Sunday, November 22, 2009


IMG_0273, originally uploaded by hangflyer.

Whilst heading East with MTW I felt lucky with ground speeds as high as 135Knots. On the return trip I maxed at 114Knots close to perth and got as low as 68knots in some places. It took me 22 Hours to fly the 1841Nm from Bankstown to Jandakot and that gives me an average speed of just 83.6 Knots.

On the way there my average speed works out as 102Knots, but it felt faster!

6000M vis. Yeah Right!

IMG_0262, originally uploaded by hangflyer.

After about 20 mins visibility reduced to the point where there was no visible horizon, or ground (from 6000ft) and it was even impossible to tell where the sun was. I was inbound on the Hay NDB and using an instrument scan with the A/H as my best friend. There was no point looking out of the windows. Apart from the heat and the dust and the IMC conditions I had oil pressure on the minimum mark and oil temp on the maximum mark. Not the most relaxing part of the trip.

Dust Storm

IMG_0263, originally uploaded by hangflyer.

On the way from Bathurst to Hay I encountered a dust storm. It was forecast as visibility above 6000M. I asked the met office about it in the morning and they were not concerned that it would be a anything to worry about. It started out as a brown haze and the the headwinds picked up to 30Knots and the air got hotter as the visibility reduced.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back in Perth

I made it back just before sunset last night as planned. I flew around
12 Hours yesterday all the way from Whyalla to Perth. When I got to the
airport in the morning I found MGZ was unmoved and had survived the
storms. I had headwinds all the way to Kalgoorlie and then the winds
dropped off completely and even became a light easterly near the ground.
I had to dodge rain showers all the way to Kal and then the skies became
just scattered cumulus at about 5000ft. I did most of the run quite low
as that was where I found the most favourable winds. MGZ performed fine,
I guess the high oil temps the other day were as a result of the 40'C
ambient temps as they have not re-occured under the same work in cooler
conditions. I have really enjoyed flying MGZ, you get a different view
from a cessna, I find myself constantly looking straight down out of the
side window and thinking I could land there!

I have added another 41 flying hours to my logbook and visited 7 new
airports and another GAAP control zone. I even got to use 2 of the
runways at Bankstown as I took MTW's new owner for a circuit after the
deal was done.

Next week I am putting MGZ into maintenance as I want to know exactly
what I have, and then I can get my instrument rating completed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I am stopping here for the night, I am surrounded by thunderstorms and
decided to call it a day. I left Bathurst early and battled 30knot
headwinds most of the way, 69Knot ground speeds do not make me happy!

I was IMC for at least 3 hours today, the dust storms were something
else. The met office said they would be reducing visibility down to
6000M which is above the VFR minimum, but I know I was at 4500ft AGL
and I could not see anything. I tried climbing above them and gave up
at 9000ft as I had no performance left and it was still IMC. It was
over 40'C on the ground along the route, 45'C when I landed at Renmark
and still 43'C at 7pm when I landed at Whyalla. If it had been good
weather I would have pushed on to Ceduna, but I rang the Met office
(again the 5th time today) for an update and they painted a picture
that did not make me want to fly West at the moment. The storms should
all pass through overnight and then it will be clear sailing back to
Perth tomorrow. I'll have my fingers crossed as I sleep tonight
because the met office are suggesting we may get gusts of up to
45knots tonight and MGZ is out at the airport all by herself and there
are no tie down points anywhere. I chocked her and locked the controls
and filled her with fuel and anything else that was heavy and lying
around and pointed her towards the NW where the Met office predicts
the winds will come from.

I'm exhausted after a long day. I did not find the IMC flight
particularly stressful as my night rating gave me the skills to
navigate with instruments and fly on the Artificial Horizon, what was
bothering me was that the outside air temps were in the high 30'Cs and
the oil temps of MGZ where a needle away from the red line, I was
trying to use as little power as possible to maintain, but every so
often I would have to go to climb power to maintain altitude and I
know now that it worked out OK, but for a while there I was imagining
the air filter blocking up or the engine cooking itself. The funny
thing is I was worried about an engine failure because of the
inconvenience it would cause, I am a glider pilot at heart and the
whole time I fly I look down and see places where I could execute a
perfect out landing in an aircraft with no power.

