We review Sir Ross Macpherson Smith’s account of his time during the 1919 Great Air Race, 14,000 Miles Through The Air.
The first publication on the 1919 Great Air Race was written by the winner of the race, Sir Ross Smith! After he won the race, Ross Smith spent two years promoting his magnificent achievement. He endorsed numerous products, created a film about his experience, and finally, he wrote an account of his time in the air.
During the 1919 Great Air Race, Ross and his brother Keith wrote in their diaries daily. So luckily, the material needed to publish a book was already in Ross’s possession! The title that Sir Ross Smith chose for the book, 14-000 Miles Through the Air, reflects the book’s contents perfectly, as the reader is invited to experience every step of Sir Ross Smith’s journey from London to Darwin. Moreover, the reader is exposed to the continuous danger that threatened the four aviators while en-route to Darwin in their flimsy Vickers “Vimy”. Try to imagine flying from England to Australia in a machine (Smith refers to the plane as “the machine”) that has an open cockpit, which leaves you exposed to the elements: think snow, sleet, hail, rain and unbearable heat!
Only two hours after departure from London, Ross Smith wrote in his diary, “this sort of flying is a rotten game. The cold is hell, and I am a silly ass for having ever embarked on the flight.” These 25 words sum up the never ending 28-day flight, and the nightmares that Sir Ross Smith faced. No man has ever been more deserving of knighthood!!
Ross Smith’s account of the Great Air Race is a wonderful read from its first page to its conclusion. It’s exciting, lusty, adventure-laden, and to Ross Smith’s credit – extremely well written. This is a book that should not be overlooked by anyone who claims to be an aviation enthusiast! You will not be able to put this book down until you reach the final page. Yes, it’s that good that we recommend it as an alternative to the Netflix shows that you have been binge-watching lately. You can easily pick up a copy from Amazon or eBay for 10-25 dollars. So, pick up a copy, read, and relive the epic flight from London to Darwin that marked the first time an aviator flew half way across the globe!