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Bringing Home 55-1837


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Bringing Home 55-1837


Launceston to The Oaks (Sydney)


Stage 1 – Launceston to Coldstream 25/2/2007


Boarding a Virgin flight from Melbourne to Launceston I was full of anticipation and excitement for what the day would bring. I was to be met at the airport and then driven to a private property 10 miles south of Launceston where my new little aircraft had been sitting in a hanger patiently waiting for me to pick it up since being purchased almost 2 months earlier. The time lag was due to a combination of weather, work commitments and me not having completed my cross country rating. I had just commenced flying again after a break of nearly 20 years and there was quite a bit of revision to be done.


[ATTACH]1780[/ATTACH] Boarding a Flight from Melbourne to Launceston


I looked out of the window of the B737 as we crossed Bass Straight and couldn’t help but think about the huge expanse of water beneath us. I turned on my Garmin GPSmap 296 and it indicated a ground speed of 405kts, maintaining FL400 and that we would be arriving at Launceston on time (yes a GPS does work in a commercial airliner if you sit next to a window).


The previous owner had the little Jabiru LSA55 gleaming as we drove up to the hanger. A check of the weather on the internet and a final briefing on some of the aircrafts finer points and I was ready to go. The plan was to depart to the North and fly around the Launceston control zone and then track almost direct to Cape Portland on the NE tip of Tassie before heading for Lady Barron on Flinders Island to land and refuel. I chose Lady Barron (gravel) as I didn’t have an ASIC card and did not want to run the risk of an $800.00 fine.


[ATTACH]1785[/ATTACH] About to depart


All looked good with the run up and I opened the throttle to takeoff. RPM at full power and airspeed increasing the aircraft shot down the runway, just lifting the nose and suddenly the airspeed indicator went no further, the aircraft continued to accelerate and became airborne but the airspeed indicator had obviously failed. So the choice was to land back on the short private strip or continue onto Flinders Island where the runway was long and I could approach at any speed and be able to hold off with plenty of margin for error. I decided to continue onto Flinders Island.


Approaching the island I descended below some cloud which was sitting over the western side with a base of 3000ft. The landing at Lady Barron was uneventful, perhaps just slightly faster than normal. Only one stage of flap was selected as I couldn’t be sure I was not going to slightly exceed my Flap Extension speed.


The pilot of a Cessna Caravan arrived from Tooradin and I was pleased to find out that the cloud only extended to the Northern tip of Flinders Island and from there I should be able to climb to a higher level for the longer over water leg with no further cloud until Wilsons Promontory.


[ATTACH]1782[/ATTACH] On the ground at Flinders Island (Lady Barron Gravel)


After topping up the tank (20 odd litres) and a cup of coffee, I attempted to clear the pitot and the airspeed indicator appeared to be working. Soon airborne and underway, however, once again erratic behaviour of the airspeed indicator preceded no airspeed indication at all.


Climbing out of Lady Baron, the course was set for Kilecranckie on the northern tip of Flinders Island. A slight diversion was required around a shower as I knew the wooden prop of the Jabiru does not like rain. Bound for Coldstream near Melbourne the planned flight time was 2.5 hours. Engine temperatures and oil pressure were all good and the little aircraft was flying beautifully. I was falling in love and had no reservations about the over water leg ahead.


Sure enough the cloud stopped at the northern end of Flinders Island. A call was made to Melbourne Centre to initiate a Search and Rescue watch based on scheduled calls every 15 minutes. A climb to 8,500 feet meant that I would always be within gliding distance of an island or at least a rock which, at worst case, I could ditch beside.


[ATTACH]1786[/ATTACH] Northern tip of Deal Island


Sitting in a tiny plane alone, surrounded by ocean, is a funny feeling, I just wondered how Michael Collins must have felt in his capsule alone on the other side of the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin were making history. For me, it invoked quite a special feeling. I felt free and good to be alive.


[ATTACH]1783[/ATTACH] A lot of ocean ahead (Clouds indicate Wilsons Promontory)


“Jabiru 1837, this is Melbourne, confirm operations normal?†More than 15 minutes had passed and I was suddenly reminded that I was not truly alone and someone was keeping an eye on me. Looking ahead I could see cloud toward the horizon. Based on what the Caravan pilot had told me at Lady Barron, this was probably Wilsons Promontory.


[ATTACH]1781[/ATTACH] Wilsons Promotory (Oberon Bay)


Approaching Wilson’s Prom I commenced a descent to below 5000ft. Some scattered cloud just added to the scenery. I tracked via Tidal River, where the cloud finished, to Leongatha and then direct to Coldstream. It was a magnificent afternoon and I just sat back and watched the scenery pass below. Some birds (no idea what they were) started diving from above and passing very close to the aircraft. This continued for about a minute. They dived past at such a high speed that there was no way I could do anything to avoid them and so I just maintained my track and hoped one didn’t end up through the windscreen. I tuned into the Moorabbin ATIS to see what the wind was doing there and then passed behind the Dandenong ranges to overfly Coldstream and join the circuit for Runway 17. Once again only 1 stage of flap used for the landing without the airspeed indicator.


What a great sense of joy to land and be unexpectedly greeted by some Melbourne friends for champagne and nibblies at the airport.


[ATTACH]1784[/ATTACH] Tucked into bed with the big planes at Coldstream


A great days flying and Jabiru 55-1837 was halfway home.

















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Guest danda

Awesome trip and equally awesome pictures thanks for such agreat report after all that I bet you enjoy your Jab a whole lot more.


Thanks Wayne.


Don;) 011_clap.gif.c796ec930025ef6b94efb6b089d30b16.gif



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Guest pelorus32



what a great trip report. I've sailed across Bass Strait a few times - in both good weather and really awful weather. I don't know whether I'd ever be game to fly across in a Jab or the like. Maybe I know first hand how wet it is.


Once again thanks for a great report. Waiting for part 2...


Kind regards





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Guest David C

Wayne .


Brilliant trip report ... Loved the photos and like the rest , waiting in anticipation for part 2 ...


David C



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Guest Fred Bear

Excellent Wayne! Thanks for sharing. I know just how proud you are of her (and wouldn't we all be).Waiting for the next...:)



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Thanks guys!


Thanks guys,


Flying is just such a fantastic adventure isn't it. Even a circuit is an adventure and it's wonderful for us to be able to share our experiences through Ian's fantastic website.


I think the recreational aviation community is damn lucky to have such a clever and dedicated fellow making this facility available.


I'll post the 2nd part of the trip when I get a chance. It was great fun as well...


I have a new prop on the aircraft now and it's performance is just sensational.


Looking forward to reading about all your adventures too.


Best Regards





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