Memoir Details 1950 Aviation Adventure

Box Kite to Bali explores a trip across the continents in a de Havilland Dragon Rapide.

Box Kite to Bail Cover

Box Kite to Bail Cover

More than six decades after Navy test pilot George Thackray Weems perished in an airplane crash at the age of 30, the story of his journey across the world with his father, famous navigator P.V.H. Weems, is finally being told in George's own words.

In Box Kite to Bali: The Last Great Adventure of a U.S. Navy Pilot, Weems offers readers a step back in time to an aviation adventure that took place in 1950, in a climate of early Cold War tension. Beginning in England, Weems and his father, along with two other men, set out to fly a 1940 de Havilland Dragon Rapide across the world before delivering the airplane to its new place of service — Australia.

Weems' memoir details the foursome's escapades as they take the "valiant, yet humble" Rapide, a biplane built of plywood and canvas with a top speed of 136 knots, across the continents. From landings in North Africa to Southeast Asia, the stopovers made by the men along the way produce interesting anecdotes and provide a glimpse into the world just a few years after World War II.

The memoir, which was dated January 1951, the same month in which Weems died, was boxed away for decades before his great niece unearthed the story, along with numerous photos and materials from the trip, and published it this year.

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