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7 hours around Canberra

Guest airsick

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Guest airsick

Saturday morning arrived with a very chilly beginning but being a planned flying day, I dragged myself away from my warm bed, got showered and waited. About five minutes away by car my brother was doing the same thing. Shortly after our bodies had recovered from the rude awakening he arrived at my place and we drove down to the airport together.


The plan was to fly from Canberra, out to Ivanhoe and have a look at the salt lakes before heading north to Yallock and taking a peek at some sand ridges. These features are marked on the WAC so we figured it was a good excuse to go and check them out. Normally we wouldn’t need an excuse to go flying but it was nice to have one anyway.


The Pipistrel Virus we were taking on this flight is a motorglider from Slovenia. There are a few versions of this aircraft, this one is a short wing version fitted with long range tanks and is ideally suited to what we had in mind.


We arrived at the airport to find it liberally coated with ice which meant a half hour of freezing cold hands as we cleaned it off. It didn’t add any delay to our plans as we needed to refuel anyway. Pipistrel has come up with a neat system to refuel the plane without needing to lift 20 litre fuel cans over the wing. It uses a small pump which hooks up below the engine cowl to effortlessly fill the tanks. It also meant we could take care of the ice while the refuelling took care of itself.


Having finished with all the formalities we pre flighted, climbed aboard, did our run ups and requested a taxi and airways clearance. Our initial plan was to go via Temora at 4500’ but this was canned by ATC and we were requested to exit the zone at 3500’ instead. ATC is generally helpful at Canberra so this was not too much of a chore and we could climb to a standard height once we had left radar control so we accepted this and proceeded to runway 12. A take off clearance was given and we rolled down the runway and rotated well before the intersection. Our instructions were for a right turn before taking up our heading which took us back past the airport with it on our right.


The flight out to Temora was uneventful but when we got closer we began to hear some radio chatter related to the flying day in progress. There were some Harvard’s in the area, aerobatics underway and someone holding 5 miles to the east waiting for an opportunity to land. We stayed well to the south to avoid any conflict and continued on our way while remaining in contact with the Unicom operator – destination Ivanhoe.


The scenery out this way is in some ways boring but in others quite interesting. The thing that strikes me most is the redness of the landscape. As you fly west getting further away from the coast you notice a gradual change from green to the dusty browns around the Canberra way through to the deep rich reds past Temora. The landscape is quite flat aside from the odd bump here and there and the lakes have very little water if any at all. Every now and then there will be a ridge and it is interesting to note the clouds that form over them even though they are only a few kilometres in length and not much higher 1500’ or so. Some say boring but I say quite fascinating.


A short while after passing over Hillston we were drawing closer to Ivanhoe. At this point we decided to start exploring and flew over to Conoble Lake. This was one of the planned sights along the way but it turned out to be a bit disappointing. We were hoping for it to be a slat lake but alas, it was not to be. It was no different to Lake Brewster which we had stopped to check out along the way only to find that, like pretty much everything else out here, it was bone dry. We headed over to an area to the south of Ivanhoe in the hope of finding something more interesting but again, we were out of luck. At this point we decided to head north to check out the sand ridges and see if they were going to be a photo opportunity. It just didn’t seem to be our day because there wasn’t much interesting up there either. Maybe we didn’t go far enough north but we certainly didn’t find anything. Time for home.


A quick turn around and we were headed for Canberra direct. We had plenty of time up our sleeve and fuel wasn’t an issue so making it was going to be easy. So far we had clocked up around 4 hours with the trip over and some distractions along the way but the Virus with its long range tanks could keep us going for a good 7 hours and still have a bit left. Unfortunately for us our personal tanks weren’t so long range, we had to change our plans and headed for Temora.


Our inbound call was answered by the Unicom operator who informed us that we could just squeeze in before the Roulette’s began their display. A straight in approach was conducted and we were on the ground in time to see the aerobatics. Both of us firmly believe in the saying, “there’s no such thing as too much fuel unless you’re on fire†so the decision was made to top up the tanks before pressing on home. So some tanks were filled while others were emptied and we were ready to go.


We weren’t in a hurry though so we decided to stick around for a bit and try to find some lunch. We had been eating lollies and drinking plenty of fluids throughout the flight but both of us would have killed for a sausage in bread. Luck was against us, yet again, as the barbecue had been turned off (we arrived quite late) so we had to wait. It did give us the chance to catch up with a few of the Canberra Aero Club members though which was good.


A short while later we were on our way again. We reported over Burrinjuck and got our inbound clearance for 5500’. A little time after that we were headed for the same runway we left on that morning and we soon back on the ground. As we were tying down one of the club members landed in his TB-10 and the club 172 also came in.


Over the day we were airborne for a total of just under 7 hours. It is the longest I have spent in the Virus in one day but it is quite a roomy plane and pretty comfortable considering the time we were in it. The destinations we chose weren’t all that we thought they would be but in the end we didn’t care. We had a great day flying, saw things we hadn’t seen before and had fun. Isn’t that what it is about?























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Thanks for the enjoyable read Airsick. :thumb_up:


I'm too chicken to fly into Temora on a fly day, so had to settle with doodling around locally for the last two days. Been good though, two fresh passengers introduced to the joys of rec flying.:big_grin:



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Guest airsick

I don't have the all up figures but on the nav parts of the flight we were cruising at around 125kts at 12 - 13 litres per hour. When we got to places or decided to stop along the way to take a better look, take some photos, etc. we slowed it down to 60 or so (we had nowhere to be so we did a fair bit of this). Fuel burn can drop to as low as 5 - 6 litres an hour at these speeds from memory.


And then there is the gliding - roughly 60 kts and 0 litres! 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif



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