On The Beech


A Proposal For Operating Beech 18 G-BKGM

World-Embracing 3-Year Plan

Underlying this whole project is the idea of a like-minded group of aviators with a bit of time and (occasionally!) money to spare to undertake a long-distance adventure without too many time constraints.

Our potential team includes very experienced fixed-wing pilots and equally experienced balloonists. In the aeroplane we plan to carry a lightweight two-person balloon to allow flights by all the team (if they wish) in some of the more interesting and exotic stops. Whilst we have some targets, nothing is 'set in stone'.

Timescale is aimed at three years, starting in late spring/early summer 2015. It is not intended to be a non-stop event so everyone can get on with their 'real' lives. The route (if you can call it that!) is something like this:


Westbound transatlantic routing ex-UK, possibly in conjunction with other aircraft, en route via Iceland & Canada to Air Venture, Oshkosh, Wisc.

Then on through the western USA to a friendly hangar-owner in Phoenix, Az., where BKGM will overwinter 2015/16.

2016 - Early Spring

Tracking towards the Caribbean we have our sights on Cuba (but don't hold your breath!), plus Turks & Caicos, Belize, Tobago. Whether we stretch to South America will depend on time, money & politics, but then a return via Central America (a few Aztec ruins and beaches later) to Phoenix again. Need to get back before the hurricane season!


2017 - Spring

West coast North America to Alaska and, either via the Aleutians or the Kuriles (maybe the Bering Strait!?) to Japan, Philippines, Indonesia & Australia.

End game in our minds is New Zealand, where aeroplanes such as BKGM are both sought-after and preserved. There we would sell her if a) we get there and b) we can bear to part company!

Bristol Airways Ltd (wholly owned by Allie & Phil Dunnington) is in the process of purchasing the aircraft and associated spares, plus upgrading avionics etc.

We have four aeroplane pilots who are appropriately experienced aviators and have expressed an interest in joining On The Beech (as the project is named).


Future Trip Options:

South Africa-Lesotho-Swaziland-Mozambique-Botswana

After our initial recce by hopper in Oct 2010, we are planning to set up a 5-countries Balloon Expedition including flights in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and Botswana. The trip will be around 2 weeks long with self-drive vehicles and trailers to tow the balloons. Stay in lovely local lodges and fly over different beautiful and interesting African countryside.


‘Spirituality and tranquility in Japan’

Come with me to discover the autumnal beauty of Japan with its beautiful secluded temples and gardens. We shall start the tour in southern Kyushu, visit the still active volcano Mt. Aso, take a cruise through the Japan Inland Sea to Osaka, wander through the temples of Kyoto, travel by Shinkansen to Hakone to catch a view of the holy mountain Fujiyama. This tour will include special overnights at monasteries, a meditation lesson, some short walks and an introduction to Japanese tea ceremony and other traditions.

click here for proposed itinerary



New trips to either the southern Parts of Burma including Moulmein, the Golden Rock and stunning Mergui archipelago or Northern Burma with elephant camps near the Himalayans or a cruise along the Chindwin river to Naga-land. One trip is planned to include horse trekking. Itineraries will be published here shortly.


Notes for Balloonists:

All those tours can be linked up with ongoing balloon meets in those countries such as the Thailand Balloon Fiestas in Nov/Dec or the Saga Meet in Japan.