The Powerhouse acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the ancestral homelands upon which our museums are situated. We respect their Elders, past, present and future and recognise their continuous connection to Country.
89/262-1 Aircraft, full-size, 'Dalgety Flyer', ultralight, CFM Shadow, fibrelam / plywood / aluminium, made by Metalfax Ltd, Leiston, Suffolk, England, 1987, flown by Brian Milton from London to Sydney 1987-1988 in a record-setting Bi-Centennial flight. Click to enlarge.

Ultralight aircraft flown from England to Australia in 1988

The CFM Shadow ultralight aircraft, "Dalgety Flyer" made a remarkable Bicentennial flight of 13,500 miles between London and Sydney from Dec 1987 to Jan 1988. It was the longest and fastest ultralight flight in history and was only recently broken by Colin Bodill in 1998.

The flight demonstrated the possibility of long distance intercontinental flight using the then 'new' aviation technology, of the ultralight aircraft. This type of aircraft was initially developed solely as a limited …


Object No.


Object Statement

Aircraft, full-size, 'Dalgety Flyer', ultralight, CFM Shadow, fibrelam / plywood / aluminium, made by Metalfax Ltd, Leiston, Suffolk, England, 1987, flown by Brian Milton from London to Sydney 1987-1988 in a record-setting Bi-Centennial flight

Physical Description

Aircraft, full-size, 'Dalgety Flyer', ultralight, CFM Shadow, fibrelam / plywood / aluminium, made by Metalfax Ltd, Leiston, Suffolk, England, 1987, flown by Brian Milton from London to Sydney, 1987-1988 in a record-setting Bi-Centennial flight

High-winged monoplane comprising a monocoque fuselage constructed of Araldite bonded Fibrelam with a honeycomb inner structure for shock absorbency. The wings are constructed of a plywood formed leading edge built on an aluminium and plywood internal shear web structure. The swept-back leading edge and the swept forward trailing edge are formed from Styrofoam. The trailing surfaces are covered with polyester cloth and the tail and rudder surfaces are polyester cloth covered aluminium frames. The tail is connected to the monocoque by an aluminium tail boom. The tricycle undercarriage is fabricated from aluminium and steel and it is fitted with a castoring nose wheel. The aircraft is steered by heel-brakes on the rubber pedals and there are two verticals stabilisers above the tail-plane.

The cockpit is Perspex enclosed and the interior accommodates for two people, tandem style. While it is capable of dual control, the 'Dalgety Flyer' had only one set. The engine employed is a 447 CC Rotax two stroke, two cylinder engine that features a three-axis control like an aircraft, as opposed to the weight-shift control as found in hang-gliders. The aircraft is fitted with two ICOM VHF A-20 hand held radios, with an ICOM HF radio added for the England to Australia flight, which had a trailing 50 foot aerial at the rear.

The exterior of the aircraft is painted two-toned orange and cream with black text.

Type: CFM Shadow
Builder: Metalfax Ltd, Leiston, Suffolk, England
Date: 1987
Registration: G-MTKS
Landing Speed: 72 km/h (45 mph)
Cruising speed: 113 km/h (70 mph
Length: 6.4m (21 ft)
Wingspan: 10 m (33 ft)
Engine: 447 cc Rotax two stroke, two-cylinder engine
Controls: 3 axis
Fuel tank: 54.51 litres (12 gallons)
Fuel capable of being carried; 127 litres (28 gallons)
Capacity to remain in the air: 9 hours
Engine: Rotax type 447 made in Austria by Bombardier-Rotax GmbH Gunskirchen.


On the right hand side of the body is 'DALGETY' and 'Dalgety Flyer'. Above this is also 'WORLD DISTANCE RECORD SEPT 30TH 1987 / SOUTHAMPTON - KIRKWALL PILOT: BRIAN MILTON'. Two stickers above the cockpit read 'THE AUSTRALIAN BICENTENARY 1788-1988 / THE / CELEBRATION / OF A NATION AUSTRALIA / 1788-1988'. On the tail is a white on blue sticker 'ICOM / G-MTKS' and 'D' is written on the tail and the vertical stabilizer. On the front of the aircraft is 'DALGETY' and a sticker on the base of the cockpit window reads 'Dalgety Flyer / BRITAIN TO AUSTRALIA'. On the left hand side of the body is 'DALGETY' with 'DALGETY FLYER' written on a device attached to the roof and 'G-MTKS' and 'ICOM / Communications' appears on the back.



2230 mm


11600 mm


6500 mm




The CFM Shadow ultralight was designed by a former hang-glider pilot, David Cook. (The 'CFM' stands for Cook's Flying Machine.). It first flew in 1983.

The "Dalgety Flyer" ultralight aircraft, built in 1987, was the 66th CFM Shadow to be built by Metalfax Ltd of Leiston, Suffolk, England. It appears this company became CFM Aircraft Limited, and continues to trade at 2D Eastlands Industrial Estate, Leiston, Suffolk. In the year 2000, CFM Shadow ultralights are still being manufactured, there being nearly 400 Shadows flying in over 40 countries throughout the world. The range now includes two ultralight versions, the 50 hp C Series and the 64 hp D Series. Two light aircraft versions the 64 hp Streak and the 74 hp Star Streak are also built. The aircraft are available in both completed form or kits ready for assembly by amateur builders.

