After my successful escape from imprisonment I returned again to aviation. At Boeblingen I was given planes to fly of every possible type. 'The one I like most was the Fokker D7, with which I enjoyed looping about in the air for half hours at a time. During this time I met with a small airplane accident.

I was flying with my Police Flying Echelon, which had just been formed, in my first propaganda flight over our Swabian capital, Stuttgart. Even at the take-off it seemed to me as if something were out of order with my fuel system.

As we descended in spirals over Stuttgart, the motor stopped all of a sudden at an altitude of 200 meters, and the propeller stood still. I had very little time in which to think. I did not wish to land in the parks or streets of the city, as this would have greatly endangered the public. But I could not get beyond the city as Stuttgart is situated in a basin and the surrounding heights are thickly wooded. But I decided to land in the woods. I pressed the elevator down and flew at full speed towards the lower edge of them, then I pulled the plane up to such an extent that

she sat down on top of the trees just at a moment when she threatened to side slip. Then she gradually turned over to one side and slipped with me a short distance downwards. Thus I was suspended in my plane between heaven and earth. I climbed out of the plane, clambered down along a wing and jumped the last few feet to the ground. The damage to the plane was not so regrettable, as we had many more planes in Boeblingen which were to be smashed during the next few days!

As, owing to the Peace Treaty, all aviation corps had been disbanded, I decided during May 1920 to leave the Police Aviation and to join the Reichswehr. From Boeblingen I went to Ludwigsburg, where for a considerable time I had the pleasure of commanding the 7th Company of their Infantry Regiment. Compared with my previous years that was quite a restful time.

Besides running the Company I found a good deal of quiet diversion in other directions such as painting and dancing. One could indulge for a very little money in both in those days of inflation. I threw myself with great enthusiasm into the restoration of the accustomed social arrangements of our old days. These had suffered blow after blow and almost disappeared during the War days and the unsatisfactory conditions of the inflation period. My Battalion arranged a dance in Ludwigsburg on the lines of our old happy days. I must confess that my keen participation in this work of restoration had an egotistical basis. I wished after the long war years to sail into the harbor of marriage and I thought that by participating in these social affairs I might reach my goal sooner. Having thus paved the way I found the right lady, although in the beginning I liked her much better than she liked me. But after a siege of a year and a half she surrendered, and we celebrated our wedding in Ludwigsburg.

The inflation period had reached its height in the days following our wedding, and we had to bring our short honeymoon in Austria to an abrupt conclusion in order to make sure that with our funds, the savings of a year and a half, which we had thought would be ample for a holiday of six weeks, we could at least reach Munich. We decided we could do better with our depreciated money in Germany.

The mark was not stabilized until a year and a half later. We had ample opportunity to taste all the pleasures and sorrows of those times.

Each year we spent my Reichswehr leave in our Bavarian mountains where we enjoyed skiing and where military training camps were established. We learned to love this delightful sport during those years to such an extent that we have remained devoted to it ever since.

Any advancement in the "Reichswehr" seemed to me to be rather hopeless, because during the war I had spent all my time at the front and never behind the front in general staff activity. So I asked for my transfer from Ludwigsburg to the Pioneers in Neu-Ulm. It seemed to me that my superiors did not seriously consider the question of giving me any job connected with flying.

Already in the Spring of 1922, during my three months commission in the Wacht (Guard) Regiment in Berlin, I had begun to make connections with the civil aviation companies which were then just beginning to be formed. Among such connections, the most valuable one was my connection with Director Sachsenberg, one of the most active and important founders of the German air service. Thanks to it I succeeded in 1924 in co-operating with the Junkers-Luftverkehrs A.G. in the establishment of the first German night flight route from Berlin to Warnemuende. For this purpose I had taken the leave due to me. The organization of this night route required, of course, more time than I had at my disposal, so I could only co-operate during the first fortnight. Still, those days were sufficient to create in my patrons a desire to keep me in this job. When the next year the night flight trials on the route Berlin to Warnemuende were extended by the Junkers-Luftverkehrs A.G., to Stockholm, I took off my soldier's uniform and joined the Company.

1925 was the year of development of night flights in the history of German aviation. I was in charge of the entire management and organization of the tests on the land route between Berlin to Warnemuende. There followed the extension of the night route by sea planes from Warnemuende to Stockholm. Here I had a good opportunity to acquire some experience in flying sea planes both in the day time and at night.

