The commander Francesco De Pinedo, one of the greatest pilots in Italy and the world, was concluding the long journey that began on February 13, 1927 from Cagliari, passing through South America, then continuing to the United States and Canada from where, after a few stops, he would reach Trepassey Bay, in Newfoundland, and from there return to Rome (he eventually arrived in Ostia on June 16).
That morning on May 17, 1927, he left Chicago at seven o'clock, together with the co-pilot Carlo del Prete and the mechanical engineer Vitale Zacchetti, in the direction of Montreal with the twin-engine S-55 of the Savoia Marchetti, called "Santa Maria II". But after just over an hour of flight, the temperature gauge of the front engine (the two engines were placed one in front of the other) signaled a sudden increase in temperature.
The crew tried to remedy the loss of water by pumping it from the reserve tank, but suddenly the situation deteriorated when the rear radiator also began to overheat. They therefore decided to find a village along the shores of Lake Eire where they could repair the problem. And so they settled in Port Rowan just beyond the point of land and the vast sand dunes that advance for a few kilometers into Lake Eire, forming a large and pleasant bay.
From the bright eyes and the tone of the passionate voice that Mr. Backus sported, while telling the story of the escapade, it could be understood that he thought he had gone to the pier and had been an eyewitness to a memorable and unique fact, well worth the punishment of a month without recreation.
We can therefore exonerate our Francesco for causing the uproar in Port Rowan primary school.
It is a pity that the principal and the teachers did not know how to make use of this event to stimulate the imagination and curiosity of all the students.
Maybe they were other times ...