A brief history of the use of aircraft and drifting stations for research in the Arctic Basin, from 1879 to the beginning of the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 1957. The first air-supported drift station was established by the Soviet Union in 1937. In 1941, the Soviets developed a new technique known as the Flying Laboratory Method which, in 1948, evolved into separate detachments of mobile scientific groups with aircraft at their disposal. Until the IGY in 1957, U.S. Arctic research was limited by sporadic financing and lack of institutional and operational support. This situation is not yet completely rectified. 24 pp.