Dave Jacka


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Day 34 – Another day in Port Lincoln

More delays

Last night, we had a team briefing &, looking at the weather forecast for today, it was pretty clear that it was going to be worse than yesterday. We decided to spend another night in Port Lincoln & have today as a true rest day.

This meant that our schedule to arrive into Aldinga & also Tooradin would be one day later. But that’s flying for you & we are at the mercy of the weather gods!

An early departure for a team member

Last night at the team briefing, Gordon mentioned that he had a medical issue that was now difficult to manage & he may have to leave us & head back to his home town of Griffith to get it sorted out. Today, he left early on a commercial flight.

I feel sad that he wasn’t able to complete the journey, just 2 flying days short of our final destination. It’s very disappointing, for him personally with his own goal of completing this trip, & also for us as a team, as we won’t be able to finish it together.

When I first told Gordon about this trip in 2011 & that I was looking for support planes & pilots, he immediately said he would do it. Then he asked Bob “Are you coming?”. Both were in straight away.

There is no possible way I could ever have set out to achieve this flight around Australia without Gordon, & all the other flight team members involved. Gordon has been a huge asset to the team, done a fantastic job, along with his son Paul in the Piper Archer.


We greatly appreciate everything Gordon has done & his commitment to being a part of this journey, showing people what someone with a disability can achieve & being an inspiration to others! It won’t be the same flying into Tooradin with one of our team members missing.

Unexpected problems

When I was planning this flight, one of my major concerns was pressure sores on my bum as I would be sitting in the pilot seat for so much time each day, & for so many days.

I worked out that flying between 1,500 – 3,500 feet was the optimal altitude for my Roho (air-inflated) cushion that allows me to sit for long periods of time without damaging the tissue on my bum. Fortunately, I’ve had no issues, which is fantastic.

What I didn’t consider was pressure on other parts of my body. Since Darwin, I’ve noticed my heels have been staying red, which is not a good sign as this is the first sign of a pressure sore. I was quite puzzled as to why I was getting this as I’ve been wearing the same shoes I have on this trip for the last few years & have had no problems.

I’ve now realised that it is probably due to the angle my feet sit on the foot plate in the plane & since we’ve added the bungee straps to firmly keep my feet secure, the extra pressure may not be helping. There is a patch on the back of each heel that has been getting worse over time & I now have a big blister on my right one.

Its been good to have the rest day as I’ve had the opportunity to leave my shoes off & give them a chance to heal.

When I was flying down from Carnarvon to Mandurah, I kept sweating & I thought the reason I was sweating was because my bum was getting very sore. With my quadriplegia, when I have a part of my body experiencing pain, I sweat, its called autonomic hyperreflexia. This signals to me that something is wrong.

That night in Mandurah, I realised that the sweating wasn’t due to a sore bum. With the heater on, blowing on my feet, one of the metal hooks on the bungee strap must have been against my skin & for over 3 hours, the metal hook had heated up & was slowly roasting a patch of skin on my left inner ankle.

When I took my socks off that night, I had a big red blister. There is not much I can do about this now, its just a case of keeping it clean & covered. I now wrap a towel around my ankles before using the bungee straps.

On a positive note, I slept in until 9 am this morning. It was such a luxury & I had a late breakfast & got back into bed for a quick snooze. Pure decadence!!

For the rest of today, I’ve just been catching up with emails, comments, facebooking & the blog. We’ll have a team briefing this afternoon at 5.30 pm to discuss if we can fly out tomorrow & I’m also looking forward to some really hot indian food as there is a restaurant across the road from the hotel.

Over & out,


12 thoughts on “Day 34 – Another day in Port Lincoln”

  1. So sorry to hear Gordon has had to leave the team, but he has managed the bulk of the trip and all the ups and downs along the way, so what’s a couple of days? Also hope your feet come ok quickly and you are able to get home safely without any more sore bits (well, sweating that is). Fingers crossed you are able to head off again tomorrow and you are able to get home, safe and sound, on Monday. Best wishes and fly safe, Liz

  2. Hi Dave, what an awesome story you have been sharing with us all. We feel really lucky to know you personally. You are truly inspirational and really take ‘courage’ to a whole new level. We can’t wait to see the next challenge you will give yourself because clearly you really can do anything. We always knew you could (& would)!! Looking forward to catching up…. Enjoy this final leg of your adventure.
    All our love, the Burt’s xxx

  3. Very sorry to hear Gordon could not finish this amazing journey with you and the rest of the team. Fantastic work Gordon and congratulations on your own achievement of flying around Australia, that’s pretty epic! Two days out, no worries, your health issues must take priority. All the best with your heels Dave and here’s hoping you are able to fly out tomorrow.

  4. All the very best to you Gordon and sincere congratulations for your brilliant achievement. You’ll surely be there in spirit with the team when they arrive back into Tooradin. Well done to Lida too for her great work on the first leg of the journey. A truly inspirational personal achievement for you Dave and for each member of the OWC team, for those in the air and on the ground! Clear skies and safe travels home, Marlene

  5. Hi Dave,

    Gordon heading back to Griffith is unfortunate but just like all aviators, he made the call early enough to deal with the issue. Good on you Gordon !

    Dave, it’s amazing how much we take for granted on a daily basis. Despite all the niggles and issues you faced personally, you continued on your quest regardless. You have a singular goal in mind and you set out to achieve it ! That’s what matters.

    I hope a number of young people are tracking your quest and get this message loud and clear. For that matter, I hope people from all demographics and walks of life get the same message. I know I have in a most profound manner.

    Life is just too easy and convenient these days and the natural progression into narcissism is widespread amongst the best of us. Mate, you and your support team are shining beacons of what it means to relentlessly pursue your goals and accomplish them through thick and thin, selflessly.

    Can’t wait to welcome you home and catch up.


  6. Are you able to post an ETA Tooraddin? I’ll bet you’ll be glad to get home!. Cheers……Geoff

    1. Hi Geoff,
      We are expecting to get into Tooradin tomorrow (Monday) between 3.30 & 4.30pm. We will be updating the OWC FB page throughout the day to give better ETAs. Cheers, Dave.

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