Aviators from Wooloomanata, Australia

by Dr. Richard Stimson

in Kitty Hawk 2003 Celebration Events

While attending the Wright Brothers Centennial I met the three guys that must have come the farthest to attend the festivities.

I met them at the Kill Devil Hills post office one morning where I had gone to buy some centennial stamps. I was a little early and there were three other people that were standing in line ahead of me. We got to talking and I found out that they were pilots and had flown all the way from Australia. That began an interesting several hour conversation with Boyd Monro, Fabio Bertin and aircraft owner, John Petit. (Notice the Wright Memorial in the background of the picture).

Their trip home to Australia would take them through JFK-New York, Iceland, Greenland, Scotland, Heathrow-London, Ankara-Turkey, Tehran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Singapore and Bali-Indonesia.

Woloomanata is located in Victoria and once served as a base for Spitfires, the famous British fighter of World War II. It is not a town or city that can be found on a map.

I was impressed that they were flying this distance in a two-engine Piper Navajo. The plane has been modified with 350-hp turbo-charged engines and four blade propellers. They also carry a satellite phone.

All three of the men are veteran pilots and take turns flying the plane.

They said that they had a great time visiting the site where the Wrights flew and were fascinated with the markers noting how far each of the four original flights traveled.

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