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Narrandera to Narromine - my first solo Nav


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My first solo Nav was really quite easy. Narrandera to Narromine (follow the Newell Highway basically) but I did have my adventures.




All was going really well, I found the river, old railway lines, silos & mines really good pointers on the map. Confidence inspiring.


I even had time to attempt a photo self portrait to send home to my family. Though the turbulence proved to make that a difficult task – take 2 was OK.




West Wyalong came into view – here’s where I had trouble – how can you write times down when the aircraft is bouncing you around? At least the $19 watch I bought in Leeton had BIG numbers & was easy to read. My scrawls on my flight plan looked like a 3 yr olds!


Oh well, on to Forbes. I did my 10mile call. All was good. Did I mention my instructor was doing a dual Nav X with another student at the same time, in a Savannah? Well, the plan was to do a stop at Forbes for them to catch up. We had talked about the Right Hand circuit at Forbes during our prep at the clubhouse. I knew from my dual Nav X’s with my instructor that he liked throwing in the right hand circuits – I was sure he wanted us to do that. Well I flew over Forbes, looked at the windsock & thought, if I had my way I’d come in on 27 but I felt that my instructor wanted us to do the RH circuit. OK. I lined up for 09, did my downwind, base, final calls & whahooey, nahhhhnoway!!! – I did a go around. Damn. I just imagined the crowds in the club house cackling with laughter at my pathetic attempt at a crossed up downwind landing. Oh well, life before pride. Now for take two. I entered the circuit again, calmed myself with confident radio calls, knowing that all ears in the club house would be listening & all eyes watching. I landed but let’s just say that it wasn’t my best & had to apply lots of rudder to maintain some kind of direction control as I raced down the airstrip. I taxied back, parked & shut down the aircraft. What to do. Go front up at the clubhouse & show my self as the not so good pilot that just struggled to land? Well, yeah - I needed a pee anyway.




As I walked up I noticed rubbish on the outside tables, like someone had just walked off without cleaning up. Bit poor form I thought. It seemed a bit quiet. Where was everybody? I looked inside & it was a really nice looking set up. Thought a nice cool drink would be good while I waited for the others, so slid the door open & went in. No one appeared but a beeping sound was obviously there to notify the staff I was there waiting. I waited & looked about, not much in the way of service here I thought. Then it dawned on me. Oh NO! The beeping was the alarm!! The door hadn’t been locked properly. Oh CRAP!!


I rushed out side & slammed the door shut but nah, off went the siren. You have no idea how LOUD it was!


I just sat there waiting for the police to turn up & take me away. They never did & the siren eventually stopped blaring just as the Savannah entered final to runway 27!!! Oh well, lesson learnt . Fly for the conditions & don’t go into empty Club Houses even if the door is unlocked.


Next stop was Narromine. This was my old hunting ground in my gliding days. I have great memories from gliding at Narromine & this was the first time in 27+ years that I had been there let alone landing solo in an aeroplane. Wow I was one happy bunny. The landing was really good too - I taxied down to Mr Icom where the Savannah was to receive a new radio.


Waiting around for the others to arrive I had a poke about. Boy has this place changed. The new club buildings with a flash museum are amazing. Knowing that we were staying overnight & would probably have to hang around a bit before heading off next morning I figured I might have a look through the museum then.




Once the Savannah landed & been tied down we pushed the Jab into a hanger for the night, then walked into town to book an overnight stay at the pub. We had a lovely dinner before heading off for sleep, something that I found I really wanted after my first long solo.


Next morning we walked back to the airfield via a BP breaky. The Savannah was still being worked on so we headed off to the museum.


It was a pricey entrance fee but as my fellow training pilot said – “I don’t mind donating a bit of money to something like thisâ€. We walked in & blow me down there was on a display a photo I had taken in 1980 of all the gliders in a hanger. I was really chuffed. Even had my name attached with circa 1982. I had given the club a print after it had been accepted by the gliding magazine for a cover photo. Wow, I was really happy. Most of the museum covered the part Narromine played in pilot training for the war. We also had a look at their replica Wright Model A Flyer & an old Venture glider.




Once the Savannah was ready we refuelled the aircraft. I departed first for a non stop back to Narrandera. I heard a couple of calls from my instructor & I responded but they didn’t return the call. Later I heard them saying they would be an hour late, again they didn’t respond when I returned the call.


The flight back was fast, under 2 hours & I must say it was nice to see an airstrip that I was familiar with. I waited for a REX RPT to land then joined downwind on 23 & satisfied myself with a nice smooth landing. I considered doing some circuits but thought it best to call it a day & taxied back to the hanger & put the Jab away for the night.


It was a good hour or more before the Savannah finally landed at Narrandera. Apparently the new radio had a few issues that had to be sorted so they had to return to Narromine to have these addressed.


All in all I had a ball & the biggest smile on my face. I never believed I could have achieved this goal, as many have noted before, this was a dream from my youth and now I have achieved it.


Thank you to my incredible instructor Wally. Now it’s time to build on what I have been taught.















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