7 Things You Don't Know About Charles Kingsford SmithJune 17, 2014

On June 9, 1928, at 10:50 AM, Charles Kingsford Smith landed at Eagle Farm Airport. also known as Brisbane Airport. A huge crowd of 26,000 people greeted him. They were cheering, as Kingsford Smith became the first aviator to make the trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia. Smitty, which was his nickname, would earn global fame for his feat. The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia made a film biography about that historic flight, "An Airman Remembers".

Born in Hamilton, a suburb of Brisbane, on February 9, 1897, Kingsford was a daredevil. Enlisting in the military offered him the chance to find his own adventure, becoming a member of the Australian Imperial Force. But his final flight was a tragedy, disappearing in the Andaman Sea on November 8, 1935. It was one of the greatest mysteries in the history of aviation. But not anymore.

Filmmaker Damien Lay, whose crew probed the mystery behind Smitty's death, believed that the wreckage was well preserved off the Burmese coast.

"To me it's 100 per cent proof positive," Mr Lay said.

"The critical pieces of evidence are three equilateral triangles contained within what I believe is the starboard wing.”

"These structures don't occur in nature and they measure exactly 1.5mx1.5mx1.5m. We know those are the dimensions in which these aircraft were manufactured."

Here are more trivia about this adventurer:

1. Kingsford Smith took part in World War I, serving in Gallipoli and then as dispatch rider in Egypt and France. He was shot and wounded in France in August 1916, but was awarded the Military Cross "for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty".

2. Lack of navigational experience didn't stop Smitty from joining the England-to-Australia air race. In fact, he and Cyril Maddocks, his good mate, piloted joy flights as Kingsford Smith, Maddocks Aeros Ltd.

3. Smitty sensed a great potential for air transport in Australia, so he formed a partnership with fellow pilot Keith Anderson in 1924. They bought two Bristol Tourers by operating a trucking business from Carnarvon, the Gascoyne Transport Co.

4. The partners then launched a series of important demonstration flights. The first of these completed a round-Australia circuit in ten days and five hours, considered a notable achievement due to minimal navigational skills.

5. On May 31, 1928, Kingsford Smith, along with Charles Ulm, Harry Lyon and Jim Warner, rode a three-engined Fokker plane, departing from Oakland, California and flew via Hawaii and Suva to Brisbane. The flight was 83 hours, 38 minutes long.

6. For that flight, Kingsford Smith and company received subscriptions over 20,000 pounds. Smitty was also awarded the Air Force Cross, aside from being appointed honorary squadron leader of the Royal Australian Air Force.

7. Smitty's trans-Pacific flight made him world famous, but he didn't rest on his laurels. He piloted more daring flights, even formed his own airline, Australian National Airways. By the time he was in his mid-thirties, he was wealthy and his future had never been brighter. Then the tragedy (in the Andaman Sea) came.

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