Bill Luther is on a trip of a lifetime - a great flying adventure.

Mr Luther and two other Kiwis have flown hand-built single-engine aircraft across the ditch where they will embark on a journey into the big red centre.

The trio left Kerikeri on May 3 and flew across the Pacific to Norfolk Island, through to Lord Howe Island and yesterday landed in Port Macquarie. Over the next 10 or so days they will fly through the New South Wales and Queensland Outback including Bindara, Arkaloora, Birdsville, Longreach, Charleville, Lightning Ridge and back to Port Macqaurie.

The Western Bay of Plenty native said he developed a passion for flying early, learned to fly when he was 17 and went on to be a commercial pilot for about 20 years.


Six years ago, he bought his own aeroplane, he said. He later updated that plane with a better model and then realised the plane had the capacity to do the trip.

Mr Luther said the Vans aircraft they were flying were perfectly suited for the long flights, as they did not require any modifications.

"It's going to be a great adventure. It will be a wonderful opportunity to test ourselves over open ocean and open desert, where everything looks the same. But that's part of the fun.

"The Vans RV6, RV7, and RV8 that we're taking across are perfect for this type of flight as they're relatively quick. We'll be cruising at around 277km/h, around a third as fast as a Boeing 737, but at least we'll get a better view."

The trip, with fellow pilots Wellingtonian Peter Merwood and Aucklander David Wilkinson, was in planning for six months.

Mr Luther was looking forward to exploring each area.

"Going into the Outback - I have never done any Outback flying. Meeting the different people out there and seeing what these places have to offer. You often look at these places like this and don't think they have any significance but in fact they are quite vibrant places - they are just so remote.

"We are in for a real treat.


"It's mentally stimulating, obviously flying internally in Australia will be very different to New Zealand. As well as being a hobby, it's tough as well."

Family and friends back in New Zealand are able to watch the trio and the progress they make in real time through satellite technology made by a New Zealand company Spidertrack. The Spidertrack device would be a key safety feature if anything went wrong.

Mr Luther expected to be back in New Zealand by June 6 or 7.