On 9 June 1928 the Southern Cross, a Fokker F.VIIb/3m Trimotor, settled on to the grass of Brisbane’s Eagle Farm Aerodrome, having left Oakland, USA, 10 days earlier. The aircraft flew 11,585km and had been airborne for 84 hours, with refuelling stops in Hawaii and Fiji.
Chuffed with the first ever trans-Pacific flight, the Prime Minister, Stanley Bruce, presented a cheque for £5,000 to the flight crew. Equally pleased the flight’s financial backer Californian, George Hancock, waived any right to recover his substantial investment.
It was Saturday night and hero Australian pilots, Brisbane born Charles Kingsford Smith “Smithy” and Melbourne born Charles Ulm, together with Americans, radio operator James Warner and American navigator and engineer Harry Lyon were thirsty, cashed up and debt free.
It’s not recorded what beer they celebrated their world record breaking flight with, but “Smithy that’s Fokkin’ Good Beer” was heard well in to the night.
Alliance Airlines, flying the width and breadth of Australasia, is the world’s largest operator of Fokker aircraft and proudly commemorates the 90th Anniversary of the Southern Cross’s historic flight with Smithy’s FGB. Cheers!
The Southern Cross is on public display near Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal.