Saturday, November 17, 2012

Flying the Southern Cross

Based on logbook entries, memoirs of the airmen, newspaper articles covering the event, official documents and photographs, Michael Molketin recounts the first flight across the Pacific Ocean by aviators Charles Ulm and Charles Kingsford Smith plus Harry Lyon (navigator) and Jim Warner (radio operator). 1928 was a time of exploration in Australia with the testing of the possibilities of new developments in transport. Motor vehicles, both cars and trucks, were being tested in outback conditions and the possibilities of long distance travel in aeroplanes had captured the imagination of many. The Southern Cross  left San Francisco on 31 May 1928 and arrived in Hawaii on 1 June. The flight from Hawaii to Fiji took place from June 3 to June 5 with the final leg from Fiji to Brisbane on June 8 and 9. Moltekin describes the long preparations required for such a flight, the flight itself and the effect of this pioneering flight on the lives of Ulm and Kingsford Smith. Images, plus transcriptions, of the pages from the log kept by Ulm as well as numerous photographs help record the story of this landmark in Australian aviation history.

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