A British paraplegic microlight pilot, who braved electrical storms and other hazards, has successfully completed a mammoth journey to Australia of nearly 12,000 miles.
David Sykes left York on April 28, taking four months to fly the 11,714 nautical miles across the globe to finally land in Sydney this week. According to his own website, the journey took him across hostile terrain, long sea crossings, over deserts and through testing meteorological conditions.
Talking to the Metro, the 43-year-old said the most terrifying part of the journey was an electrical storm over Burma.
‘There was a big flash and the aircraft shuddered with a lightning strike at the side of me and it blew all the fuses out on the instruments.
‘It got to the point where I wasn’t scared any more, it was just about trying to survive it all.’
Sykes made the trip to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance charity, lost the use of his legs when he broke his back in a motorcycle accident in 1993.
The journey is all the more remarkable following the death in 2010 of a fellow microlight pilot making a similar England to Australia charity journey.
TheGuardian website reported that Martin Bromage, a 49-year-old father of two, died on the first leg of his ambitious journey. Following take-off from Gloucestershire airport, he flew into thick fog over the Channel and his body was later recovered 20 miles off the coast of France.