best full logo smallAviation Historical Society of Australia (NSW) inc

Smith Centenary Celebration Group

From Tom Lockley, secretary
PO Box 301 Pyrmont NSW 2009

0403 615 134 ahsanswsmithflight@gmail.com

Darwin to Adelaide flight, March 8-22:  General media alert!

Between 8 and 22 March 2020 a group of light, historic and ultralight aircraft will make their way from Darwin to Adelaide. This will recognise the centenary of the flight by Ross and Keith Smith, James Bennett and Walter Shiers across Australia in 1919-20, in their Vickers Vimy aircraft, following on from their flight from England, November-December 1919. This exposed Australians to the benefits of air travel, and results included the formation of QANTAS less than a year later.

We expect that at least six aircraft will take part in the whole journey, but others will join in for various stages, and the group that finally reaches Adelaide will probably be at least 30 aircraft.

There are many good stories for all media. The leading aircraft are at the cutting edge of modern technology and many historic aircraft will be involved. The route largely follows that taken by the Vimy, but highlights spectacular historic sites and aircraft museums. The whole enterprise is a co-operative effort between aviators, aero clubs, historians and local groups of many kinds. It will be a ‘feel good’ story with good visuals.

We will cooperate with media to the fullest possible extent. We are endeavouring to provide places for television people to fly with the group and the event would make a good long-running story with not a lot of costs.

We would welcome any coverage of this event. It could be presented in many ways – modern aviation, aviation history (remarkable museums at Darwin. Longreach, Caboolture, Narromine, Shellharbour, Temora, Benalla, Point Cook, Nhill), aerial tourism, attractions in various towns, cooperative efforts among community groups, shire councils etc: be in contact and we can supply suitable source material and appropriate contacts.

The flight route is Darwin, Emkaytee Airfield (home of the Top End Flying Club), Katherine,  Daly Waters, the AACo stations of Anthony Lagoon, Brunette Downs and Avon Downs, Cloncurry, Longreach, Charleville, Caboolture*, Bourke, Narromine*, Richmond or Luskintyre, Shellharbour*(HARS, Albion Park), Temora, Cootamundra, Benalla*, Lilydale or Little River airports, Nhill, Gawler (Adelaide) and Aldinga (Adelaide) for 22 March. Weather permitting, aircraft will stop overnight at the places underlined and spend a full day, two nights, in the places marked with *.

Film clips are available: For further information contact Tom Lockley, 0403 615 134. Email ahsanswsmithflight@gmail.com

 

One of the lead aircraft for the flight is Michael Smith’s state-of-the-art Sea Bear Amphibian, in which he flew from England to Australia, arriving in Darwin on December 10, 2019, the hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the Smith flight in 1919. Michael was Australian Geographic Adventurer of the year in 2016 after flying his Searey amphibian around the world .


DAY

ROUTE

ARRIVAL DATE

NM

NOTES

1

Darwin to Daly Waters

Sunday
8/03/20

200

Lead aircraft depart Darwin 0900 and fly to Emkaytee airfield for fly-in and departure for Daly Waters. Options: stop at Katherine (Tindal RAAF), overfly Warlock Ponds (Elsey)

Alternatives for slow aircraft available: day 2 is very long!

2

Daly Waters to Cloncurry

Monday
9/03/20

555

Stops – AACo stations Anthony Lagoon, Brunette Downs and Avon Downs

3

Cloncurry to Longreach

Tuesday
10/03/20

270

Evening at QANTAS Heritage Museum

4

Longreach to Charleville

Wednesday
11/03/20

235

Visits to local attractions and evening meal with interested people

5

Charleville to Caboolture

Thursday
12/03/20

368

Visits to local attractions and evening meal with interested people

Day 6: Friday 13/3/20: full day at Caboolture, (TAVAS Museum) various options

7

Caboolture to Narromine

Saturday
14/03/20

594

Via Bourke (otherwise 444 NM),

Day 8:   Sunday 15/3/20 day at Narromine: Various activities – Narromine Aviation Museum

9

Narromine to Wollongong (HARS)

Monday 16/03/20

265

Via Richmond or Luskintyre, then V1 to HARS Albion Park. Landing at Rose Bay by seaplanes if practicable

Day 10: Tuesday 17/03/20 day at Historical Aircraft Restoration Society museum etc

10

HARS to Cootamundra

Wednesday 18/03/20

203

via Temora to visit Australian Aviation Museum

11

Cootamundra to Benalla

Thursday 19/3/20

250

Henty optional stop

12

Benalla to ‘Little River’ airstrips (full journey participants) or Lilydale

Friday
20/03/20

Visit to Point Cook Museum

13

Melbourne airfields to Adelaide (Gawler)

Saturday 21/03/20

445

Nhill as staging point fuel etc and visit Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre

14

Adelaide

Sunday 22/03/20

Gawler to Aldinga fly-in to culminate flight; fly-in at Aldinga

Day 15 Monday 23 March: Exactly 100 years since the arrival of the Smith Flight: visit to South Australian Aviation Museum and possible event eg at Adelaide airport if desired.