Tuesday, 17 April 2007


Narelle kindly drove us all the way to Bankstown Airport. A huge journey across town through areas not known to any of us. Kev was also in search of upper cylinder lube and needed to locate the product. Not an easy journey and it took hours.

She was fascinated by the plane and climbed aboard for a photo or two before we finally got clearance and departed Sydney skies heading north. Just out of the field and in the general light aircraft corridor, it was difficult to navigate our way through unfamiliar landmarks. I had woken with a headache and it became worse as I tried to concentrate. Sarah and I traded seats and I rested on the back seat to try and ease the pain.

We tracked via the Entrance and then up to West Maitland before trying to locate Luskintyre - the mecca of tiger enthusiasts in Australia. After cruising around the beautiful Hunter Valley for about 10 minutes, there it was - a beautiful all over grass field with a yellow tiger sitting on the green grass. WHAT A SIGHT!!!

Lady Bird at Luskintyre Clubhouse Luskintyre

Jeff Kubank's newly restored Tiger

Ray Windred, Jeff Kubank, Vince and Terry were all working on Tigers and a tractor was busy mowing the already beautiful airfield. Geoff’s tiger is just out of a total rebuild and looks great! He was doing the final tweaking of rigging and putting some time on the engine ready for its airshow debut at Echuca.

While Vicki, still suffering from a shocking headache, put her head down for a nap, we caught up with the guys and explored the museum and hangars. After a cuppa with Ray we saddled up for the run to Port Macquarie. Vicki’s headache had eased, thankfully, although not gone!

This entailed a flight up a beautiful mountain valley to Gloucester through the Williamtown airforce restricted access lane at 1000 and then 1500 feet. Absolutely magnificent scenery!!! Then up over some rugged country (spectacular) and on down to Port Macquarie.

Our descent into PM was superb with dead-smooth air and not a sound from the radio despite our numerous in-bound calls. So we slid around for a base entry onto 03 as the sun set to our west over the mountains. To our amazement as we turned final at 500 feet we were confronted with a twin on short final at the other end of our runway!! An instant go-around also found a large commuter sliding downwind for a landing on 21 – so we flew wide and joined down wind for 21 following the RPT.

It seems the pilot heard all our transmissions but for some strange reason we did not hear them and were un-aware of their presence until it all happened. Exciting what! A post landing discussion with the RPT pilots soon clarified things and all was well.

The usual tie down, de-oil, tidy up etc. and we were offered a lift from a hire car operator, Terry. He had a lovely green Alexander parrot on his shoulder (Charlie) who chatted to us on the trip whilst we located a Motel with vacancy. A very pretty town, P.M. is settled on an inlet and very touristy but a delight with friendly people and lots of eye pleasing sights.

After a great meal at a Chinese restaurant we walked back to the motel, planning the next day’s flight and settling in for the night.

Country side Luskintyre to Port Macquarie


Photos of Zoo to come later!

A day at Taronga Zoo – what more can I say. Great trip across the bay on ferries, hours of leg tiring walking around the zoo. Watching fantastic seal and bird shows. Eating whatever food you can find. Very tired and happy trio ferried back to Rose Bay after dark.

Taxi ride to the Iceberg Club at Bondi for pre-dinner drinks with the Bailey/Capabala family. Long walk around Bondi beach and beyond to find a restaurant that could fit us in. A fantastic authentic Italian meal with foods Sarah had never tried before. Bruschetta, garlic bread, pancetta and thin tasty pizzas with fantastic toppings. Sorbet icecream to follow just in case we were not stuffed full. Stimulating conversation with Jacapo about eating styles and what NOT to eat together. Great learning curve – thanks Narelle and Jacapo.

Another late night we fell into bed after making arrangements for going out to the airport the next morning for our departure.
Narelle & Sarah in Lady Bird


Dick & Margaret En route showers River gorges

Another cool morning in Goulburn but we had agreed to join Margaret in her aqua aerobics session. The pool was indoors and well heated so it was great once in. Sarah and I swam a few laps to warm up then joined M and her two friends in an hour long session of muscle stretching and toning exercises. Well M showed us how flexible and fit you can still be at age 75+. She was great. We felt so much better for having had the exercise.

Kev and Dick had ventured out to the airfield – Kev to fit the transponder (possible fix) and Dick practiced for his display for the up-coming Echeuca Airshow. His display was as good, Kev said, as any pilot half his age. He flies the Stampe as if it were part of his own body. A true showman.

We all got together over lunch and planned the next leg of our travels to Sydney and beyond. Dick and Margaret have flown extensively around Australia so are invaluable in their advise in where to fly for the best scenery and routes.

The flight to Sydney – Bankstown was very pretty via open farming valleys then steep ravines and few rain showers. The entry into Bankstown via the corridor was challenging especially when an eagle appeared right in front of the plane. Just missed it. Bankstown airport was very busy and an adjoining runway with aircraft landing alongside (doing touch and go’s) was a little off putting for Sarah – who is always looking out for other aircraft!
Entry to Bankstown

We packed up lightly – jumped aboard a taxi, then trains until in the city where niece Narelle and her mad friend Monique met us at the train station.

Yeeha time. Off to her place where they had numerous friends and family over for a lunch!? They had awaited main course for us – how nice. Narelle’s brother Aaron and his new lady Saba, together with Jacapo’s parents from Italy – Luciano and Paola were all there. It was so nice to see Claudia again. She is nearly 3 now and so much fun. The roasts of pork and lamp with 8 mixed veggies was delicious especially with all the wines and assorted drinks that flowed. Tiramisu followed and then Kev sampled all the assorted liquers going around. What a fun filled night.

