Michael Smith, EAA 1001669, of Williamstown in Victoria, Australia, recently finished a flight that most of us could only dream about: a trip around the world in his Searey named Southern Sun, a two-seat amateur-built seaplane. The flight was the first circumnavigation by a solo pilot in a flying boat, and earned him the title of Adventurer of the Year, awarded by the Australian Geographic Society.
Smith didn’t set out to go around the world; a longtime student of aviation history, his original goal was to retrace the steps of the Qantas Empire Airways/Imperial Airways flying boats that flew from Sydney to London in the late 1930s. After months of meticulous planning, he departed on April 12, 2015. Sixty days and half that many stops later, he touched down at Damyns Hall Aerodrome on the outskirts of London. Mission accomplished, he was starting to make arrangements to have the Southern Sun shipped home when his wife suggested that he just fly it home — the long way. And so it was that his two-month flight turned into seven, making 80 stops in 25 countries and logging 480 hours of flying time.
Smith is working on a book about his experiences, as well as a feature-length documentary. Read more about these projects and the original epic adventure by visiting Voyage of the Southern Sun.
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