Once I get back i can get my instrument rating and then I can
voluntarily put myself in similar situations legally!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Wings

Today I flew MTW out to Bankstown and delivered her to her new owner.
As always she performed flawlessly and even though a quartering tail
wind made my arrival a little more work that it could have been it was
smooth as always. I took the new owner for a circuit and managed a
greaser for the landing, I wish him all the best with MTW and if he
has half the fun and adventures that I did with her he will be a happy

Then for the return trip I got to fly MGZ for the first time, I have
to admit on first seeing her I was a little disheartened. If MTW was a
show pony, then MGZ is a work horse and that is after all what I
wanted, found and acquired. The seats are great, the avionics superb,
the paint OK but I think it will look great with a bit of a clean and
polish and a touch up of the paint in a few places. She has a climb
prop and so has a much better climb rate that MTW, she has longer more
efficient wings and so glides better than MTW, but she loses about
10knots in the cruise as a result. Swings and Roundabouts. She is a
very sweet aircraft to fly and on landing at Bathurst I had another
quartering tail wind and it was easy. On the way back from Bankstown I
was so enthralled with the avionics I got about 10 miles off track.
That is actually quite funny as on the way in I was tracking outbound
on an NDB and using the VTC to navigate and I was within a few hundred
meters of my planned track the whole way, on the way out I had $25,000
worth of Garmin moving map avionics (430W) to distract me and I was
so busy pushing buttons I forgot to navigate. Ha.

The weather is looking OK for the return trip, I plan to leave early
in the morning. I will have occasional thunderstorms to dodge crossing
NSW and SA and then it should be good weather for the return to WA. I
am optimistic about getting decent tail winds in WA, however I am
pretty realistic about the fact that I am going to have headwinds in
NSW and SA. Worst case is 25knots, but I am hoping that by picking the
best altitude I can get them down to 10 or 15 Knots. As long as I can
keep at least 90Knots grounds speed I will be OK, 100knots better, 110
Happy, and 120knots plus as I just love watching the miles count down!

I was spoilt on the way here I had 130knot ground speeds across NSW
and I felt like I was in a much faster aircraft, lets face it,
130Knots is Arrow speed and for 32Lt per hour you have to be happy,
that beats most cars on the road today for litres per 100km and you
are doing almost 250kph

I have a good feeling about MGZ, we don't know each other very well
yet, but I think there might be something in the air!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I made it safely to Bathurst as planned. It was over 9 hours flying time
on Monday and another 8 Hrs today. I had crosswinds for the entire
route, but for the last couple of legs I had a ground speed of 130Knots
and it was nice to feel like I was moving at a reasonable speed. Despite
my initial fears that I would have headwinds eating into my ground speed
the whole way I found that at 7500ft the winds were making little impact
with MTW making her book figure of 117Knots at 75% power most of the way.
As far as the trip went it was fine. I had some very strong and gusty
winds almost everywhere, I knew I had to get out of WA ASAP as the
weather was forecast to deteriorate and I was lucky to get to Kalgoorlie
only having to dodge a couple of showers. Between Kalgoorlie and Forrest
I had to climb to 8500ft to get over the top of what looked like ominous
clouds of dust, raised dust in the area forecast. I spent pretty much
the entire trip up in the cool smooth air and only got hot and bounced
around when landing.
I thought the 25knot 45 degree crosswinds at Forrest were good practice,
but the willy willy that tested me in Hay was much more interesting. No
problem though, MTW has never let me down and I can only hope that MGZ
will inspire the same level of calm confidence that she has.

About 50Nm from Bathurst it started to get really rough and I was
bounced all over the place for the last 20 mins of the flight. landing
at Bathurst was fine but again quite a bit of work required as it was
gusty and turbulent.

After fueling MTW and tying her down I went to look at my new aircraft.
I was expecting a high hours line aircraft with great avionics and that
is what I found. I am sure that with a bit of polish and some paint she
can be made to look presentable again. The main thing is that she is
mechanically sound and she looks OK to me. Once I get her back to Perth
and I can have my LAME check her out thoroughly I will find out what I
am in for...

