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Journal of a Seaplane Cruise Around The World
Part Three: Asia

Saturday, October 20

Baghdad The MacRobertson Race, from Mildenhall to Melbourne, started in England today and the contestants are now in the air on their way to Baghdad, the first control point. Everyone is agog about it here, not only the English, but the native populace as well. The field has been specially conditioned and the spacious administration building of the airport is preparing to serve refreshments on the lawn, and to take care of the fliers as they arrive. The refueling arrangements are being looked to carefully because none of the fast planes will spend more than a few minutes at each stopping place. It is the great race of the century and will test the capacity and the endurance of aircraft more strenuously than any event that has ever before taken place. There is little real news here, except that the racing planes started off on time early this morning. They should begin to arrive sometime after sundown, but nobody knows who is in the lead because for the most part they are travelling without radio.

Found rather poor accommodations at The Maude because everything is taken up by the people who are here for the race. Some of these have come all the way from the United States, such as Jacqueline Cochran's mechanic, who has set up a special fuel rack with which to obtain rapid gravity feed into the tanks. They say that she has made similar preparations at every stop, and there is a new pilot waiting in Allababad to relieve the man who takes the ship that far. This chap told us that she has had bad luck, having been forced to give up her first ship because the engine gave three forced landings before leaving the United States, and that she is now trying it, with the Gee-Bee which we saw in construction at Springfield. She seems to be most earnest about winning the race. There are some nice English chaps who have come on from London to watch the arrivals here. Lieut. Com. C.N. Colson, who is the editor of Flight, and Graham Mackinnon, Lloyd's representative, came through with some others in a Puss-Moth, and I think have had more adventures on the way than we.

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