For those who find the UK-Australia flights somewhat crowded and boring, Dave Sykes, who sometimes answers to ‘Spokes’ or ‘Wheely,’ has an alternative.
The paraplegic microlight pilot and adventurer, who set out from York on April 28, has now reached Bali, and hopes to make his first Australian touchdown in Darwin soon.
So stop whinging about tiny seats, stuffy air conditioning and boring in-flight videos. Dave gets fresh air in his face (and ice, rain, dust and insects) gets sparks of static electricity in his hair, flies under and through clouds, and sees the wave tops, the forests, the villages, the great cities, the winding paths seldom trodden, and the great highways and bridges, close up, in living color, in 360 degrees projection that beats anything you’ll ever see on a seat back screen.
Instead of dealing with the hassles of terminals as packed as any shopping mall in the usual way, Dave deals with packing and unpacking his wheel chair, which is stowed on the tiny powered buzz bug has been his aerial transport for the last three months, and will continue to be for some days to come, when he starts flying across the outback on his way to Sydney and then on to a personal finish line in Newcastle.
He originally intended to make the flight last year, to honor the 80th anniversary of the first solo flight by a woman between England and Australia by Amy Johnson in 1930. His cause is to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Dick Smith, who knows a great deal about adventure flights and aviation history, says “As far as I am concerned, it will have been the greatest adventure flight from England to Australia in over fifty years – comparable with Bert Hinkler and Amy Johnson”.
Dave’s journey can be followed on his website, which is, like flying a motorised hang glider, slow but rewarding.