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About Wirraway

  • Birthday 01/12/1969

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Well, they call it the capital of Australia ... but I'm not so sure.
  1. Closing the log book

    Over the last couple of weeks I have had a couple of brief, and a few very long, conversations with two ex-private pilots (one of which is also an ex-LAME) and a couple of ex-RAAF pilots (one of which was a test pilot and is still an active GA pilot). Basically, I have had a couple of concerns in regards to my flying ... - Where is the GA industry going? With the increasing price of fuel (which will get worse with the carbon tax), the increasing age of the fleet and the continual squeeze on small airfields for development or reduced costs, will there be a GA industry in 10 years. More importantly, will there be a private GA industry whereby a private pilot can hire a plane for a weekend and fly somewhere. The general concencous was that it's not going to get any better than it is now. - What sort of pilot do I want to be? I will never be a commercial pilot. I am in my early 40's and have way too many financial responsibilities to just give it all up and start again. Given what a low hours GA pilot is paid now-a-days I would do worse than halving my current salary, probably getting close to quartering it. I also don't believe it is practical anymore to fly for holidays. The weather can play havoc with your plans, you have no car at the other end and more than a day aircraft hire without a large amount of flying is not really an option anymore (i.e. you can hire if you want to fly all around the country, but not if you want to go see your parents for a week). Add to that the fact that my wife suffers rhuematoid arthritis and would find it difficult getting into and out of an aircraft, let alone walking to and from one across an airfield and fly really isn't going to be a mode of transport for us. So, I will only ever be flying for fun. The problem here, and this was the subject of my conversation with the ex-RAAF test pilot, is that I don't believe you can safely fly once every couple of months. A low hours pilot must fly regularly (the test pilot reckons fortnightly at least) to keep their hand in. I don't want to be a dangerous, low hours, once-in-a-while pilot. So, given those two facts, my chats with the above people and a whole lot of soul searching I am going to stop flying. It's a damn hard thing for me to do as I feel like I never finished my licence and I hate to leave things unfinished, plus I am very saddened at not having the feel of a plane at my control again, but I just can't justify the money anymore for some fun and I can't justify the danger level I believe flying irregularly would create. All is not lost though as I have recently found my interest in fishing again, as some of you may have noticed. I have joined the local fishing club and been along to an outing or two with them and am thoroughly enjoying myself. Fishing is certainly an acitivity where it is more easy to say "hey, let's go fishing this afternooon" than flying is to say "hey, let's go flying". I dare say it is more social too, as I have certainly met a lot more like minded blokes! I did however have to break the news to my wife that I need to buy a four wheel drive as the family camry is starting to suffer under some of the places I want to take it. She was all for it saying she'd feel better with me fishing than flying (I always knew it scared her a bit). I am now in a strange state of being a little disappointed but confident that I have made the right decision. So, if you have made it this far into my little ramble, thank you for listening.
  2. Lesson 35: It's on again!

    Thanks Jay. I get a kick out of hearing that other people are enjoying them. I feel very privileged that life has been kind enough to allow me to do this, I can tell you.
  3. Lesson 35: It's on again!

    At 1pm today the sky was completely cloudless, it was about 17 degrees and there was not a breath of wind as I checked out the Piper Warrior I would be flying. I have a new instructor too, an ex-Brindabella instructor named Peter, who is working in conjunction with Goulburn Aviation to establish a new school here in Canberra. Let me start by saying that the Warrior is a really nice plane to fly. I really enjoyed it. Especially seeing as this one has a brand new engine. Today was actually the first day Peter had ever flown it too as the Canberra Aero club has only recently picked it up. Anyways ... we flew out to the Barton training ground with the intention of me getting the feel for flying again. On the way out we had to dodge a fast moving, silver painted thing that was on a reciprocal heading. ATC had it flying all over the sky by changing the runway they were setting it up on but I eventually found it about 1000 foot over our head and crossing us left to right. Once it had gone by we climbed to 6000 feet, from our 4000, and got down to work. First up I did a left and right 30° turn, then upped the anty with two 45° steep turns, one in each direction. That is all that is officially required but Peter asked if I wanted to try 60°. I did, and they went fairly well given I haven't flown in 6 months. A 60° steep turn requires you pull 2g when it's done properly. After the steep turns I put the plane through 2 clean stalls and 2 dirty stalls before it was time to head back to the airfield. Once back we did 2 circuits after the initial touch and go, so 3 landings in all. By this time the afternoon breeze had come up and there was a bit of a variable crosswind that made me work a bit but I was very happy with my landings. They were so much smoother than I normally manage. I don't know why. That was it really. Peter reckons my flying was quite reasonable given I haven't flown for 6 months. We talked about things for a while afterwards, mostly that flying is all about attitude (the plane's this time, not mine). I do need to brush up on my checklist acronyms though as they have gotten a bit rusty. The next session will be my long awaited first navigation exercise. I am seriously looking forward to that one!
  4. Riding the Financial Roller Coaster

