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An unexpected treat


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Had my first 'solo' flight in the CT4 today...with no passengers that is...a very strange feeling I can tell ya! We needed to drop the CT4 down to Merimbula for the week as it needs a few minor maintenance issues to address.


Kaz drove the car down and I flew down, both trips via Cooma. We left home at the same time, I took an extra long time to pre-flight and was 'wheels up' just over an hour after we left home. Sent a txt message to Kaz just as I was approaching Cooma and Kaz was just leaving, thought I'd see if I could find her (and make sure she was on the right road :)). Tracked her down just out of Cooma and 'buzzed' her a few times before heading down to Merimbula...was on the ground for about 35 minutes before Kaz showed up. FLYING RULES!!!


So...to the unexpected treat. Rex (our LAME) invited us to a get together at a local strip called Frogs Hollow...which is really a sheep paddock with a kind owner who lets locals fly from there, it's located between Merimbula and Bega. So on our drive home we stopped in to say g'day and meet some of the locals. One of the locals is a fella by the name of Des Heffernan and is the proud owner of the only Victa Aircruiser ever made.


For those who don't know the history, the Victa Aircruiser was a 4 seat version of the Airtouer and ultimately became the basis for the CT4. The Aircruiser was never put into production due to the Victa aviation department going broke at the time and the designs were sold to AESL in NZ. AESL didn't progress with the Aircruiser but focussed on the CT4 design as a number of Air Forces were after an ab-initio trainer at the time...including Australia...and the Aircruiser became the Airtrainer. Apart from the obvious cockpit differences, the airframe and engine is practically identical except the CT4 is a bit 'tougher' to cope with +6/-3g loads...and the exploit of Air Force pilot trainees 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif.


Not only is Des a lovely bloke with a very unique aircraft and some great stories...he was nice enough to offer us a flight in the Aircruiser...and who am I to say no to a fight in a unique aircraft such as this! Then to my surprise, he tells me to get in the pilot seat and take controls of his pride and joy. Despite some of the similarities between the the CT4 and the Aircruiser, the cockpit setup is completely different...like a yoke not a joystick, centre throttle/prop/mixture controls not dual throttle quadrants, hand operated non-differential brakes, manual flaps...plus a heap of other stuff...so it's a bit different. Apart from all of that, it was actually very similar to fly to the CT4...not quite as noisy though as the Aircruiser has mufflers as it was designed for civil use and actually has some insulation. So we went for a bit of a doddle around Bega and then back into circuit using the same procedure and numbers as the CT4 for a greaser of a landing...I think even Des was impressed with the effort from this "rookie" :).


Anyway, after a great aviation adventure, we then had to sit in the car for 2.5 hours in the never ending line of cars heading back to Canberra & Sydney on the road from Cooma to Canberra...did I mention that FLYING RULES!!!



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Guest David C

Matt ..


A great report , thanks .. Incidentally " Just Fred " and I met Des Heffernan at Mittagong Airfield a few years ago at a local flyin . He is a great character and was very proud of his unique aeroplane that day too , having flown it up from Frogs Hollow . I believe he has family in the Bowral area and often visits this area , although we have not met since that day . Who knows he may pop into The Oaks one day on one of his trips North ..;)



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