Electric-powered aircraft will be used to re-enact the London to Darwin Great Air Race next year.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said a series of special events in 2019 will celebrate 100 years since Captain Ross Smith, Lieutenant Keith Smith and Sergeants Wally Shiers and Jim Bennett won the 1919 Great Air Race.
The Government will partner with event management company, Inspire Strategic Solutions to mark the historic event.
“The 1919 Great Air Race captured the imagination of people across the globe,” Mr Gunner said.
“Under the command of Captain Ross Smith, the journey has been described as the flight that changed the world and paved the way for national and international air travel.”
Mr Gunner said the Centenary E-Race will start in London and land in Darwin, stopping in at least 15 countries, and offering unique opportunities to promote the Territory to the world.
It is hoped that world-leading technology companies including Tesla, NASA, Airbus, Virgin and Boeing will enter the Race, which will be a celebration of a century of aviation innovation and achievement by engineers, designers and aircraft constructors.
“The 2019 Centenary E- Race will be restricted to low pollution, electrically-powered and highly efficient aircraft, ushering in the next century of quiet, environmentally-friendly aviation,” he said.
“This will be one of the most logistically complex events the Territory has ever been part of. Just as Darwin was the centre of attention in 1919, 2019 provides a new opportunity to capture the hearts and minds of people around the world… telling the story of the amazing Great Air Race and promoting Darwin as an exciting destination.”
Captain Smith and his colleagues flew a Vickers Vimy Biplane over 18,000 km in 28 days after the conclusion of WWI, with the race providing a catalyst for international aviation travel and improved communications, connecting Australia to the world.
Emeritus Professor John Storey, Australia’s leading expert in battery and solar technology and long-time collaborator on the World Solar Challenge, said this Race will fast track renewable flight technology by years and contribute to improving the e-aviation industry.
"The event is technically feasible, however, completing the route in an electric aircraft is by no means a foregone conclusion,” Professor Storey said.
“That makes 2019 the right time to stage it: in 2009 it would have been impossible, in 2029 it will be routine.
Inspire Strategic Solutions Managing Director Craig Sheridan said the Great Air Race of 1919 celebrated the incredible spirit of Australians.
“It epitomised our sense of adventure and unrivalled bravery and it inspired us to think outside the box,” Mr Sheridan said.
"The Centenary E-Race provides corporations, aviation enthusiasts and pilots in Australia and around the world with a unique opportunity to get involved in a modern-day adventure and become a part of history.”
The program of celebrations in Darwin will include an air show, centenary ball, commemorative ceremonies and education programs for schools.