Antique Aeroplanes at Echuca

AAAA Echuca 2016This weekend sees the annual Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia (AAAA) national fly-in at Echuca in northern Victoria. Has yet another year passed so quickly?

My partner and I will be flying from Tyabb on Friday in the Interstate Cadet. The main day for the show is Saturday 16 April with many pilots/owners (including me) starting their journey home on Sunday morning.  There’s a dinner at the Moama Bowling Club on Saturday evening – last year the food and entertaining speeches (thankfully brief!) were most enjoyable.

I’m sure there will be plenty of wonderful old planes to see and Echuca is only just over a couple of hours’ drive from Melbourne, so it would make a great family day out – there is no entrance fee, you can just come along and soak up the atmosphere.

Hope to see you there – come and say hello!

AAAA Victoria Christmas Toy Drop

Lethbridge toy runEvery year, the Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia (AAAA) carries out a number of ‘Toy Runs’ to collect Christmas toys for underprivileged children.

This year’s Victoria Toy Drop is on Sunday 23 November at Lethbridge Airpark starting at 10.30 am. It’s in support of the Bethany Giving Tree Appeal.

The NSW Toy Run is on Saturday 6 December at ‘The Missions on the Hawkesbury‘ private airstrip, Wisemans Ferry, starting at 10.30am

The SA Toy Run, in conjunction with the Barossa Birdmen, is on Sunday 30 November at Truro Flats, starting at 12.00 noon.

Weather willing, there should be a nice collection of aircraft at all these locations, including ultralights, GA and, of course, antique aeroplanes. Food and soft drinks will be available.

Even if you can’t fly in, come by road and see the heap of toys and all the aircraft on display.

If you are bringing a toy – and you will, won’t you? – please bring it unwrapped.

Antique Aeroplane spring fly-in at Swan Hill

Swan Hill AAAA

Interstate & Ercoupe, Swan Hill 4 October 2014

This weekend I was lucky enough to attend the AAAA Spring Fly-in and AGM at Swan Hill in Victoria.

Swan Hill is a great little town on the River Murray, towards the north west of the state. There is a good selection of cafes, restaurants and hotels/motels. I stayed at the Comfort Inn Lady Augusta in the middle of town which has recently been refurbished. The room was spacious and the bathroom new and stylish – not something I usually say about motels! During the stay, I also visited the Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum, about 10 kilometres south of the town – there will be a separate post about this soon. The same weekend saw the annual Swan Hill show but unfortunately, by the time we had visited the Flying Boat Museum, had some lunch and wandered the flight lines, it was getting on well for late afternoon, so we didn’t get to join some of the Antiquers who went.

Speaking as a pilot, the weekend weather couldn’t really have been much better – light winds for both the trip up and back, and high 20’s (celsius) sunny days in between.

I flew up from Tyabb in very loose formation with Jack Vevers in his Ercoupe – so loose in fact that on several occasions we completely lost sight of each other! But his ‘Coupe and my Interstate Cadet are well-matched in terms of performance, so it all worked well. It’s interesting to note that when flying such old aircraft – typically at between 75 and 85 knots – that you are happy to just chug along and enjoy the view. Not once, either way, did I wonder ‘when are we going to be there?’ The Interstate returned just on 20 litres an hour for the entire 5.2 hours of the return trip. Jack, having a smaller engine, recorded about 14 litres an hour – not bad for a couple of old timers!

The AAAA 2014 AGM was conducted at the Saturday evening dinner, between the entree and main courses. And commendably short – at around 20 minutes – it was. I like the AAAA because everyone is there to enjoy themselves, no axes to grind about ‘my plane goes faster than yours’ or ‘mine is older than yours’. Around 50-55 AAAA member aircraft were parked at Swan Hill over the weekend and around 90 people attended the dinner/AGM.

AAAA Peoples Choice AwardThe icing on the cake for me – and completely unexpected – was that the Interstate won the ‘People’s Choice Award’ at the fly-in. There are no ‘official’ awards but members fill in a small ballot paper to say which aircraft at the fly-in they liked the most. I was surprised (and very pleased) because there were some lovely aircraft there. In particular an Auster J5G Autocar, resplendent in silver and teal green paint, as well as a beautiful silver and blue Cessna 170B. Thank you to the AAAA members who voted for the Interstate – my plaque will be proudly displayed in my trophy cabinet. Well, it might be a bit lonely but who knows? perhaps there will be others. Special thanks to Nathan Eyers (also an AAAA Committee Member) of the Aviation Centre at Tyabb, who helped make sure that the Interstate was at its best for its first trip away in Australia.

Pictures of some of the other aircraft at Swan Hill over the weekend can be found here at the Foxbat Pilot Flickr Swan Hill Photo Gallery.

A small PS – I believe the beautiful Auster is for sale at a fantastic price, considering the bare metal restoration and improvement it has been given. Have a look here if you are interested: Best Auster

Date for your diary: AAAA National Fly-in at Echuca, Victoria, 27-29 March 2015.

The Ercoupe – a unique aeroplane

The Ercoupe was first manufactured in the late 1930’s by a company called Engineering and Research Corporation (ERCO). In one form or another, it continued in production until 1970 by which time over five and a half thousand had been built.

ErcoupeThe Ercoupe is unique in at least three main ways:

– it is truly spin proof
– it was the fist mass manufactured aircraft to have a nose wheel (as opposed to a tail wheel)
– it has no rudder pedals; steering on the ground and in the air is achieved solely through movement of the steering wheel-like control yokes

Even today, the Ercoupe remains a popular aircraft and many have been restored and maintained to near-new standards. Some of the models qualify for Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) status under current regulations and are an excellent, safe and relatively inexpensive way to enjoy flying.

Here’s a link to a YouTube video about the aircraft, owned by Jack Vevers, a member of the Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia (AAAA), and a leading member of the Peninsula Aero Club (PAC) at Tyabb airport:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcZZnXlpc0A&feature=youtu.be

PS – You might just catch a glimpse of a Foxbat wing and strut during one of the air-to-air sequences. The Foxbat makes a great photo-ship. Watch this space!