The weather following our arrival in Ireland was so incredibly bad, that in spite of all our eagerness we were unable to take off. Owing to the long heavy rains, the soil on the Baldonnel aerodome had become softened to such an extent, that we could not consider taking off with a heavily loaded plane unless a concrete or wooden runway had been at our disposal. The construction of such a runway would undoubtedly have taken weeks, so it was better to wait for the kind sun to do the whole job in two or three days with the heat of its rays.

On April 9 it seemed as though the weather were beginning to improve. The reports from the British Air Ministry on the Ocean itself, however, were such that we could not count on reasonably favorable weather conditions. It was not until April 11 that the British Air Ministry reported that weather on the ocean seemed to be improving. In the evening of April 11 the reports of a better outlook increased in number, and so we decided to take off on April 12. As a matter of fact, in Baldonnel itself the weather conditions were rather doubtful for the take-off. But over the greater part of the ocean, conditions prevailed which showed that a high pressure area was about to develop on the Eastern half of the Atlantic. The strong winds of the last few days had abated to some extent ; they blew only with a strength of 20 to 25 miles per hour on the surface of the water; and it was possible that the wind would slacken still further.

The weather conditions prevailing on the Western part of the Ocean, East and North of Newfoundland were rather more unfavorable. From there we received reports of a thick low cloud bank, reaching as far South as New York. Wide regions of rain lay between Labrador and New York. There was an area of low pressure progressing seemingly South. This might have become dangerous for us, because at the time we were in the vicinity of the coast of Newfoundland, on the evening of April 12, this low pressure area had probably moved further South. I realized that this circumstance was rather critical for carrying out the flight, and perhaps we should have considered whether on the basis of that report a further postponement of the flight was advisable. But I knew from all my past observations that an East to West flight could never be carried out without flying through a greater or smaller minimum (low pressure area), and so we did not let this circumstance influence our decision whether the flight should or should not be made.

Under the given circumstances, therefore, we counted on bad weather near Newfoundland, and on the eve of our take-off we decided upon the course to steer if our predictions came true. On the evening of April 11 a fresh Southerly wind was blowing in Baldonnel, which was rather f avorable for the takeoff in the direction we had chosen. We hoped that this wind would keep on until the crucial hour.

After an evening bite in the messroom of the Baldonnel Flying Corps we remained there for another hour chatting around the cozy fireplace. We went to bed at about 9 o'clock. It was not very easy to sleep. I had already tried the expedient of drinking more stout than usual, an additional glass in fact. But sleep did not come as quickly as usual. My esteemed friend, Herr Schuenzinger, the engineer of the Junkers Works in Dessau, shared the same room as I did. His less troubled mind enabled him to doze off much quicker than I did. I had to listen to his quiet breathing for a long time before a light but restless sleep overtook me. The flight, the take-off, and the thousand and one possibilities which might present themselves, caused my heart, I roust confess, to beat a little faster than usual. And in my restless sleep I thought I could hear it beat. Whether it was fear or excitement I do not want to decide.

There were many risks one had to take, and as I have said, many possibilities to face which might arouse fears. One had to face conditions as utterly unknown as the ice fogs of Newfoundland, the Western gales and cyclones of the Ocean; also the moonless April night, considerably lengthened in an East to West flight, and lastly the problem as to whether the engine would hold out. Would the Bremen stand all weather conditions? A small mishap, some trouble in the water, oil or gasoline system, and death would be unavoidable. We could hardly hope to be saved, drifted on the wide expanse of the Ocean, if we were forced to land on the water, as we had chosen the Northern route, where very few steamers pass, especially at this season of the year.

In my sleep these thoughts pursued me, and made me toss on my field cot. The funeral speeches which my ex-superiors in Berlin had delivered me, the many warnings I had received from my friends, came into my memory, and in my dreams showed themselves as menacing ghosts. The last night, certainly did not bring me the sleep which was really necessary before the long voyage and struggle in front of me. The take-off caused me the most anxiety. And when I had banished all the ghosts of the Ocean, I began to think of the various points which I intended to observe at the take-off, and so I did not get that which was the most essential for it, adequate sleep. I had never yet taken off with such a heavy machine, and when I remembered all the stories I had heard about getting up with a heavy tonnage, my optimism did not increase. Yet optimism for such an undertaking was essential.

In spite of all the daring attributed to me I am, as long as it is possible, very thoughtful and careful. Again and again the thought crossed my mind, had I made a mistake anywhere? The take-off provided the greatest difficulties.

