO MORENO  
18     Chapter 8 - THE FATHER DE AGOSTINI  
19-20     Chapter 9 - Long Live the King! - ORLLIE ANTOINE  
21     Chapter 10 - No Place for Women - ELLA HOFFMAN de BRUNSWICK  
22     Chapter 11 - The Boundless Empire - JOSE MENENDEZ  
23-24-25     Chapter 12 - Dreams of Gold - JULIUS POPPER  
27-28-29-30     PRESS ISSUE