Brian Milton is a born adventurer. His first major expedition was in 1968 when he drove a battered Austin 7 Ruby across the Sahara Desert to meet his fiancée. The car ran for 2000 miles on three pistons and 900 miles without brakes. In addition, its springs, starter motor, starting handle, shock absorbers, rear window and lights were all broken before it expired in the north east Congo.
Brian’s interest in microlighting grew out of his love for hang-gliding. He was the Founder of the British National League, which took Britain to world dominance in the sport for which Brian received the National Trophy from the Queen. In 1979 he was awarded the Prince of Wales Trophy, the highest award in British sporting aviation, for winning the American Cup.
His flight in the Dalgety Flyer (a three-axis microlight) in 1987 from London to Sydney in 59 days was, at the time, the longest microlight flight in history.
Incidents on that flight included having the aircraft wrecked by high winds on a Greek island and then having to glue the aircraft back together, three desert landings and ditching in the Persian Gulf on Christmas Day right in the middle of the Iran/Iraq war. The aircraft is now on permanent exhibition at Sydney airport.
In 1998 he became the first person to fly a microlight around the world in the Global Flyer. He achieved this in 80 flying days over a period of 120 days. Highlights included flying over the Alps and across the frozen beauty of Siberia, however, he was also buzzed by a Mig in Syria and beaten back by the weather more than once when trying to get from Iceland to the UK.
In honour of this achievement, he was awarded the Britannia Trophy in 1998, one of the world’s greatest aviation awards and now joins a very distinguished list of aviators who have won that award including Sir John Alcock, Bert Hinkler and Sir Alan Cobham. In addition, Brian was also awarded the Seagrave Trophy for his flight around the world, an award presented to great sportsmen and past recipients include Sir Malcolm Campbell, Amy Johnson and Jackie Stewart.
June 2001 saw Brian in New York preparing for a new challenge – to awake the dream of the Atlantic Ocean by flying a microlight non-stop along the route of Alcock and Brown. What happened next? You can read the whole story in Chasing Ghosts, Brian’s account of a clash between cultures, in which ultimately, the bad guys won.
In 2009, Brian won the Norton-Griffiths Trophy for his co-pilot role to blind adventurer Miles Hilton-Barber flying a microlight from England to Australia. The trophy, presented by Prince Michael of Kent on behalf of the Royal Aero Club, was jointly awarded to Miles Hilton-Barber and his co-pilots, Richard Meredith-Hardy and Brian Milton.