10/31/2011. The largest of all oceans, the Pacific, was first spanned by this three-engined Fokker, an event on par with Lindbergh's courageous non-stop New York-Paris flight in the single-engined Ryan 'Spirit of St. Louis'. This flight of 7,000 mls (11,265 km) by pilots Charles 'Smithy' Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm, navigator Harry Lyon and radio operator Jim Warner was achieved in three mighty hops, from North America to Australia via Honolulu and Suva, between May 31 and June 9, 1928.
The F.VIIb-3m used was an early-built model that had been taken over, minus engines, from Sir Hubert Wilkins, after it had crashed on ice. Named 'Spirit of California' it had been used for an endurance record attempt, and took off with the unprecedented wing-loading of 19.5 lb/sq.ft (95.2 kg/sq.m). Renamed 'Southern Cross' it achieved world fame with its Pacific crossing.
In 1935 the aircraft was donated by (the then Sir) Kingsford-Smith to the Commonwealth of Australia, for display in a museum. Presently it in a special glass display hangar at Brisbane Airport in Queensland, Australia, just down the road from Eagle Farm, where the aircraft landed after its record flight on June 9, 1928. A flying replica was built in 1987, also registered VH-USU, it is the largest replica in the world.