Thursday, 21 April 2011

April 19 Tamworth to Gatton Airpark

Our plans for the day were to fly from Tamworth to Gatton Airpark – home of Steve and Beatte Ewing.  Gatton AP is only 20 nm east of Toowoomba and the total flight was anticipated to be about 2 ½ hours.

After packing our bags and checking out of the motel, we again phoned our trusty taxi-driver Russell (he was almost like a son to us by this stage!!) and headed off to the airport.  Russell helped us carry bags to the Stinson and we all spent some time talking about the Stinson until he headed back to work.  At about this stage I remembered I had left my bathroom bag back at the hotel.  Most annoyed at myself, the best suggestion I had was to phone Russell (again) and have him collect the bag and bring it back to us.  An expensive case of forgetfulness – cost us $25.00. :]

To ensure we had enough fuel, we had to taxi to the bowser – this required a clearance from the control tower.  Following refueling, we again had to obtain a clearance to taxi to the holding point prior to run-ups and take-off.

QantasLink at Tamworth

We initially misunderstood the directions and turned the wrong way.  The map in the ERSA of the field showed so many taxi-ways we had to ask directions from the tower – who assisted us kindly.  We passed a Qantas Link intrastate commuter – doing his pre-flight checks and parked next to a Cap10 (a trainer) to complete  our own run-ups.

Completing run ups, we taxied to the holding point for runway 12Left and were told to enter runway and hold as a twin engine was completing a missed approach on the same runway but from the other direction!! How unusual – we thought.  I finally spotted the twin, high in the air, he announced his completion of his missed approach and we were given permission to depart.   

Ravines just out of Tamworth

After departing I was amazed at how quickly the terrain changed from lovely  parkland to very steep bushland ravines.  The sky was clear and the cloud base at about 4,500ft so we were able to climb high to avoid the bumps.  We passed Inverell, Texas and Warwick – all in varying types of valleys and lots of water/reservoirs abounding.
more ravines - Tiger Country

Gatton Airpark
Kevin spotted Gatton Airpark first.  It was such a pretty sight.  A wide green landing strip atop a hill with houses and hangars all neatly built down one side.  Only 2 new houses were being constructed on the opposite side.  Steve and Beatte were not yet back from “BrisVegas” and we were warmly greeted by their neighbour Martin who gave us a cuppa before helping us push the Stinson back to the hangar.

Steve and Beatte arrived home soon after and we spent hours catching up on when we last saw each other etc.  Steve owns a Fairchild (under restoration) and a Nanchang.  He previously lived in Tyabb and flew regularly with Peter B and Bob A.  He misses that flying camaraderie but totally enjoys having his hangar with air strip all outside his door.

Stinson with Steve Newing's Nanchang at Gatton Airpark

 We were taken to a golf club restaurant where we all enjoyed ourselves.

1 comment:

Son John n Lizzy said...

Hi Vicki and Kevin
Enjoying the adventure. Love all the pics too. love Son

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.