This category is for articles the relate to fun fly away destinations.

A Flight Stopped By Weather

A Flight Stopped By Weather

For the last few weeks I’ve had the frustration of being involuntarily grounded by both the weather and work. When it’s a great day to fly the in-tray is stuffed full and when I finally manage to clear that out lo and behold the weather has cascading thumping thunderstorms and buckets or rain. The last of which is not a good combination for a VFR pilot trying to get his hours up in an Arrow.

So the other day I checked both the weather and my desk and discovered that there was what looked like blue skies in both. Hooray! I planned on flying from Moorabbin to Tocumwal just over the Victorian border into NSW and grab a car to visit a business colleague in Cobram who was competing in a radio controlled model aircraft competition. Yes, it was tempting to consider buzzing the smaller model planes but I reconsidered that idea after imagining the impact a model aeroplane would have on the Arrow’s windshield at about 130 knots.

I started my planning the night before and decided on flying from Moorabbin via Sugarloaf reservoir, through the Kilmore Gap and almost a direct flight to Tocumwal. I’ve done this flight a few times before, the last one with my son Timothy when we headed north for gliding lessons so I was pretty comfortable with the flight plan.

Nevertheless, I’m pretty paranoid about flying safely and I still checked out all of my charts, changes in the ERSA and finally on Downwind.com.au to see if any helpful pilots had left any hints in the airport comments area. There’s nothing quite like actual pilots to keep you up-to-date with the state of an airfield.

One of the last things I like to do before a flight is to check the weather charts on the BOM and then look at the aviation weather on the morning of a flight. Other than a bit of wind everything was looking in the green but it always does look fine until it isn’t.

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Latrobe Valley and Wilson’s Prom

Latrobe Valley and Wilson’s Prom

It was a beautiful day and I’d booked a Piper Warrior (TAK) to take my wife and two girls down Latrobe Valley in Victoria to head south, fly around Wilson’s Promontory and then back up the coast to Moorabbin airport.

With four people in a Warrior my first challenge was getting an honest answer from each of the passengers about their weight. Being young, my girls were light enough that all four of us could go.....thank goodness as I didn’t want to choose who was going to be staying home!

We headed the five minutes down the road to Moorabbin Flying Services and while I checked out the plane I made sure that everyone visited the bathroom as it was going to be about a two and half hour flight.

Tango, Alpha, Kilo is a fantastic plane with a full glass cockpit. I found that the glass took a little while to get used to but once you did it’s really hard to go back to flying older planes. Also, being a newer aircraft the controls were really tight. I’d learnt how to fly on 30 year old planes where you could move the yoke around quite freely and still be flying straight. TAK was the reverse and it became an absolute pleasure the fly with just slight corrections with the tip of your fingers.

I couldn’t have wished for a better day. There wasn’t a breath of wind (to my passengers relief) and other than a few puffs of white cloud it was blue from horizon to horizon.

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