First Trans-Pacific Flight - 1928
Lady Kingsford SmithJoh Bjelke-PetersenKevin Cairns MP

This historic photo above shows the Fokker FVIIb-3m NC1985 Southern Cross about to touch down in front of a crowd of 300,000 at Brisbane's Eagle Farm aerodrome on 9 June 1928 following its historic first crossing of the Pacific Ocean by air. The crew comprised Australian co-Commanders Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm, and Americans navigator Harry Lyon and radio operator James Warner.

The flight had taken 83 hours flying time to cover the 7,388 miles (11,822 km) from Oakland, California, to Brisbane, stopping in Hawaii and Fiji en route. It was a feat of navigation and endurance unparallelled for its day. Following the flight, Smithy was awarded, among others, the prestigious Harmon National Trophy for Australia.

The Southern Cross, later re-registered in Australia as G-AUSU/VH-USU, was re-built from an aircraft used by fellow-Australian Hubert Wilkins for Arctic exploration, based in Alaska. Smithy and the Southern Cross became icons of their age, and the aircraft is today preserved in a special building at the new Brisbane Airport, just down the road from the old Eagle Farm airport. The photo below shows it in situ in 1998.


Smithy's Story Click on the image of Smithy below to listen to his story of the flight from a June 1928 broadcast*.  
click here to listen to Smithy's story

This is a 1.44 MB MP3-format file. Smithy's 1928 broadcast was re-broadcast in 1952 on radio 3AW on the occasion of the first proving flight by Qantas Empire Airways for the new Australia-South Africa regular service. The announcer is Norman Banks.

(Safari users: try OPTION + click on the icon to download the file)

Click here to see a photo from the 1978 50th anniversary celebrations

Click here to see an air mail cover flown on the 1935 retirement flight of the Southern Cross, and also a photo taken in 1957 during fund-raising for the first building to house the aircraft.

(Photos: Phil Vabre collection. Audio: Maurice Austin collection)

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