Foxbat ferry flight – Tyabb to Townsville

VH-ZGQ handover

Foxbat VH-ZGQ hand over to Cleveland Bay Aviation

New Foxbat owners Cleveland Bay Aviation from far north Queensland, collected their white A22LS Foxbat VH-ZGQ from Moorabbin Airport on Thursday 17 September and departed to the north for their ultimate destination – Townsville. Pilots Adrian and Chris are taking the scenic route home, via all sorts of outback destinations.

Follow them on their Facebook page – click here: Cleveland Bay Aviation Facebook. As of writing they had stopped for the night in Hay, New South Wales, and the next day were approaching the Dig Tree, near Innamincka…envy, envy, regular subscribers may recall this was the intended destination for our recent outback trip, which ended with 4 days of bad weather at Broken Hill. See below for a list of the post links recording our progress – or lack of it!

When the aircraft finally arrives home, it will be put to work as a flight trainer. Contact Cleveland Bay Aviation via their website by clicking here: Cleveland Bay Aviation Website to book your flying lessons.

The aircraft is well equipped, with a full 10″ Dynon SkyView digital instrument panel, back-up analogue ASI & ALT, with Mode S transponder, fuel computer and high quality German VHF dual watch radio.

STOP PRESS! Sunday afternoon, 20 September; VH-ZGQ has arrived at its new base near Townsville. Well done Adrian & Chris for their 1300 nautical mile trip.

Trip to Innamincka – day 1
Trip to Innamincka – day 2
Trip to Innamincka – days 3 & 4
Trip to Innamincka – day 5
Trip to Innamincka – day 6, 7 & 8
Trip to (the edge of) the outback & back

Trip to (the edge of) the outback and back

Edge of the outback

Jack, Peter, Ido & Norm. And the Bush Hawk

Now the dust has settled (or rather, the water has dried) a bit after our trip to the outback, here are some links to photos taken and videos made by our incumbent chronicler – Mike Rudd.

Although we never made it to our intended destination, Innamincka and the famous ‘Dig Tree’, we nevertheless enjoyed about 10-12 hours’ flying and saw some memorable sights from the air, as well as on the ground. And enjoyed excellent company, a variety of overnight rooms (from the sparse to the almost opulent), not to mention the occasional glass of electric soup.

There are mutterings about another trip in the spring – maybe September or October – north east to Tumut via Yarrawonga, then south east to Polo Flat via Canberra, flying home along the south coast via Merimbula and Gabo Island. Maybe the weather will be unusually benign along the coast and over the mountains, although judging by our outback experience, we might be ‘enjoying’ country pleasures up in the hills! Perhaps I’ll fly the new Aeroprakt A32 on that trip, although I really enjoyed taking the 74 year-old Interstate Cadet to Broken Hill; somehow those old slow-revving engines are very soothing.

Here are the links:

Photos: To the edge of the outback & back 2015
Trip video part 1: Trip to the outback & back, Part 1
Trip video part 2: Broken Hill & back Part 2
Another video: Interstate Cadet – short flight at Mungo Lodge

170s in the Wrangells

wrangellsHere’s another one for all you aspiring and actual bush pilots – a video about flying and camping in outback Alaska, courtesy of Backcountry Pilot (as usual, click on the picture for the video link). Well, I say ‘camping’ but these flyers stay in ‘public use cabins’ provided and maintained by the Alaska Parks Service. Now that’s my kind of tent! Although there’s more than one mention of mosquitos…I didn’t think those little ******s could survive in such a cold climate but they obviously do.

Bush flying is one of those activities to which quite a lot of pilots aspire. It encapsulates all those ‘freedom’ and ‘adventure’ urges which drive some people. And looking at this short video, I can see how the bug (and maybe the mosquito) can bite you. Crystal clear air, remote airstrips, carry everything with you, enjoy a campfire with friends and share stories of grizzly bears and derring-do.

It’s interesting to see them using the venerable old Cessna 170 – albeit with ‘big engines’ and fat tyres. I particularly like the weathered old blue one, which must have seen a lot of action over the years.

We’re planning our own ‘bush’ flying adventure, with a trip, hopefully, to Innamincka in north east South Australia via Mungo Lodge, Broken Hill and Tibooburra. With a side trip to the Dig Tree of Burke and Wills fame – or is that infamy? That’s if the weather is OK – a big ask at this time of year. Planned departure from Tyabb is Saturday 13 June, returning a week later.

Expected aircraft group includes the Bush Hawk, a Brumby high-wing, a couple of Foxbats and the Interstate Cadet (I don’t have a demo Foxbat at the moment). Flying time total is around 15 hours for the Cadet – probably a bit less for the others. It will be interesting to see if the 74 years-old Cadet can keep up with them. If I can get an internet connection, I’ll post some information and photos of the expedition. If not, then a full report on return…watch this space!