Sunday, October 21, 2007

Escape to Cowra

Flight hours: 5.2

I have actually been flying quite a bit, but have had nothing of interest to report until now. The SAAA held their national convention at the Cowra airfield, where some of the best in home built aircraft was to be be found along with workshops on home building and some flying displays thrown in for good measure.

I didn't stay for the full event (Friday to Sunday), instead I took my father out for the Saturday which materialised from a rather quick and random comment I made to him just two days prior "I might go flying out bush on the weekend, want to come?" He didn't know until the Saturday where exactly we were going.

On the morning of the flight, the forecast showed FEW and SCT clouds at various levels and from Bankstown, it looked like the layer of clouds extended to the Blue Mountains. Once airborne I could see this wasn't the entire case, so I decided to punch some holes in the sky and get above the clouds before heading further west over the mountains. I do really enjoy flying near clouds and turning and weaving to climb above them. NOTE: Never attempt to fly in or through clouds unless you have appropriate ratings and experience, especially if you are a VFR rated pilot!

Soon after, the clouds cleared to a perfect blue sky and the trip was smooth. As we headed to Cowra, Melbourne Centre (Radar) advised on the area frequency that there are 12 aircraft converging on Cowra with similar ETA's by what his computer could show him. I could not see any aircraft in front of me yet ML CEN was reporting a number of aircraft in my vicinity and near the altitude I was flying. I was actually the only pilot who grabbed a flight following after his announcement which helps to ensure my safety.

After landing in a very busy pattern (6 aircraft at once), we walked through the flight line and looked at some of the show aircraft. As soon as I entered the main tarmac area I saw none other than Jon Johanson, the famous Australian with an unbelievable number of flying world records. He was standing near his plane and was just getting off the phone. I had a nice chat with him and also enquired about his services to ferry aircraft from the US back to Australia for me. I also bumped into a fellow pilot and builder, Richard, who had also taken his father but was staying for the full weekend.

It is fantastic seeing a huge number of GA aircraft parked for an event like this and congratulations to Cowra council and the SAAA by putting on a great event.