Segments in this Video

How It Began (02:52)


Viewers see vintage film footage and learn how the Smith brothers came to fly a biplane from London to Australia.

Replica of Vickers Vimy (02:53)

The original Vickers Vimy is replicated 75 years after the Smith brothers' flight. Engineers use the original design and materials in the replica. Archival film footage shows the original aircraft being built.

Ready for Take-Off (02:38)

The Vickers Vimy takes off. What will happen next? The two pilots practice flying the new plane. Spectacular aerial photography accompanies this segment.

Film Footage: Historic Take-Off (00:36)

On November 12, 1919, the Smith brothers prepare to fly from Hounslow, England, Archival film footage shows this historic take-off.

Vimy Replica Takes to the Skies (04:18)

In September 1994, the second Vimy plane is ready for take-off. The replica will be shadowed by other planes. Viewers follow this historic take-off. Superimposed images filmed 75 years apart put viewers in the pilot's seat of both flights.

Weather Troubles (02:36)

On Day 2 of the historic flight, the 1994 pilots experience bad weather just as the 1919 pilots did. Rain has waterlogged the plane's canvas cover, and the propellers are showing signs of erosion.

Flying: High Stakes Game (00:58)

In the early part of the 20th century, flying was a high stakes game. Everything connected with flying was dangerous. In the 1919 competition to reach Australia, all the Vimy's competition planes crashed. Viewers see archival photographs of the crashes.

Flight Threatened by Storm (02:40)

Film footage shows the effects of harsh winds on the Vimy as she flies from Pisa to Rome. The pilots land the plane, and a freak storm moves in, threatening the fragile plane.

Mediterranean Sea Flight (04:05)

How will the Vimy hold up in a 5-hour flight over the Mediterranean Sea? Compared to the 1919 crew, the 1994 crew has technology and supplies to manage crises. Viewers accompany the Vimy crew as the plan crosses the Mediterranean Sea.

Drama over the Pyramids (01:43)

The Smith brothers made the first aerial photographs of many of the world's great landmarks. The 1994 Vimy is threatened by Egyptian air patrol. The Vimy is grounded by Egyptian bureaucracy.

Warm Reception for Vimy (02:43)

The Vimy crew is warmly welcomed in Arabia, Bahrain, and Pakistan.

Vimy in India (03:12)

An outbreak of the plague in India causes panic. The Vimy is caught in the middle of a conflict between India and Pakistan. Finally, the Vimy is cleared to enter India. The Vimy circles the Taj Mahal.

Myanmar (03:17)

Myanmar will not allow the Vimy to land to refuel. Pretending that their radio does not work, the crew lands the Vimy anyway. Each crew member undergoes a health check, and then the crew does some sightseeing.

Engine Trouble (02:53)

A week away from Australia, the starboard engine begins burning oil. No one seems to know what exactly the trouble is or how to fix it. The next day, the plane is forced to make an emergency landing in a field.

Vimy in Trouble (03:43)

Archival film footage shows images from the 1919 Vimy flight. The 1994 crew is a bit discouraged by the continued troubles with the right engine. The Vimy heads towards Jakarta. The Vimy crashes.

Big Hit in Sumatra (03:49)

A search plane looks for the Vimy and survivors. The Vimy's wings are visible in the mist, and all four crew members are safe. All three planes are on the ground with crowds of local Sumatrans gathered around.

Take-Off (03:04)

The Vimy's engine is retrieved from the ground. The engine in place, the Vimy takes off once again.

Indonesia (02:20)

We see film footage of the Vimy over Indonesia. They make their next to the last landing of the journey in Timor.

Greatest Flight (02:17)

From Timor, the Vimy heads over a long stretch of water and catches sight of Australia. Arrival footage is juxtaposed with archival film footage from 1919. The Vimy completes its journey.

Credits: The Greatest Flight (01:57)

Credits: The Greatest Flight

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The Greatest Flight

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



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. Using the original blueprints, their team reassembled an exact replica of the Vickers Vimy. Visit the Great Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, and the lush rain forests of the South Pacific. Including documentary footage of the first voyage and first-rate aerial photography of the reenactment. A National Geographic Production. (55 minutes)

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL50180

Copyright date: ©1995

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

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Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA.