It took 44 days to fly around Australia

The other weekend I flew over to Point Cook Airport to see my friend Michael Smith complete a 44-day circumnavigation of Australia. He was recreating the first ever circumnavigation completed 100 years ago in 1924 which took Squadron Leader Jimmy Goble and Flight Lieutenant Ivor McIntyre 44 days to complete.

Goble and McIntyre flew a Fairy IIID seaplane counter-clockwise around Australia, the first time any aircraft had flown around an entire continent and just 6 years after the end of the First World War it was another milestone in Australian history that helped solidify the relationship between this vast continent and aviation.

Goble and McIntyre’s Fairy IIID seaplane –

I never found aviation history all that interesting when I first became a pilot. Honestly I just wanted to focus on my own flying and didn’t think much about those that flew before me. But I think there’s a correlation between the more flying you do and the respect you start to feel towards those who flew before us.

Circumnavigating Australia in a small plane today like Michael did is a tremendous feat which should be applauded. But it only goes to highlight what an incredible achievement it was to do the same trip 100 years ago, when there was no GPS, no weather services, hardly any navigational aids, unproven landing areas, no en-route mechanics, and when something went wrong (and it often did) you were the one solely responsible for fixing it.

Michael’s routing counter-clockwise around Australia starting and ending at Point Cook, Melbourne

The more I fly, the more I want to show gratitude and respect towards those aviation pioneers who made what we do today possible. So thank you Goble and McIntyre, those of us flying in 2024 should be grateful to adventurous aviators like yourself pushing the limits and showing the rest of us what’s possible. But also thank you Michael, you continue to be a critical part of the Australian aviation community and a great inspiration to myself and many other pilots out there. Congratulations on your circumnavigation.

The Country Fire Authority give Michael’s SeaBear aircraft – VH-OMS – a water cannon salute at Point Cook

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