HC Deb 27 February 1928 vol 214 cc34-5

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is in a position to furnish any further information with regard to Mr. Bert Hinkler's flight to Australia beyond what has already appeared in the Press?

The SECRETARY of STATE for AIR (Sir Samuel Hoare)

I cannot at present add very much to the information which has appeared, since I am glad to say the Press have given Mr. Hinkler's outstanding achievement the prominence which it undoubtedly deserves. It may, however, interest the House to hear that the flight established several records. Mr. Hinkler achieved the fastest flight to date between England and Australia, shortening the time taken by Sir Ross Smith in 1919 by between 12 and 13 days; the longest solo and the longest light aeroplane flights yet made; and he first non-stop flight to Rome, whilst all places beyond India were reached in a shorter time than has been achieved by any other form of transport. The total flying time was 134 hours, so that he flight would have taken 5 days 14 hours if it had been made continuously flying by day and night. Taking the total time spent on the flight, including nights and halts in the day-time on the ground, the average speed per hour throughout was well over 30 miles, whilst taking the time spent in the air only, it works out at an average of about 89 miles per hour. Further, 12,000 miles were covered without any repairs, a striking testimony to the reliability of machine and engine. One of the most striking features of the flight is that the machine employed was a standard Avro "Avian" with a Cirrus engine which has been in use since 1926 and the only alteration made prior to the flight was the incorporation of extra tankage. A machine of this type costs complete, apart from the extra tanks, only some £730, and an approximate estimate of the cost of the flight in terms of the petrol and oil consumed—as I have already said no repairs were carried out—is £50. These figures are a striking indication of the great potentialities of aircraft for improving communications in the vast stretches of the Empire in which other means of communication are as yet non-existent or relatively undeveloped.