Tony SMith - Percival Mew Gull
Glasair II RG
Alex Henshaw
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The Route

 

Solo flight record attempt

Tony 'Taff' Smith is probably best known for operating and displaying a number of warbirds and classic aircraft, including 'Henshaw's' record breaking Percival Mew Gull (G-AEXF), on the UK display circuit from the small airstrip he established on a disused wartime bomber base at Breighton, North Yorkshire.

You can't even look at the Mew Gull, let alone fly it, without feeling over-awed by the pre-war achievements of renowned air race pilot and former 'XF owner Alex Henshaw. In 1939 Alex shattered the then flight record from England to Cape Town and back, a feat that is regarded by fellow aviators as being the most outstanding solo flight ever made.

Sadly Alex passed away in 2007 and Taff now believes, despite being considerably older than Alex when he flew the route, that the time is right for his own personal attempt at the record which, at the time of writing, has remained intact for 70 years. He is currently making preparations and modifying his Glasair II RG. The plan is to fly approximatelly the same route as Alex's epic flight but from Southend instead of Gravesend.

He plans to make just one scheduled fuel stop at Abuja with a 9 hour turnaround in Cape Town and the return trip, again via Abuja, eventually landing back at Southend just 72 hours after setting off. The Cape Run is scheduled to take place 19th October 2010.

STOP PRESS: Full story of Taff's record attempt HERE