On November 29, the Floyd Bennett took off from Little America with Byrd as navigator, pilot Bernt Balchen, radio operator Harold June, and photographer Ashley McKinley. The plane was loaded with camera, food, and fuel. All items were weighed carefully and considered before loading, as all of this weight seriously reduced the plane’s performance. Even with this carefully planning, the plane struggled as it neared the mountains. The difficult decision to throw part of the load from the plane was made. The choice was food or fuel. Byrd decided that the food would go, so they dumped one bag of food, and then another. Finally, the plane cleared the mountain. On November 29, the Floyd Bennett circled the South Pole. Byrd dropped the flag of the United States, weighted with a stone from the grave of Floyd Bennett. Then the party returned to the fuel depot at Mount Nansen, and returned to Little America.