Irish Antarctic explorer Tom Crean has taken to the skies this weekend as a brand new aircraft featuring Norwegian’s first ever Irish tail fin hero went into service for the first time.
The explorer’s portrait appears on one of Norwegian’s brand new 737MAX aircraft which is flying for the first time this weekend. The Tom Crean aircraft took off from Belfast International Airport on Saturday afternoon, landing in Stewart International Airport in New York last night. Earlier this morning, the aircraft landed back in Dublin Airport and will fly back to New York later on Sunday afternoon.
Norwegian has always honoured iconic figures on the tails of its aircraft, featuring personalities who symbolise the spirit of Norwegian through innovation, pioneering achievement and inspiring others.
The Tom Crean tail fin appears on Norwegian’s brand new 737MAX aircraft which will serve new transatlantic routes from Cork, Shannon and Dublin which began earlier this month.
Read more here: Tom Crean announced as Norwegian’s first Irish ‘tail fin hero’
Born in County Kerry in 1877, Tom Crean joined the Royal Navy aged just 15, quickly becoming recognised as an accomplished sailor. In 1901, a chance encounter with Robert Falcon Scott saw Crean join Captain Scott’s ship ‘Discovery’ for an exploration into the unchartered Antarctica waters – it would become the first of several polar expeditions undertaken by Crean that led him to become known as one of Ireland’s greatest Antarctic explorers.
It was during one of these missions that Crean undertook his ‘Impossible march’ and what became recognised as the greatest act of bravery in Antarctic exploration history. Having been on the march for 1,500 miles, one of Crean’s companions collapsed 35 miles from safety – Crean volunteered to go for help, completing a final 18 hour leg of the journey alone through sub-zero temperatures. Crean’s solo exploits saved his companion and saw him awarded The Albert Medal for his heroism by King George. Crean would also go on to receive the Polar Medal three times for his Antarctic endeavours.
Crean’s modest and humble personality meant that it is only in recent years that his extraordinary career received widespread public recognition, including a bestselling book about his life and even a Guinness TV advert created in his honour. Nicknamed the ‘Irish Giant’ for his strength and stature as well as his leadership qualities, Crean perfectly captures the essence of Norwegian’s tailfin heroes.
Thomas Ramdahl, Chief Commercial Officer said: “It is fantastic to see our first Irish tailfin hero take to the skies on our new MAX aircraft. Tom Crean is an unsung hero and a truly inspirational figure so it is a great honour to have him adorn our aircraft and become our first ever Irish tail fin hero.”
Tom Crean’s granddaughter Aileen Crean-O’Brien has recently been adding to the Crean family story by recreating his expedition on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia – read more here.
The Crean family said: “We are delighted to honour our grandfather’s bravery and courage by bringing his name and exploits to Norwegian’s many US and European customers. As our family continues Tom Crean’s legacy with our own Antarctic exploits, we wish Norwegian the very best in their new endeavours.”
This summer, Norwegian will take delivery of six Boeing 737MAX aircraft in total. The airline has taken delivery of two aircraft so far (featuring Tom Crean and aviation maverick Sir Freddie Laker as the tail fin heroes) which have now gone into service. The remaining four MAX aircraft will be delivered and go into service over the coming weeks – one of the next aircraft will feature the author Jonathan Swift who will become Norwegian’s second Irish tail fin hero.