Flight to Fame: Victory in the 1919 Great Air Race, England to Australia
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Media: BOOK - paperback, 178 pages
Author: R. Smith & P. Monteath
Other: b&w photos
Publisher: Wakefield Press
'Flight to Fame', a classic adventure story, tells the hair-raising tale of the world-first flight from England to Australia, in the words of the pilot, (Sir) Ross Smith.
In March 1919, Australia's prime minister announced a prize of £10,000 for the first successful flight from Great Britain to Australia in under 30 days. Late that same year, the victorious pilots, Ross and Keith Smith, landed in Darwin to international acclaim. The New York Times gushed: 'Captain Ross Smith has done a wonderful thing for the prestige of the British Empire. He must be hailed as the foremost living aviator.' Their achievement was the forerunner to the age of international air travel.
During the race, Ross and his brother Keith (his co-pilot and navigator) wrote in their diaries daily, recording the journey of their four-man crew in their Vickers Vimy G-EAOU twin-engine plane, its open cockpit exposing them to snow, sleet, hail and unbearable heat. Originally published in 1922 as "14,000 Miles Through the Air", Ross Smith's book recounts their danger-ridden, record-breaking journey - a mere 16 years after the Wright brothers first defied gravity for just a few seconds.
This richly illustrated edition, published to coincide with the flight's centenary, is introduced and edited by historian Peter Monteath.
In 1919, the Melbourne Age reported the flight as being 'one of the greatest flights, if not the greatest in the history of aviation'.
Time Table With Distance
Preface (to the first edition)
2. Through Cloud Ocean to Lyons
3. Lyons to Rome
4. Rome to Cairo
5. Cairo to Bagdad
6. Over Mesopot to Karachi
7. Karachi to Rangoon
8. In the Clouds Above Burma
9. Siam to Singapore
10. Singapore to Surabaya
11. Into Australia
'Smith's narrative of the flight's near-disasters and triumphant successes is, in parts, a remarkably vivid read ... The pictures are well-chosen and clearly reproduced, giving a good sense of the aeroplane, its crew, and the conditions encountered along the way ... The introduction by Peter Monteath efficiently sketches out the context of the Vimy flight for general readers, giving backgrounds of its crew and their competitors, and explaining the genesis of the race itself.' - Brett Holman, Honest History.