Air Race

1969-air-race-london-sydney-bob-route

Honouring the 50th anniversary of the first flight between these two countries in 1919.

This race was open to all aircraft, which were divided into weight and power classes. The main race started December 18th, but a few started slightly earlier on the 17th. The race started from Gatwick Airport, south of London, and finished in Sydney, Australia on January 3rd/4th. Of the seventy-two starters, more than three-quarter of them flew American Piper’s, Beechcraft and Cessna’s.

The over-all winner was W.J. Bright and F.L. Buxton, in a Britten-Norman Islander (No.72). In second-place was J.A. Masling in a Cessna 310 (No.10) and third-place  B.C. Holland and H.J. Shaw in a Piper Twin Comanche (No.50).

For a Concise history of Air Racing dating from 1909 visit the Society of Air Race Historians by following this link.

Beagle Pup G-AXMX photographed at Gatwick before the start of the Air Race in 1969, bearing the race number ‘61’ on the tail.

Beagle Pup G-AXMX photographed at Gatwick before the start of the Air Race in 1969, bearing the race number ‘61’ on the tail.

When the list of entries for the England- Australia Air Race was closed, There were 77 entrants likely to take part with 5 dropping out later leaving 72 actual participants.

The Air Race 1969 follows the tradition of the Great Air Races of 1919 and 1939 -each of them destined to become defining moments in world aviation history.

Ten of the smaller, slower aircraft departed on the 17th December and were flagged off by Sir Francis Chichester, the well known aviator and yachtsman. Miss Jean Batten who still holds the solo single-engine England to Australia record of 5 days 21 hours will took part in the opening ceremony.

The bulk of the remaining aircraft took-off on the 18th and some on the 19th during the hours of darkness.

Sue Jones with Beagle Pup VH-UPT (G-AXMX) in Canberra.

Sue Jones with Beagle Pup VH-UPT (G-AXMX) in Canberra.

All competitors had to make seven compulsory control point stops at Athens, Karachi, Calcutta, Singapore, Darwin, Alice Springs and Adelaide; many made intermediate stops and each crew selected the best route between the various points. The bulk of the aircraft were due to reach Adelaide before Christmas 1969. The plan was for them to wait there until January 2nd for the race from Adelaide to Sydney, where the overall winner would then be found on a basis of total time, according to handicap.

A Fan Jet Falcon of the Canadian Armed Forces and a Hawker Siddeley HS.125 of Qantas will took off from Gatwick on Christmas day for an additional ‘no rules’ race to Adelaide and Sydney. The three classes of entry in the main part of the air race were as follows:

Class A – Single Engine Piston aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of less than 5000lbs.

Class B  – Non-supercharged Multi-Piston Engine aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of less than 12,500lbs.

Class C  – Aircraft powered by super-charged piston or propeller turbine engines with a maximum take-off weight of up to 12,500lbs.

The following list shows the participants and their order of take-off.

(Extract from Flight International December 18th 1969)

Beagle Pup G-AXMX affectionately known as ‘Bob the Beagle’ took part and completed this prestigious race in 1969.

Some background information about the England to Australia race is reproduced here courtesy of ‘Flight International’ magazine.

G-AXMX, our Beagle Pup, was piloted in the race by its owner Susan Jones who  learnt to fly at Blackbushe, her flying instructor Richard Britton accompanied her for the Air Race.

CHRISTINE AND SUE IN 12,000 MILE AIR DASH

 

TWO GIRL pilots are to compete with more than 200 International fliers in a 12,000 mile

Christine Turnbull (left) and Mrs Sue Jones at Blackbushe.

Christine Turnbull (left) and Mrs Sue Jones at Blackbushe.

dash from London to Sydney.

 

One is Christine Turnbull who at the age of 21 has already made history by becoming the first woman to pilot a balloon from England to France.The other is Sue Jones also aged 21 from Padworth Berkshire.

 

When she takes off from Gatwick on December 17th on the first leg of the race, her husband, Bill will be setting out to travel overland to Australia. They plan to live in New Zealand. Both girls are members of the Three Counties Aero Club at Blackbushe Hants. They are teaming up with club instructors for the race.