    Well, after losing a lot of money with the support contract restructure I have now convinced the company that I am worth a considerable amount more money each year (actually, they offered it to me without much coaxing from me). I also have a 'senior' in front of my title now too, which I think means people are noticing my grey hairs. In any case, with the added money, and the go-ahead from the wife, I am now talking with the person I mentioned last post about resuming my training. I will probably begin with yet another refresher as it will be yet another new aircraft (a Cherokee this time) before finally moving on to my navs. Oh, and the instructor is most likely going to be Michael, the same one I flew with at Moruya. The guy will start to feel like I'm following hime around soon!
  5. Just my luck!

    A new flying school has opened here in Canberra! Goulburn Aviation, a company I didn't even know existed, has done a deal with the local aero club to open a base of operations out of YSCB. It is being managed by one of the ex-Brindabella instructors who says he didn't even know they existed until well after Brindabella closed down their flying school. Anyways, I got in touch with them and met up with the instructor on a Sunday afternoon to go over the flight plan for my very first navigation exercise. The plan was for a flight to Cowra and back again via Yass township the following morning. That's a flight of just under an hour in each direction. Monday dawned an absolute classic Canberra pea soup'er of morning. I got in touch with Peter (the instructor) and he said to sit tight. I watched the CAVOK on the NAIPS forecast slowly receed in to the afternoon and we eventually abandoned the plan when clear skies passed 2pm. So, Tuesday morning I return to work only to find that the restructuring and rescoping of the lucrative support contract that pays for my flying will reduce my overall salary by something in the order of $15,000 a year. That means that I can't afford to fly anymore. At least, not until I finish putting my children through school which should be in about 2.5 years time. So ... I guess this will be the last entry for a while. I'm doing my best not to look up and sigh whenever I hear a light aircraft winging over head. There have been more of them now that there's a flying school here again too.
  6. Friday 8th

    I would have liked to be there. Last night was the first night I'd made it home before 8pm this week (after leaving for work at 7am each day), most nights it has been after 10. I fell asleep on the lounge room floor about 9pm. I hate bids ... 1.5 weeks to go on this one!
  7. Club Flight 25 MAR

    The wife called just as I was about to leave work for home. She wanted to go see her mother for the weekend so I ended up with a 160km drive home, via Braidwood.
  8. Club Flight 18 Mar

    i will try. I was in Sydney Monday and Tuesday and worked late every night this week so I'll have to gauge the browny point account.
  9. Club Flight 11 Mar.....not ?

    Have to pick my son up 8:30 and pick something up on the way home. At best I'll probably be on about 9pm EADT.
  10. Club Flight 11 Mar.....not ?

