Charles Ulm

Article

January 23, 2022

Charles Ulm AFC is an Australian aviator and businessman born October 18, 1898 in Melbourne and disappeared at sea in December 1934 during a flight from California to Hawaii. After a peaceful childhood, and although too young, he enlisted in the Australian army and left to fight in Europe when the First World War broke out. Wounded twice, he discovered aviation during his convalescence and returned to Australia with one goal in mind, to found an airline. The beginnings are difficult and not very fruitful. It was not until his meeting with Charles Kingsford Smith that the situation evolved positively. From 1927, he developed with him the Interstate Flying Services, an Australian airline. Charles Ulm takes care of the financial part. Very quickly, the two compatriots discover that they both want to make the first crossing of the Pacific Ocean by plane. Charles Ulm sees this as a magnificent opportunity to develop the air transport sector. In order to finance such a journey, in the summer of 1927 they broke the record for the fastest circumnavigation of Australia by plane, completing it in 10 days, or half the duration of the previous record. In view of the success of Charles Lindbergh and his solo non-stop crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, he decided with Charles Kingsford Smith to embark on the crossing of the Pacific. They buy a Fokker F.VIIb/3m from the explorer Huber Wilkins and rename it Southern Cross. Financial difficulties nevertheless taint the initiative. Eventually, the philanthropist George Allan Hancock bought the plane, repaid the debts and financed the journey. On May 31, 1928, the Southern Cross took off from Oakland with Charles Ulm, Charles Kingsford Smith, James Warner and Harry Lyon on board. After a stopover in Hawaii and Fiji, the plane finally landed in Brisbane on June 9, 1928. They became the first men to have crossed the Pacific Ocean by plane. The welcome was triumphant, in particular because Charles Ulm shared various information live throughout the crossing thanks to the on-board radio. The adventures of the crew have thus traveled around the world. He then began with Charles Kingsford Smith the crossing of the Tasman Sea, thus becoming the first international crew to land in New Zealand. In 1929, Charles Ulm and Charles Kingsford Smith founded the airline Australian National Airways and attempted to break the speed record for the Australia-England crossing. Shortly after takeoff, they had to crash land and were only found 18 days later. This event, known as the Coffee Royal affair, will harm them. From 1930, the company prospers and airlines are opened. Charles Ulm takes care of the administrative part. Australia is nevertheless affected by the Great Depression and after the loss of an aircraft, the Australian National Airways stops in 1931 and is dissolved in 1933. Charles Ulm buys one of the planes and renames it Faith in Australia. He has the idea of ​​going around the world. Leaving Australia for England, it would then join the United States by crossing the Atlantic Ocean and then, after having flown over them, would again cross the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, if he reached England well, various problems immobilized the plane. In 1934, with the help of Ernest Fisk, he founded Great Pacific Airways, a holding company intended to create various branches and airlines. The idea is to promote transpacific flights and connect, in the long term, the United States and Australia. To put forward his idea, he undertakes with George Littlejohn and Leon Skilling a Vancouver - Melbourne flight aboard the Stella Australis, a recently purchased Airspeed Envoy. On December 3, 1934, they took off from Oakland to Hon

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