Tuesday, 29 March 2011
March 25th Gawler to Horsham
The following morning with time to spare, we went to Allan and Ruth’s home close to Marc’s to catch up and spent nearly 2 hours admiring their quality gardens, With promises to bring Vicki next time, they dragged themselves away to fly the huge distance of 240 nm to Horsham.
With a departure at 9.40 am they cruised over pretty country side to have a look at Darryl’s old farm at Nhil. Arriving at Horsham after 2 ½ hours they found that there was a 20+k crosswind - definitely too strong for the Stinson to handle. The other strip was undergoing maintenance and totally US (unserviceable). With a dilemma like this and after many go-arounds, they were almost considering moving on when a local engineer with a ground radio suggested an area that could be suitable for the Reliant. With many precautionary flights and testing the area, with a vehicle showing the way, Kevin did a very short landing on a strip of ground alongside runway 18. The only problems were:- a row of 4 foot (1.1m) high posts on one side, an 18” (45cm) ditch on the other side and a 6’ high pile of dirt at the end of the cleared 200m area. With (both eyes closed tight), Maca keeping a firm hold on his legs, full flaps and with a steep but slow descent speed Kev arrived firmly and stopped within 180m. Maca let out a yelp of delight at the adrenalin buzz and Kev was quietly proud of his achievement. Those of you who know the Stinson which weighs in at 1100 kg empty and 1,818 kg fully loaded, would realize that a 180m stop into such a dangerous area was no mean feat.
Upon arrival they found that Stinson had developed a severe oil leak and after topping up with 5 litres of oil decided that work would have to be undertaken at Albury the next day before continuing on the journey.
Kev’s long term shearing mate Darryl Argall was there to meet them. As in past times he took Maca and Kev home for a fantastic cooked meal and to catch up with Darryl’s wife Mary. They also had a drive around the flood affected areas of town where the water line on many street poles was at 3’ high. The evening’s entertainment was superb, jokes and jibes all round. The food - copious and with much alcohol to drink, the night finished up with very happy tired crew.