Texas radio amateur and pilot Brian Lloyd, WB6RQN, is right on schedule on his commemorative Amelia Earhart round-the-world flight. He reached Darwin, Australia, on July 1, in time to enjoy the local hospitality as well as some Territory Day celebration events, including a fireworks display. Greeting Lloyd upon his arrival in Australia was Stuie Birkin, VK8NSB, who had been in contact with Lloyd on 20 meters while he was still aloft.
“With Brian now part of the family, we headed to the Territory Day fireworks at East Point Darwin,” Birkin reported. For his part, Lloyd expressed gratitude for the hospitality following his 10-hour flight leg from Indonesia.
Lloyd will make a few more stops in Australia before departing Sydney on July 6 for New Zealand. He plans to drop a wreath of flowers when he passes above Howland Island, in memory of Amelia Earhart. Howland was where the famed aviator and author and her navigator Fred Noonan vanished on July 2, 1937.
After leaving Darwin on July 2, Mike Alsop, VK8MA, was among those working Lloyd on 20 meters as he made the 5-hour flight to Central Australia’s Uluru (Ayers Rock). Upon reaching his destination, Lloyd reported getting some good photos of Ayers Rock before departing for Birdsville for lunch and a hop to Bundaberg.
After Sydney, Lloyd will head out across the Tasman Sea to Auckland, New Zealand, and then the Pacific for Suva, a fly-over of Howland Island — which has no runway — and to Hawaii. Before he took off from Miami on June 1, Lloyd had estimated that the circumnavigation would take 2 months to complete.
To give his 1979 Mooney 231 aircraft additional range, he modified it to carry 150 gallons more fuel. He also equipped it with modern navigation equipment, long-range radio, and satellite communication gear. Since the flight involves some risk, special safety gear is part of his equipment ensemble.
He has been operating SSB on 17, 20, and 40 meters (18.117, 14.210, 14.346, and 7.130 MHz). — Thanks to Jim Linton, VK3PC