In addition to leisure flying, the Shadows are used for crop spraying, military surveillance and game reserve patrols. Many aircraft had been especially built with modified controls for tetraplegic and paraplegic pilots. Shadows are well suited to operation from short fields with restricted boundaries and as training aircraft.



In 1987 Brian Milton, a financial journalist, TV presenter and hang glider pilot, decided to try to beat the record of flying from the 13,500 miles from London to Sydney in an Ultralight aircraft. Milton's adventures began in 1968 when he drove a battered Austin 7 across the Sahara Desert to meet his fiance. His interest in ultralights stemed from a passion for hang-gliding. He was founder of the British National League, which took Britain to world championship status in 10 years. In 1979 Milton was awarded the Prince of Wales Trophy, the highest award in British sporting aviation, and in 1985 the National Trophy, Britain's highest award for hang gliding.

As training before the London to Sydney flight Milton did several long flights around Britain, Ireland and over the Alps to Genoa in Italy in the ultralight he planned to use for the trip. During one of these flights he secured the British and European World Distance record for ultralights with his instructor, Peter Davies. Milton also studied navigation and relied on radio beacons, roads and geographical features to find his way rather than instrument flight rules.

Milton was helped on his record breaking flight by Mike Atkinson, a hang gliding friend who as engineer kept the ultralight in the air. Neil Hardiman, was hired as the project co-ordinator. Neil was a twenty-four year old hang glider pilot who had a Masters Degree in Engineering. It was his job to deal with the paperwork including flight clearances, visas, equipment, travel, maps, accommodation, routes and fuel. Neil turned out to be an inspired choice, as he was required to be a bureaucrat with the soul of a flyer. He remained the contact in London with Patti Hewstone who liaised between the public relations firm chosen to cover the flight, Shandwick, and Dalgetys.

As the arrival of the ultralight would be made during the Australian Bicentenary, Milton decided the route taken should relate to Australian history. Consequently, Milton linked his flight with the great 1919 air race from England to Australia won by Australians, Ross and Keith Smith, Shiers and Bennett in a Vickers Vimy bomber. They took 28 days to fly from London to Darwin and aviation was at that time in its infancy. When Milton made his record attempt, the development of ultralight aircraft was still in its infancy.

Milton's wife, Fiona Campbell, suggested that he take along an autograph book for signatures gathered from people in all the countries through which he flew. This would be his personal Bicentennial gift to Australia. (The autograph book is now also in the Museum's collection). The idea was to have the Bicentennial flight arrive in Sydney on Australia Day, 26 January 1988.

Milton's London take off site for the flight was in Victoria Dock, a derelict part of the Docklands of East London on a grey and overcast day on 2 December 1987. Much media covered his departure but on the first day out he got totally lost in thick cloud over France. On the Greek island of Crete he was blown upside down by high winds, which wrecked the aircraft on the runway. It was subsequently, glued back together in 6 days. Then, while flying at 5,000 ft he had engine failure crossing a 6,000 ft Jordanian mountain range. Probably worst of all was the crash-landing in the Persian Gulf on Christmas Day, 32 miles from Abu Dhabi in the middle of the Iraq/Iran war. While flying over Malaysia he landed on a track in a paddy field and had to island hop through Indonesia because of storms. At the end of his longest leg, ten and a half hours flying time, he landed at an unlighted airstrip in the Australian bush between three lightning storms in time for a major earthquake. In all Milton made nine emergency landings.

As it turned out Milton and the "Dalgety Flyer" missed the Bicentenary celebrations by 3 days, arriving in Sydney on 29 January, 58 days out from London. He was totally exhausted and had flown everyday of the previous 30 days.

Brian Milton went on to record his adventures in a book "The Dalgety Flyer" then in 1998, was the first person to circumnavigate the world, 24,000 miles, in a two-seater, ultralight. Setting out with co-pilot, Keith Reynolds, their chosen aircraft was a British Pegasus Quantum 912 weight shift ultralight, named "GT Global Flyer". The idea was copy the achievement of Jules Verne's hero, Phileas Fogg by circling the world in 80 days but bureaucratic delays saw them fail to reach this target.

The pilot of the ultralight was a 45-year-old British journalist and daredevil hang glider pilot, Brain Milton. In 1987 he decided to try to beat the record of flying from the 13,500 miles from London to Sydney in an ultralight. He eventually found sponsorship with a large firm involved in food and commodities called Dalgety. They had their roots in Australia for over 140 years and wanted an exciting project to counteract a conservative image. Dalgetys set up small company, Windrummer Ltd to finance the project and the ultralight was named "Dalgety Flyer". The company saw the flight through to the end with particular support given by Terry Pryce, the Chief Executive, Tony Spalding a Chief of Public Relations and the company's chairman, Sir Peter Carey.

After its successful flight to Sydney, the "Dalgety Flyer" was subsequently presented to the Museum by Dalgety Australia Operations Ltd in 1989.

Cite this Object


Ultralight aircraft flown from England to Australia in 1988 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 22 September 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Ultralight aircraft flown from England to Australia in 1988 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=22 September 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Transport at the Museums Discovery Centre.