Friday, April 24, 2009

South East Mail

I did the south east mail recently, a run which i used to do a lot but hadn't touched in months. Its a good run for the hours and reasonably quick. Basically covers the top eastern cattle stations of South Australia, and some in the Northern Territory. Its good as its mainly cattle stations and not communities, so the load is light and there is nearly always someone to meet you, sometimes with a coke or pie!

I will let the photos do the talking today, as there is not a whole lot to say about it. The furthest south we go is a place called Todmorten. Its reasonably close to Coober Pedy, the opal mining town in South Australia.

This is at 6:55am, Alice Springs Airport. One 210 just departed doing a Western Mailrun, the plane in front is doing the same water run i posted about a while ago. This on holding point bravo, rwy 12.

Rwy 12 at Alice Springs. It has just been recently resurfaced, but they havent grooved the surface yet, so all the jets need to use the full length to backtrack when they land.

Nothing but sand dunes and barren landscape between 2 cattle stations, Numery and Andado. This was taken at around 8am.

This is on approach into Finke. Finke is the only community that we land at on this run. You can see we have no troubles buzzing the community when we land on rwy 15. Weirdly rwy 15 is also on the 150 radial from Alice airport, so to go directly to Finke from Alice, its a slight turn after take off and a straight in approach. Finke is also the the community where people overnight on the Finke desert race, for all those into motorcycles.

Approach into New Crown Station. It's about 15nm from Finke.

Mount Dare Strip! Took me a while to actually work out where it was the first time i flew here. It used to be our refuelling stop, but not anymore for some reason. It has a weird "taxiway" at the end of the runway, which is like a dirt road that leads up to the hangar.

The weird "taxiway." This is looking back towards the runway.

Typical bush Australia type photo! Couldnt resist.
This is a photo of Lambina Station. The runway looks a lot harder to see in this photo than it actually is.
I'll leave it at that, hope you enjoy. I also posted a video on youtube of a landing at Umuwa which i spoke about last post.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Hi all. Time for a new post as this public holiday i am by myself at home, with not much else to do apart from washing my sheets and making another coffee. So i am going to post about the 881 flight that we do. The 881 is a good flight, 4 and a bit hours, and you are home by 1pm! 881 serves the communities in the very northern areas of South Australia. So it takes an hour and a half to fly there and a little bit more to fly back. However its only a few minutes between all the stops, making the day very cruisey.

This is a photo of the passenger chieftan. He overtook me shortly after takeoff from Alice Springs. Im not sure if he is 500ft above or 1000ft in the photo. Although the photo doesnt look as though he was that close. We are both enroute to a community called Ernabella.

After Ernabella the passenger chieftan goes to Umuwa. In the 210 i have to go via a small cattle station called Kenmore Park and take them their mail bags. Occaisionally i get a passenger on this leg as the chieftan cannot land on the short strip at Kenmore. This leg is only 15nm, so its cruisy and a bit of fun departing over the hills that surround Ernabella. After Kenmore Park its off to a predominately white community called Umuwa. We wait here around 20 minutes to stay on time.
After Umuwa its off to Fregon. This is also only around 15nm down the road (Literally). There is a road straight after take-off which i follow which puts me on a straight in approach rwy 15.

Here is a photo of the strip at Fregon. Fregon gets busy sometimes and i have seen a few 402's on the ramp at one time.

Here is a Chieftan taking off from Fregon. Good looking plane! From here we go on the 30nm leg to Mimili. I forgot to mention - When i was at Umuwa i had a strange request. I was asked to transport an injured bird back to Alice Springs. I wasnt sure on the correct procedure for this, as im sure im not really allowed to fly animals in the cabin without them being properly caged etc etc. However, it was in a pretty bad shape, and without wings to fly i put it under the back seats for the flight. I figured it was a mercy flight for the bird and checked on him at every stop.

He was pretty angry and kept trying to bite me, but we got him to Alice in one piece and the Wildlife Department place picked him up the moment i landed.

Here is a picture of Mimili, our last stop. The strip is around 3nm to the right of this photo. This photo was actually taken on my first week of work at my company! Im pretty sure i was in the right seat for this leg as the other dude wanted to have a fly! From here its 205nm back to Alice Springs.

Happy Easter.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Well this was probably one of the best charters i have done. It was to take one kid home from Darwin for the school holidays. He was a good kid, as indigenous kids go. Talkative, helped me out and was well behaved. Had a lot of luggage for one person though!

That line you can see is the border between Qld and the NT. I was suprised to be able to see such a distinct borderline, but there it was, right where the GPS said it would be!

So i flew him home to Camooweal which was my first landing in the state of Queensland. Camooweal is just over the border from the Northern Territory on the Barkly Highway. It is a big refuelling stop for cars that are travelling from Queensland to the Northern Territory and vice versa. It even had a sealed strip which is a luxury with my flying. Means a lot less dirt on the underbelly when i have to clean it.

The top picture is of Camooweal from the ground. The second one is Camooweal from the air after departure. You can see the Barkly Highway going through the town, onto Cloncurry and Longreach.

The charter consisted of dropping him off where i met his father who shook my hand and drove off after. It was a 350nm leg and i had a groundspeed of 180 the whole way which is really impressive for a 210. I then took off for Baikal where i had a refuelling stop. On the return leg i expected to be very slow, but i still had a groundspeed of 150, which is decent for a 210.

A picture of "Baikal international Airport." That is our fuel supply, which is pretty much the only feature of the strip.

A photo showing how you refuel out of a drum by yourself in 35 degree heat!

At Baikal I just put 50L in to get me home. Probably could have gotten home without it, but would have been on minimum fuel. The trouble with that is, around Alice Springs there are pretty much no strips nearby if you cant get in for any reason. However, in the unlimited visibility blue skies it isnt a problem most days. Although more than a few pilots have been caught out by this. As per usual i will let the photos do the talking! I even uploaded a video this time, shows me landing rwy 15 at Baikal.