 

 

QUALIFIED

And both of them have been qualified as light aircraft pilots for only a matter of weeks,

 

Although Christine has had a balloonists licence for more than a year.

 

The race is being organised by the Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom and the Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia and is sponsored by an oil company .

Christine of Canterbury Road Farnborough Hants said ‘This is a tremendous challenge, I have always wanted to do something like this’. She is teaming up with Mike John aged 30, of Aylesham Terrace Yateley, Hants, who has been an instructor at Blackbushe airport since March.

 

Sue’s partner will be Richard Britton aged 25 of Knights Way, Reading, Bucks.

 

This article appeared in the Evening News on Tuesday September 9, 1969

The list below shows all the competitors and the order of take-off from Gatwick. (Scroll down for more about the Air Race…)

Race No..

Entrant

Nationality

Aircraft

Class

Crew

17th December 1969

113

Mira Slovak

USA

Fournier RF.5

A

 

31

M Clarke

UK

Auster JIN srs 5

A

Brian Salmon

5

J H Wynn

Australia

Airtourer 100

A

KC Buttrey

23

CHI Carson

Australia

Cessna 172

A

WR Godfrey

65

NH Jones

UK

Rollaston Condor

A

 

25

M Somerton-Raynor

UK

Auster 9

A

 

104

Olaf Callert

Sweden

Cessna 177

A

 

20

DW Gray

New Zealand

DH89 Dagon Rapide

B

BJE Moon

18th December 1969

29

DP Pearson

UK

Tri-Pacer

A

ARS Pogson

JE Kilgallon

61

W.B. Jones

UK

Beagle Pup 150

G-AXMX

A

Richard Britton

Mrs S Jones

69

AJ Spiller

UK

Cessna 180

A

HJ Morris

2

HW Craber

Australia

Cessna 182K

A

DJ McMaster

72

WJ Bright

UK

BN2A Islander

B

F Buxton

28

FCH Taylor

UK

Mooney M20C

A

J Pickering

41

Canberra Aero Club

Australia

Cessna 182

A

GN Goddard

JJ Stewart

BJ Denny

33

Earl of Shelburn

UK

Cessna 182

A

DF Laws

11

I.E.A. Clark

Australia

Cessna 180

A

BJ Rose

100

JD Murray

UK

Cherokee Arrow 180

A

TJ Nash

MP Mahon

46

JL Daley

Australia

Cherokee Arrow 180

A

JR Colwell

15

ME Blake

Australia

Cherokee 6

A

R Johnson

WJ Mulcair

68

The Hon. Hugh Astor

UK

BN2A Islander

B

Sir William Dugdale

48

AE Parkes

Australia

VAS Wairus Mk1

C

BA Watson

LA Ashenden

JL Nichols

22

Stewart Smith & Co

Australia

Cherokee Arrow 180

A

J Timilty

RJ Coombs

21

P Kentley

Australia

Mooney M20F executive

A

Mrs M Kentley

108

Orvokki Kuorti

Finland

Cherokee Arrow 180

A

Raimo Komi

63

WA Webb

UK

Mooney M20E Super 21

A

Dr IL Hay

19

RA Buchanan

Australia

Commanche 250

A

IE Britten-Jones

70

M Dunk

UK

Beech Bonanza N35

A

C Schofield

J Behrman

J Kay

8

TMM Long

Australia

Beech E33 Bonanza

A

PWB Johnson

106

VJ Kazan

USA

Comanche 260

A

 

