Jump to content

Mudgee WWW


Recommended Posts

Wings, Wheels and Wine


All 3 were in abundance at Mudgee, although I can only attest to the first 2. It did become a bit of a catch phrase though - "I can't taste it, I'm flying home"


But I foregress.


The weather reports were excellent for a day's flying from Cooma to Mudgee and back, except.... it was obvious fog was going to be a problem.


So, I went to bed using all of my wizard powers to create a morning worth getting up at 3:30 for. A miraculous gap in the fog over Cooma was all I was asking for.


Woke at 3:15 without an alarm, rolled over and called up the latest reading from Cooma AP on the mobile. Bugger. Humidity 98%, temp 0, dew point 0.2 delta 0.2 (I'm making the figures up, stuffed if I remember exactly, but you get the gist). Got up anyway full of optimism based on my long established powers as a wizard.


Woke Emily, my lovely 18 year-old step-daughter, who was totally excited by the prospect of her first ultralight flight. Brave girl. No tentative introductory circuit for her. She wants to start with a 6 hour journey. Of course her father, by a curious coincidence, was one of my earliest instructors 27 years ago. John didn't even call me with the "you look after my daughter" speech.


So, in a spirit of optimism only matched by John Howard thinking he can win the next election, we set off for Cooma.


En route, there was more fog than I have driven through for years. I even got the chance to demonstrate to Emily how good I am at dodging roos at short notice. It was one of those times where there were Armcos on both sides and the roo thinks it has nowhere to go. It went.


On passing through Cooma and heading to the airport, there were promising signs. The odd star, less moisture on the windscreen, the ability to see the next marker post - very encouraging.


On arrival at the airport, Adrian, my ever-supportive instructor and owner of the Jabiru I was taking, was already prepping the plane. In the last 6 months, I have only beaten him there twice. He was there to show me how to unlock the plane. Locking is a doddle, but there is a trick to getting it open again. This hasn't come up before, but I thought it would be a handy skill as the Mudgee boys asked if I could put it on display.


So we talked and chuckled, and put a paint stripper gun up the cowling to warm it up because the last guy to hire it had left the master on and the battery was showing only about 11.4 volts.


Then we waited for the sun to come up and the fog to follow it.


It looked like this




A Notam stated that the Mudgee AP was closed at 55 for the Roulette display, so I had calculated that the latest departure time to beat this with a safety margin was 7:30. We prepped the plane and were ready ahead of this, then, confirming my wizard status, the fog dissipated at 7:20. Got airborne at 7:30 on runway 36 heading in the right direction.


I had planned a route around the suburbs of Canberra to the west which required staying below 3500 ASL for much of it due to class C airspace steps (I had been looking forward to this route), and an alternate to the east. On leaving Cooma it became immediately obvious that neither route was available. I replanned and recalculated, and decided on the clear route to the west over the mountains. Amazingly, there was no fog there. Despite a blanket to the east, we had constant landing options, although I had to climb to 8500 to ensure that.


A delightful and uneventful (apart from a potentially embarrassing bladder emptying incident I won't go into) 2.6 hours later we approached Mudgee.


There had been little fog for the last 100nm, but Mudgee was very different. It was no longer fog, but it recently had been.


The radio chatter told me that there was solid cloud over Mudgee, but if you got under it, all was good - and the west was the best option.


As I approached from the south, I had descended to below cloud-base, but a ridge appeared in front extending to both sides without adequate cloud clearance. A valley opened up to the west, so given the direction people said they were getting in, I followed it. I was sure the cloud was lifting and not settling, so I flew up the valley watching my options. It remained wide enough to turn safely if it closed in, and landing options were good, so I pressed on looking for a way into the next valley to the right (containing Mudgee).


All the while, the window to beat the Roulettes was closing. My safety margin had already been chewed into by having to track west of Canberra, so we were down to the wire. Suddenly (isn't this dramatic?), a break in the ridge-line appeared. I wish I had a photo, but I was busy. I turned east and flew through it, and miraculously (although no surprise because of the GPS) there was runway 04. I was tempted to ask for a straight in approach, but there was still lots of traffic on the radio.


So, knowing there wasn't much time, I headed for a tight upwind.


Then came the call from the Roulettes. Notam activated.


I called the tower, and they said "get on the ground or get out".


With a very expedited circuit, I was on the deck in 40 seconds. The Roulettes came roaring overhead as I was taxiing. A very different viewpoint. I was glad I cruised at 2900 instead of 2800. After 2.7 hours, we had snuck in by 60 seconds.


Here they are:




The WWW was very impressive. My ASIC had arrived a few days prior, and I was glad to have it. CASA were onsite, and things were being done by the book. The ASIC gave me freedom to wander airside and take photos.


Plus, I can finally respond to that forum poll.


I had been asked to put the Jab on static display, so I walked her through the barriers to a great spot in front of the open hangars where the food and wine tasting was happening.






