This Day in History ( June 9 )

1928 - Sir Charles Kingsford Smith arrives in Brisbane after completing the first flight across the Pacific Ocean. 

Born: February 9th, 1897
Place: Hamilton, Brisbane. Qld
Died: November 8th, 1935 

Charles Kingsford Smith has been called the world’s greatest aviator. His record breaking flights and almost superhuman flying skills are legendary. Charles Edward Kingsford Smith (e-book) was born in Brisbane in 1897, the youngest of seven children. At the age of 13 he began studying mechanics and electrical engineering at Sydney Tech.
World War I burst over Europe and Charles enlisted on his 18th birthday. He couldn’t wait to see some action. After fighting at Gallipoli, and a stint as a motor-bike despatch rider, he was chosen to join Britain’s Flying Corps which urgently needed pilots. It was 1916 and aeroplanes were new inventions. The planes Smithy learnt to fly were made of fabric, wire and timber (with open cockpit).

Military Cross
It was something he loved from the very first moment. He wrote home to his parents "I have discovered one thing about flying and that is that my future, for whatever it may be worth, is bound up with it." Oh, and he was made for flying. They say some aviators were born to fly, well Smithy was born to be obsessed with flying. In one of his many flying missions during the war his plane was riddled with bullets. Smithy was shot in the foot and later had three toes amputated. His war days were over. He was presented with the Military Cross by King George and at only 20 years of age was a war hero.

(The) Southern Cross
On returning to Australia in 1921, he was broke. Luckily the aviation industry in Australia was booming so Smithy joined the West Australian Airways flying mail through the outback. But what Smithy really wanted, was to be the first to fly across the Pacific Ocean. With borrowed money he went to America, bought a plane and named it ‘Southern Cross’.

99.9% Pure Silver dollar - 2010
On 31 May 1928, Smithy with co-pilot Charles Ulm, navigator Harry Lyon and radio operator James Warner set off from San Francisco. The crossing was a three-legged marathon in a plane with an open cockpit. When they reached Brisbane, 83 flying hours later they had completed the first air crossing of the Pacific. Amazingly, 300,000 people welcomed them when they flew to Sydney. In 1930, at the age of 32 he flew 16,000 kilometres solo and won the England to Australia air race. In 1933, after once again breaking the record for solo flight from England to Australia, he was acclaimed as the world’s greatest airman. Smithy held more long distance flying records than anyone else on Earth.
Remember these?

At 38 Smithy was a veteran but wanted to prove he still had what it took. So on November 6, 1935 - Smithy and Tommy Pethybridge took off from England on what was to be Smithy’s last record breaking attempt. A day later Smithy’s plane disappeared near Burma.
It has never been found.

Charles Kingsford Smith (audio-book) pioneered more long distance routes than any pilot in history. He lived and died for flying. He was one of the really genuine achievers, an honest achiever, a pioneering achiever. A man who faced the odds and overcame them. If people think of him as a hero, then they have chosen a good role model. ~ sourced from 2010

Do you recognise him now?