In the Spring of 2016, Dr. Smithies recorded his memories of his experiences as a pilot and flight instructor. These recordings were edited and are presented here in 18 “chapters,” each covering a different aspect of what he referred to as his “airplane adventures.”
Dr. Smithies explains growing up in a small English town and getting inspired to become a pilot when he saw a movie called “Biggles.”
Dr. Smithies talks about what’s in his first pilot’s logbook, which details his first official flying lessons.
Dr. Smithies describes flying again after a 14-year hiatus. Included his first flight in a glider plane.
Smithies has his medical certificate, (which is required for solo flying), withdrawn because he has hypertension. As a result, he learns instrument flying while he is forced to ride in the passenger seat.
Dr. Smithies flies in Australia while on a scientific visit.
Dr. Smithies’s flying instructor and friend, Field Morey, tells Smithies to fly through a thunderstorm.
Dr. Smithies learns some aerobatic maneuvers, and meets the author of a favorite aerobatic manual while he’s visiting a friend in Sewannee, Tenn.
On the flight back from his Sewannee visit, Dr. Smithies’s plane malfunctions and, in fear that he might need help, the airport calls a firetruck for assistance.
Dr. Smithies talks about growing up with color blindness
Dr. Smithies has trouble keeping his plane at the right altitude and has to face either losing oxygen or having ice accumulate on his plane’s wings.
Dr. Smithies flew when it was still possible for a small, personal plane to fly into major airports like Chicago’s O’Hare. He talks about a few that he flew into.
Dr. Smithies and a friend run into trouble when flying to a convention.
Dr. Smithies trains to be able to fly in the coveted “diamond formation” in a glider plane.
Smithies talks about the unique way in which hawks are able to help pilots avoid danger.
Dr. Smithies begins training for his record-breaking transatlantic flight with Field Morey. They are on their way to attend the weeding of Dr. Smithies’s cousin.
Dr. Smithies and Morey start the actual journey toward England, by way of Iceland.
Dr. Smithies and Morey try to set another record-breaking flight as they fly back toward the U.S.
Smithies and Morey finish the last leg of their “great adventure.”