The furthest and most extreme helicopter expedition of my career to date was flying with the late Martin Rutty in an R44 from Cambridge to Adelaide. 14,000 nautical miles across 22 countries, stopping for 71 fuel stops, took some planning, and some flying.
The route, which was similar to that flown by Amy Johnson, and more recently by Tracey Curtis-Taylor in her aeroplane Spirit of Artemis, crossed the Italian Alps at Innsbruck, crossed the Mediterranean from Crete to Libya, crossed the Middle Eastern deserts of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, south of the Iraqi no-fly zone, followed the Ganges to Bangladesh, turned south over the jungles of Burma and Thailand, to Singapore and the swamps of the Indonesian archipelago, where it crossed the shark-infested Timor Sea to make landfall just West of Darwin.
The Robinson R44 was largely unmodified, with an off-the-shelf hot-weather oil cooler fitted. It was serviced at Bahrein and Singapore by a UK engineer flown out with his tools and a suitcase full of bottles of hot weather engine oil. It came back to the UK by sea in a crate.
Martin and I were honoured by the Air League for our contribution to aviation adventure.
If you’re planning an extreme trip like this, I’m happy to help.
I wrote a book about it, which is available on Amazon.
And here is a longer episode, presented by me Tim Gilbert, showing the departure from Singapore on the way to Australia: