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Across the pond to Tassie for Christmas


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Hi everyone, just to let you know Kaz and I haven't dropped off the face of the earth...merely dropped off the mainland to spend Christmas with Kaz's parents in Tasmania - for any forum members on the north west coast between Devonport and Wynyard, you'll probably have heard or will be hearing a lot of us as we buzz up and down the coast.


Will post a full trip report of our transit flight from Canberra to Moorabin to King Island to Devonport as well as some local flights we've been doing with pictures when we get access to some broadband internet...how slow is dialup!?!?!??!







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We're back.


A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to everyone, feel like we've been on another planet after our 2 weeks in Tassie without internet access :).


As promised, here's the trip report and photos from our Christmas journey from Canberra to Devonport...get a coffee/tea/beer and a comfy chair before starting this one!


The Trip Across


The plan was to leave on Saturday the 15th as Kaz and I were supposed to finish work on the Friday then attend our respective company's Christmas parties. That plan was moved forward a day when the weather forecast on the Thursday indicated perfect weather for Friday with a front coming through that night and not so good weather to follow. So we told both our bosses that in the interests of flight safety we'd be having an extra day off and wouldn't be making the Christmas parties...thankfully we both have very understanding bosses.


Our track would see us leave Canberra and track our normal path to Melbourne via Tumut, Albury and Mangalore. Normally we'd stop in at Point Cook but there's been another change in political climate down there and they wouldn't permit us to land. In lieu of Point Cook we headed for Moorabbin via the VFR lane from Kilmore to Sugarloaf. An inbound call at Academy and we track to join downwind for runway 34R. Having descended from a cruising altitude of 7500' where we had a nice cool flow of air into the cockpit, we're blasted by the hot air of a typical Melbourne summers day with a northerly wind. We head over and park under the tower and head into the airconditioned terminal building to meet up with my folks for a quick catchup and to exchange Christmas presents.


Loading up the CT4 like Santa's sleigh we refuel for the trip across Bass Strait that would see us track direct to Lorne from Moorabbin and climbing to 9500'. With the hot weather and a fully loaded CT4 it took us until just before Lorne to get to 9500' without pushing the temps into the red. Leaving the mainland behind, we contact Melbourne centre to set up our overwater sked calls - in addition to transponder and being tracked on radar, there's an extra level of comfort knowing someone is keeping an extra eye on you as you head off over water.


The skies had been clear until we approached King Island where a cloud layer at about 12000' had thickened up and we started to see signs of upper level rain. As we head over King Island and near our turning point, we run into the edge of the rain and the horizon suddenly disappears as the cloud base had also dropped with the rain. Straight onto instruments and conduct a 180 degree turn to get us back to clear skies. Once clear of the rain we have a look to either side of the rain band to see how far off track we'd need to go to get around it, we also dropped down to 8500' to see whether it was any clearer underneath. As we turn back to our planned heading and near 8500' the cloud base was above us an there was now a horizon again and the rain had reduced to a light shower - good enough to fly through with the Tasmanian north west coast visible through the drops streaming on the windshield.


As we approach the coast we're now in front of the cloud and rain band and heading to blue skies as we track past Wynyard and begin our descent into Devonport. Overflying Devonport township there's no other aircraft in sight or on the radio as we overfly the airport and join crosswind for runway 06. We touchdown and taxy around to the GA parking where Kaz's brother is waiting to greet us.


Flight times for our trip: Canberra - Moorabbin 2.5 hours, Moorabbin to Devonport 2.3 hours.


Trips in Tassie


Most of our flights in Tassie were joyflights for Kaz's family including our 8 year old neice Molly who had never been flying in anything smaller than a 737 - she barely spoke during the first flight taking it all in but once we landed and I asked how was it, the response was and emphatic "that was AWESOME!!!". All up I think I did about 13 or 14 flights from Devonport heading east towards the Tamar River and west to Burnie. There's so much variety in scenery flying around this area - great coast lines, rivers to follow, mountain ranges and a patchwork landscape created by all the farms.


Kaz and I wanted to get some longer flights in while we were there and managed to do a trip across the north coast to the east coast then down to the Freycinet Peninsula and Swansea. We then headed inland to a little town called Ross in the midlands then followed the mountain ridge up to Cressy, Deloraine then back to Devonport. This was a great trip, the east coast is magnificent with some beautiful white sandy beaches and especially the contrast of Wine Glass Bay which is dwarfed between two rock formations which are about 1500' heigh. We wanted to do a similar trip across Cradle Mountain to Strahan on the west coast but the weather was never good enough for long enough to allow this trip...maybe next time.


The Trip Back Home


The trip home would be a reverse of our trip down but we'd actually be laying over in Melbourne for a couple of days to spend a couple of days with my folks. Again we couldn't get into Point Cook as we have done before so the next option closest to my folks place was Melton. Another flight plan dictated by the weather, we headed off from Devonport on Sunday morning bright and early and again climbing to 9500' for the journey across Bass Strait via King Island.


Another uneventful crossing and an almost silent radio with the exception of our sked calls and we cross the coast at Lorne and track for Melton and begin our descent to be under the control steps as we approach Geelong - we tried to get a clearance but the cloud was marginal at Melton for VFR according to the current weather the controllers had...ironically we had a clear path ahead of us and didn't come within miles of a cloud on our approach into Melton. No harm done and we were actually better off down low - had a very strange experience of descending into ever warmer air until about 3000' where the outside air temp dropped from about 26 to 14 almost instantly, it was like someone had just installed airconditioning and turned it on...now that'd be nice! As with every other time I've flown over Melton, there was not another aircraft in sight and we landed at what looked like a deserted strip where my folks were waiting to pick us up.


After a couple of days in Melbourne and again planning to fly on the "best of a bad bunch" of days - you've probably all seen the weather for Melbourne this week, plenty of high 30's and low 40s' - not the best flying weather. Making a decision to give up a New Years Eve celebration, we had an early departure today (New Years Day) leaving Melton in 32 degree heat with a 25 knot wind at 8am and tracking overhead Mangalore for a quick stop off at Yarrawonga to pick up a new canopy cover, bungs and some other bits that Di at Punkin Head had finished off for us - as with our last experience with the Sportstar, Di makes fantastic covers and I can't recommend her (and her mum!) strongly enough to anyone needing an aircraft or canopy cover.


After collecting our bits and checking out Di's new addition baby Ellie who's just turned 3 months and their recently completed hangar-home we climb back into the hot cockpit for the last hour and a half leg of our journey back home. As we climb out of Yarrawonga I'm happy to see a tailwind of about 10 knots that was forecast as a 25 knot headwind ;). Passing over the Hume Highway south of Tarcutta we get ATIS for Canberra which indicates no cloud, a variable wind at 3 knots and a moderate temperature of 24 degrees. Overhead Tumut we contact approach and get our clearance direct Canberra and we look forward to getting home to a cool shower and airconditioning. Cleared visual approach for a left base ruway 35 from about 15 miles out (it was VERY quiet in Canberra today) we track south of Parliament House and after a smooth landing we open the canopy to let some coolish air in and taxy to parking.


Flight times for the return trip: Devonport to Melton 2.7 hours (strong headwinds 049_sad.gif.af5e5c0993af131d9c5bfe880fbbc2a0.gif), Melton to Yarrawonga 1.2 hours, Yarrawonga to Canberra 1.4.


Here's some pics from the trip...some of the 1000 odd Kaz took...the joys of digital cameras!


Patchwork of clouds and farms between Devonport and Ulverstone



Kaz having one of many power naps as we head over Bass Strait...hard work for some :)



King Island



The Victorian coast in sight



The flight deck at 9500' over Bass Strait



Approaching the Victorian coast - looking left towards Apollo Bay



Finals for runway 04 at Melton



Turning finals runway 06 at Devonport



Taxying out for a joyflight



Taking our neice Molly for her first flight...check out the concentration on her face



Landing roll after another joyflight



Coming in to land after another joyflight



Port Sorrel



Entrance to the Tamar River



St Helens



Sand dunes of St Helens



East Coast of Tasmania south of Bicheno



Freycinet Peninsula



Wine Glass Bay




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Matt forgot to mention the nice people at Devonport Airfield that invited us to a BBQ at a private airstrip at the base of Mount Roland. We didn't make the BBQ but they were a nice bunch of people that gave us lots of waved as came and went.


He also didn't mention the TOOL that thought the other 3 tie down points on the grass weren't good enough so he parked RIGHT IN FRONT OF US!! In the middle of a great big open grass area!! We had to get help to push our plane backwards just so we could taxy, and even my 8 year old niece said "that was very rude!"


Not exactly what I said... 088_censored.gif.2b71e8da9d295ba8f94b998d0f2420b4.gif



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As expected, fantastic report and top pics guys, thanks. The trip over Bass St is a great experience, isn't it? On our way over I was wishing we had more time so that we might meet up with you while over there (see a "A Special Christmas"). As it turns out it was just as well we came back when we did, no more than an hour after leaving Cooma airport when we got home, I collapsed into a heap with some virus and still struggling to get over it.







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That's no good about the virus Paul, hope you get well soon.


It is indeed a great trip, we've done it twice now, the first time in the Sportstar via Flinders Island for Xmas in 2005 and this time with the CT4 via King Island. It is initially a daunting thought heading over that much water but by the time you're leaving the mainland coast at 9500' you can normally see either King or Flinders island (depending on which way you head) which is a comfort over the thoughts of flying off into a great expanse of water with no land to be seen. I'd recommend it to anyone, there's some great scenery to experience flying around Tassie.







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Guest David C

Another fantastic trip report and great photos ..;)... Thanks a lot Matt , and Kaz too for providing such a brilliant report .... A belated Happy New Year to you both ..


Dave C



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As the others have said great report brings back memerories, my Wife and I were down Tassie Feb/Mar as it is now last year for one month went with caravan. You flew over my nephews farm new Ulverstone. We went to all those places you mentioned and even by road they are great. We did go flying at Oatlands in a 172 witch used to belong to our travelling companions Don & Lieth. My wife and I are flying back on the first of Feb this year to attend my nephews wedding (Virgin)


the plane not my nephew. See you at Echuca.



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Wow Matt and Kaz, a fantastic report and it must have been an awesome trip. I'm absolutely envious!! One of these days I'd love to join up with you on one of these trips.


I wish I could add a decent flying report from the Christmas period but I was swamped by visitors and couldn't get away!



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In addition to a heap of photos, we also took about 10 hours of video. Once I've finished transferring it to PC and editing it I'll post the finished product(s) on YouTube and links here...don't hold your breath for this though, it'll take a week or two to get the video done.







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Hi Matt and Kaz


Just a couple of questions now that I've actually read the report ;) and stopped drooling over the photos:blush:, what video editing software do you use to edit your videos, what is the clamp setup for the video camera and does it mark the dash ? (maybe a close up photo perhaps?:big_grin:) and 1 last one....what is the tas of your CT4?


Sorry for the barrage of question, just curious...:big_grin:






p.s. great trip report...and did I mention I love the photos ?;)



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G'day Phil,


As some forum members would know - I'm more than happy to talk about flying and especially our aircraft :).


I use Adobe Premiere Elements for video editing. Was initially using Microsoft Movie Maker but it's very limited in it's capabilities.


The clamp is a neat little unit I found about 18 months ago when I was looking for a clamp to mount on the tubular canopy brace in the Sportstar. It's got rubber covered grips and we've used it to clamp to the dashboard (as seen in the pics above) as well as to the rollover bars in the back of the cockpit. It's made by a company called High-Sierra and cost about $15 from memory. It uses a standard camera screw so it'll fit most cameras with no problems. It doesn't leave marks on anything we've clamped it to yet. Here's the manufacturer website http://www.highsierramfg.com/


TAS of the CT4 is 125 knots at 23"/2600RPM and we average 40L/Hour.


Happy to answer any more questions, will also posts some more photos once we've sorted through them all.







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Here's the first video I've put together from the trip, it's a collection of video taken during my 8 year old niece Molly's first two flights in a small aircraft. The first flight she was very quiet taking everything in but loved it, the second flight we got adventurous playing around in some low scattered cloud and experiencing some "G" with a few wingovers. She loved every minute of it and her third flight (which we didn't get on video) was more of the adventurous stuff.




The "Aunty" Matt reference in the title screens refers to me being "Aunty Matt", none of us can remember why I'm Aunty and not Uncle but it's been like that for about 6 years and will stick with me I think...requires some explanation when Molly talks about her Aunty Matt :)



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