Jump to content

Delivering SportStar 24-3798 to her new home


Recommended Posts

Well, it's done, SportStar 24-3978 (now to be known as "Dimples" - for those who have seen her, you'll understand!) is in her new home at Port Macquarie...and it was a bit of an adventure getting there!


Forecast looked reasonable so we departed Canberra just before 9AM on ANZAC day, headed direct Bathurst at 6500' above some broken cloud which was sitting on the hills. Made it to Bathurst on schedule, topped up the tank...so far so good.



The next leg was Bathurst to Maitland, again planning on getting up high to get over the hills and the cloud sitting on them. The forecast for Maitland was broken cloud at about 2000' and passing showers in the area. We took off and climbed to 5500' heading for Maitland, as we neared the range the cloud got higher so we climbed to 7500'...then 8500'. After about 20 minutes above what was about 7/8ths of cloud that appeared to be about 6,000 feet thick, we turned around and headed back to Bathurst where we knew the cloud was sparse enough to be able to get back down. On the way back to Bathurst we decided to divert up to Mudgee as the cloud bank was sitting on and to the east of the range and at least by heading further North we'd be getting a bit closer to our destination.


GPS track...the long way 'round to Maitland



We made it to Mudgee with no dramas and caught up with a few other "west of the range" travellers trying to get to various places along the northern NSW coast. After a bit of discussion, phone calls to locals at various fields and much finger pointing at charts, we decided to head up to Scone and see whether we'd be able to make it down the Hunter Valley to Maitland from Muswellbrook. Our fellow travellers had various other plans and we parted company wishing each other well. NOTE: Just like to give a plug to the Mudgee Aero Club who are kind and trusting enough to have all their club facilities open to those flying through - very much appreciated.



So off we headed to Scone. As with our trip from Canberra to Bathurst, the cloud was broken about the hills and getting a bit higher as the day went on. As we neared Muswellbrook the view down the Hunter Valley was quite welcoming, the cloud base was pretty solid around 2500' but not looking too menacing so off we headed down the valley...again, so far so good.


About 5nm from Maitland, with the field in sight, it started to drizzle then rain lightly with not much beyond the field visible...about time to land I reckon! Straight in approach to runway 08, landed, waved at the 20+ Kangaroos lining the runway and taxi up to the fuel bowser in time for the heavens to open and bucket with rain for the next 30 mins...looks like we won't be making it to Port Macquarie today. Apparently that was the wettest day for the Newcastle area for years...just our luck!



We phoned Gregg from Maitland to let him know that we'd be staying the night due to the weather and give him the bad news that he'd have to wait till tomorrow before we delivered his new baby to him...no worries, better to be late than in the news.


Next day arrives with a bit of sunshine and blue sky thankfully as we're heading from Maitland to Taree via the VFR lane through Williamtown airspace. Despite the bit of blue sky, the cloud base was again pretty solid at about 2500' but good enough for the terrain following run that was to come.


Having not flown the lane through Willy airspace before we weren't quite sure what to expect...other than we'd be spending all our time below 1000' in what looked like a pretty hilly part of the country!


Take off from Maitland and enter the lane closely following the railway line...hoping not to meet too many other folks heading the other way! Gotta say that this route is fantastic! With a solid cloud base above, the sensation of flying through the valleys and ridges and between hilltops at 110kts was awesome...wanted to turn around at the end of it and do it all again! As we approached the end of the lane the cloud base lifted and cleared a bit and the trip across to Taree and then up the coastline to Port Macquarie was quite a contrast to the flying and terrain through the VFR lane.


GPS track - Willy VFR lane...looks a lot like Darren's straight and level tracks 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif







New home for Dimples...



About 20 hours late but in one piece we arrived at Port Macquarie with Dimples' new owner waiting ever-so-patiently for our inbound call and arrival who greeted us with some other keen onlookers.




Proud new dad :)



Why am I looking so happy?!?!?!?!? 051_crying.gif.fe5d15edcc60afab3cc76b2638e7acf3.gif



The 'handover' flight...



Ironically, in all of my 400 odd hours of flying, this was the first time I've ever had to divert for real and the only time we've never made our planned destination. I'd like to think we made good decisions along the way and, despite having a desire to get to our destination that same day, we had also planned in the event we couldn't and had "what if" options for each leg of our journey...some of that training actually pays off, the old buggers were right 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif (TIC of course )



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest David C

Great trip report and awesome photos ;)... Bet there was a little lump in the throat when you eventually said goodbye to Dimples ..


David C



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great report Matt.


Seemed like wise decisions to me, or were you just delaying the hand-over? 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif


What's the story with the dimples? Are they staying? I thought the insurance company was going to reskin her.


The new owner looks like a kid at Christmas.


I still want to catch up for a drink sometime.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Fred Bear

Bye Dimples 051_crying.gif.fe5d15edcc60afab3cc76b2638e7acf3.gif I'll miss you I know that! Gregg, I'll be coming up there for a fly (again).You can't take her away.Well done Matt.Hope it does not hurt inside too much mate.I know I would...Excellent decisions along the way too.Better late than never mate.Well done.See you when we get down there in a few wks.Keep that weekend free.Emma has the details.Flying maybe??


PS, thanks alot re the comment on my GPS tracks.Are they really that bad?:confused:Still love the print-outs!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great story. Really enjoyed reading it, but was more than a bit surprised when I saw the photo's and then checked the date. I live in Victoria, and was passing through Port Macquarie that day, unfortunately by car, and happened to stop in and look at the airport that day and saw the Sports Star there. Just wish now that I had of walked over and said hello, but I was in a hurry, to get to Gosford for a birthday party.


The Sports Star looks just as good in your photo's and the colour scheme is unmistakeable.





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...