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Akromaster

Flying north QLD around November?

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Thinking of a trip up north, probably as far as Cairns, with my brother who’s visiting from the US.

 

What is it like during the November period for flying in the top end?

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Posted (edited)

November is a bit of a mixed bag usually.

 

It’s possible it could be wet ( as in days or weeks of rain from an early wet season) but not very likely. Last year our wet season started in December but for maybe a decade or more has not started till February or March.

 

November is the season of afternoon build ups - usually reasonably clear mornings but hot by late morning with thermals and turbulence. Around cairns there are frequently thunderstorms that build up about midday west of the ranges ( out as far as chillagoe and Georgetown or a bit closer in) these then track east dumping rain, localised winds and lightning as they go.

Frequently they stop when the get to the ranges immediately west of cairns but can also drop down over the hills and give Cairns a thrashing. They usually hit in the mid - late afternoon.

We get some nice thunderstorms into the night.

 

Then next morning it’s clear and same thing starts again.

 

From a flying perspective we rarely plan much in advance and we tend to do impromptu flights around based on the weather on the day etc.

I don’t go west at all. Tend to stay doing coastal morning flights. It’s just too bumpy etc out west and too risky in the afternoons.

Edited by Guest
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I guess I should add.

 

If you were going to fly up, land in Cairns and then just tourist around then fly home it would be a reasonable thing to plan but add the following:

 

Allow for delays coming up due to weather.

 

Come up coastal - don’t go inland - unless you plan to fly early only in the morning and be on the ground by midday-ish. And bring a well tried and durable tie down system because the airfields inland are all minimally supplied with hangars etc. mostly if you got stuck you’d be on the ground in the open with severe winds and thunderstorm.

Coastal there’s less, but not zero risk.

 

Cairns has horrendous landing fees between 10 am and 2 pm for non commercial flights ($385) but only $15 or so before and after.

 

There are smaller regional fields west and south of cairns ( Mareeba, atherton and Innisfail) but all a bit far away ( an hours drive ) and no hire cars etc available directly from them.

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Thanks JW, much appreciate the info. The idea of basing ourselves in Cairns is a good one.

 

But sounds like be prepared for a lot if sitting around waiting for weather, plan early morning flights and maybe just basing ourselves in Cairns and go from there.

 

It will depend how much time we have. Early stages of planning so not sure how much time he’ll have yet. If it’s too dicy we’ll probably just fly commercial.

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Innisfail is to the south of cairns and an hour drive, also consider a couple of days at Shute harbour airfield as there is plenty to see at the Whitsundays.

Innisfail is a pretty little town. The airport is also a nice airport. ( actual local name if you do a google search is Mundoo airport even though it’s icao name is Innisfail (YIFL) Bitumen main strip with a grass cross strip at sea level. There’s an active aero club with a bar and clubroons. It’s a bit out of town though.

 

Trouble is it’s a good hour drive from cairns and has no easy car hire etc. none at the airport and I have to admit I’ve never hired a car in Innisfail but there might not be any at all in Innisfail.

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Thanks JW, much appreciate the info. The idea of basing ourselves in Cairns is a good one.

 

But sounds like be prepared for a lot if sitting around waiting for weather, plan early morning flights and maybe just basing ourselves in Cairns and go from there.

 

It will depend how much time we have. Early stages of planning so not sure how much time he’ll have yet. If it’s too dicy we’ll probably just fly commercial.

Yeah. I must admit it’s a lottery in November. I don’t know if we can blame climate change or whatever but it’s all gone pretty out of wack this last 12 months or so.

Actually, as all us old timers keep saying, it’s not out of wack now, it WAS out of wack the last decade or so. It’s now back to what it used to be every year when we were kids (40-50 years ago)

 

You could get lucky and have good weather because it’s a bit transitional some years.

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