Home The Club Trips & Information Members Interests Business Minutes Guest Speakers

Neville Tate  ‘Three Men in a Plane to Australia’.

Neville gave a riveting account of his 56 day flight in a light aircraft from England to Australia. His talk was punctuated with amusing anecdotes & copiously illustrated with photographs. Neville has had an amazingly varied career & retirement. He has been an aircraft engineer on flying boats for Saunders-Roe & a teacher in Argentina.  

He has worked in India & Russia: he drove to India & he went to Russia by train. He enjoys travel! So much so, that he learned to fly at Teesside Airport & when he was seventy he replied to an advertisement placed in a magazine by Sheila Dyson, , asking for co-pilots on a light aircraft flight to Australia.  Somewhat to his surprise, since they were both private pilots without the necessary instrument ratings to fly in cloud, he & John Greasley, 60, were selected. Sheila had a strong desire to make this adventurous journey and to use the opportunity for the benefit of ORBIS, a charity which flies an aeroplane equipped for surgical operations to restore eyesight to patients in third world countries.

The trio flew a four-seater, single engine Cessna 182 light aircraft to the other side of the world in 3 7 stages, & 17 countries taking 56 days to complete the journey.  The fuel the plane could carry limited each stage to about six hundred miles. Not only did they pay for the cost of the flight, about £30,000, but raised cash for 1000 eye operations.

The flight started in April 2007 from Netherthorpe , the smallest licensed airfield in the UK, locatednear Sheffield. The route took them to Cannes in France, on to Salerno in Italy, Heraklion in Crete, Paphos in Cyprus, Luxor in Egypt, Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Muscat in Oman, Karachi in Pakistan, Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Calcutta in India & Chittagong in Bangladesh. From Chittagong the flight was over high mountain ranges. The first attempt failed as the aircraft experienced severe icing i n thunder clouds & was forced to turn back. The fuel remaining was only just sufficient to return safely. The second try was successful & they flew on to Chiang Mai and Phuket in Thailand, Penang in Malaysia, Singapore, Palembang, Jakarta and Bali in Indonesia, Kupang in East Timor & Darwin in Australia.

The flight via Cairns & Brisbane to Sydney involved intermediate landings at small airfields. One of these was  totally deserted & they were reduced to purloining a ladder from a fire engine to climb over the perimeter fence, & hitch- hiking into town.  The plane was dismantled & returned to the UK in a crate!