1 Tālā Samoa - Malietoa Tanumafili II
50th Anniversary - First Transpacific Flight
20 000 1978
Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith often called by his nickname Smithy, was an early Australian aviator. In 1928, he earned global fame when he made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia.
At 8:54 a.m. on 31 May 1928, Kingsford Smith and his 4-man crew left Oakland, California, to attempt the first trans-Pacific flight to Australia. The flight was in three stages. The first, from Oakland to Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, was 3,870 kilometres (2,400 mi), taking an uneventful 27 hours 25 minutes (87.54 mph). They took off from Barking Sands on Mana, Kauai, since the runway at Wheeler was not long enough. They headed for Suva, Fiji, 5,077 kilometres (3,155 mi) away, taking 34 hours 30 minutes (91.45 mph). This was the most demanding portion of the journey, as they flew through a massive lightning storm near the equator. The third leg was the shortest, 2,709 kilometres (1,683 mi) in 20 hours (84.15 mph), and crossed the Australian coastline near Ballina before turning north to fly 170 kilometres (110 mi) to Brisbane, where they landed at 10.50 a.m. on 9 June. The total flight distance was approximately 11,566 kilometres (7,187 mi). Kingsford Smith was met by a huge crowd of 26,000 at Eagle Farm Airport, and was welcomed as a hero. Australian aviator Charles Ulm was the relief pilot. The other crewmen were Americans, they were James Warner, the radio operator, and Captain Harry Lyon, the navigator and engineer.