Thursday, December 24, 2009

A few photos i found.

Im not sure whether i posted this photo before. It was taken between Tennant Creek and Alice at the DERAK waypoint, on the W177 airway. We were about 20nm off track due the storms, was defiantely one of the best yet worst days i have had flying.

Departing Kiwirrkurra one day, one of the rival companies planes was there. In a C310 he was faster than me, and passed me as we climbed away. Luckily i had my camera to capture this.

A shot of Ayers Rock i have taken somewhere at sometime?!

Ayers rock looking back from the Olga's.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New beginning!

So i have resigned from my current job. I'll keep you all updated very soon, and i dare say i will have some great new stories and flying to post about. Very excited for this move, but im not going to say too much yet. In fact it all seems to go back to square one, but i'll explain that in a later post.

Until then, i'll see if i have some past photos i never got around to posting. But the tales in the desert have come to an end! All the best for Christmas and the new year, i will be back very soon!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Middle of the Simpson Desert

So i thought i would post 3 photos of what an exploration camp in the middle of the Simpson desert looks like. I will say this is the actual middle of nowhere. There is nothing around anywhere! It is only about 250km from Alice as the crow flies, but still. I have been flying miners/drillers here in a 210 as the runway isnt strong enough for a twin or caravan. Its actuall long and fairly firm in the middle, but its quite narrow and very soft around the edges. You sorta fly over all these desert dunes, then you see a patch of trees.. and you know its slightly to the right of the trees. And then all of a sudden a sad excuse for a runway appears! haha. Its known as Simpson 2, but im unaware of what they are looking for, even though im sure i was told.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Few new photos

Hi all.

Not much to report with flying, except its hot and bumpy. Just thought id share some new photos taken on a recent mailrun and a few odd charters that i have done.

Here is the gap between Papunya and Haasts Bluff. Its only a 13nm leg, so as a shortcut we fly through the gap. Lots of fun, although sometimes pretty bumpy.

This is the gap seen from the ground at Papunya.

Coming into King Creek station, which is near Kings Canyon. A pretty big tourist area in the red centre along with Uluru and the Olga's.

This is approaching Kings Canyon again. Pretty cool formations. Was apparently once upon a time an inland ocean? Who knows, kinda looks like it would have been though.

The most essential part of my days flying. This isnt on the minimum equipment list, but it may as well be. Flying without one means certain boredom.

Taken at the helm of SWT. A nice baron to fly.

Random survey DC-3 with PT6 powerplant converstion, registered in South Africa that was using our hangar for maintenance for a few weeks.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


So i finally went to Borroloola (Brl). Was good to go there, as it is a remote base for the company i work for, however i dont envy the pilots that have to live there! I had to fly some school kids returning home for school holidays, via Rockhampton downs, which was pretty much on the way. Brl is 425nm from Alice, so its a long flight! especially in a C210.

Main street in Brl. Its actually not as bad as it looks, as remote areas go. Its closer to Mt Isa than Darwin or Alice Springs. Its about a 3 hour flight to Darwin from here as well. Its right in the Gulf area of the Northern Territory. I have spoken about the Barkly mailrun which goes near Brl.

Random view out the plane. I actually meant to upload a picture of the MacArthur River mine, but cant seem to find the photo i took of it. They dont like us flying over the mine, as it gets quite a bit of turboprop and jet traffic.

The view at Rockhampton downs, you can see it was quite windy! In fact i dont think i have encountered heavier winds on the ground as this day. The only saving grace was that it was calm and smooth about 6000ft, which is rare this time of year.

On the way up there was massive amounts of wind and dust blown everywhere. Questionable VFR flying conditions, but none the less was still able to maintain visual contact with the ground etc and don't believe that safety was ever in question.

On a wide base into Brl. It was really busy when i came into it. There was a C404 Titan departing, a second C210 in the circuit and i was also following a C182.

Brian, one of the pilots outside his living area. Good guy from Tasmania, so we give him a bit for being from there, but none the less, a good bloke!

The line up of planes at Brl. I was refuelling and snapped it when i was finished. You can see lots of C210's, C310's and also a C402 which was cut out of the photo on the left hand side.
Anyway, enjoy the photos, till next time.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Flying the Baron

Well its been awesome! I cant say how much im enjoying life with a second engine. Dont get me wrong, its not a full time thing, but just flying it once or twice a week is good for me, just for something different and its definately faster and a lot more fun.

I had to take the token engine shot! Also nice to be back into a low wing aircraft!

The baron is a sports car of a plane - looks good and goes reasonably fast for a piston. It isnt really a charter machine though. Its comfortable etc, and presents well, but it doesnt really have good fuel range or payload. Essentially its a C210 with a second engine of equal power. So its great in the climb! After doing 2 flights in the baron, the 210 felt incredibly under powered and wrong haha. I guess thats pretty normal when going back to a single engine.

