Taking Flight. Lores Bonney's Extraordinary Flying Career.

Greetings friends and aviation enthusiasts:

I am thrilled to announce that my fifth book will be released on 1 March 2016.

Taking Flight. Lores Bonney’s Extraordinary Flying Career celebrates the life and achievements of one of Australia’s foremost pioneering aviatrixes. Early 'buzz' is very favourable.
Taking Flight will be launched on 8 March, on International Women’s Day. I will be talking about me, Lores Bonney and Taking Flight and would love to see you there if you live in Canberra or happen to be visiting at the time. https://register.eventarc.com/33002/book-launch-taking-flight
Lores Bonney was a formidable and intriguing woman. From her first taste of the air during a joy ride with Bert Hinkler, Lores Bonney was hooked.
With licence in hand and the full support of her husband, she took to the skies with relish and discovered a passion for long distance flying.

Her accomplishments were remarkable. In 1931, she set a new Australian record for a one-day flight by a woman and, in the following year, she was the first female to circumnavigate mainland Australia by air. In 1933, she was acknowledged as the first woman to fly from Australia to England and in 1937 she became the first person to fly solo from Australia to Cape Town, South Africa. She was regarded as perhaps Australia’s most competent aviatrix.

In 2011, Lores’ goddaughter donated to the National Library of Australia a number of artefacts and documents relating to the aviatrix’s flying career. The diaries Lores kept preceding and during her 1933 and 1937 flights are the cornerstone of this collection, and are at the heart of Taking Flight.
Important as those diaries are, I also draw on a broad range sources—many of which are in the National Library’s collection—including interviews, published recollections, contemporary newspaper accounts and official documents.

NLA Publishing have produced a magnificent book. It is full of illustrations from the National Library’s collection, some from my own albums, and from other aviation holdings. As well as the narrative, there are lots of detailed captions and text boxes, and extracts from Lores Bonney’s 1933 and 1937 diaries.


Taking Flight: Lores Bonney’s Extraordinary Flying Career enhances understanding of Australia’s era of pioneer aviation, and reinforces Lores Bonney’s reputation as a significant Australian airwoman. It includes details of Lores’ pre-flight life, her first flight and record-breaking flights, a close encounter with Charles Kingsford Smith, her role as one of Australia’s premier airwoman, participation in the Brisbane–Adelaide air race and the search for the missing Stinson. It includes brushes (and near misses) with famous Australian and international flying stars and details of her post-flying career.
Perhaps surprisingly, Lores diaries expose the woman behind the pilot who, like all of us, possessed strengths, weaknesses, virtues and vices. With the honesty associated with a private record, the aviatrix did not conceal her disappointments and fears, nor her psychological fragility towards the end of her African flight. All this is revealed in Taking Flight. Read it! And discover much about one of Australia's most significant female flyers.
RRP is $A39.99 but you can pre-order your signed copy for $A34.99 (plus p&p) via Alexander Fax Booksellers. (I will even inscribe it if you prefer!)
Just follow the links and we will let you know when stocks are available. http://www.kristenalexander.com.au/books/takingflight

If you can’t wait until the book is released, cast your eyes over the below edited extract from the Australia–England section:

A crowd of about 150, including close friends and Queensland aero club members, assembled at Archerfield aerodrome on 10 April. Lores’ face looked pale and drawn; she had had a sleepless night. Even so, she was ‘feeling all OK’. According to The Daily Mail, her husband gave her a ‘last word’. Snugly attired, with a scarf draped around her neck and a belted leather coat covering a blouse, she exchanged a few brief words with a well-wisher. Final farewells complete, the aviatrix climbed into My Little Ship, her Gypsy Moth aeroplane. According to The Brisbane Courier’s journalist, who ‘wondered at and admired the courage of the frail little woman in what, to the lay mind, was a frail little machine’, My Little Ship then coasted across the aerodrome as the aero club’s escort formed up behind. At 8.30 am, she ‘led the way into the upper air, and, after circling, was lost to view’, leaving behind her husband and friends, Brisbane, and Archerfield aerodrome which had witnessed the completion of her previous record-breaking flights. Five days later, she left Australia’s shores.
The first days of her epic journey were not without incident as she maintained a record-breaking pace. Her flying skills were sound and luck was on her side as she gamely battled through. Within days, however, good fortune abandoned her. After leaving Singapore on 20 April, Lores encountered ‘One storm after another & very rough going.’ Three hours out of Alor Star, she was ‘enveloped in it’. Buffeted by strong winds, Lores struggled to maintain control.

The sky darkened dramatically. Soon the gusts were so fierce ‘it became almost impossible to correct the bumps’. Lores was terrified that ‘my wings would be ripped off ’. The aviatrix’s Gipsy Moth biplane, My Little Ship, was ‘tossed about like a leaf in the gale’. One moment, it was ‘racing, nose down at breakneck speed’. The next, the airwoman was thrown onto the right side of the cockpit, then the left. Within a blink, ‘in a violent upward current’, the Moth was practically vertical, seemingly suspended from its upright nose; the machine was ‘hanging on her prop’. It was getting darker and darker as My Little Ship blundered through the monsoon. Clinging to the controls, Lores used all the strength of her petite frame and every skerrick of flying skill to maintain stability—and to stay airborne.

Lores battled for about 20 minutes then ‘lost all visibility’. She was ‘flying very low’ and ‘was afraid of barging into the many small islands’ that dotted the sea in the Mergui Archipelago. ‘I suddenly felt a vigorous jolt as though I had struck something. I found myself well over on my right wing, and it took me all my time to bring her back again.’ It may have been ‘just one of those violent currents’ but it made the airwoman feel ‘very uncomfortable’. Indeed, she was ‘decidedly terrified’. It was 5.30 pm, with heavy lightning ahead. She was only about 30 miles from Victoria Point but, with a sky ‘as black as ink’, she thought it best to land.
The aviatrix flew over a coastline. She ‘circled several times and decided the beach was best’ as there were ‘too many bushes on the land’. There were several buffalo about so she ‘side slipped down between the herds’. Lores was ‘just flattening out’ when she saw the ‘buffalo walking right into the path of the plane’. There wasn’t enough room to take off again to avoid them. As she landed, she: ‘tried to swing a little to the left, but unfortunately the beach sloped away … the wing caught the water & swung her round, the next thing I felt was the wheels dragging& big spray came up I felt a terrific bang on my forehead and my face was under water.’ My Little Ship had flipped over. Lores was trapped.
You’ll just have to read the book to find out what happens next!