From my restless dreams I was awakened by the Captain on duty in the camp, who had had no sleep at all that night. My first question was: "What wind?" "No wind" was the reply. This did not please me at all, because it caused me great misgivings as to the success of the take-off. I had always counted on some south-westerly wind, which had blown so unceasing during the last few days.

The theoretical limit of possibilities was stretched to the extreme through this unpleasant circumstance. My eyes tried to detect wind even through the window, but in the darkness I could not establish anything. Instead I noticed our friend, reporter Jenkewitsch, with serious eyes watching the awakening of the heroes of the approaching day, in order to be able later on to report their doings to the listening world. It was still very early, and not the slightest glimmer of the dawn showed on the horizon. I jumped out of bed at 3:45. With cold water I chased away the gloomy dreams of the night. Even the restless and short sleep had refreshed me to such an extent that my old spirit was unbroken. My heart, which during the restless night had spoken so anxiously, became quiet again. The fresh morning air and the first glimmer of the dawning morning made me feel freer and happier than ever before. The gloomy hints, the friendly warnings were all swept away. And I could not understand why melancholy thoughts and miserable presentiments had tortured me during my light slumber. I felt full of hope and ready for action. My thoughts flew back home. "You, my dear Germany, I want to serve and hel; and you, my nice world, I want to conquer." Now let everything come—the mighty elements, gales, waves, nights and fogs—I would fight all, or die in the struggle.

I dressed quickly and hurried to the officers' mess for breakfast. There I found all our kind and courageous Irish comrades already sitting at their breakfast: some of them had not even gone to bed during the night. Our hearty breakfast consisted of three eggs, bread and butter, and tea. The fruit intended for the completion of our breakfast was put aboard the machine for consumption after the take-off.

I closed my diary, in which I had made entries of all the weather observations so far, and wrote on its last page a million greetings and kisses to my heroic little wife at home. I then put it in an envelope and gave it to my friend Schuenzinger, with the request that it be handed to her.

Then we started towards the machine. Some unknown friends took me to the flying field in their car, where they violently shook my hands before I left the car. The fact that I was Captain Koehl, and that I could tell this to the guard convincingly, got me past the posts quickly.

In front of me, glimmering silvery grey in the first dawn of the morning, stood the Bremen, set up between the large hangars. I went up to her, and like a child stroked her slender propeller. In my thoughts I said to her : "You and I must both keep up, if the flight is to succeed." The glistening propeller sparkled at me encouraging.

Then came greetings and our leave taking. I was privileged to shake hands with the President of the Irish Free State and his ladies. Our German Consul General, and many other dear acquaintances shook hands with me quickly and said "au revoir."

It was five minutes to five when we climbed into the Bremen. I proceeded to make myself comfortable. I stowed away the numerous cushions, thermos bottles and packages piled up on the second seat, so that I could reach them from my seat during the flight.

The take-off was arranged for five o'clock, but it was not yet light enough to see the small flags which lined the runway. Therefore we waited a while. I was still hoping for a southerly wind to rise, because the wind indicator was still hanging down slack. The absence of this wind was a real misfortune. For days a strong wind had blown, which had almost torn our clothes from our body, and now calmness prevailed. At 5:10 Weller and Lengrich turned the propeller with sinewy arms. Upon the third "Frei" ("free") it started, not to stop again until it broke the thin crust of ice on Greenly Island after our long relentless struggle with the elements.

In the meantime Huenefeld had also taken his seat. He arranged our provisions in the cabin. I had given my friend Fitzmaurice another five minutes in which he might once more say goodbye to his wife and child. As soon as he was ready, he also took his seat. We were ready for our journey.

We put the engine on. It ran regularly and made its normal required revolutions, 1375 per minute. Both magnetos were tested; they were good. Once more I pulled back the gas lever. Fitzmaurice and I checked up on our fingers whether all the valves were set right, whether the gasoline tank was full and everything else all right. We looked at each other and bowed. Then came the moment when the gas lever was pressed forward.

From outside the tired eyes of our dear Weller looked at us full of earnest concern. Serious were the eyes of the many present, who watched tensely the course of events.

All my fears were gone; my heart leapt with joy, because we had again reached the point of starting on our flight. On with the fight! Come victory, for the quicker progress of aviation, the peace task of mankind!

