Dave Jacka


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Day 10 – Ran out of luck with the weather gods!

Leaving Airlie Beach

I was pretty nervous flying out of Shute Harbour Airport after what had happened with me trying to fly in yesterday. Today didn’t look great with weather either. The forecast was for some low cloud & showers up the coast.

All the pilots in the team were pretty nervous about flying in the forecasted weather. We had a meeting & decided we’d head down to the airfield, get the planes ready & get some local advice from pilots who regularly fly in this area. The local pilots were confident so we thought we’d give it a go & see how far up the coast we could make it today.

There’s a solution to every problem, you just have to find it!

One of the problems I had coming in to land yesterday was when some turbulence hit me, my feet moved on the footplate & as I can’t put them back, this affected where my knees were & they got in the way when I was trying to use the control column.

Thanks to help from someone at the airfield, I got some industrial velcro. I attached this to my shoes & the footplate – I don’t know how long this will last – but worth a go, especially helpful for my anxious flight out of Shute Harbour Airport!

Velcro’ing my feet to the foot plate.

Flying again

The wind at Shute Harbour wasn’t nearly as strong as the day before. I took off, there was a little bit of turbulence but nothing like the day before – thank God I got out of there safe!

After leaving Airlie Beach, the cloud started to clear & allowed me to get up to 3,500 feet where I could just cruise as I followed the coast toward Townsville. The day looked magnificent & I was feeling confident that we would make our scheduled overnight stop of Cooktown.

As we approached Hamilton Island, the cloud got thicker & was building up the further I got to the Island. By this time I was back down to 2,000 feet & I was tracking by the coast to avoid showers.

Flying with low cloud.


By this time, I lost communication with one support plane, the Piper Archer (Gordon, Paul & Lida), as they had diverted to Ingham. As I reached Cardwell, I was chatting to Michael in the other support plane, the Piper Lance, & they had about 10 nautical miles to run before making it to our scheduled refuel location for today, Innisfail.

At this time, Michael said there was rain & they would turn around & come back to Ingham. The path ahead was looking very bleak for me so I realised that I couldn’t keep going forward but needed to return to Ingham where we knew there was reasonable weather. As I was tracking back, Michael radioed to let me know that they would land at Dunk Island instead. I continued back to Ingham.

So we ended up with me & one support plane at Ingham (Lida, Gordon & Paul) & the other support plane at Dunk Island (Michael, Bob & Linda). We figured that we would wait for an hour or so & once the weather cleared, we could get going & all meet up again at our original scheduled fuel stop of Innisfail.


… this didn’t happen. As we waited, the weather at Dunk Island got worse so there was no possibility of the Support plane getting out to meet up with us. We got information from a contact in Innisfail that the weather was still rainy & set in for the day – we realised then, with the hours passing, that we had to stay for the night.


Bob & Michael at Dunk Island.


Lida, Gordon, Paul & I arrive at Ingham.

We were in contact with the team in Dunk Island, hoping that the weather would clear briefly so they could get out & join us in Ingham, but it never did. Thanks very much to the owner & management of Dunk Island for providing food & accommodation for Michael, Bob & Linda. I contacted our base support (Brian & Roberta) & they organised accommodation at Tropixx Motel & we were very grateful to the management for providing one room free for us.

We had a team meeting this afternoon but due to the weather, its difficult to know if we will be able to fly tomorrow. We will just have to wait & see.  The top priority for us tomorrow is that we get the team back together again. Secondly, we will try to head up to Cooktown.

Over & out,


5 thoughts on “Day 10 – Ran out of luck with the weather gods!”

  1. Dave keep up the good work,but dont over do it.Spoke toyour dad tonight said you would be a day late into Weipa that’s not a problem.Weather here has been fairly good a little windy and fairly light high cloud.Looking forward to catching up. Cheer’s for now. Trevor.

  2. Dave, Linda & Team,
    I look forward to your updates. Thought you might miss this one. Glad to see that you didn’t. Your media lady must be dedicated and resilient. I think I know now who she is.
    Look forward to what you all get up to tomorrow. Don’t rush. You are in a nice part of the country.

  3. Don’t rush Mother Nature. She requires lots of patience and always gets her way. Hope she gives you a nice break in the weather for a few days, Dave.

  4. Hi Dave and Crew. I have been following your flight with more than a little interest from Western Australia. Not sure that I would like to go through through the rotor experience though. As you know you have inspired me to try and get my pilots licence and to get something going in the West and to that end I spent some time with the chief instructors from two pilot training schools at Jandakot airfield yesterday. They are now watching your progress as well.
    Cheers and keep safe.

  5. Dave, Linda & crew, we are keeping up with your trip, great posts. also Davo when you get to Burketown take an photo of Escott Station – I think it’s closed to the public now but was there many years ago – ha. Safe trip to all.

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