THE SPIRIT of Southampton-based aviation legend Bert Hinkler will be revived this month when a fellow Australian re-creates his most historic flight.

In 1928, Hinkler etched his name in the record books by becoming the first person to fly solo from Australia to England.

With just a compass and school atlas to go by, he made the flight in 16 days.

The plucky Australian then settled in Southampton, working as a test pilot for AV Roe at Hamble and building a house at Thornhill.

Now another Aussie is following in his footsteps.

Orm Grace, from Geelong in Victoria, is currently winging his way to England in his Cessna 150 to help Australia celebrate 100 years of being an independent nation.

He left on New Year's Day and is due to arrive at Biggin Hill, outside London, on January 26 - Australia Day.

The flight will also raise money for disabled children.

Before he left, Grace said: "I always dreamed of flying what has become known as the 'old kangaroo route', and I can't think of a better reason than this one."

Ready to meet him upon touchdown will be Southampton residents and Hinkler buffs Lindsay and Pauline Wilson.

Mr Wilson worked for AV Roe for 49 years, and Mrs Wilson inherited Hinkler's flying goggles.

Both are looking forward to meeting Grace.

Mr Wilson said: "I'm bringing him down to Southampton because he wants to see the factory where Hinkler worked, or what's left of it, and where his house stood, which has been pulled down and rebuilt in Bundaberg in Queensland.

"There's a pub in Hinkler Rd, Thornhill, called The Hinkler. He'll probably have a glass of beer there, too."

Pub manager Jane Cozens said she hoped he could make it.

"I think it's interesting for Thornhill," she said.

"It's where Bert Hinkler lived for a long time, and the lounge bar has got pictures of his plane."

It will be a flying visit for Grace, who spends two nights in Southampton before rushing back to Biggin Hill to prepare for his return leg the following day.

If he makes a safe return Down Under he will have a record of his own, becoming the first person to make a solo return trip to the UK.

Mr Wilson said Hinkler attempted the feat in 1931.

"He asked AV Roe to give him another plane to see if he could fly back. He took off in the spring and he just went missing. His body and his plane were found in the Italian Alps."

To check on Grace's progress, visit