Here’s a short video about an aircraft ferry trip from Tyabb Airfield in southern Victoria to a cattle station near Dirranbandi in Queensland – a distance of over 650 nautical miles.
And here’s a bit of background. What turned out to be one of our favourite Aeroprakt A32 Vixxen aircraft arrived at Moorabbin in mid-December. I say ‘favourite’ because its new owner had chosen a great colour scheme, perfect for this time of the year – red wings and stabiliser with a white fuselage, fin and rudder, finished off nicely with a red propeller spinner. Our engineering colleagues immediately named it ‘Rudolf’ after Santa’s reindeer saviour.
Rudolf’s new owner – Jeremy Hill, based near Dirranbandi in Queensland – could not clear work commitments enough to come to us and pick up his new aeroplane, so my colleague and friend, Ido Segev, agreed to ferry it north. In all, the flight was over 7 hours’ in duration, plus stops, squeezed in before New Year, so Ido could enjoy celebrations with his loved ones on his return.
Departure day – 27 December – dawned clear but cool at Tyabb, with a strong northerly blowing – not ideal for a long trip northwards. Even in the A32 Vixxen, Ido was planning a ground speed of only 85 knots for the first part of his journey. Temperatures were forecast to be close to 40 celsius by the time he reached Jeremy’s farm, with the northerlies gusting all the way.
In the event, with a true airspeed around 115 knots and a ground speed of 95 knots, at around 7,500-8,500 feet, Ido made the journey in a single day, with plenty of daylight to spare. I suppose I could add that Rudolf was fitted with an autopilot, which helps a lot on long-distance flights. Nevertheless, it was still a long way over most of a day, in thermic and bumpy conditions.
Many thanks to Jeremy and his family for their hospitality during Ido’s visit and their 6-hour round trip by road to drop Ido at the nearest airport, so he could return home in time for New Year 2018!
The A22LS Foxbat – and more recently, its farmer-orientated sibling, the A22LS Kelpie – have been popular with outback owners for quite a few years. These rugged, easy to handle aircraft seem to stand up well to Australian country conditions. The icing on the owners’ cakes has been the excellent resale value when it comes to upgrade or switch to a newer aircraft.
It looks like the A32 Vixxen, with its extra turn of speed, is set to continue the Aeroprakt reputation for affordable aircraft with great (legal) load carrying capabilities!
As usual, to view the video, either click on the photo above or here:
Ido’s Vixxen adventure