Sarah agreed to be a email pal with Luciano Capabela to help her with her Italian. So now she will email him in Italian (or English if it doesn’t make sense) and Luciano will reply to her in Italian or correct it if needed. His English is quite good and he’s had a very interesting life as a marine biologist.

We retired to our booked hotel – the Cranbrook in Rose Bay for a good nights sleep.


An assortment of Hot Rods - Goulburn

Had a washing and tidying up morning enjoyed with our hosts’ company.

The big event planned for the day was the Hot Rod Annual Convention being held in Goulburn. We headed out to the race track where up to 300 assorted rods from all over Australia were on display.

They were all extra-ordinary. Hours of gawking and photographing was followed by lunch whilst listening to the live band and then a browse through the stalls was a very enjoyable day.

Margaret then showed us through the local Presbyterian Church which was open to the public. The original stained glass windows were intricate in their hand painting of detail. The 3000 pipe organ is probably the largest original church organ still in use in Australia. Every part of the church has been well preserved or restored. Truly magnificent. They are raising $1million to complete the church spire which had never been built. Such a worthwhile cause. It did look like it needed one

Dinner that night was pizza with a healthy side salad. The Nells a a truly healthy and fit pair in their late 70s. Was an honour to stay with them.


Leaving Merimbula coastline Canberra Parliament House Canberra City in sight!

Awoke to a bright sunny “beachside resort” type day. The sun shone down on the town ship below us. We walked up to a local IGA and purchased fruit/snacks for the day’s flight as well as the essential easter eggs. It was Easter Saturday and Easter Bilby was due that night. After breakfast, Sarah and I took a lovely ½ hour leisurely walk from the town all the way to the airport whilst Kev took the taxi, fuelled and loaded up Lady Bird for the next flight.

We were very reluctant to leave this town which looked so pretty from the air. Departed at a leisurely 10.54 am and tracked to Dalmeny. We could not call Melbourne or any other centres but someone on the ground at Moruya could hear us so we knew our radio was working. Finally an Airvan heard our calls so cancelled our SAR time for us. The hills were very imposing on the West ward flight to Canberra for an estimated arrival of 11.35am. The entry into Canberra was interesting as we had to stay below 1500 to avoid controlled air space but the hills were at 1800!

Kim Jones met us and took us to his home for a lovely cold meat and salad lunch with Pam. An enjoyable hour chatting away about family and life with Pam was great whilst Kev and Kim “tinkered” in the shed admiring Kim’s nearly finished aircraft as well as building a “possible fix” for the transponder problem.

Back at the airport we took to the skies once again for the hour long flight to Goulburn. The hills changed into open valleys and down over dry Lake George. This lake has been dry for so long that it is fenced and farmed!

Met upon arrival by Dick who seemed a little over awed by the size of the Stinson – he couldn’t find a hangar large enough to house her. We told him that she has lived outdoors on this trip and would be fine.

An evening with Dick and Margaret chatting over a great meal was followed by hitting the hay and sleeping very soundly.


Coming off the Western Teirs - NW Tasmania

Unfortunately the weather pattern looked bad and although we had planned to fly to Strahan and beyond it was not going to happen. Pilot in Command decided that we should leave southern Tassie before we were socked in by weather that could keep us there for up to a week. So with a sad and heavy heart we said our farewells at Cambridge airport to Nanny Milly by 10am.

In company, once again, with Ben and Eleanor Sharpe in the C170 we departed Hobart after a loop over Stephen’s house for the NW. We tracked up the Derwent River initially then up past Jericho seeing all the Midland towns in the distance.

Up onto the Western Tiers we were astounded by the lakes atop mountains at 4,500 feet. Due to the poor rainfall the lakes were not deep but very spectacular. Abeam Launy Ben and Eleanor left us as they were returning to the mainland that day. We continued on until we fell off the edge of the mountains! One minute we were at 1,000 feet above ground level then we were 5,500 feet AGL. What a speccy view and weird feeling. Once again the views were so different. Deep gorges with wide rivers at the bottom. Rich country side all the way to Burnie.

We arrived at Wynyard Airport at 11.30 am to a lovely wide open field – with no-one in sight anywhere. Luckily there was Gaynor standing behind the security fence waving madly. She looked so great – hadn’t changed a bit I thought – even though we hadn’t seen each other in 11 years. But she couldn’t get in and we couldn’t find a way out. After a search we taxied away from the commercial end to the private owners end and found the Aero Club and exit gate. We tied Lady down, piled the luggage into Gayn’s car and headed off for lunch.

Fish and Chips (again) YUM YUM were eaten atop the Wynyard lookout near the lighthouse. What a beautiful scenery to eat lovely food with. Sarah hand fed wrens that hopped in for their share. We talked (and talked) and walked down the path before we headed back to Burnie for the day.

View from Wynyard Lookout - East

We telephoned Rick and Manuela who were not busy that evening so planned a BBQ get together. We drove into a shopping centre to buy food etc and who should we run into – but Rick and Manuela! We hadn’t seen each other since Sarah was about 2 so the re-union was very loud and noisy (And in a supermarket?!).

We planned another reunion upon them arriving at Gaynor’s place - then had to tell Kevin and Campbell that was all put on – due to the earlier chance meeting. A great evening of eating drinking and reminiscing was had by all. Especially Manuela and I who had known each other since the age of 18. Their 3 were all grown up and living on the mainland – it was great to hear about their lives.

It was really great to stay with such old friends and share good times again – I almost felt 25 again!

Rick, Manuela, Sarah - Vicki Kevin, Gaynor & Campbell

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.