Monday, 14 May 2007


Into the wartime hangar at Nhill


We all slept in till after 7am. Sarah was cuddled in her bed with the electric blanket on whilst Kev and I had slept in an old fashioned double with the mattress at 3 foot high. Darryl had left very early that morning for a meeting in Melbourne. We enjoyed our breakfast with Mary, watched the magpies being fed then a walk around the garden.
Thatched garden shed at Argall's Nhill
We headed out to the airfield to pack and prepare for our next leg to Adelaide. The Nhill hangar is the only 1 left from the 5 that were built during the war when flying training was at it’s peak. The small clubrooms held photos from that era when it was a full time flying training school (FTS).
Drought stricken Victoria A lonely little cloud East of SA border

We departed Nhill about 10 am, once again over drought stricken country with some paddocks ploughed and prepared in anticipation of rain. The countryside changed to scrub, too poor for agriculture. Sarah was feeling ill due to turbulence and for the first time in the trip tried my sickness band. Much to her relief it helped her nausea abate and she felt more comfortable for the remainder of that leg. We climbed to 4,500’ for smoother air and descended back to 2,500 as we approached Tailem Bend and Murray Bridge. On calling Melbourne Centre for our airways clearance into Adelaide we experienced radio problems and could transmit but barely receive. After orbiting outside controlled airspace we finally raised Adelaide tower where we were blessed with an American controller called Chuck who was fantastic in the way he directed (without transponder radar assistance) around the back of Adelaide control and into Parafield. He reminded us of the Oshkosh controllers by the ease with which he handled our situation.
Inside Eagle Maintenance Hangar Parafield
Landing at Parafield we taxied into the Eagle Maintenance hangar where Mick Wright had arranged for us to be able to, once again, work on the oil leak problems. Marc Michelle soon arrived offering his help in the required repair of the leaks. Unfortunately I had been suffering from quite a severe headache and could not be any help to them so Marc took Sarah and I to their house to rest for the afternoon. They live on a 40+ acre property at One Tree Hill which is about 25 minutes from Parafield. Up into the hills we drove and the Michelle property was set in a picturesque valley which was suffering from the drought. There was not 1 blade of grass in the paddocks to feed their horse and pony nor their 3 sheep. Many kangaroos stay on the property as Marc and family make them welcome and we saw a small mob near the driveway as we entered. The house was a huge design with a very appealing skyline. The bedrooms/kitchen etc were set around a main room of 10 square metres with a fully glazed gable roof. It had shade blinds to keep out the severe sun and was a very pleasant room in which to relax. The ceilings were 12 foot high and all internal doors were colonial style with glazing. The décor was rustic with the dining table being at least 12 foot long. Sarah went outside to meet and feed the horses and walk around the property. I went to bed with more tablets to try to get rid of the headache.

Kevin and Marc returned home after a long afternoon where they again degreased the oil laden engine, ran it to find the specific leaks then re-cleaned and sealed two gasket areas with (good old) selastic. The plane was made ready for tomorrow’s departure before hangaring Lady Bird for the evening. Her 2nd night inside for the whole trip!

Although I spent my time in bed feeling horrible the Michelle family made us feel very much at home and Kevin and Sarah enjoyed a home cooked meal and their hospitality before retiring for the night.

Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL

Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL
over Perth city (Photo: Greg Hill)

About Us

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Flying farming couple who live on 135 acres. Kev is obsessed by aeroplanes. Vicki is devoted to horses and White Swiss Shepherds.