This was on approach into Elliot. Its about 150nm north of Tennant Creek, on the Stuart Hwy. We were flying some doctors there, so they could run a clinic.

Token shot of the baron controls inflight!

Finally, the baron parked at Warrabri. Its about 80nm south of Tennant Creek.
Also a youtube clip of us landing when we returned to Alice Springs.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The last month

Hi all. Sorry for the lack of posts recently! I went on 3 weeks leave to Japan, and havent been flying a whole lot the few weeks before and after as i have also been sick. So in lieu of a flying story i thought i would post some pictures from my Japan trip as it was definately more interesting than most of the recent flying i have done! In other news on the flying front, i start on the beechcraft baron next week, so fingers crossed my checkride goes well (as i started writing this a while ago - i have done my checkride, which included assymetrics and instrument approaches in IMC - which im happy to report went very well!). I wont be flying it all too much, but it will give me some refreshing new stories and pictures to write about for the purpose of the blog.

This picture is self explanitory haha. You can see the route the pilots took to Singapore from Sydney. This was due to massive headwinds over central Australia. The normal routing (haha i hear them all the time on Melbourne Centre is Alpha Siera (Alice Springs) then either waypoint Timmi and Schee, which is the boundary to Brisbane centre.) Hope that made sense.

So i went to Japan, with a few days in Singapore. Was a great trip and thoroughly enjoyed being away for a bit. Japan is an amazing country and i would recommend it to anyone thinking of travelling to Asia. It was also good to spend some time with the old man ie - dad, as i dont think i had travelled or hung out with him basically since i had to move away fro flying. So it was great to catch up and just enjoy his company as opposed to his voice on the phone!

So we started in Tokyo Narita airport and from there we took the airport express into Tokyo city. This takes about an hour. We stayed in Tokyo a total of 5 nights, 3 in the beginning and 2 nights at the end before i flew home to Sydney. Covered a lot of ground in Tokyo and ate some amazing food. Some of this amazing food im pretty sure i dont want to know what it was, because the hindsight thought might not be as pleasant as the experience was when eating it.

This is a photo of the fish markets at around 5am on a fine and hot Tokyo Friday morning. Was great to see all the different seafood and the tuna auctions take place. Was definately a highlight of the trip as its something i have always wanted to see.

From Tokyo we headed south-west towards the 4th largest city in Japan, Nagoya. Nagoya was a great place, reminded me a lot of Sydney to be honest (found out later they were sister cities!). But it was a big city without the crazy amounts of people that Tokyo has. In Nagoya we visited the Toyota car factory, saw the castles and took a big walk around the pottery area in Tokoname.

They have some trains where you can view the trip from the drivers perspective. Was very cool! This was on the trip to the Toyota factory.

This is the main CBD area of Nagoya as viewed from the Hotel.

From Nagoya we continued to Kyoto and saw some amazing temples. I really enjoyed Kyoto, as i had read Memoirs of a Geisha and wanted to check out some of the places mentioned. However, once i arrived i couldnt remember a single place apart from Gion. So we visited Gion and enjoyed the ambience of the city. We were staying in a hotel opposite Nijo Castle, so of course i checked it out. The castle's floorboards are constructed in a way that they make a noise if you walk on them, no matter how quiet you walk. It is meant to resemble birds, and was made like that in ancient times so no one could be sneaking around. Was pretty amazing, the softer you walked the more sound it made.

This is the view from one of the temples which gave a good overview of the city of Kyoto.

From Kyoto we took the Shinkansen down to Osaka (a whole 15 minute journey). Osaka was just like Tokyo, and i cant say i didnt enjoy it, but it was so crowded. A few of my Japanese friends told me that Osaka is like Tokyo only less busy and compared it to say Sydney vs Melbourne. But i disagreed. I thought Osaka was so busy and had so many people all the time that it became a little overwhelming at times. But anyway, Osaka had a cool aquarium which we visisted purely to see whale sharks. Amazing creatures, big fish! We also did a day trip out to Nara, which was about an hour on the train, and saw some temples and the big deer park where deer just roam around. Definately worth the visit.

These are two pictures from Nara. The temple was an amazing structure, and housed a giant Buddha statue. And also one of the many deers roaming around. Living by the philosophy that you kick someone when they are down rather than help them (this is a joke we all say in Alice when we drink - im not that much of a jerk!!) i found it rather humerous watching other tourists feeding the deer and creating monsters out of them.

Here are two pictures from the Osaka aquarium. One is of a jellyfish and the other of one of the whale sharks. Im not one for that sort of thing when i visit the city, but im very happy i did!