If the winds at altitude stay the same as they were for the trip here I
am optimistic that I can still get a reasonable ground speed on the way
back. I think I will stick with the places that I liked and plan for
some new airfields to replace the ones that got the thumbs down for one
reason or another. I am not sure whether I will be able to leave
tomorrow as planned, it might end up being Thursday after I have
delivered MTW to her new owner and then got my new wings ready to leave.

The weather looks interesting for the next few days. I should be OK to
deliver MTW to Bankstown tomorrow and if I can get out of Bathurst early
afternoon I should be able to get into South Australia and into the fine
weather the following day and then it is a clear run home. If I hang
around here too long though I risk getting trapped by the weather for a
day or two.

I hope my luck holds..

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bankstown here I come

Everything has worked out perfectly.

Tomorrow morning early I will leave Jandakot and fly to Kalgoorlie and
then Forrest and arrive in Ceduna close to last light. There are some
isolated thunderstorms forecast in WA, but once I get past Forrest the
weather should be good with just some headwinds and a few dust storms to
contend with. As it's forecast to be over 40'C on the ground I will be
flying around 8000Ft so that that I can take advantage of the free air
conditioning provided by the cooler air higher up. It also happens that
that is close to the altitude where I can run at 75% power at full
throttle and get my best TAS which will help keep the flight time to a
minimum. The winds are variable higher up and not very strong so I am
planning to use the westerlies low down to maximise my ground speed to
Kalgoorlie and then find the best compromise between cool air and good
ground speed for the remainder of the trip.

I'll leave Ceduna early the next morning and fly to Bathurst via Renmark
and Hay.

Then on Wednesday I am delivering MTW to her new owner at Bankstown and
then picking up my new wings MGZ and heading back to Perth.

If all goes according to plan I should be back in Perth on Friday and
the long term forecasts suggest I might even get lucky with a reasonable
tail wind on the return trip.

I have been studying the manuals and using the simulator to get up to
speed on the avionics in the new aircraft, I can't wait to finally fly
an aircraft with modern avionics!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I have a plan

I'm starting my trip planning for next week.

Total distance from Perth Jandakot to Bankstown Sydney is 1841Nm or

The total flight time is going to be between 17 and 20 Hours depending
on the winds aloft.

I am going to burn about 704.8 Litres of Avgas.

I'll have to stay a couple of nights along the way, exactly where
depends on when I have to be at Bankstown to hand over the aircraft, I
will plan the last day to ensure I get there at the correct time.

Once I get there I'm hoping to be collected in my new aircraft and then
I will retrace my route back to Perth. I think I will be away for about
5 nights assuming that I take it easy and only fly 8Hrs a day.

The weather looks fine for the route at the moment, although at this
time of the year I can expect Easterlies to slow me down on the way
there, they will be helpful on the way back though.

I have planned my fuel stops for worst case headwind scenarios with a
margin for a suitable alternate and that means I always land with at
least an hour in the tanks, plus a reserve and that limits my range to
about 350Nm per leg. To be honest my bladder is probably the main
limiting factor, and after 4 hours sitting still it is nice to be able
to stretch you legs.

I made a cool map with Google Earth that shown the current high cloud
and temps, of course it will be different next week but is indicative of
what I can expect.

Mixed Emotions

I have sold my first love VH-MTW and I will be sad to see her go, she
has served me faithfully and brought me much pleasure.
I am flying her across to Bankstown next week to deliver her to her new
owner, I am sure she will serve him every bit as faithfully.

Then it's off to Bathurst to collect my new wings VH-MGZ I hope we get
on as well.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

High Wing

After serving me faithfully for the last year the time has come for me
to get a more practical work horse that I can use for my instrument
training and commercial operations. Even though I prefer low wing
aircraft high wings seem to have the advantage for the kind of work I am
going to be doing. I have had a huge amount of interest in MTW and I
have found my new wings already. If all goes to plan I will be flying
over east to deliver MTW to it's new owner and at the same time collect
my new Cessna 172 and fly that back to WA.

I'm back in Perth of course. Almost completed my multi engine rating and
looking forward to completing my instrument rating soon.