Virgina's Diary: A Young Family's voyage of discovery from Boston to Sydney (via Europe) in a single engine Cessna by Robin Frith

Virgina's Diary: A Young Family's voyage of discovery from Boston to Sydney (via Europe) in a…

byRobin Frith

Kobo ebook | March 13, 2011

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Many adventurers have flown around the world in light aircraft (planes, helicopter or balloons less than 7000kg) most notably Australians Charles Kingsford Smith in 1928, and Dick Smith (five times). But none other than our family, the Friths, have attempted the trip as a family in a single-engine light plane (2-6 seater).

This is our story: of father Robin, mother Virginia, and three children, Angela (b 1965), Stuart (b 1967), and Rowena (b 1970). Our single-engine light aircraft took us around North America, The Bahamas, and eventually around the world from Boston in the United States to Sydney, Australia – the city we called home – the long way round via Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia.

Flying that far around the world is the ultimate challenge for the pilot of a light aircraft. It is a battle against the elements, navigation difficulties and the bureaucracy of entering and leaving national air-spaces. It requires careful planning and patience to obtain all the clearances for airports around the world, further complicated by cultural, language and customs barriers. Certainly in this Post-9/11 world, our trip might never have happened. What made it even more challenging was the fact that there was no GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation capability for commercial aircraft before 1983. This truly was a journey by the seat of our pants.

The actual ‘trip diary’ was written, as a log, by Virginia before her death from cancer in 1987, and it is to her memory that we, her family, dedicate this book.

Robin Frith

Title:Virgina's Diary: A Young Family's voyage of discovery from Boston to Sydney (via Europe) in a…Format:Kobo ebookPublished:March 13, 2011Publisher:Robin and Virginia FrithLanguage:English

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Flying adventure Just had to give you some feed back. I bought copies of Virginia's Diary for a couple of my friends that are mad keen flyers and have just got off the phone with one of them. Bottom line this guy does heaps of flying, his wife runs a flying school in NSW and having received the book yesterday they rang me this morning to say it is the best book they have read in years. His wife normally doesn't read flying literature as she lives it all day but she couldn't put it down. They really get it, commenting on the amazing leg lengths, the fond memories of that era when these adventures were undertaken. etc etc. So impressed were they that they are ordering copies to pass onto to several of their flying nut contacts. They are also placing it for sale at the flying school counter. Marcus, Melbourne
Date published: 2015-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing family adventure Virginia’s Diary I like everything about this book: the clarity of layout; the maps showing each stage of the journey; the photographs of spectacular scenery and of a young travelling family; even the design of the cover with its teasing touch of sepia. But most of all I like the story. This is no ordinary travel book. It is an account of an adventure, a voyage taken by a family of five in 1975 in a single-engine Cessna: from the United States to Australia, via Europe and the Middle East. It has two main narrators: the pilot, Robin Frith, and his late wife, Virginia, who wrote in her diary as they travelled. It also includes comments by their three children as they look back more than thirty years later on the journey, and how it had such a profound influence on their young lives. The details of flying half way round the world will delight any flying enthusiast. Although some of the technical aspects were beyond my understanding, I never lost interest in the narrative. This is because Frith paces his story well and makes every episode spring to life in the retelling. In the early chapters, where he describes the thorough planning that took place –which route to take, which aircraft to choose, how much fuel to take, what kind of radio communication –I almost felt I was there, making decisions with him and Virginia. He also manages to present the past in context with the present, reminding the reader of political changes that have taken place in the last thirty years. He writes with the ease of a man who, thirty years before, had confidence in his own ability to take his family on such an ambitious trip. Interspersed with his precise, uncluttered style is Virginia’s meticulous reporting. It was she who looked at costs of accommodation and meals, saw to the practical chores of washing clothes, noted when the children were becoming tired and irritable. She observed with fresh eyes geographical features and cultural differences whenever their plane touched down in a new region; and she loved to delve into historical facts and folklore when the family went sightseeing, mostly on their bicycles. The book shows truly remarkable teamwork between a husband and wife. Virginia wrote in her diary of her faith in her husband: I absolutely believe in Robin’s capability as a pilot. He has just the right mixture of aggressiveness and caution in his make-up. In his dedication, Frith writes: To Virginia, an extraordinary wife and mother, without whose support and talent in helping me envision this trip, the adventures in this book would not have been possible. I highly recommend this book: to light aircraft-flying buffs, to seasoned travellers, to those with young families who are thinking of overseas travel (though such a journey these days would not be possible), or to any armchair traveller.
Date published: 2015-03-10