From Osaka we also did a day trip to the North Island of Sapporo. We flew ANA and departed from Kansai airport. We arrived in Sapporo to a full ILS, which from my pilot perspective was kinda cool, love being in the soup. But it was a miserable cold and raining day, so we didnt do a whole lot.

In the soup either departing or approaching Sapporo. Was well cool!!

After Osaka we headed further south to Hiroshima. We visited the atom bomb musuem and saw the memorial there. That museum was quite moving and the effects that bomb had were so devastating. It was incredibly hot in Hiroshima and there was a Typhoon of the coast which im sure didnt help. I enjoyed Hiroshima a lot, but there wasnt a whole lot to do, the one night was more than adequate.

From Hiroshima we went back to Tokyo which took 4.4 hours in the Shinkansen. The journey was 894km long, which meant the average speed was 203km/h. But that doesnt include all the stops it made (roughly 8) so it definately is high speed and very efficient.

Tokyo Tower as viewed from the rooftop of a building in Roppongi.

Well apart from that i do not have a whole lot more to report! I am going to a new place tomorrow so i will take some photos of that and report on it later.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What to blog about?

Well, i havent really done anything particularly new or interesting over the past month of flying. I sat at Ti-Tree for over 8 hours one day, which was rivetting, let me assure you.

So this post i think i will just put up a few recent photos i have taken.

I snapped a few photos from a troopie when i was driven around Kintore on a wait. That was a good wait, with full cable television, internet and comfortable lazy boy chairs!

This photo is from Kintore just near the Clinic. We were in a rush to get back to Alice before last light. Its 250nm from Alice Springs, on the 272 radial (almost due west). You fly past Kintore on the way to Kiwirrkurra which i spoke about in a previous post.

This is a sign on the refuelling bowser at Warburton. I just found it interesting and was walking around as Steve was refuelling my plane.

I climbed Mount Gillen again which i think i may have spoken about before, but its all in the quest to stay healthy.

A photo of our feet dangling over the edge!

I also uploaded another landing to youtube.. this link is

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Alice Airport

I have a few photos of Alice Airport i thought i would share. For some reason Blogspot is being weird when i upload photos so i will do my best. Most of these were taken from the tower on a pretty rainy day for Alice. Whats normally CAVOK, was "expect the ILS rwy 12 approach." The cloud base was about 500ft off the deck.

Alice airspace is whats known as Class D. I dont know much about the rest of the world's airspace but class D means that it is all based on procedure and time. Basically clearance is via a radial and to stay above or below certain steps depending on clearance and whether you are IFR or VFR. What makes Alice airspace unique and slightly ancient is that there is no radar at all. It is the only tower in Australia to not even have a secondary radar to help them out.

Here is a photo of the guys in the tower. As you can see there isnt much in the way of modern equipment. But they do a great job with what they have.

There are 4 guys who work the tower, and working on the airport you learn their names and their individual ways of controlling. Sometimes its impossible to get a clearance being a VFR C210, other times you can get in with 3 jets inbound. For General Aviation planes, coming into Alice when instrument approaches are being used can be pretty difficult for fuel planning, as the closest Alternates are either 180nm or 250nm away. Which is a good hour and a half of fuel needed ontop of the fixed reserves.

These photos were taken on the viewing area on the control tower.

Here is a photo of a C-17, which comes in every tuesday for Pine Gap. Its callsign is always "reach 5 echo 1."

And to finish here is Alice ramp area on a normally sunny bluesky day. Thanks all for reading!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mount Isa and a New Plane

Hi, sorry its been a while since my last post. I have been very busy and also my internet connection was being so unstable it was impossible to write anything and upload pictures without it cutting out. But today i have mostly off and it seems to be working well, so time to capitalise!

So i have been doing much the same flying as i have already spoken about. We got some good rains and i got some amazing shots of planes landing on ungrooved runway surfaces from the Alice Springs tower. But i will save most of them for another day and another post.

So i did a charter to Mount Isa. For those who don't know Mount Isa, its a large mining town in central Queensland with a population of 30,000ish. Its a long flight, 370nm, which in a single engine piston takes about 2.5 hours. But its a good setup there, i left to get some lunch, talked to some of the local operators and dreaded flying back home for 2.5 hours haha. But the shell refueller helped me load 80 litres into the wings and off i went. I snapped a few departure photos. You can see below the extent of some of the mining and the main part of town. The airport was directly behind me.

My company also aquired a Cessna Conquest. It is a nice plane, twin turbine and pressurised. I dont know when it will get business and who is going to fly it just yet, but its a good looking plane and my boss snapped a few photos of it on my camera as he needed one and i had one in my flight bag, so i will share some of them.

I also finally learnt how to edit and crop photos better then i had been, so i will post a few older photos i got of other planes taking off at community strips.

Im pretty sure this is Joe taking off from Tjukurla.