With much discussion among members at BAC it was decided that a group of us would again make the journey but this time include a return trip through the centre.
We departed from various locations with first rendezvous planned for Horsham. I arrived first at around 9.30 am closely followed by three C180s, two from Geelong and one from Brisbane. Then a Mooney from Ararat a C206 and a Bonanza from Ballarat. While refueling at Horsham we were introduced by an old acquaintance to our travel new partners. It was clear from here that we were in for a great time. So off we head for Port Pirie.
With sensible cruise set at 110 to 115 IAS and fuel burn around the 22 liters per hour, my travel partner Steve and I were not far behind the others in the Tecnam after a 300 mile leg. This turned out to be ideal as a small time gap between arrivals allowed sequential refueling. After lunch in the terminal we retuned to our aircraft to find that I had a flat tyre so with generous help from the aerodrome operator Steve, we purchased a new tube from town and we were soon on our way to Ceduna for our first night.
Next morning we woke early to find that the weather forecast conditions were less than ideal so an executive decision was made to
sit it out for the day and see what the next day had to offer. We were later very pleased with this decision as the wind picked up to gusts of 54 knts at the aerodrome. This forced us to abandon our new found sport of hand line fishing off the pier and return to our planes to turn them into wind. We tethered the Tecnam from the front wheel, wings and tale as it was indicating that it would like to fly away without us. Later we were joined by another C172 from Stawell. This made seven aircraft in our gaggle.
Next day presented far better conditions so off to Nullarbor Road house then Forest on the rail line for lunch. Blast off to the west after lunch was met with a healthy head wind. This leg is about 330 mile so after crunching a few numbers I calculated only eight litres remaining Kallgoorlie so a quick radio call for fuel support from the C206 saw us land on a small strip along the rail line to add some fuel to insure safe arrival at Kallgoorlie. Once at Kallgoorlie the timing was perfect to have the Roulettes graciously call the Tecnam on final and request permission to taxi. A privilege indeed! I replied with “yep that will be fine, go right ahead!” Nice to see courteous airmanship.
Quick fuel and off to Jandacot. Well, so we thought!
The Mooney departed Kalgoorlie about ten minutes before the rest of us and became our forward scout. About 20 mile out of Kalgoorlie the cloud began to thicken. We called for a weather report from the forward aircraft and he announced that he was diverting to Southern Cross due deterioration of VMC. We trusted his judgment and all turn for Southern Cross. With planes safely tided down we checked into the Southern Cross Motel, then headed to the pub for a beer or two and to meet some locals. After this we returned to motel to dine. We sat down to what turned out to be the best meal for the entire trip. The friendly service was truly outstanding from this family owned and run business. Many thanks.
Breakfast at 7.00am ready for the next leg to Jandacot. Weather forecast warned of broken cloud and showers of rain.
Oh, nearly forgot! I’ve gotta tell you this. While standing in bunch waiting for our ride to the aerodrome, the topic of “fear of flying in bad weather” was brought up by one person in particular.
With 7/8ths cloud above, the bad stories began about past experiences when just at this time the local coppa across the road decided to move his wheelie bin to the curbside for collection. The hum of conversation in the bunch was shattered by the rumble of the wheels on the said receptacle.This prompted an unexpected outburst from our nameless person, “SHIT!”is that thunder? This of course, was answered by laughter and reassuring counsel.
We checked the strip for integrity after the overnight rain and all was OK. We departed at around 9.30am fully prepared to return if we couldn’t get through. After some shower dodging we could see our way was clear for the inbound track to Jandacot GAAP. After a quick listen to ATIS the in bound calls were made. Before we new it, we were on the ground, picked up by airport staff and lunching in the Jandacot Aeroclub.
After lunch the bunch split up to go and settle into the various accommodation previously booked in Perth. We soon reunited in the city at the “Lucky Shag Bar” (not as bad as it sounds) for beer then on for a meal and celebration of arrival in Perth for the Red Bull Air Race.
Saturday we gathered on the southern bank of the Swan River and watched as the air show proceeded. The F18 Hornet would be my choice for the high light of the morning then this was followed by qualifying heats by the air racers. The skill of these blokes is amazing or would you call it crazy? Anyway, the spectacle sure makes for some very exciting viewing enhanced by the big screens, commentary and crowd participation.
Race day: some of us viewed from the south bank and others from the northern bank. On the northern side we were further from the race action but closer to the air strip which is quite exciting to see the methods of side slipping on approach and performance on take off. More air show action then, you guessed it, off for a debrief in one of our companions apartments. After over loading the lift we attempted to negotiate a new weight and balance by requesting that the fat people exit to allow ascent. Some discussion was entered into before the strongest among us were victorious and subsequently disappeared on the first shuttle to the apartment. The rest followed shortly.
To be continued next addition….