Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith and the  Southern Cross  aircraft.
Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith and the Southern Cross aircraft. Contributed

It's been 90 years since Smithy's historic flight

THE anniversary of an historically significant event involving Ballina passed by quietly last week.

June 9 marked 90 years since Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and the crew of the Southern Cross aircraft made landfall just to the south of Ballina on their way to Brisbane to complete the first flight across the Pacific Ocean from the USA to Australia.

This comes at a time when Qantas has, in what is called Project Sunrise, challenged the major commercial aircraft manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus, to design a plane capable of flying direct from Sydney to London and Melbourne to New York with a full payload.

That's a far cry from Smithy's 1928 flight from Oakland, California, to Brisbane's Eagle Farm Airport made over a 10-day period, stopping at Hawaii and Fiji along the way.

Australian Aviation magazine last week reported that Alliance Airlines paid tribute to that inaugural trans-Pacific flight by flying one of their Fokker 100 aircraft, complete with an image of Smithy on the tail, from Brisbane to Ballina return on June 9.

The aircraft landed in Brisbane at 10.50am, which was the same time Smithy and his crew arrived all those years ago.

There are many local acknowledgements to Smithy's flight: Kingsford Smith Park, Kingsford

Smith Dr, Southern Cross school, Southern Cross Industrial Estate, Southern Cross Dr.

In 2008, there was an aerobatics display off the coast of Ballina to mark the 80th anniversary of the inaugural flight.

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