Alliance Airlines has marked the 90th anniversary of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith’s trans-Pacific crossing with a celebratory flight on its special livery Fokker 100.
The Fokker 100 features a special livery that features an image of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith on the tail, while the fuselage features the Fokker F.VIIb/3m Trimotor, named Southern Cross, used for the successful crossing in 1928.
On Saturday morning, the aircraft VH-FGB carrying airline staff and invited guests departed Brisbane Airport’s Runway 19, then made a series of right hand turns flying over the city before setting course in a south easterly direction over the Pacific Ocean.
Upon reaching Ballina – the point at which Sir Charles crossed the Australian coastline – VH-FGB turned north, flying over the Gold Coast and then landed back at Brisbane’s Runway 19 at 1050, the exact time Sir Charles touched down.
It was understood air traffic controllers had issued VH-FGB with special flight plan to ensure there were no other aircraft scheduled to land at Brisbane at 1050.
Some images from the celebratory flight
The full flight path can be seen on the Flightaware website.
The Fokker 100, which was repainted at Norwich in the United Kingdom and then ferried to Australia in January before being formally unveiled at an event in Brisbane on February 21, is just one element of Alliance’s efforts to promote the aviation milestone.
The company has also produced a commemorative beer called Smithy’s FGB in partnership with Newstead Brewing Co that isbe offered for sale on its flights.
Sir Charles and fellow Australian pilot Charles Ulm, as well as radio operator James Warner and navigator/engineer Harry Lyon from the United States, flew the Southern Cross from Oakland in California to Eagle Farm Airport in Brisbane over a 10-day period in 1928, stopping at Hawaii and Fiji enroute.
The 6,300nm journey began on May 31 1928 and ended on June 9 1928. It was the first-ever trans-Pacific flight from the United States mainland to Australia.
The original Southern Cross Sir Charles used for the trans-Pacific crossing is on display near the Brisbane Airport international terminal. Entry to the exhibition is free.