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Seaplanes Celebrating and Making History

100 Years coming

Australian Seaplane Adventures

CLOCKWISE CREWS

About C & D

First Circumnavigation of  Mainland Australia by a Female Seaplane Pilot

Cathy Babis & David Geers

David Geers in his SeaRey amphibious airplane flying past tall buildings
SeaRey amphibious airplane parked on beach
Cathy Babis in SeaRey amphobious airplane

Cathy and David shared pilot duties in his Searey amphibian along with other aircraft, taking advantage of warmer temperatures and more favourable winds while also avoiding the end of the wet season up north. Throughout their adventure, they promoted STEM education and encouraged diversity in all aviation occupations during radio, print, and video interviews. Cathy made a presentation at Brisbane Aviation High School prior to departure.

About Cathy: She is a pilot with a passion for breaking barriers in aviation. She is new to seaplane flying, earning her commercial pilot seaplane certificate in September of 2020 with the Missouri River as her water runway near her home in St. Louis, MO, USA. With 54 years of aviation experience including, air traffic controller, former chief flight instructor for two flight schools, weather observer, aviation instrument map maker, & US Army veteran, she is dedicated to promoting aviation through STEM education and mentoring. On this historic flight, her goal is to emphasize the need for diversity in all aviation careers while inspiring women, from young girls just selecting a career to older women who may have put their flying dreams aside, to join the aviation community. Cathy says, “We believe that every barrier is meant to be broken. It's an honor to celebrate the circumnavigation’s 100th anniversary paying tribute to the pioneers who paved the way for us, while achieving a new first for female pilots." Promoting increased diversity, gender participation in aviation, and STEM education have been her mission for decades. She hopes her flight inspires and motivates people to consider choosing aviation as a vocation or avocation.

 

About David: He has been a pilot since 1980 and has flown his Searey amphibious airplane over 1000 hours since purchasing it in 2010. He is past president of the Seaplane Pilots Association of Australia and current committee member. He is passionate about flying, especially seaplanes. 

Jim Moline

About Jim:

Jim hoped to become the oldest seaplane pilot to fly a seaplane around mainland Australia. Staying on the same theme, he bought his first motorcycle in celebration of his 78th birthday. He earned his PPL in 1964 and eventually purchased his Searey amphibian in 2003 which he says is the best thing he ever did, making him poor but happy. Flying Around Oz in his seaplane with the clockwise group is a bucket list item. In his real life, he's an architect. James served the Australian seaplane community for a few years as treasurer of the Seaplane Pilots Association of Australia (SPAA). He is a father of 2 and has 4 adult grandchildren who are excited to follow his flight around the continent. 

UPDATE #1: Jim experienced communications, electrical, and landing gear problems in the first days of the flight, ultimately requiring total replacement of his main landing gear system and rewiring of the aircraft communications system. 

UPDATE #2: From Peterborough, Jim flew coastal on his own ultimately arriving in Broome. He decided to return home via the southern route visiting different locations than on his outbound journey. The Top End of Australia is very remote and difficult to negotiate alone. 

 

UPDATE #3: Jim reported a bird strike that damaged his propeller, and  was able to make an emergency landing in a field. He removed the broken blade of his IVO prop and converted it to a two-bladed system, which is a unique feature of the IVO prop. He took off and landed at Geraldton Airport. A new propeller arrived and was installed. He continued anti-clockwise to his home .        

Hamish Kebbell

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About Hamish:

Hamish's journey began at Point Cook on April 6th and he proceeded clockwise to Albany and returned anti-clockwise to Tyabb as originally planned. He is home.

Kevin Moore

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About Kevin:

Kevin's journey began at Mackay, proceeding straight across Australia's central desert sleeping at cattle stations and roadhouses. He caught up with Cathy and David at Cygnet Bay (the next stop after Broome). Kevin continued with them clockwise until heading home from the Bowen stop & is home in Mackay.

Mark O'Halloran/ Ian Decker

About Mark & Crew:

This was the largest crew on the clockwise journey. Mark O'Halloran and Ian Decker shared pilot duties in a Cessna 210. Their wives, Raelene and Jenny, completed the passenger list. They departed Swan Hill on April 10th, arriving in Coral Bay on April 17th. They enjoyed the Coral Bay area for a few days and headed to Alice Springs then south to Swan Hill on April 22nd. They are home.

Anti-Clockwise Flight, Michael Smith

ANTI-CLOCKWISE CREW

Replicating the Original Flight - Southern Sun
Michael Smith

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Michael Smith flew anticlockwise from Point Cook in his twin-engine SeaBear amphibian tracing the original flight's route and timing, ending on May 19th at Point Cook.  For more details, please visit Michael's website: click here.

 

About Michael Smith: Michael is well known for his aviation exploits, especially his flight around the world in his Searey amphibian In 2015. In 2018 he flew his Sea Bear amphibian from England to Australia to celebrate the centenary of the first flight, by Australians Ross and Keith Smith, Jim Bennett and Wally Shiers in the Vickers Vimy biplane. Over the period 8-23 March 2019, Michael led a group of aircraft from Darwin to Adelaide to celebrate the last stages of this flight. Several light aircraft flew at least part of the way. At many stopping places, notably Darwin, Charleville, Longreach, Caboolture, Bourke and Narromine, the aircraft were welcomed by the local community. 

North From Point Cook to Darwin, Then Anti-Clockwise
Rohan Whittington

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Rohan experienced a prop overspeed and made an emergency landing near Esperance. After making repairs, he hit something at rotation from the field and damaged the left main landing gear. Permanent repairs are complete and he is home now.

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