The Art of Flying Crooked

Front Cover
Front Cover
Back Cover
Back Cover

Two old friends and one elderly single-engine aeroplane in a quest to fly across Outback Australia from A-Z

Those of us that read flying magazines will be used to reading trip reports — a pilot or a group of pilots go on an unusual journey and write about it. This book is reminiscent of such rrip reports, but on a much grander scale. These people are not embarking on their first tentative steps across the Channel, or into Europe; this is Australia

Writer Robin Liston, and PPL Rory McAuliffe had been pals at school. Forty years later, they were reunited and hatched a plot to fly round Australia, visiting places from every letter of the alphabet — a true “A to Z”. This book is the story of that trip. It’s told mostly from the perspective of Robin Liston, who isn’t a pilot, but is a writer and journalist. Consequently, the flying jargon is kept to a minimum, and where it is present, is explained  in such a way that the layman can understand (altough there are one or two minor errors). The book is split into roughly three parts: The preparation — the journey — the A-Z. There are 16 pages of colour photographs.


Every big trip deserves a T-Shirt, and this one was no different. Sponsorship was obtained from Virgin Atlantic, and the aeroplane (a Cherokee 140, rented from Moorabin — VH-JYK, for the spotters among you) was painted up in Virgin colours. This section of the book, details the preparations, both in terms of the trip, the aircraft, finance, safety and so on.

The Journey

The meat of the book is a day by day journal of the trip, starting in Moorabin on day 1, and ending back in Moorabin on day 24. On the way, the two men encounter rocks and crocs, brothels and outdoor cinemas, manic underground preachers, mines, reefs, deserts and remote airforce bases amongst other things.

The A to Z

If the journey was the meat, then this is the two veg. A gazetteer of all the places that Robin ad Rory viseted, full of fascinating and interesting facts and trivia. Interesting in its own right, it would probably have broken the narrative too much if this information had been incorporated into the main text.

Overall, a fascinating travel book, written from an unusual perspective. It’s available from Amazon and other bookshops, RRP £9.99 (I paid £8.99 at )

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