Maximilian A "Max" Conrad was born on January 21, 1903 in Winona MN, the third of seven
children. A year after he got his pilot's license in 1928, Max was hit by a spinning prop
while trying to save a child. He sustained brain damage severely impacting on his ability
to read, write and speak. Although despondent, he overcame these difficulties and followed
his love of flying.
Max enjoyed his preference of flying alone and over the years set six light plane distance
and endurance records. In 1954 he repeated Lindbergh's solo flight from New York to Paris
flying a Piper Apache across the north Atlantic in 22H 23M. He went on to ferry more than 150
light aircraft across the Atlantic and 30 over the Pacific. Between June 2/4, 1959 he flew
non-stop from Casablanca to Los Angeles CA in 58H 38M in a Piper Comanche (Let's Fly - N110LF)
setting a distance/endurance record.
Max's name and face was used on Piper's advertising stating that Piper's little planes could
do things that people thought only big planes could do. In 1961 Max with Richard Jennings flew
west from Miami FL round-the-world in a twin engine Piper Astec (New Frontiers - N4445P) making
In 1966 Max and David N. Shefler visited 34 nations flying round-the-world in a twin engine
Piper Comanche (Rendezvous Expo-67 - N7003Y) carrying greetings and promoting Expo-67 that was
to be held in Montreal Canada in 1967 between April 28th and October 27th. Expo-67 was a world's
fair that saluted the 100th birthday of Canada as a nation. With all the advance promotion over
50 million people from around the world attended making it an enormous success.
In 1968 Max began a round-the-world flight over both the north and south poles. On November
1, 1968 he left Saint Louis MO on a direct flight to Calgary Alberta Canada. From there he flew
to Fairbanks AK, Arctic Research Foundation (ARF) and over the North Pole. He then flew south to
Nord Greenland, Akureyri Iceland, Paris France, Casablanca Morocco, Abidjan Ivory Coast, across
the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Buenos Aires Argentina, Rio Gallegos Argentina, Arenas
Chile to Adelaide Antarctica. After a very long wait for acceptable flying weather, Max finally
decided to give up his round-the-world over both poles flight and return to the States. He arrived
back in Saint Louis MO on January 21, 1969. He decided to continue this polar round-the-world
flight on November 30, 1969. He departed Winona MN flying to Honolulu HI. After Honolulu he was
forced to land on Johnson Atoll for repairs. Still experiencing engine problems he diverted to
Espiritu Santo in the New Herbrides and on to Christchurch New Zealand. Max flew via McMurdo
Sound to the South Pole arriving there on January 21, 1970. Severe cold, high altitude, heavy
fuel weight, and deteriorating weather conditions all contributed to Max's crash on take-off.
He survived but his plane was beyond repair. He returned to Winona MN with defeat in his heart.
The "Flying Grandfather" passed away in 1979.
"I fly because I have an airplane and not a rockingchair."
Link here for more information on Max Conrad at the "SouthPole" or for more info on the "Palmer Station".
Departed St Louis, MO 11/01/68
Calgary, Alberta Canada
Artic Research Foundation (ARF)
(over North Pole)
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Rio Gallegos, Argentina
Punta Arenas, Chile
Adelaide, Antarctic (attempt voluntarily ended)
Santiago de Chile
Arrived St Louis, MO 01/21/69
Departed Winona, MN 11/30/69
San Francisco, CA
Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides
Christchurch, New Zealand
Invercargill, New Zealand
South Pole 01/21/70
Crashed on take-off from South Pole
Returned to Winona, MN via military/commercial flights
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