Spotlight on training – SkySports Flying School

White Gum 02Next up in my series about flying training facilities is SkySports Flying School, based at White Gum Farm, near York in Western Australia.

The school was originally started in 1997 at Wyalkatchem for hang glider pilot training, soon adding powered hang-glider training to their repertoire. These aircraft are variously called ‘trikes’, ‘weight-shift’ or ‘microlights’ in Australia. The school moved to White Gum Farm (YWGM) in 2005, where they initially operated from a farm shed/hangar for a while. In 2006 the second hangar – H2 – was built and now hangars H3, H4 and H5 house a variety of  trikes and 3-axis aircraft.

White Gum 01SkySports CFI at White Gum is Gordon Marshall, a very experienced trike and 3-axis instructor, although he says nowadays he seems to spend most of his time instructing in the Foxbat! In addition to Gordon, there are several (mainly) part-time instructors.

White Gum hosted the first ‘WestFly‘ event several years ago – the weather was fantastic and there was a great turnout of aircraft. However, the weather turned bad for the last couple of events and fly-in arrivals were very limited, so Gordon has decided to ‘rest’ WestFly for a short while. However, he’s planning a big event next year (2016) when the nearby ‘Fly Inn’ function centre opens.

The facilities at White Gum will continue to grow as its reputation spreads – the relaxed and friendly atmosphere, on-site accommodation and selection of runways has begun to attract visitors and flying students from far and wide. Best times to fly are probably spring and autumn – summers can get very hot!

EQ1_logo_RevAn interesting side-point: White Gum Farm, including the airstrips, is owned by Gary Sargeant, an accomplished radio/avionics engineer, who is also a trike pilot. Driven by the relatively high cockpit noise in trikes, Gary designed a new wireless, active noise reduction (ANR) headset for radio (and intercom) communications in noisy environments. This was developed, tested (mainly by Gordon) and re-designed over several years. The result EQ-Linkis the EQ-1 ANR wireless headset which can be used both in open and closed cockpit aircraft. I have used both the original version of the EQ-1 headset as well as the latest EQ-link in Foxbats and I must say they are one of the most comfortable headsets I have worn. My wife and I joined a group if fliers who did a 10-day round trip from Melbourne to Lake Eyre a couple of years ago, using the EQ headsets. They performed faultlessly and over 21 hours of flying, did not need re-charging, although we had less than an hour’s battery left when we got home. The ANR function works well and the lack of a wire connection with the aircraft makes them very convenient.

EQ now has a Facebook page: click here to visit

Lynton & David’s great adventure

Lynton and DavidIn the middle of January 2015, Soar Aviation took delivery of yet another A22LS Foxbat – this one, used but with very low hours, was from White Gum Farm, near York in WA.

Having made this journey three times myself, albeit via different routes, I can relate very well to their story, particularly being bounced around in big thermals 9,500 feet over the goldfields of WA.

This aircraft, 24-7979 – fitted with the latest Dynon SkyView digital instrument technology – is now doing the hours as a trainer at Moorabbin.

Click here for the story of Lynton and David, who flew the aircraft from WA to Tyabb in just over 3 days.

For a Trial Instructional Flight (TIF) or further information about learning to fly, call Soar Aviation on 03 9587 5020

A different point of view

A different point of viewGordon Marshall of Sky Sports Flying School at White Gum Farm near York, Western Australia, sent me this link to a short Foxbat video on YouTube. As you’ll see, it is taken from a different point of view. Pilot is Andrew Cotterell – now on his second Foxbat – carrying out low level runway inspections at White Gum Farm.

This aircraft has flown several hundred hours – nice to see such a clean bottom!