Fascinating Flight

Airplane taking offFlight

Humans have always had a quest to make travel faster and more convenient. In 1919 the Commonwealth Government of Australia offered a prize of £10,000 for the first flight by Australians in a British aircraft from England to Australia accomplished within 720 hours.

Captain Ross Macpherson Smith left Hounslow, England at 8am on 12 November 1919, reaching Darwin at 4.10pm on 10 December 1919. The flight distance was estimated as 17,911 kilometers and total flying time was 135 hours 55 minutes.

Today, the time taken to fly from England to Australia is approximately 23 hours, soon to come down to approximately 18 hours with the development of the Airbus A380. This amazing aircraft is not only much larger than its predecessors but is also designed to have 10-15% more range, lower fuel burn and emissions, and less noise. 

Fascinating Flying Facts

  • The first paper aeroplane record published in the Guinness Book of World Records was set in 1975. The record was set by William Pryor, with a ‘time aloft’ of 15 seconds. The present world record is held by Ken Blackburn at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia on October 8, 1998, his flight duration was 27.6 seconds.
  • Did you know that the modern airships are filled with helium gas? Yep, the same gas that makes you speak with a funny voice when you suck it out of a balloon, don’t try this at home; it is actually really bad for you! Helium is not as light as hydrogen but it is safer because it does not burn.
  • Did you know that a glider is an aeroplane without an engine? It stays aloft by diving at a very flat angle, or by soaring on rising currents of warm air.
  • The parachute may have been used as long ago as the 1400’s. Drawings made then show cone-shaped canopies, with people dangling underneath.
  • There is enough fuel in a full tank of a jumbo jet to drive an average car four times around the world.
  • The Boeing 747 has five sets of wheels.

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