Many adventurers have flown around the world in light aircraft (planes, helicopter or balloons less than 7000kg) most notably Australians Charles Kingsford Smith in 1928, and Dick Smith (five times). But none other than our family, the Friths, have attempted the trip as a family in a single-engine light plane (2-6 seater).
This is our story: of father Robin, mother Virginia, and three children, Angela (b 1965), Stuart (b 1967), and Rowena (b 1970). Our single-engine light aircraft took us around North America, The Bahamas, and eventually around the world from Boston in the United States to Sydney, Australia – the city we called home – the long way round via Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia.
Flying that far around the world is the ultimate challenge for the pilot of a light aircraft. It is a battle against the elements, navigation difficulties and the bureaucracy of entering and leaving national air-spaces. It requires careful planning and patience to obtain all the clearances for airports around the world, further complicated by cultural, language and customs barriers. Certainly in this Post-9/11 world, our trip might never have happened. What made it even more challenging was the fact that there was no GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation capability for commercial aircraft before 1983. This truly was a journey by the seat of our pants.
The actual ‘trip diary’ was written, as a log, by Virginia before her death from cancer in 1987, and it is to her memory that we, her family, dedicate this book.