The Greatest Air Race: The sharing of a great Australian story

Posted on 10/3/2019

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In 1919, four Australians were the first men to fly across the Globe…in a plane made merely of canvas, wire and wood! Perks is proud to have helped this story, narrated by renown local astronaut Andy Thomas, come to life.

The Greatest Air Race, is a one-hour documentary about four Australians, Sir Ross Smith, his brother Sir Keith Smith and mechanics Wally Shiers and Jim Bennet, who back in 1919 were the first men to fly across the Globe. Presented and narrated by renowned South Australian astronaut Andy Thomas, the story of this extraordinary feat of endurance is currently in production and is one of many great stories that Perks has helped bring to life.

The documentary revolves around the four men, who flew from London to Darwin in a plane made merely of canvas, wire and wood and guided by a basic compass in the open cockpits of the plane that came to be known as the Vickers Vimy – an 11 000-mile journey they successfully completed over 28 days.

Interestingly, Andy Thomas has a personal connection to the Vickers Vimy story. As a small boy he visited a hangar outside Adelaide Airport and saw the Vickers Vimy aircraft that made the epic journey. It was actually this memorable occasion that inspired him to pursue a career in aeronautical engineering! Fast forward to 1996, when Andy Thomas went into space on the Space Shuttle Endeavour …wearing on this person a small metal badge – the ‘wings’ worn by the Vimy’s pilot, Sir Ross Smith.

Today, at 67, Andy comes back full circle to tell the story of the aircraft that inspired his career and recount one of the world’s greatest aviation stories and what the future holds for the Vickers Vimy, including a potential relocation and program of events to celebrate its 2019 centenary.

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