    I might drop in. I could be a little late though, it depends on when my son is ready to be picked up!
  11. Your favorite part of Flight Lessons

    1st solo for sure. The sun was just setting and everything was golden in colour with really long shadows. The ATC at Canberra wished me luck and congratulated me on touch down. Secondly, 1st area solo. Out there on my own, especially when ATC started giving me quick and unusual entry instructions on my return so he could slot me in to traffic. Or being held out at the Captains Flat reporting point trying to 3rd party relay radio calls to ATC from a scratchy radio somewhere north of me. Recently, the first time I felt comfortable flying again after a long break and looked at my surroundings at Moruya. Blue sea, white beaches, coastal farms and blue/green mountains in the distance!
  12. Club Flight 25Feb

    I was thinking that something similar, but with a downed plane somewhere in the Whitsunday's, and using Tim's new Murray Island would be kind of interesting!
  13. Club Flight 04 MAR

    That sounds like a fun flight! I've been meaning to get back in to some online flying. I'll do my best to be there I think. I'm on call though so there's a small chance I might need to disappear with little warning.
  14. So Who's Going?

    That free grog is a killer isn't it, Tony!
  15. Lesson 34: More Circuits

    I promise not to waffle so much this time around! Saturday's weather was clear with a good strength sea breeze blowing by the time I arrived at Moruya. It was pretty much right down the 05 runway though so was fairly easy to deal with, crosswing wise. However, when you're using 05 you start your final turn pretty much above a small hill then cross the river, then some trees before the boundary fence and then land. Those trees and the river tend to set up a bit of mechanical turbulence that can see your ASI go from a nice steady 70 knots to 60 knots very quickly. It can also bounce you about a bit and remind you that you can't let your feet go to sleep on the rudder pedals. Regardless, the day was pretty uneventful with about 9 circuits being accomplished in an hour of flight. I did have to contend with an RA Gazelle in the circuit which was about 30 knots slower than us along with a few other aircraft departing on runway 36 while we were on downwind (and therefore directly above them as they climbed below us). I learnt two very important lessons though ... 1) Having the carbi-heat on a quadrant lever similar to the throttle and mixture is a bad idea. It does have a different shape and is smaller than the other two but imagine my surprise when I shut off the mixture as I turned base rather than turn on carbi-heat! A splutter of the engine, a "yikes" and a quick push of the mixture back to full rich and things were purring again. It scared me and the instructor though! Michael was pretty good about it though saying that every student does it at least once. 2) Don't cut the throttle too quick in the flare when in a Sundowner. You loose elevator authority and sink like a stone! That resulted in quite a bang on the deck. Not too rough but it quickened the heart rate for a moment. Michael picked up on the bugbear of my flight training though. I seem to have the inability to pull back enough during the flare and almost always land too flat. We agreed it was something to work on in the morning. I then spent the rest of the afternoon fishing off the rock wall sticking out in to the ocean beside the airfield Day two started with rain but cleared up by 9:30 so we set off for more of the same. I also did my first CTAF radio work. Because the morning held a very light southerly runway 18 was in use so I got to taxi along 05 then backtrack almost the full length of 18. This runway seems so long after using 05 for the last three flights! First up I did four normal approaches and said aloud each time "back, back, back" while in the flare. I read some advice in the latest Australian Flying magazine that said that saying things to yourself out loud may scare you passengers but is the best way of actually making yourself do something. It's something to do with the pyschology of actually hearing a voice tell you what to do. It seemed to work too. Today's landings were much better. Getting towards the end of our time allotment Michael cut the throttle to idle just as I was about to start my base turn and said "lets see if you can get home with no engine.". The Sundowner has a best glide speed 10 knots faster than the C172, being 75 knots. It drops fast though at about 700 foot a minute. Even so, I had to pull full flaps to loose enough altitude to touch down a 1/3 of the way down the runway. It was also one of my nicest landings of the day! on what I thought would be the last circuit Michael decided to cut throttle again, this time just after the downwind turn. He said "what would you do now?". We were out to sea just off Toragy point (look at google to get your bearings). I said "head straight for runway 23!" to which he said "let's do it then". Again I set up the glide and was looking forward to actually landing on the dirt. However, I had enough height to put down right on the intersection of the two runways. I then taxied to the Sundowner's hangar right up the west end of the airfield and put the plane away. That's it for another installment. As we walked back from the hangar we talked about our next session. We will probably spent about 3 hours of a Saturday arvo in briefing and flight planning and then fly my first nav on the Sunday morning. Michael also recommends that I do the first few navs as close together as I can to drill the flight planning home. So it might be a busy time next month!