Leaving Darwin & a possible problem lurking
It was great to have the break in Darwin – the team really needed the rest. However we were all eager to get going again for the second half of the flight around Australia.
We’ve been going now for 3 weeks & for me, when I reflect on where we have been, it all seems a blur as so much has happened along the way.
Following the servicing of my plane at Emkaytee, Scott, the LAME, said one of my tyres is wearing unevenly & had to be rotated. This has raised some concerns with the team as their could possibly be something more sinister happening to my aircraft.
Bob took a closer look this morning & couldn’t see any structural issues, so hopefully it will just need a wheel alignment when I get home.
The concern is that if the tyre wears out, I don’t have a replacement. I am trying to source another if possible, but there aren’t many options out here in the far north west.
After my previous failed attempt to install my water spray system in my plane to keep me cool, Paul has worked out what the issue was. We had connected it backward & therefore it wasn’t holding any air. After changing this around, we connected it back into my aircraft, ready for the hot weather today. It was all looking good.
Basically, this system enables me to press a button with my elbow & I get a spray of water on my face to help keep me cool (as I can’t sweat & overheat easily).
As I was warming the plane up & doing my checks, I thought I’d give the spray system a final test as I was getting quite hot in the cockpit. It worked well a couple of times however when I went to activate it again, the water tube blew off & there was a fountain of water shooting up from the bottle hitting the windscreen & spraying water all around the cockpit – including over all my electrical instruments! Not good.
Paul came back & we just disconnected it. I went back to using my trusty pump spray bottle. I will need to find a clamp for the hose before I can try using it again.
However, by the time I find a solution for this, I’ll be back down in the cooler weather. Moral of the story, when trialing new equipment, ensure you have it fully tested before you leave on a big trip. Unfortunately this is just one of the things that didn’t quite get done in time.
The flight from Emkaytee (Darwin) to Kununurra was a short one – just over 2 hours & so we flew direct without a stop to refuel. It was pretty hot when we took off at around 11.30 am and we all found it difficult for our aircrafts to fly out. The heat makes the air less dense & the aircrafts don’t perform as well.
It was nice to fly along the coast again. All the locals have been saying that at this time of year, it should be blue skies & little cloud, but we’ve encountered a fair bit of cloud. Most of our flying is being done between 2,500 to 3,500 feet, except for our low level flying up the east coast when the weather was bad.
The coast is very pretty. The water in the rivers & oceans is a dazzling aqua colour. As we started to track inland from the coast to Kununurra & crossing the WA border, I noticed how the landscape changed from mangroves, mud flats & beaches to bush & red rocky hills.
It was a nice change to see this new part of the country as the coast does get a little boring at times (when you’ve done as much as we have on this trip).
Arriving at Kununurra
It was great to land at Kununurra Airport, despite the heat! When I got out of the plane, the team had to keep spraying me down with water to keep me cool as it is a lot hotter inland here than on the coast.
Today was also Josh’s first flying day & he got some sleep in the Piper Archer support plane on the way to Kununurra. He seemed to have plenty of energy & coped well with the heat! Great to have you aboard Josh!
Thanks so much to Tony Stevenson from the Fire Emergency Services for all his tremendous help with transport & coordinating everything for our stay in Kununurra! Tony was there to meet us as soon as I landed.
Thanks also to the Kimberley Grande Hotel for donating one room & to all the volunteers from the Kununurra Fire & Rescue who raised money to cover the rest of our accommodation & all our food during our stay!
Our team all enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Kimberley Grande Hotel Restaurant, the PKG Bar & Grill.
Tomorrow we head off to Derby however there could be some dodgy weather coming up so we will have to wait & see what happens.
Over & out,