View Full Version : London to Sydney Race

12th Mar 2001, 03:38
Just noticed this on one of the newsgroups - but I havn't heard anything on the news.

Tragedy has struck a London-to-Sydney air race planned to celebrate the
centenary of Australia's federation after two female American competitors
were killed en route to the starting point.

Gwen Bloomingdale, 58, and Barbara Gard, 52, who had more than 30 years'
combined flying experience, went down off the coast of Iceland overnight as
they headed to Biggin Hill for Sunday's start of the race.

The women were flying a twin-engine Rockwell Aero Shrike Commander.
Organisers said it was not yet known what caused their craft to crash.

12th Mar 2001, 03:47
Memorial Site to the two fliers :


This is the official website of the race :


This from the BBC :


[This message has been edited by ghost-rider (edited 12 March 2001).]

12th Mar 2001, 19:50
Do keep an eye out for Paul Smiddy, aka Skua, a member of the team headed by Philip Bean, who has somehow managed to escape both work and family ties to take part in the race.

12th Mar 2001, 19:58
Also look out for Maurice Kirk - one of aviations true larger than life characters.

15th Mar 2001, 01:35
Is that crazy vet Kirk still flying? What's his mount now; the last one was a Cub or an Auster. Anyway, good luck - nothing less than full-throttle y'hear.

15th Mar 2001, 02:50
He is flying a Cub in the race. Last I heard he was a little way behind the field.

20th Mar 2001, 02:49
Gave said Maurice Kirk a relay to Jeddah the other morning. Jeddah asked what is the aircraft type, reply J3L4.

I don't know who was most surprised, us in our shiny new A330 en route to MAN or Jeddah.

Anyway, Maurice, if ever you do read this site, good luck!!

As for being a bit behind the field, we landed back at Dubai tonight to see the competition he's facing: Citations, Rockwell's etc. Still, even if he's a way behind, it takes a special kind of courage to do what he's doing in a J3 Cub.

20th Mar 2001, 05:06
“Speaking of the Cub in The Air Race, is it really flown by that man Maurice Kirk - The Living legend of Dunkeswell, Somerset and the Channel Islands? Telegraph said so on Saturday so I s'pose it must be right! It also claimed he is a 'Welsh' Vet, which is a bit wide of the mark though.
If it is his progress should certainly be worth following!”


Above re-posted from the Dunnunda and Godzone Forum

Good on ya’ Fish for giving the man a hand, though whether the required quality is courage or something else may be questioned. Those amongst us who have followed him over many years may suspect the ‘something else!’ Go read his website http://www.kirkflyingvet.co.uk/kirkabout.htm

I am being updated on his progress, and am reliably informed he has reached Dubai OK. No mean feat, in a Cub. I’m also told that on the last leg, he made 10,000 ft in order to catch a slight tailwind!

Looking forward to welcoming The Man to Sydney!

20th Mar 2001, 05:34
And that was my point on another post on this subject.
The idea of a race such as this is only interesting when you have characters such as the "Vet"
Calling it a "race" using Citation/Rockwell or such types is a bit cute. The only variables in this respect (we are not talking flat out racers here) it seems to me are more good luck than good judgement.
If you ain't got the winds, you ain't got the winds.

7th Apr 2001, 16:55
Check out the video on the BBC News website :


Just scroll down the various videos on the RHS.

A very big 'well-done' to all involved in the race.

[This message has been edited by ghost-rider (edited 07 April 2001).]

9th Apr 2001, 05:08
Update: Maurice Kirk arrived at Bankstown at about 11:15 on Saturday morning. He was the first of The Air Race aircraft to arrive. Unfortunately his reputation must have preceded him and he was denied the opportunity of joining the mass flypast over Sydney Harbour by refusal of a clearance by Sydney ATC, combined with physical exclusion by the Police helicopters.

White Shadow
10th Apr 2001, 01:54
Check the Private Flying forum for Maurice Kirk latest .