"Good God, help me now." I ask once more: "Blocks away?" "Free" is the cry from outside, and slowly we press forward the gas lever. First slowly, but then quicker and quicker moves the Bremen. She tries to swerve to the left at the very beginning, but the dangerous stretch between the hangars is covered. She tries again to swerve to the left from the narrow filled-in ditch. I turn hard against it. She obeys, and slowly she gets upon her right path. We run straight along the small flags, over all those many places which I have so often examined and which I know as well as my own pocket. On our first 400 meters, however, it seems to me as if we are not gaining sufficient speed. The Bremen rolls so slowly. And a speed of 130 kilometers per hour is required to lift her off the ground! The first 400 meters of the runway are slightly uphill. I can see that to take off with such a heavy plane uphill is rather difficult. I know that after the first 400 meters the runway is even, and after that it goes downhill. After the first 400 meters we actually pick up speed, and then it goes faster and faster. The trembling speedometer, which at first did not go over 80, climbs up gradually and trembles just above 100. But we have not yet reached the speed that Schuenzinger figured out for me, a speed of 130 kilometers per hour.

We already begin to descend towards the end of the field. I can see the white stripe in the middle of the green grass where we had the wall pulled down for us for seventy good English pounds, approach rapidly, and still I cannot lift the Bremen. The speedometer has only reached 110. But I know: after the wall, after the white stripe, there are another 700 meters, and there I hope with certainty to take the plane off the ground. I know it will go.

Then—amid all these deliberations—what was that? Fitzmaurice who sits on my right and who has to look out on the right, pulls up the altitude rudder; the plane rises 1 to 2 meters off the ground but drops down again because she has not yet acquired the necessary speed. She begins to jump. Why is this? -What is it all about? I have no time now to settle this question. Now only keeping calm can help me, and a holding, holding, steady holding of the wheel. After several jumps, the enormous danger of which I fully realize, the plane resumes her course and gathers up the lost speed. Will the meadow behind the wall be sufficient? Shall we be able to clear the 6 meter high dam at the other end of the meadow? Will our Ocean flight end right there? Or should I cut off the gas beforehand, and so save if not the machine at least ourselves?

In a few short seconds all this flashes through my mind. And with my brain working in this fashion, I hold our heavy "bird" as steady as I can. Only a very short stretch to the dam—the Bremen is in the air! Actually in the air; and at the same moment we have to rise gently in order to clear the hedge by inches, the first obstacle in our flight. Has the take-off been successful?

No, not yet, a mountain looms up in front of us. The Bremen rises, but the mountain rises quicker. The Bremen cannot fly over it yet. She has to unfold her free wings in the open air; she has to gather speed; and meanwhile the mountain approaches. Again there come moments of doubt; whether we shall be able and how we shall be able, to surmount this new obstacle. The Bremen leans over and turns to the right, away from the mountain into the deep valley. During the curve the right wing is hardly more than half a meter off the ground. With it we sweep the green bushes, but already the valley goes downward, and this is our salvation. The Bremen now has a chance to gather up speed. The propeller digs into the fresh Irish morning air and the wings carry us out over the Irish landscape towards the Ocean.

The first, and for me most difficult, task is accomplished. Thank God! I am filled with joy and happiness, and as always happens after such moments of danger, I burst out in a hearty "Jodler" such as I give in my home mountains of Bavaria when I climb those heights. My eyes search for those of my comrades in the battle, Fitzmaurice and Huenefeld. I press strongly, very strongly the hand of Fitzmaurice sitting beside me. Happiness shines in our eyes. We stroke tenderly and appreciatively the good faithful Bremen and the revolution indicator as the representative of the engine, both of which have behaved so wonderfully during the most difficult stage of our voyage. My friend Huenefeld is still obliged to sit in front near us between the large fuel tanks. Our eyes understand each other; our thoughts are the same. We reach each other's thoughts: We have got over the takeoff, which we feared more than anything else and which perhaps was the most uncertain factor in our entire venture." A grateful "Thank God" seems to escape our still lips.

A little later I write to my friend Huenefeld the following message: "Fifty meters more and things would have been fatal. We are throttling down, speed two hundred kilometers. Throw a message containing this information down over Galway." The Baron bows at me understandingly. We cannot speak to each other because of the noise of the motor and the thundering vibration. We fly over the green bushes and meadows of Ireland, and the world has an entirely different aspect. How dreadful it would have been, and what a shame for us, if the Bremen had now been lying with broken wings and undercarriage at the end of the runway or at the foot of the mountain. The doubters would have been right! But doubts and the dust of the earth are left behind.

