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Tracey Curtis-Taylor (Merged threads)

Private Flying LAA/BMAA/BGA/BPA The sheer pleasure of flight.

Tracey Curtis-Taylor (Merged threads)

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Old 14th Apr 2016, 08:06
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Tracey Curtis-Taylor (Merged threads)

Just been looking back through all the well documented UK to Australia solo flights since Bert Hinkler did the first one in 1928.

It appears every one has been well funded and the pilots have been well connected.

So my question is has anyone done it without major sponsors,funding and fame?

The only one can find is paraplegic Dave Sykes and he does not even warrant a wiki entry!
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Old 14th Apr 2016, 09:49
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I didn't think Bert was particularly well connected or well-to-do at the time...? In fact, Bert's life story (polygamy notwithstanding) seems to me to have been one of those 'never quite recognised for what he was' stories

Seriously, I think if you are looking "through all the well documented UK to Australia solo flights" then you are likely to only find those that are, errrm, well documented.
Even though there have certainly been several others, they have not been so well documented.

I don't think that means that you can only fly solo to Oz if you are well connected and/or well-to-do, but it probably does mean that those who have chosen to make a big thing out of their flights have been.

Some of those, and David Sykes is prime amongst them , certainly deserve much more attention than they have received, but they have not received it either because they have not captured the media's eyes or because they have not wanted to capture the media's eyes...

What is your angle? Are you thinking of doing it and wondering whether you will need/how to find funding or connections or are you looking to write up a story about those who deserve more attention?

As an aside, there was also a fair amount of controversy over a recent flight, repeatedly referred to as 'solo' which was nothing of the sort.

B.
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Old 14th Apr 2016, 10:51
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I did it in 1985 in my Robin. On the good side there was a bit more Avgas around in those days. On the other hand lack of GPS made it more interesting.
There was someone a few weeks ahead of me doing it in a Gypsy something or other.

Plenty of people have done it, it's not that difficult, it just takes time and money. Contacts help and make it more fun ... but a clearance agent and more money also do the job.

When I say money I mostly mean fuel and hotels. Though there will be the occasional nasty handling/flight clearance fee.
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Old 14th Apr 2016, 12:32
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One of our club members recently did it the other way - had so much fun doing it, he continued right round :-)
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Old 14th Apr 2016, 17:33
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Still on my too do list although I have managed some nice long trips.

Bert Hinkler was well connected via his work with AV Roe. His record of 15.5 days for the route from the UK to Australia in 1928 is amazing given the poor logistics. Amy Johnson did a pretty good job managing the journey in 19 days in 1930. I doubt any modern pilot could achieve the journey in the same aircraft with just a map,compass and no radio today.

I must say I admire your style Romeo Tango. What happened to the Robin?
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Old 14th Apr 2016, 19:20
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IMHO it was not that bad without radio/GPS before WW2. There was no controlled airspace to stay out of or airways to stay inside and you didn't have to tell anyone where you were. Most destinations UK->Australia are on a coastline/river so easy to find. It did not really matter where you were between departure and destination - it must have been quite relaxing in some ways.

The Robin is in a shed 30 meters from where I sit.
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Old 14th Apr 2016, 19:32
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Any chance you can post a few pics of the more exotic or hard part of the trip Romeo Tango.
Did you fly Chittagong to Chiang Mai direct?
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 00:06
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Colin Hales' trip in his KR2 was certainly at the budget end of the spectrum.
He's since flown to the US and planning to continue in a westerly direction.
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 00:44
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Thanks for the heads up on Colin. What a great guy and adventurer. Amazing that Colin and his partner flew the small aeroplane they built all the way from the UK to Australia to achieve a such a result.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2666119.stm
Pretty amazing reading this BBC story

Two flying enthusiasts from Oxfordshire have arrived home after a record-breaking journey which took them to the other side of the world.
Colin Hales and Nadine Brauns flew all the way to Australia in a home-made plane.

Their tiny two-seater KR2, which has a wingspan of just 6m, is the smallest plane ever to have flown from England .

After fifteen months away, the couple flew into Oxford airport in Kidlington on Thursday morning.
It took around 60 flights altogether to get to Australia, and they stopped off in 21 countries.

While they had many adventures on their trip, Mr Hales said one of the scariest times was flying over the India-Pakistan border just after a spy plane had been shot down in the same area.

