Flypast to honour historic Vickers Vimy flight

Department of Defence


Defence has marked the anniversary of the Smith brothers’ record-breaking Vickers Vimy flight with a P-8A Poseidon flypast over South Australian townships today.

Just over a century ago, brothers Sir Keith Macpherson Smith and Sir Ross Macpherson Smith became the first pilots to fly from England to Australia.

Accompanied by two air mechanics, Wally Shiers and Jim Bennett, they departed England in a Vickers Vimy aircraft (G-EAOU) on 12 November 1919, arriving in Darwin 28 days later.

After flying around the east coast of Australia, they continued on to their hometown, landing in Adelaide on 23 March 1920.

To acknowledge this significant achievement, Number 292 and 11 Squadron aircrew members from Number 92 Wing have been entrusted with the Smith brother’s pilot wings by the History Trust of South Australia.

The last time these pilot wings left the ground was when South Australian Astronaut, Dr Andy Thomas took them into space in 1996.

Officer Commanding Number 92 Wing, Group Captain John Grime said it was an honour for the Squadrons to receive custodianship of the Smith brothers’ wings.

“Today our Air Force members had the opportunity to acknowledge a significant moment in Australian aviation history,” Group Captain Grime said.

“We are humbled by the contributions of our earliest aviators who laid the foundations for flight in our nation, and it was an honour to carry on that legacy,”

“The opportunity to celebrate this milestone with the local community is very special, and another way to say thank you for their ongoing support.”

The flight, over Adelaide, Horsham, Bordertown, Tintinara, Coonalpyn and Murray Bridge, was part of a partnership with The Honourable Company of Air Pilots Australia and is one of many local events conducted as part of the Epic Flight Centenary to celebrate the Smith Brothers achievements.

File imagery:

Event stills:

/Public Release.