We really enjoyed meeting many members of the Wynyard Aero Club. We greatly appreciate all the support they gave us with food, transport & accommodation.
We planned to leave about 9 am but we were still working out how to organise ourselves & optimising how we will work as a team.
While we were getting ready, I received a call from Stan Tilley, manager of Sandfly Airfield, Tas. To my surprise, Stan had so kindly contacted the right people at Cambridge Airport to try to get approval for me to fly in there instead of nearby airfields of which I’d been feeling anxious as they are risky options & would have made things extremely difficult for me. Thanks so much to Stan for really helping me out & Cambridge Airfield for allowing me to fly in.
The weather forecast was reasonable with a few showers & cloud base of 3,000 feet. We were confident we were going to get down the treacherous west coast. We departed Wynyard about 10.30 am & headed west to follow the coast down to our first stop of the day, Strahan to refuel & have lunch.
As I was flying around Cape Grim, I had deja vu – my oil pressure gauge needle dropped to a very low level at the same time my oil temperature sky rocketed up. When I saw this, my heart sank. I thought I was going to have more problems. I started to calculate my distances to the next airfield & got thinking about whether or not my engine would make it.
But then suddenly, the needles went back into their normal operating positions – this was a great relief but still concerned me. This happened a couple more times & I began to realise that it was potentially a faulty earth wire. If I gave the dash a quick hit, the needles would jump back into their regular position – what a relief! Just like Fonzie.
After having to fly around a number of rain showers, we arrived in Strahan. As soon as I opened the door of my plane, I thought I was in the Antarctica, it was so cold. Luckily they had a terminal building that was more akin to Mawson’s hut but we loved it – it kept us dry & warm, & had power so I could plug in my heater to warm me up for awhile. I must admit, I’ll be glad to be heading for warmer weather up north.
First Milestone Reached – Most Southern tip of Australia
Thanks to our team member Bob (Sean) for arranging for the fuel at Strahan. Thanks to Geoff Ayton who brought the fuel & with the OWC pilots managed to refuel the planes, while it was raining.
We got going later than we hoped (again) and continued down the Tassie west coast – this is where we reached an important milestone – we flew over the most southern point of Australia, South East Cape, Tas.
The southern west coast of Tasmania is classified as a “remote area” & I could see why. There were no possible places to land, or even crash safely. We flew out over the ocean & in my aircraft I was thrown around a bit due to the wind generating rotor off the mountains. It was a strange experience because the coast looked so amazingly beautiful but then when jolted back into reality, if that fan in front of me stopped, that would be it.
I couldn’t help checking my gauges to extra check they were looking okay. You get a bit paranoid when you are alone in such an isolated area.
I was a bit disappointed with my GoPros as one of the three I have installed on my plane didn’t work & it was the one I needed the most with the best view – on my wing looking forward. But the other planes are also taking footage so I’m sure it has been captured.
I felt really good when I rounded the cape as this is the first really important milestone for myself & the team for the Around Australia Flight!
We then headed for Cambridge. For me to fly into Cambridge, there was the requirement for me to fly in company with a General Aviation aircraft, so I simply followed Paul & Gordon in their Piper Archer into Cambridge airport – it was really easy.
Thanks so much to ParaQuad Association of Tasmania who picked us up from the airport & have provided us all with accommodation for 2 nights stay in the best ever wheelchair accessible rooms. Thanks also to my parents & base support Brian & Roberta for flying to Tasmania & helping us out.
Time to eat & sleep. Lay-day tomorrow – whoohoo! Looking forward to sleeping in.
Over & out,