When I look back upon my work of that year I feel quite creepy. I spent all my time in night flight work, and I did not have five minutes for anything else. During the whole year I did not even once go to a theater or to a party. Even when at 11 o'clock at night I occasionally succeeded in paying a short visit to some of my jolly friends, they could rest assured that my share of the entertainment would consist of lying down upon something with a solid foundation and going to sleep.

Nevertheless, that period of relentless day and night work afforded me a great deal of satisfaction. I was able to work freely and independently and the rapid progress we made from month to month was a source of intense gratification to me. Again and again it spurred me on to renewed inceasing action.

At the end of 1925 we had crudely developed ,he night flight. We had devoted ourselves to the cause to such an extent that often we had risked itir lives in order to gain vital experience. Then rate intervened. It became impossible for the Junkers-Luftverkehrs A.G. to carry on. They lacked the necessary capital and there was no one willing to finance the Company. At the same time the subsidies ceased.

The result was the two largest German air transportation Companies were merged into a new company, the German Lufthansa. I was given charge of the Night Flight Department, but the work no longer proceeded as in the previous year. I had less trouble with night and fog flights, but was hampered by a good deal of red tape. I was no longer independent. My propositions in regard to landings in fog and the further development of the night service met with less understanding than before. I felt that I could not work indefinitely in this manner, and so I began to look around for another occupation.

From then on all my endeavors were directed towards the unhindered development of aviation, the future of which I believe rested in the further development of flights at night and in fog.

Whilst in 1925 I had flown most of the night flights myself, my liking for them at the Lufthansa became less and less.

I was on the point of looking for another field of action which would give me more satisfaction. In Germany this was rather difficult because the whole field was monopolized by the Lufthansa. In those sad days I did not think of looking for something in America, in the land where opportunities are not so limited; and of starting a new existence there.

Then last year the era of Ocean flights began. Nungesser and Coli disappeared; Lindbergh succeeded in his epic flight, the wonder of which cannot be expressed in words; Chamberlin arrived in Germany; Byrd landed on the French coast; the Americans flew to Honolulu; Brock and Schlee circled the earth; Miss Elder and her faithful companion Haldeman caught a steamer past the Azores. Many unfortunately disappeared in the waves, or in the icy regions of the North.

I had followed all the flights with great interest. I studied their technical foundations and the actual possibilities. Again and again I found that the night time, which all the flyers encountered, was the most difficult part of the flights. Those black storm-swept nights must have decided the fate of all those pioneers of the air whose voices died away forever.

I awaited Chamberlin's arrival at the Tempelhof aerodrome with feverish anxiety. There all those who had any voice in aviation matters assembled, and during those hours I discussed with a few good friends from the old Junkers-Luftverkehr the possibilities of an East to West flight. The first decisive steps in this direction were taken during that night. It was again my esteemed friend, Director Sachsenberg, who gave me a helping hand. He told me that the Junkers Works were greatly interested in such flights. Thereupon I gave all the available airplane types a thorough test in order to discover which of them would be the best suited for such a flight. The Junkers W33 showed the best records. It was a matter of honor for me that both plane and engine should be exclusively of German make. I found that only the W33 could comply with these vital requirements.

However, she had to be somewhat altered according to my instructions. From then onwards; I remained in constant touch with Dessau.. There, again through Director Sachsenberg, I made the acquaintance of my friend Huenefeld. Our becoming acquainted was of enormous importance to me, because he is one of those unswerving beings who would sacrifice everything: for his ideals rather than lose them. He and I got on splendidly together. Our first attempt to cross the Ocean in 1927 failed owing to unfavorable weather conditions, and our next attempt was postponed until the following year.

During the last winter which preceded our flight, I went thoroughly over all the flight experiences I had had, and discussed everything with Huenefeld in true alliance.

So far as my work at the Lufthansa would permit me, I concentrated all my thoughts and efforts exclusively upon the carrying out the next year's flight. At the Lufthansa, apart from my work connected with night flights, I had to work extensively in other fields such as the aerial radio and aerial navigation. My experience in this work came in very handy during our Atlantic flight.

A fortnight of my leave from the Lufthansa I spent in the Bavarian Alps enjoying the winter sports. The rest of my leave I used in taking a sea voyage to Ireland with my friend Huenefeld in order to inspect the Irish flying fields. This trip, as well as our other preparations remained rather a secret, although only until I began to carry out the trials with our plane.

Looking back upon my life I must say that I did not have great ambitions, but the tasks I have set myself so far I have achieved, with God's help, even though they entailed many years of hard fighting.