Tomorrow morning, Amellia Formby (AKA Microlight Milly) will complete her 474 day, over 48,000km journey around Australia in a microlight as she raises awareness for the world’s most endagered group of bird species – migratory shorebirds.


On the 3rd of June 2022, Milly completed the first leg of her 48,254km round Australia adventure – a not-for-profit, science communication initiative in collaboration with Bird Life Australia.


Microlight Milly Flying around OZ for shorebirds


Literally flying by the seat of her pants, Milly took off from White Gum Farm in York, WA, 474 days ago. While on this airborne journey, Milly’s visited hundreds of schools the length and breadth of Australia, talking to children about shorebirds and the risks they face.

At 6:25am AWST tomorrow morning, Milly will complete her final and 59th leg from Jurien Bay back to where she started at White Gum Farm. The livestream will join the 58 legs of this incredible journey on the Wing Threads website.

Wondering what the hell a microlight is? It’s pretty much a pair of hang glider wings, a seat, a three-wheel trike base, and a small motor. The microlight is known as a ‘fly by feel’ type aircraft and there’s not a lot between you and the ground below!

Who is Microlight Milly?

Milly had no childhood dreams of becoming a pilot and no history of aviation in her family. Still, she could see how being a bird nerd and having access to the airways could be the start of an adventure. So, in 2016 she started lessons and now has a recreational pilot licence. Initially, Milly had thought she might follow migratory birds to Siberia. It’s good to aim high!

In 2015, Zoologist and artist Amellia Formby (AKA Microlight Milly) decided to become a pilot and learn how to fly a microlight aircraft in order it was to shine a light on the plight of the world’s most endangered group of bird species – migratory shorebirds.

In May 2018, she was sponsored by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council in WA and pooled money from a crowdfunding campaign and Australian adventurer, Dick Smith. A few years on, she had enough money for her own aircraft, an Airborne M4 Sport microlight, and she was ready to set off on the adventure of a lifetime. So Wing Threads was launched.

Since then she’s been the subject of and illustrated the book, A Shorebird Flying Adventure, had an ABC documentary made about her, and touched the lives of so many, all in the name of shorebirds!


Microlight milly in her microlight