Friday, February 13, 2009


I havent been doing all too much flying lately. However i have been doing a few more charters than im used to. In some ways its easier flying because there is less paperwork to deal with, and less stops, but also more stressful at times.

One such example was picking up 2 aboriginal kids, one from Nyrripi and the other from Yuendumu. The Nyrripi kid named Joeseph was good. He arrived on time and his family was helpful and he was talkative, telling me about his football match that he won the previous day. After briefing him on the bumps, giving him ear plugs and a bottle of water, we set off for Yuendumu. Yuendumu is a largish community, you get mobile phone reception and the strip is quite close to the airfield (also sealed!). After we got there and no passengers turned up, it became a calling game and a waiting game as a team of locals went round trying to find her. Eventually they did find her and she refused to come!! So in the end after waiting on the ground in 40 degree heat for nearly an hour, with my other passenger, we were on our way back to Alice Springs. Because of this wait on the ground in Yuendumu, we were time critical as Joseph needed to make a connecting flight to Darwin for school. This is a picture of the Nyrripi apron. You can see that it is sealed! Quite a luxury in the areas that i fly. I think there is less than 10 sealed strips in the entire surrounding area.

I also find with passengers, i must fly a lot better and think ahead about what my plan is. I try to avoid the chaotic bumps, either by extending the landing gear and slowing down early if on descent, or i will try climb as high as possible to limit the heat and bumps in the cruise. I find i fly a higher and less chaotic curcuit when i have passengers so as to not scare them with a steep turn onto finals. Little things i do in the cabin as well i try to limit. Like using the autopilot and getting extra paper work done in the cruise. Is this ok when you have 2 paying customers expecting you to fly the plane.

I had one example of this the other day when i flew a couple who didnt want to sit on a bus to Ayers Rock for 4 hours. So they hired me in my C210 to fly them there. Good charter to get, they were friendly and i even organised their car to come meet us on the apron of Ayers Rock airport. But it was a suprisingly smooth ride, and we had a good groundspeed. I had the autopilot working, and it was behaving itself. I had a fair bit of paperwork to do, and it would have been a good opportunity to get it done. However i would see this as unprofessional, not to mention unsafe if i was to bury my head in the paperwork while flying the aeroplane VFR.

Anyway, just a little food for thought. Im writing this as im on standby and have to do a charter early saturday morning. Just to Ti-Tree and back, which is maybe 2 hours flight time return, but none-the-less, still a good flight.


  1. hey mike!
    thanks a lot for this awesome blog! this is really a way of flying most pilots will never discover. so be proud and happy to have this great job until you'll get opportunity to start an airliner-career where everything single movement of yourself will be regulated by SOP's etc. ... ;)

    Also Thanks for stepping into my blog. Actually it's nothing much yet. Was quite lazy to update it. I am not flying yet. I am on my national-service in Malaysia now and hope to start flight training with Lufthansa once I'll have returned to Germany in August. ...


  2. Hi Mike,

    I just got caught up on all your recent posts. Great work! So what does a sealed strip mean? Is that the same as paved?