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Back in the air - Merimbula and the Albury Airshow


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After 10 long weeks we finally have our CT4 back!


The plan for the last few weeks has been to fly domestic (via REX) to Merimbula, spend a few hours doing post maintenance and familiarisation flights (having been so long since we last flew) and then head to our new home at Penfield. We had two options for the trip home, coastal via Malacoota-Orbost-Latrobe Valley or inland viat Cooma-Albury-Mangalore.


Timing was everything, many weekends of bad weather and some niggling issues that our LAME (also Rex!) was sorting out. About 2 weeks ago the long range rain forecast showed the weekend of 5-6 April as being 0% chance of rain for Merimbula, Albury, Melbourne and most places on either track, it also happened to coincide with the Albury Airshow. So the one way REX flight was booked for the Saturday and we booked accomodation for the Saturday night. 2 weeks later and the forecast was spot on - no rain and clear blue skies at Merimbula on Saturday and for planned track and destinations on Sunday.


On arrival at Merimbula on Saturday we headed straight over to the hangar to see our aeroplane as it had a fair bit of work done in the last 2 months including prop overhaul, replacement of windshield and canopy perspex, some electrical work and a list of little issues that a 33 year old aeroplane is going to have. As we walked into the hangar the gleam from the new perspex was a great sight, as was the freshly overhauled and painted prop.


After an hour or so chatting it was time to get airborne to verify Rex's workmanship. First up Rex and I went up for a 45 minute flight around Merimbula and confirmed everything worked, better than ever before in fact...unfortunately it meant a few bugs left their mark on the prop and windshield...but you get that. Next up it was Kaz's turn to remember what it was like to sit in the right seat and enjoy the great views of the coast through the new crystal clear canopy.


After an afternoon of talking and flying we headed to the Lake View Hotel for a few beers and a feed.


Waking up early on Sunday we pack up all our gear, check the weather for Cooma, Albury and Melbourne and head off to the airport. Our first leg would see us depart Merimbula and climb up to 8500' heading for Cooma then on to Albury. You couldn't have ordered a better day, scattered cloud and a variable wind at 10 knots all the way up to 12000'. Overhead Cooma we got in touch with Melbourne Centre to check what the clearance process would be for Albury and were advised that the airspace would be closed at 10.30 local (00.30 zulu) - it seems I'd misread the NOTAM and hadn't quite calculated the change in daylight savings time with ZULU. Going beyond the call, the controller got in contact with Albury tower and based on our ETA they said they should be able to get us in but no promises.


As we continued on our way we considered our options if Albury was a no go and decided Corryong would be our decision point - if we couldn't get in to Albury we'd track direct to Wangarratta then head straight to Penfield. Overhead Corryong we contact Albury tower and were grateful to receive instructions to enter the control zone at Granya at 3000'. A high speed descent to Granya had us there a few minutes early giving the controllers a bit of breathing space before the airshow started. From Grany we're cleared direct to Albury and just as we approach the field we're instructed to orbit while a Virgin RPT flight arrives then follow the E-Jet for smooth a landing on runway 25.


There was a good turnout of aircraft from local GA and Recreational aircraft, a large selection of Warbirds including Mustang, Spitfire, Vampire, Albatross, Trojan to name a few as well as the Roulettes. There were also about 40 Nanchangs and Yaks who were there for their annual get together.


We spend the day wandering around in the calm breeze and warm temperatures admiring the aircraft on the ground and displays in the air. We met quite a few new people including Yak and Nanchang owners as well as fellow CT4 owners (#40) Murray and Andrea Wallace from Mt Macedon in Victoria (just up the road from us!). Murray is an ex Air Force pilot who is heavily involved in the RAAF Museum flying operations...they also own a magnificantly prepared SIAI Marchetta which they had flown up from their base at Kyneton.


After a great day at the airshow it was time to head to our new home at Penfield, about an hour and 15 minute flight from Albury. As with any public event, the "car park" of aeroplanes was full of owners hurridly preparing their aircraft to depart. Unlike a car park though, the coordination between pilots and ground marshalls meant a smooth and quick taxy to the holding point with almost an immediate clearance to depart with a right turn tracking for Mangalore. As with the morning, the air was still with a slight tailwind and few clouds making for perfect flying conditions. We head over Wangarratta and Benalla where the influx of aircraft outbound from Albury was creating a bit of havoc for the gliders who were also making use of the perfect conditions.


After the busy airspace at Benalla the rest of the flight home was quiet and uneventful. We overfly Managalore where the only other aircraft to be heard was a C172 also on his way home from Albury. From Mangalore we make the slightest of left turns and head for Penfield and descend to stay under the control steps around Melbourne airport.


All is quiet on the radio as we change to Riddell / Penfield CTAF and broadcast our arrival and intentions. Overflying Riddell we confirm there is no other traffic in the circuit at either airfield and from overhead Penfield just staying under the overlying CTA step at 2500' and descend to join downwind for runway 18 for a landing between the trees - an ominous sight following our previous home at Canberra airport with 3km of bitumen and paddocks for miles at either end. Another smooth landing on the grass strip as we roll through and scare a few of the local magpies away.


After 10 weeks of not being airborne it was so refreshing and relaxing to be back where I feel most at home - up there :thumb_up:.


The new prop



The new perspex



A Cheetah...not Slarti's though



New home - Penfield Airfield




Ready for bed



Finals runway 25 @ Albury



Short finals runway 03 @ Merimbula



Short finals runway 18 @ Penfield



More pics from the trip on my Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=35267&l=d1f03&id=708028161



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Excellent, must be great to have your pride and joy back.


Jeez you were lucky, at least Rex only chatted for an hour or so. I took JUD down for an oil change a little while ago (during my first solo nav). Flew in at about 8am, got out of there to continue my nav at about lunch time. Lovely bloke Rex, but god he can talk.099_off_topic.gif.20188a5321221476a2fad1197804b380.gif


Many happy hours of flying folks





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Guest brentc

I dropped into Albury also with the father-in-law. Pictures to follow.


I must admit I did wonder how you got in when you arrived about 2 minutes prior to the scheduled start time!


After my arrival at about 10am I think I waited over an hour and 20 mintues for the fuel truck to come over. He knew I was next in line but decided to full up 6 people before me. It was quite annoying however I needed fuel so there was little I could do. When he did get there it was pumping at about .5 litres per minute which was somewhat frustrating also!


My trip time was 1hr 10min there and 1 hr 20 back again. Altitudes of 7,500 and 8,500 respectively in company with Cherokee 180 and Yak 18.



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Jim Wickam's (hope name is right) Yak would have to be the most photoed ship there. Beautiful wx for a show.


Wish I could have flown instead of drove. Maybe next time if the gods are smiling on me. 0.9 in a 172 is way more fun than 3.5 in the family battlestar.:thumb_up:



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Guest Ken deVos
After the busy airspace at Benalla the rest of the flight home was quiet and uneventful. We overfly Managalore where the only other aircraft to be heard was a C172 also on his way home from Albury. From Mangalore we make the slightest of left turns and head for Penfield and descend to stay under the control steps around Melbourne airport.

Matt, 'twas me as a pax in the 172 near Benalla at 6500 avoiding those pesky thermal powered craft and here is the CT4 at 4500 as you passed by. We stopped in at Mangalore to drop off a PAX then headed back to Coldstream.





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...and thus confirming the world really is a small place theory!


Thanks for the pic Ken, must say the paint looks better from 2000' up 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif ...the new canopy and prop make the 32 year old paint job look just that much worse 049_sad.gif.af5e5c0993af131d9c5bfe880fbbc2a0.gif...oh well, something for the "to do" list



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