Item #3009 The First Aeroplane Voyage from England to Australia by Sir Ross Smith, K.B.E. Sir Ross SMITH.
The First Aeroplane Voyage from England to Australia by Sir Ross Smith, K.B.E.
The First Aeroplane Voyage from England to Australia by Sir Ross Smith, K.B.E.

The First Aeroplane Voyage from England to Australia by Sir Ross Smith, K.B.E.

Sydney: Angus & Robertson, [1920]. Oblong brochure in the original printed wrappers with string binding, 32 pp., photo plates throughout. Wrappers a bit creased and torn, but a very good copy overall. A wonderful contemporary momento of the now legendary flight from England to Australia by Sir Ross Smith, accompanied by his brother Sir Keith Smith. This is the second variant noted by bibliographer Ian MacLaren, with the text on the front cover reading: "With Aeroviews by by Capt. Frank Hurley. New South Wales edition..." There appears to be no priority of issue between the two versions regarding the variant text on the front cover.

Smith describes the origin of the idea of the England to Australia flight, hatched mid-air to Mesopotamia with Brigadier-General A.E. Borton. The impetus of the project was strengthened considerably when the Australian government offered a prize of ten thousand pounds to the first aircrew to complete the challenge. Two conditions were attached to the prize. Firstly, the pilots must be Australian, and secondly, the entire flight was to be completed within thirty days.

The hazards were numerous, even in a state-of-the-art Vickers-Vimy aeroplane specially prepared for the long-haul flight. At one hastily constructed aerodrome in the Dutch East Indies, the plane sank into the reclaimed marshland and could only be extracted with difficulty.

Nonetheless, Sir Ross Smith writes that upon arrival in Darwin 'the anxieties and hardships of the past were forgotten in the glamour of the present and anticipation of the future. The duration of the journey, with all stops, was just under twenty-eight days, but the actual flying time was 135 hours. The distance covered was 11,340 miles'. McLaren, Bibliography of Australian Civil Aviation number 1572. Item #3009

Price (AUD): $350.00

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