I met Sam (bateo), who was very busy organising stuff and riding the ATV. It was great to put another face to a handle. Here he is in front of the DC3 which was kept fully booked for joyflights all day:




I still love the sound of a DC3. The reverb as it was accelerating down the runway was enough to stop you in your tracks. You knew - there went a serious aeroplane.


I was amazed to see Sam was younger than me. I had become accustomed to the codgers of rec flying. He was not only younger than 70, he was going to be that way for 40 years!


It was great to catch up even if only briefly Sam.


There were tons of attractions at Mudgee.


Lots of planes:












Lots of trains:


Bugger all really


Lots of automobiles:










And a few bikes:




I alternated my time checking out all the goodies on show, and spending time manning my static display and answering questions. There was heaps of attention for the Jab, and I did my best to fly both flags -the RAA and http:\\www.recreationalflying.com - I should have printed a bunch of flyers (flyers for flyers?) Ian.


The highlight of my visit was a 4 year old boy whose day was made by being able to sit in the pilot seat of a real (and scaled to him) plane. I think there lies another RAA member in 11 years.


One of the highlights was the racing between cars and planes. I missed getting photos of most of it because of the crowd. But here's a good one at the start of the race between the Morgan and the Tiger Moth.




That's Sam (bateo) on the ATV. This race went down to the wire, and from my viewpoint, the Tiger Moth got him on the line. I was talking to the pilot earlier and he said the plane is owned (and usually flown) by his mother.


Don't we all wish we had mums like that?


Anyway, snuck out as the Yaks and Nanchangs were about to fly and headed home via my mate's winery near Wombeyan Caves. Over that way there was constant traffic from The Oaks. Do you guys ever stop wearing out that runway?


Quick stop in Goulburn for a stretch (only a few planes in the area then Jack) and onward to complete the east track I planned for outbound.


Emily loved it, I slept 12 hours straight, and all is right with the world.


Total travel time:


3 hours by car


5.8 by Jabiru


average 12 litres per hour in the Jab (who cares about the car?)


departure: 04:30


return: 130


day duration: bloody long


If anybody has read this far, please let me know. I have stayed up until 3:00am to complete this report because the Narromine report isn't done yet and nothing was going to happen.


If I have beaten a record for the longest post yet to no avail, I will never do it again.


Oh yeah - a reward for those who got this far - the Jab in front of the DC3.


David and Goliath?







































































Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Fred Bear



A wonderful report as usual full of your witticism! One loves these types of reports :) Nothing left out, fantastic pics and even a little treat for us at the finale.Sounds like you had a great day mate although I'd love to know more about the bladder incident.:confused:Thanks so much for sharing it with us.To answer your question, no we never stop mowing the grass there, esp on a Saturday.;)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Emma Masters

Hey Ross,


That was certainly a great read for a Monday Morning sooooo much better than reading the newspaper!


Thanks, glad you had a great time and had company on your flight:)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest David C

Fantastic report Ross .... Thanks for sharing with us . Bet it took longer to compose than the flight there and back 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif.. The photos are great , and generate an atmosphere of " yesteryear " ... Ah those lovely Tiger Moths and Morgan cars ;).


David C



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Ross,


Seeing the fog here in Cooma that morning I thought for sure you'd have to abort. It obviously cleared at the airport earlier than in town, as it often does. Adrian is a good mate isn't he!


That's a great piece of editorial. Methinks you should send this off to the Editor of the RA-Aus mag for inclusion in an upcoming issue, it's a better read than some of the stories we see there. Seriously, do it ;). And ... make sure you give the forum a plug in the copy.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest bateo

G'day Ross,


Glad to hear you enjoyed the show.. All comments were very positive considering numbers were a bit down on previous yrs.. and the damn fog!! but oh well, I enjoyed myself.. Met alot of pilots along the way.. Good to have a 'brief' chat to you mate.. Great story!! Send it in to the mag!!!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the kind comments and encouragement people. It was worth staying up to get it done then.


While processing the photos I must have taken in a fair bit of scotch (by osmosis I swear). The report was then written "stream of consciousness" style while rapidly losing said consciousness. I didn't edit, but just kind of blurted. I guess that's obvious 025_blush.gif.9304aaf8465a2b6ab5171f41c5565775.gif. I did intend to include more stuff, especially to thank the Mudgee Aeroclub for a great event and hospitality. I'll be there next year.


We loaded the Jab with all manner of honey and hazelnut products. I intend to order some wine too. Emily loved the white port.


I didn't include a picture of her. Here you go -




Perhaps I will submit the report for publication, after a bit of a rewrite. It would be cool to be published. Did anybody have any concerns over publication of my decision making? Nothing there reflects badly on RAA?


I feel comfortable with it, but flying up the valley under low cloud, and getting on deck not too far in front of the Roulettes were possible areas of concern when I read what I had written once sober.









Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...