Aviation and Adventures
|This section requires expansion with: more examples of his many notable flights and expeditions.|
In 1964, Smith sailed with a group of Rover Scouts to Balls Pyramid in the Pacific Ocean – the highest sea spire in the world. He and the group failed to climb the Pyramid, however in 1980 Smith returned and climbed to the top.
Smith learned to fly in 1972, graduating to a twin engine Beech Baron. In 1976 he competed in the Perth to Sydney air race. At the age of 34 he purchased his first helicopter, a Bell Jetranger. With it he made a record-setting flight from Sydney to Lord Howe Island and return, 1185 km. The helicopter opened new opportunities for exploring places otherwise inaccessible. In 1978 he found the wreck of the Kookaburra aircraft, which crash-landed in the Central Australian Desert in 1929.
Smith's admiration for the early aviation pioneers led him to successfully attempt the first solo helicopter flight around the world. His flight began in Fort Worth, Texas, on 5 August 1982, in a newly purchased Bell Jetranger 206B. On 19 August, the 50th anniversary of James Mollison's solo crossing of the Atlantic, he arrived at Balmoral Castle, United Kingdom where he met Prince Charles. From there he flew to London, where, later that day, the first stage of his flight ended, after 11752 km. The second stage of his flight started in London on 13 September, and finished in Sydney, Australia, 3 October 1982, 23092 km later. On 25 May 1983 the final stage of the flight started. Not being granted permission to land in USSR, he arranged to land on a ship to refuel. His journey ended on 22 July 1983, the 50th anniversary of Wiley Post's solo aeroplane flight around the world on 22 July 1933.
In 1988/89 Smith flew a Twin Otter aircraft VH-SHW (registered after his hero, Sir Hubert Wilkins) vertically around the world, landing at both the North and South Poles. He landed the aircraft in Beijing on the night of the Tiananmen Square uprising.
In October 1991 Smith was the second person to fly over Mount Everest.
In November 1995 Smith climbed the most remote of the seven summits, Carstensz Pyramid in Irian Jaya with Peter Hilary and Greg Mortimer.
Smith has been a vocal advocate for the civil aviation industry in Australia, having been appointed by Prime Minister Bob Hawke to be Chairman of the Board of the Civil Aviation Authority from February 1990 to February 1992. He also served as Deputy-Chairman and Chairman of the Board of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority from 1997 until his resignation in 1999.
Smith was Chairman of the Council for the Centenary of Federation from December 1996 to February 2000, a position he was appointed to by the then Prime Minister, John Howard.
In February 2000, Smith and his co-pilot John Wallington became the first people to successfully complete an east-west crossing of the Tasman Sea by balloon, from New Zealand to Australia against generally-prevailing winds.
On 7 January 2006, Smith flew his Cessna Grand Caravan from Sydney to Hari Hari on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island to mark the 75th anniversary of the first solo trans-Tasman flight by Guy Menzies in 1931.
On Tuesday 26 August 2008 Smith, with his wife Pip, completed a two and a half year drive around the world. The journey of over 40,000 kilometres was made by road vehicle.
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Famous quotes containing the word adventures:
“We know that their adventures are childish. They themselves are fools. They are ready to kill or be killed over a card-game in which an opponentor they themselveswas cheating. Yet, thanks to such fellows, tragedies are possible.”
—Jean Genet (19101986)