Journey gets wings
Monday, 4th April, 2011
The recreation of an historic aviation flight has begun.
Jeremy Rowsell and Jim Hazelton have begun their journey to the United States where they will recreate the historic journeys of some of the world's greatest aviators.
Mr Rowsell, 40, and Mr Hazelton, will fly around the world in a single engine aircraft and while doing so help raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Their epic flight begins on Thursday when they take off from Oakland International Airport, California.
"Jim and I have left Sydney and we are on our way to the US," Mr Rowsell said on his "flying4thedoctors.com" blog.
"The preparation and last minute dashing around is over, but what a week it has been."
The first leg of the aviators' journey will be a trans-Pacific flight in a single engine Beechcraft 36. It will emulate a trip by Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith in 1928, including leaving from the same airport.
Mr Rowsell told the BDT last month that the trip had only ever been carried out but a few and was the aeronautical equivalent of climbing Mt Everest.
"Only a select few have ever done it and we intend to join that club," he said.
Although they only have one engine they will have modern survival equipment and training.
The pair have also just completed SAS survival training.
"The survival at sea training was fantastic," Mr Rowsell said.
"Imagine sitting in a plane capsule being lowered in to water.
"The capsule goes completely under water and then it's turned upside down. There are bubbles everywhere and you have to undo your straps, push open the door or window and get out.
"Neil made it so simple for me to understand and practice and the rest of the team made sure I was in no danger."
Mr Rowsell visited Broken Hill last month to meet the local RFDS.
"What an honor it was to speak with the doctors, nurses and pilots who do incredible work for the Royal Flying Doctor Service," he said of his visit.
"I saw what a wonderful role the RFDS play in the bush.
"Meeting the whole team in both locations made my reasons for doing this crossing all the more valid and real.
"Clyde and his team and Janelle in Dubbo were all so kind and made me feel so welcome. Little did they know that it was me who felt my contribution was small compared to what they do day in, day out."
Depending on the weather they are due to reach Sydney's Kingsford Smith airport mid this month.