The Bremen climbs and climbs higher. The land and the people below become smaller and smaller. We are shooting along at a speed of 200 kilometers per hour. Below us pass Ireland's walls, meadows and bushes, and then follow rivers, cities and villages, from where ruins loom up and glistening castles. Who knows what our Fitzmaurice, the brave Irishman, thinks as he looks down once more upon these sights before his fate takes him out over the uncertain Ocean. He is so gay and happy; perhaps he is already dreaming of the honors which await him there below in his country after the successful completion of the flight. Let him dream on like this for hours, until the sun disappears behind the clouds, until the gales begin, the fogs rise and the night appears. Then when above the clouds, stars like will o' the wisps appear, deceiving and mocking the tired eyes, will come the battle of frail man with the elements; his fight with the uninhabited, wintry cold, desolate stretches of forests, where starvation and the possibility of death by freezing await, and from which we will barely escape with the last drops of our fuel.

It is a wonderful morning flight ahead of the sun, which appears behind our backs in a golden hue, the light of which fills us with happy confidence. Now for the first time Fitzmaurice takes the controls for two hours. I am busy with the navigation. I establish the direction and strength

of the wind. I ascertain our course from the wind triangle, and establish our speed. We have throttled down our engine long ago, but nevertheless we are flying faster than the Irish planes escorting us. They cannot keep pace with us. We have to leave them behind, because our goal is far ahead and solitude must be our companion over the wide expanse of water. We are between Baldonnel and Galway. The green meadows disappear, and a whitish low ceiling of fog, like a morning gown rises up from the lowlands.

Galway, which we had intended to greet, is hidden below the fog, and only the top of a church steeple sticks out of the hazy veil. But to our right and left, grey-blue mountains rise which we approach rapidly. They are passed very closely, and soon left behind us. The coast of the Atlantic Ocean appears. Low rocks, rigid and grey, their heads washed by countless seas, bearing signs of their eternal struggle with the gales and waves of the ocean, pass below us. They mark the last of Europe's coast, which we leave at 7.05 for a long long time. A lonely watchman and warner of shipping stands sideways from us, washed by foaming white waves. We fly again low and so close to the lighthouse that we are able to throw our last farewell to the keeper. Whether he is still up, or gone to take his rest, we do not know. Later on we learn that he reported our passing to the anxiously awaiting world.

After that last farewell to Europe we encounter a steamer approaching far off from the southeast, and dragging behind her a trail of smoke. From this we notice that a southerly wind prevails. It pushes a ceiling of clouds in front of us between the sky and the ocean. With our enormous speed, however, we quickly leave even this last sign of life behind us.

Before us stretches far the endless water which seems to tremble in the light southerly breeze. And we are glad of this light warm southerly wind, because it does not hinder us on our roaring flight towards our distant aim. The sea is as calm as on my first sea voyage to Ireland. I cannot see the mountainous waves, of which I have heard so much, waves driven to continuous rising and falling by icy lashing winds. It really seems as if there exist weather conditions under which we may venture out with our present day machines. But within me a careful voice speaks: "Do not triumph too soon; the sea is wide and so different in the various zones. The day is not yet over, and the uncertain night is still before you." But I enjoy the present and take no heed of what may be coming.

The good weather seems to accompany us.

During the first ten hours we relieve each other at the controls every two hours; later on, every hour. The greater part of our attention is concentrated in our compass course which we have written in big figures on a board in front of us. On the distant clouds our eyes are fixed. Every now and again I return to my task of navigation; I calculate and write; observe the wind and the fuel consumption from the various tanks. During the first hours everything goes as normally as possible. As we have some head wind, and know that this head wind is weakest on the surface of the water, we fly at an altitude of 10 to 20 meters over the quiet dark blue waves.

Shortly after leaving the coast the weather outlook seems to become worse. Low clouds hang over us, and a quiet drizzling rain curls the surface of the water. The clouds hang between us and the sun, and immediately it begins to get colder in the plane, so cold that we begin to shiver. A southwesterly wind, stronger than before, presses against us, and throws the waves from West to East. Long streaks of foam stretch in this direction over the water. They give us accurately the direction of the wind. But this weather does not last very long. It soon improves, and clear sunny patches appear far behind the dark clouds, giving us a hopeful outlook for the next hours.

