Aviation Pioneers: race from England to Australia

With the improvement of aviation techniques, the pilots were faced with increasing challenges. Although the age of the records appeared to be largely over, a new phenomenon came up: the air races. Who could take a certain route the fastest? Who could fly the fastest from England to Australia?

New challenges

Aviation development was since the first flight of the Flyer on the beach at Kitty Hawk proceed rapidly in 1903. Aircraft which took speeds of several hundred kilometers per hour were no exception and many records had been established in 1934. The first man to fly across the ocean, the first woman to fly across the ocean, the longest solo journey, the greatest height, so on. It was time for new challenges: the contest!


No longer putting an achievement, such as bridging a certain distance, but the speed with which it had to happen, because it would have to deal with it. Several planes were more or less at the same time must take off from the same airport, and a first at the destination would arrive was the winner. At large distances, the making of intermediate stops was necessary, therefore, the entire game would have to be carried out in stages.
Poster when the competition was announced

From England to Australia

The Australian millionaire Sir MacPherson Robertson wrote at that time unique contest. Who in a fastest race from England to Melbourne, Australia would fly, could drag a prize of 10,000 pounds. The competition, on the occasion of the centenary of Melbourne, was to start on Saturday, October 20th, 1934. It would be the longest ever flight competition. The prize was huge, so all kinds of pilots showed their interest.
Charles Scott

Charles Scott

Charles Scott was after a brief career as a sugar planter in the RAF, the Royal Air Force ended. That lasted only six years since Charles proved too undisciplined for the military structure. Then he left for Melbourne, Australia, where he was kite seller and later post. In 1931, Scott returned to the UK.
Tom Campbell Black

Tom Campbell Black

Tom Campbell Black had in 1917 had his pilot training at the Naval Air Force, after which he joined the RAF. He then became a commercial pilot. He devoted himself to the commercial aviation in Kenya, where he was the founder of Wilson Airways in Nairobi.

Royal Aero Club, London

Shortly after the announcement of the contest came from England to Melbourne Scott and Black each other in the Royal Aero Club in London, which would organize the competition. They got on well with each other and thought that they should participate in the contest.

Grosvenor House

Scott and Black were in A.O. Edwards, director of the Grosvenor House Hotel a sponsor, naturally subject to the attribution requirement. The sponsor was necessary because a plane Messrs not yet possessed. They gained access to one of the allernieuwse aircraft built by de Havilland Comet. The device, which was 320 kilometers per hour to fly, of course, was named Grosvenor House. The race would involve even two copies of the Comet. More aircraft of this type were not ready yet!
Replica of The Pollinator
Replica of The Pollinator

The race

On Saturday, October 20th, 1934 the race started. It was a cold day with a lot of clouds. Scott and Black were the fifth left. The favorite was a KLM plane, the Pollinator, flown by Koene Parmentier. The bad weather above France and insurmountable mechanical problems were the cause of a number of participants had to drop out. Eventually during the whole race 11 aircraft should drop out, one of which crashed. Both pilots lost their lives.


It was left to the pilots if they wanted to fly to the inspection site, the end-points per leg, or that they wanted to create in the interim designated landing stops. All appliances made from the last use, except the three Comets, which flew through the first inspection site in Baghdad. Jim and Amy Mollison couple that got there first, and again flew off when Scott and Black arrived just.


Jim and Amy Mollisson were good in the race and maintained their lead for a long time, although they have started to walk back. On the way to Karachi they were temporarily lost the race, which they received hefty backlog. To make up for that, they perstten all from their handset. Too much, as this they had engine trouble and had to give them up.


Meanwhile overtook Scott and Black, despite the failure of the left engine, after two days, four hours and 38 minutes from the airport in Port Darwin, Australia. That meant a new record, but Melbourne was not reached and its maintenance had to be committed to the engine inoperative. After this delay, they could start again, and 71 hours after their departure they landed in Melbourne. The price was within! Second place was taken by the KLM plane the Pollinator, flown by Koene Parmentier, who also won the first prize in the handicap standings in the guard knew. In total, knew only nine of the twenty started to reach devices in the Melbourne race.