37

LA Day

Australia

Cessna 210A

A

AC Baskett

47

Victoria Police Aero Club

Australia

Beech Bonanza V35

A

KR Meggs

CB Floate

MF O’Brien

110

LJ Palmer

West germany

Beech Model 35 C33

A

HJ Pfeiffer

49

GJ Dunster

UK

Commanche 260

A

IF Peradon

Mrs Dunster

M Glinski

14

Des’ Aviation

Australia

Beech 36 Bonanza

A

TK Brougham

D Ryan

6

GCW Biel

New Zealand

Commanche 260

A

P Pellow

45

WJ Campbell

Australia

Twin Comanche

B

NCT Blakhouse

114

TD Philips

Eire

Twin Comanche

B

VB Mitchell

1

DN Dalton

Australia

Beech B95 Travelair

B

P Rickardy

26

DM Parsons

UK

Twin Comanche

B

A Wignall

43

GH Horton

Australia

Twin Comanche

B

JH Correll

50

BC Holland

UK

Twin Comanche

B

HC Shaw

99

Miss Shiela Scott

UK

Comanche 260B

A

Shiela Scott

4

DG Willis

Australia

Twin Comanche

B

AJ Gurner

103

OJ Irwin

Zambia

Beech Bonanza V35

A

Miss AJ Denovan

55

Executive Air services

Australia

Strike Commander 500S

B

B Ferner

KI Dodd

109

Mrs I Pederson

Sweden

Turbo Skywagon 206

C

S Pederson

16

JD Hazelton

Australia

Twin Comanche

B

KC Singh

17

W Taylor

Australia

Twin Comanche

B

IR Jones

13

RJ Power

Australia

Piper Aztec

B

GD Lowe

35

Dr MA Hession

UK

Piper Aztec B

B

JC Waters

9

RP Bennett

Australia

Comanche 260B

A

GW Howe

19th December 1969

3

PE Cooper

Australia

Beech Baron B55

B

DP Darbyshire

18

GD King

Australia

Beech Baron B55

B

P Coulson

Plunkett-Cole

P McNair

36

RND Miller

Australia

Beech Baron B55

B

SD Hanafin

44

SJ Currington

Australia

Beech Baron B55

B

NP Gates

RJ Scammell

39

IG Rear

Australia

Beech Baron B55

B

RJ Jackson

42

Australian air Charter

Australia

Turbo Twin Comanche C

C

IJ Grant

34

JT Kingsley

(Red Arrows)

UK

SIAI Marchetti SF260

A

JT Kingsley

PR Evans

A Gibson

111

PJ Vincent

USA

Turbo Twin Comanche

C

WJ Siegel

27

AP Capper

UK

Piper Aztec D

B

DL Antrobus

56

J Beechcroft-Kay

Australia

Turbo beaver Mk3

C

 

10

JA Masling

Australia

Cessna 310

B

G Williams

62

TRD Kebbell

UK

Beech Baron B55

B

AR Lord

40

RT Warren

UK

Comanche 400

A

RC Hayes

53

Shepparton Preserving Co

Australia

Beech Baron C55

B

LS Wright

52

S Booker

USA

Beech Queen Air

C

D Reidpath

JWO Patterson

51

WCR Robbie

Australia

Cessna 320 Skyknight

C

AI Terrell

102

DBG Parser

Switzerland

Aero Commander 680F

C

DL Asjes

JWT Bosch

107

TK Tjontveit

Norway

Cessna 421

C

E Sandberg

ES Pederson

64

TE Lampitt

UK

Beech 99A

C

R Bartman

54

Hon.JL Waddy

Australia

B100 King Air

C

WR Evans

JEM Laflan

J Bressington

73

GP Layton

UK

Prentice 1

A

ML Thompson

7

JC Holcombe

Australia

Twin Comanche

B

G Cavill

12

Davey Air Services

Australia

Twin Comanche

B

O Weyand

WA Davey

105

ETR Cook

Kenya

Twin Comanche

B

W Banks

67

EA Kirk

UK

Comanche 260

A

G Baldock

The photos on this page show Beagle Pup G-AXMX in Australia with Sue Jones, showing the Australian registration number VH-UPT.  The additional photos further down the page (courtesy of the National library of Australia archives) show other aircraft and some of the competitors in Australia after the completion of the 1969/1970 Air Race.

If you can identify any of the contestants in the photos please feel free to contact us.

More photos of Bob the Beagle and the other aircraft involved in the Air Race can be found in our Gallery along with some archive video footage.

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