The motor begins to sputter, the revolutions trop down suddenly, we are dragged warningly out of our hopeful dreams. The noise (to get -sack into the past) was only momentary. We throttled down the engine immediately, and it was not heard any more. But still, it filled us with great anxiety because here, so far out over the endless ocean, with another 30 to 40 hours ahead of us, such noises could not be taken as 1, joke. What was it? Was the mixture too lean, had some cogwheel broken, or what had happened? In addition to throttling down, we :hanged the air mixture control and listened most anxiously for a long time to the sound of the motor, but our attentive ears could not detect anything.

So the hours passed. The eyes of the one who was at the controls were fixed upon the distant clouds. We hardly touched the controls; the Bremen seemed to fly all by herself over the vast stretches. Noon came. The sun which seemed to lag behind us reached the meridian slowly, and a long time elapsed before it began to shine into our faces. Then it was noon according to the sun, but our watches were already ahead by 13/4 hours. We estimated that at that time we had passed approximately the 30th meridian.

As we had no sextant aboard we could not measure the altitude of the sun. Still, our noon calculations were sufficient to give us an idea of our progress and the distance so far covered. We were glad of the result, because it showed that our speed was still over 170 kilometers per hour.

The engine was working like a watch. After the first fright it had given us, it had run on smoothly without the slightest unusual sound, and had regained our full confidence. The L. V. motor in its construction with its six cylinders was so simple, so clearly arranged and so well designed that after ten hours regular running time it could be assumed that this motor would keep on running even for fifty hours if sufficient gasoline were supplied. We had flown by noon about 1,500 kilometers, and had somewhat more than 2,000 kilometers still in front of us to reach the sanctuary of the coast. Therefore, we had by no means covered half of the distance between land and land.

It was then that we began to relieve each other at the controls every hour. We had had our first breakfast in the plane at about 9 o'clock; it consisted of strong bouillon and excellent sandwiches. It was now time for lunch. Lunch consisted of the same courses as breakfast, to which we added a few bananas and some chocolate. From time to time I stuck the bananas and chocolate in bits into Fitz's mouth; he was sitting at the controls. Then I took a short afternoon nap, in order to prepare myself for the approaching night. We took turns in sleeping. My sleep was not too long. I never slept more than ten minutes at a time; then my eyes opened consciously, and I looked at the compass and other instruments. As our flight was progressing seemingly without any trouble, happy excitement prevented me from sleeping deeply. I had already made up my mind during our last flight that on this attempt I would sleep properly. Still, it was not surprising that my interest in all the new things made it difficult for me to close my eyes for any length of time. I felt I must enjoy the voyage across the ocean and all the unusual experiences. I hoped to get sufficient sleep after the trip !

On my next trip, however, I shall not fail to carry a sleeping draught with me, to take in case sleep refuses to come. It is essential that one should be perfectly fresh and well rested to face the dangers of the night. Fitzmaurice had made a big mistake during our last night in Ireland, by hardly going to bed or sleeping at all. As a result he slept now, quite soundly, for half hours at a time, and I was delighted to see this because I knew rest was needed before the onslaught of the night.

When our watch according to Irish time showed that it was about 4 o'clock, the wind began to freshen up. Judging by the wave caps below us the wind was blowing from behind. In order to establish this fact, Fitzmaurice took a curve and I threw down two smoke bombs made by Deichmann. The first one did not seem to function; the second fell like a yellow band, and when it hit the water this yellow band drifted with considerable speed in a northwesterly direction. According to my estimate we had a southeasterly wind of at least 10 miles per hour. Having established this we flew the next hours at a higher altitude. We flew, making full use of the East to West air current, at an altitude of 500 to 600 meters. Every opportunity of getting ahead had to be seized, for our course still stretched far far ahead of us. I hoped more and more to sight the lights of Newfoundland before night set in. I little knew what was in front of us!

Still, although everything was going well, the unfortunate fate of all the flyers who had tried before us to cross the Ocean from East to West, made me always careful. It was for me a constant warning not to triumph too soon. The weather conditions encountered so far had not afforded me any clue as to the fate which had befallen our brave predecessors.

At this time Fitzmaurice, who had followed the good progress of the flight, as I had, wrote to me on a scrap of paper: "We shall probably sight the lighthouse of Newfoundland before the beginning of the night."

I was filled with the same hopes, and wished that he would be right. I wrote back to him on the same scrap: "God is with us and our task." And so He was.