"The idea was not to set records, it was just to see how far we could get,'' said Mr Hales, an aeronautical engineer who lives near Oxford.

Next year the couple plan to fly their aircraft to the US for celebrations of the 100th anniversary of powered flight.

Last edited by Mike Flynn; 15th Apr 2016 at 00:59.
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 09:42
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My route was Southampton, Dinard, Perpignan, Palermo, Athens, Iraklion, Cairo, Luxor, Jeddah, Riyadh, Bahrain, Muscat, Karachi, Dehli, Patna, Kathmandu, Calcutta, Rangoon, Bangkok, Hat Yai, KL, Seletar, Jakarta, Bali, Kupang, Darwin.
Then round Australia and back nearly the same way.
A quite conservative route - I was not very experienced, I was careful.


Darwin Australia
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 12:48
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Romeo Tango - what a fantastic route. Consider me inspired.
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 14:38
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That was 30 years ago, there are some alternatives that are more sensible today!
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Old 16th Apr 2016, 06:51
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What an amazing adventure Romeo Tango,you really have my admiration.

I see some of the legs are quite long such as Calcutta to Rangoon or Yangon as it is known now. Any chance you can post some more pictures and info. How long did the entire trip take and did you manage to see a lot of the sights? Did your partner fly?

Were ther any weather problems.

The airborne and ground logistics must have taken some planning. Packing your life in to a small space for what must have taken at least six months.

Last edited by Mike Flynn; 16th Apr 2016 at 06:53. Reason: typos
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Old 16th Apr 2016, 18:42
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Things were different in those days .....
I did not know anyone to ask (and no PPRuNe!) so I did it from first principles. The UK AIS then was quite an extensive setup in some nissen huts at Pinner with a set of civil servants who maintained a library of AIP publications from every country on the planet. I went there and looked up all the entry requirements. Also a nice man gave me a set of photocopied documents which was a How to Fly in Foreign Parts Guide put together from various sources.
Much telexing later I got clearance from every country on my route except India and Burma. Fortunately a friend knew a Maharajah with a pilot's license, one telephone call from him fixed India (he later was very hospitable and looked after us much more generously than I had any right to expect). A telex to the British Air Attache in Burma persuaded them to let me in.

After all that the flying was relatively straightforward. The only bad weather was in southern France (hence the rather roundabout routing above). No internet but there were more traditional met offices, obviously very airline orientated and difficult to actually go to in many places. It was always stressful just having a few TAFs (if that) and no real feeling for the weather on a strange continent.

No GPS so much dead reckoning when out of range of beacons but since I was mostly dealing with international airports there was usually something near the destination.

Needless to say there were plenty of situations that had to be resolved but there were also countless beautiful/amazing/surreal sights and happenings.

My companion, Emma McCune (qv), was not a pilot but helped with visas etc and one had to share the sights with someone.

Calcutta - Rangoon is only 560 nm. My Robin has about 1000nm to dry tanks. Though there was no avgas at Jeddah and Rangoon so I carried fuel in a separate tank which was then transferred to the main tanks on the ground via siphon and bucket.

Be inspired - do it! These long distance trips are much easier than one might think.
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Old 16th Apr 2016, 21:12
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er.... if you want to celebrate 100 years of powered flight you need to go back 13 years! Next year will be 14 years too late.

What did happen 100 years before 2017?
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Old 16th Apr 2016, 21:15
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I never knew where this thread would take me when I started it but I am in tears as I read your post.
( to understand my feelings please read this https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_McCune )

So sad what happened to your companion Emma.

To die in a normal road accident after what she and you went through just underlines fate will get us in the end.

Many thanks for the link.

Please post a few more pictures.

Last edited by Mike Flynn; 17th Apr 2016 at 00:12.
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Old 16th Apr 2016, 23:17
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RT - lovely to read your posts here. I love the planning aspect and have planned some great routes but unfortunately weather has kept my longest trip at around 1000nm over a few days. I'm inspired by your trip and hope to do something similar one day.
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Old 17th Apr 2016, 10:28
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I have put some photos here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/wdh/al...57667022282972
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Old 17th Apr 2016, 17:16
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Lovely pictures - presume you were comparing horse power in the last one.....groan!
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Old 17th Apr 2016, 17:40
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