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National Geographic's The Greatest Flight (1995)

 Unrated   VHS Tape


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From England to Australia in a World War I Bomber..."Vimy I, cleared to land," radioed the control tower. "Welcome back to Darwin after all these years." With those words, the dream of Peter McMillan, an American, and Lang Kidby, an Australian, was realized: to recreate a 1919 flight from England to Australia that showed the feasibility of long distance air travel. This journey chronicles this record-breaking flight that marked the beginning of commercial aviation. Resurrecting original blueprints, McMillan and Kidby built a World War I era Vickers Vimy biplane bomber with open cockpit and cotton-covered wings, fitting it with modern engines and navigation gear. You'll witness the joy of cruising over the Taj Mahal and the aftermath of a crash landing on Sumatra. This story interweaves the 1919 and 1994 adventures, separated by 75 years but united in a common spirit of daring in THE GREATEST FLIGHT.

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Flying a Vimy biplane from England to Australia was a bold adventure in 1919, but it turns out it was just as exciting in 1994. Follow Peter McMillan and Lang Kidby as they re-create the Ross brothers' historic journey in The Greatest Flight from National Geographic. Using the original blueprints, their team reassembled an exact replica of the Vickers Vimy, which was used to demonstrate the feasibility of long-distance air travel and turned the industry away from war and toward commercial flight. The trip is spectacular, with incredible views of the Great Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, and the lush rain forests of the South Pacific, although there is frustration at every turn at the hands of bureaucrats, bad weather, and even a frightening crash landing in Sumatra. Including documentary footage of the first voyage and first-rate aerial photography of the reenactment, the producers have created an inspirational program that shows how anyone's dreams can be made manifest through hard work, perseverance, and a bit of good luck. --Rob Lightner

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