An Australian globetrotter landed in Sligo Airport at the weekend on the latest leg of his epic journey from Sydney to New York.
Michael Smith from Williamstown in Melbourne, has strong memories from his childhood of watching his grandparents jet off to foreign countries (for his grandfather’s work) and of being regaled by stories of faraway lands upon their return.
His grandfather also told him tales of the early flights from London to Sydney in the late 1930s, aboard massive seaplanes run by Australia’s national airline Quantas.
Unlike the jumbo jets of today which can make the journey in one go, the seaplanes’ limited range meant they had to stop off at several locations along the way to refuel.
As an adult Michael’s passion for aviation eventually led to him getting his pilot’s licence. And so, in April of this year Michael set out alone from Sydney in a small Searey sea plane, bound for London.
His small two-seat plane had a similar range to the big seaplanes of the 1930s so it has taken him until now to reach Ireland.
See this week’s Sligo Weekender newspaper for the full story. In shops now.