Ron Flockhart was a successful European Grand Prix driver when he set his sights on bettering the old record for solo flight from Australia to England. This 1938 record was held by H. F. "Jim" Broadbent in a Percival Vega Gull (G-AFEH). Broadbent’s flight covered 9,612 miles in 5 days, 4 hours, and 21 minutes. British Holding Company, United Dominions financed Flockhart's racing activities and agreed to purchase a surplus CA-17 Mustang Mk 20, built by the Commonwealth Aircraft Company in 1945. The aircraft was modified for long distance flight with new avionics, oxygen system, fuel system improvements and 75 US gallon external fuel tanks. Flockhart departed Sydney on February 28, 1961 for England in the British registered G-ARKD. After ten refueling stops and some challenging weather conditions he was well ahead of his schedule when bad weather forced him to land in Greece. As he was trying to get out of Athens, there was a long delay by ground controllers where his engine overheated and was badly damaged. Flockhart was then forced to abandon the aircraft where soon after it was further damaged by a cockpit fire on the ground. Later, United Dominions would sponsor him again by purchasing a second Mustang (G-ARUK ) but Flockhart would never beat Broadbent’s record. He died during this second attempt when bad weather forced him to lose control of his aircraft.
I had to paint something from this story, as I thought Ron was so interesting in being one of those larger-than-life kinds of characters very similar to American actor James Dean.
*This original work is available for purchase. Painting size in inches: 18 x 24. Acrylic on gessoboard. Contact Steve Cox by the phone number listed on this website for more information. Please reference "Ron Flockhart."
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