Getting airborne again

Of course, just jumping in an aircraft and heading off into the sky would be simple.  Well, it perhaps would be if my two yearly flight review was not due. So, I’ve started the process of making sure my Private Pilots Licence (PPL) is current and the trip can be completed legally. This started at Warnervale Airport and the Central Coast Aero Club with the commencement of my Biennial Flight Review. Following a break in flying, I can say it was a fantastic hour.
Cessna 172 - VH-BAO
Whether its a geek thing, I’m not sure, but flying light aircraft has it all. Lining up, increasing the engine speed and commencing a take-off roll from a standing start to a point where you can actually fly (yes, fly!) is truly exhilarating. Imagine a subtle start as the sound increases and movement begins to transform into a burst of energy.  The runway slowly turns from a textured surface into a blur of speed. Breaking from the ground at 55 knots turns this road going machine into an airborne craft that no only goes right and left, but up and down. Amazing.
As I look out the window I am not blessed with a sun-drenched vista. Today it is grey, but not a dull boring grey. Todays grey is full of a variable wind and rain, often heavy at times, making each take-off and landing different from the last. Any thoughts of work have long disappeared from my head – controlling a machine in flight and taking in the surroundings are filling my senses with an adrenaline fueled pleasure. But alas, good things come to an end and Andrew, my instructor, advises we make the next landing a full stop and the sixty minutes of flight (that feels like five) comes to an end.
I’ve still got a theory refresher and a some more flying to complete for my review, but if this is like todays adventure, I can’t wait.
I’m now hoping to finish my mission by the end of 2011 with the great folks at The Fred Hollows Foundation extending my fundraising permission until this date. So, if you haven’t already, please consider making a donation by clicking the ‘Donations’ button to the right of this page. 100% of donations go to the appeal. Thank you.



After several weeks practicing and reading up the skills associated with flying a light aircraft in the dark, Wednesday night was test time to demonstrate to the test officer that I could successfully pilot an aircraft in the dark alone.

Unlike driving a car an endorsement is required for a pilot to fly after dark and before dawn. This includes navigating by radio aids (as you cant see so many landmarks) and using instruments more to ensure the aircraft is not actually upside down or some other precarious position. Also avoiding low terrain is high on the list of things to get right.

After an oral theory test the flying got underway. The trip was supposed to be from Warnervale to Maitland, Singleton, Scone, Warkworth, Cessnock, Mt McQuoid to Warnervale. However a en-route diversion meant not getting as far as Scone. However the time saved in journey time was spent on demonstrating the recovery of unusual attitudes, navigation aides and orbiting 360 degrees whilst making sure my altitude did not vary by any more than 200 ft.

Two and a half hours later and the test was complete and I'm now happy to be able to fly at night.


C150 Navigation Exercise

Some pictures from todays solo flight = Warnervale - Maitland - Bundook - Nowendoc - Quirindi - Scone (touch & go) - Singleton - Maitland - Warnervale. 4.5 hours. This picture taken just south of Scone.

This picture taken just south of Scone.

The hills and valleys of NSW.

Following the railway line through the Williamtown military area.

To avoid being hit with a missile through the Williamtown military flying zone, its possible to fly up a 'lane' at 1000 feet which tracks the railway line. In this picture the railway and road run parallel. It was about at this point the aircraft radio stopped working....


Overhead Sydney - 10,000 Feet

Overhead Sydney - 10,000 Feet
Originally uploaded by harrip.

Flew to Canbera and back today in a Cessna 172 (KHT) via Sydney controlled airspace. Awesome view - just like Google Earth :)


Change of house, change of airfield

Having moved from Sydney to Terrigal, and got used to the mortgage payments, I finally got chance to pop along to my new local airfield at Warnervale to get some flying training under way.

Warnervale is almost the complete opposite of flying from Bankstown, my previous airfield. There is no control tower, there is only one rather narrow run-way, rather than than the three wide stips at Bankstown.

I've now signed up with the Central Coast Aero Club so I can continue to work closer towards my goal of obtaining a Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL).

My initial lesson was some basic familiarisation training and circuit revisision. As I'd not flown since May, I was a little rusty so it was good to get back in the air. I flew with Wayne Young, the CFI.